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Disney Vacation Club: Promises Promises
by Jack Marshall, ALL EARS® Guest Columnist
This article appeared in the February 15, 2005, Issue #282 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)
Okay, I admit it. It's my fault. There are some times when one should really be careful what they say. I found that out the hard way.
My story actually started many years ago when Disney first introduced the Disney Vacation Club concept at what was to become Old Key West. I read the information, liked what I saw and spoke to my wife about it. She likes Disney (as opposed to me, who loves Disney) but couldn't see us committing to a (then) 50-year commitment of going to Disney every year or every other year. She also didn't like giving up the idea of staying at whichever resort we wanted whenever we wanted to do it.
So that took care of that. I'm not one to press the issue. Marriage is a give-and-take proposition after all. I gave her an idea and she took it and slapped her Kiss of Death on it before passing it back to me. Nothing more to say on my part. End of story.
Fast forward if you will to December 2003. A very good friend of mine offered me the use of 100 of her Disney Vacation Club points. I could use them in any way I wanted. We had never stayed at one of the Vacation Club resorts before. After consulting with Wife, she picked -- er, I mean we agreed on wanting a stay at the Beach Club Villas in July 2004.
I don't know where I obtained my stereotype of the Beach Club, but I always envisioned its clientele to be arriving right from their yacht or stepping out of their limo after the long ride from West Palm Beach. You know the type. Smoking jackets, dinner jackets, fur jackets. So my reaction to this was along the lines of "Oh goody, I get to mingle with people whose noses are so high in the air that they would drown in an afternoon shower." But for the sake of family harmony, I agreed. That and the fact that my daughter voted with my wife, not with me. Stab your stay-at-home Dad in the heart, why don't you dear? So I was resigned to six nights in a studio at Beach Club Villas with all the amenities -- snobby people, July humidity and Florida thunderstorms. I could hardly wait. The things one does for family!
Arrival day came at last. We drove up to the Beach Club entrance. I showed my ID to the guard and told him I was here to check into the Beach Club Villas. He went into his guard house. I thought he may have been calling for backup. I just knew he was coming back out and telling me I was mistaken and we'd have to leave. He came back out and handed me a dashboard parking pass for my six nights and said, "Welcome home." I was wrong. I'm sure I was quite a sight to him with my mouth hanging open like it was.
I guess you could tell that I had no experience with the Beach Club before save for an occasional meal at Cape May. So I deftly asked the security guard where I was supposed to go next. He told me to go up to the Porte Cochere and they would take care of me there. I said thanks and started driving in.
Porte Cochere... hmmm. Did Disney build a new resort I'd forgotten about? Maybe it was like Port Orleans, which I actually liked. Better yet, maybe this vacation wouldn't be as bad as I had anticipated. But as we drove up to the front, I suddenly trembled. There I could see with my own eyes some of these rich people driving up and their servants come running out to open all the car doors for them. I knew it! Now what do I do? I decided that my best move was to just drive through and circle around very smoothly like I was leaving. But wait -- I couldn't disappoint the family. I knew I had to suck it up and stop the car.
So stop I did. I told the family I'd run in and see where we were supposed to go and they could stay in the car. So off into the lobby I went. I remembered the lobby as one of the few places I had seen here in the past. But I didn't know where the desk was. Never needed to know before. Where were the typical Disney rope queues that signaled the front desk area from afar?
I stopped a gentleman who was dressed in a pastel colored outfit. I thought since it wasn't polyester that he probably worked here. The gentleman pointed me to the front desk that was tucked away from sight unless you were standing in front of it. Well, I'll be darned. I got in the short line and soon it was my turn at the desk. I explained my situation to the Cast Member. She typed a few things into her computer (signaling security maybe?) and said, "Welcome home." Hmmm, that's the second time someone said that to me since I'd been here. Coincidence? The front desk CM handed me my resort IDs and the required booklets of information and I was off to get my family to help find our room.
As I was walking back to the car, one of the bell services people came over and asked if we needed any help. Just as I was forming the word "no" with my lips, I heard the voice of my wife yell, "Yes, please!" I hung my head. I knew deep down inside that she was right. I had never been here before. How was I going to know where our room was? I envisioned me leading the family down hallway after hallway of rooms then circling back and doing it all over again. I'd become the Beach Club version of Charlie on the MTA.
So we followed our fearless bell person who pulled our cart full of luggage in front of us leading the way. We cut across the path next to the Solarium, past the statue of Ariel and into the Beach Club Villas' first building. Our leader turned left and stopped about three doors down. "This is your room," he said. I bristled silently in the knowledge that I could have found this, probably on the first try, too. I slid my resort ID into the lock and the LED turned green. I love when that happens. I opened the door and walked in.
Wow! This place was actually nice! Queen size bed, queen size sleeper sofa, table and chairs, patio with chairs, a mini-kitchen with sink, coffee maker, microwave and fridge. The All-Stars this wasn't.
The rest of the week went very nicely, thank you. I discovered that you don't have to be listed in Forbes to stay at the Beach Club... although it helps. There were plenty of regular folks there. My stereotype had been smashed, my fears vanquished.
Later in the week, we crashed onto the bed after a long day at the parks. Dear Wife looked at me and said, "I could get used to this for all our Disney trips. How much does a DVC membership cost?" **THUD** I fell off the bed.
"What? Are you kidding me? No way!" I said. "It's expensive now, not like it was in '92." I had her now and I knew it, but my razor sharp mind couldn't quit while it was running at full speed ahead. My eye was winking when I heard myself say, "I'll buy you a DVC membership when the Red Sox win the World Series." Guess I shot that one down pretty well. I grinned mightily, basking in the full confidence that I had just won game, set and match.
Wrong! And that brings me back to being careful about what you say. We were back home in Boston on October 27, 2004, when my words came back to haunt me at the conclusion of World Series Game 4. "Honey, remember when we were at the Beach Club Villas and you said that we could get a DVC membership when the Red Sox won the World Series?" **THUD**
I learned my lesson. You can't fight fate. We closed on a 220-point Old Key West purchase on January 10, 2005.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Although Disney Vacation Club is no longer selling NEW memberships at the Old Key West Resort, Jack was able to purchase his DVC points there through Shontell Crawford at DVCbyResale.com. For more info on DVC resales visit: www.dvcbyresale.com
Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.