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dlpmikki
09-05-2007, 06:50 PM
There seem to be a number of us having frustrations with how DVC is operating at the moment. Do you think this is because DVC has got too big and we are just numbers rather than members now? Or do you think this is just a passing phase caused by growing pains?

DVC2004
09-05-2007, 07:10 PM
I think it's growing pains. I agree some improvements could be beneficial but I have faith that everything will smooth out soon.:thumbsup:

DVC Mike
09-05-2007, 08:02 PM
There seem to be a number of us having frustrations with how DVC is operating at the moment.

What frustrations? I am happy with my membership.:thumbsup:

Maleficent's Dad
09-05-2007, 08:26 PM
There seem to be a number of us having frustrations with how DVC is operating at the moment. Do you think this is because DVC has got too big and we are just numbers rather than members now? Or do you think this is just a passing phase caused by growing pains?
Mikki,
This is a great question to pose and should elicit much discussion.

Whereas I have not had any problems with the purchase of points (my last add on was 2004), the issues I've come up with are:
1. Long waits for MS when calling (try calling on the "new" days - Saturdays! UGH!)
2. Rather short CM's at MS when you do call
3. Total lack of availability at non-home resorts when travelling at busier times
4. The month of December at WDW - way too busy during an "off-peak" time

I do indeed feel that these issues have come up primarily due to the massive increase in membership. Now, in NO WAY to I begrudge anyone the opportunity to join DVC - I think it's a great thing and hope that many others can share in the happiness my family has experienced through our investment.

But Disney - including DVC - seems to be way too interested in sales, profits, and money overall. I know Disney is a business and DVC is a money maker for them. But Disney did NOT start out as a "for money" venture (Walt had little use for finances; he neither cared for them nor paid attention to costs).

So I think they've been pushing DVC a bit too hard. Last week, every bus in WDW had the "Have you heard the best kept secret?" poster slapped on back. I mean, REALLY, do they still feel it's the "best kept secret?" PLEASE!!! Their advertising throughout WDW was getting me sick of DVC, and I'm the world's happiest DVC member!!!

DVC is well over 100,000 members (families, I should say, as membership is in most cases not limited to one person). That's great. And with AKLV, I do think that some of the pressure will come off of the more "popular" resorts. If the Contemporary ever comes to fruition, then the VWL will be pretty easy to come by (I'd guess, anyway). I can't stand the pressure of calling exactly 7 months out or 11 months out depending on what you want.

Not too long ago - seriously, a couple of years at most - we were able to snag the BCV for summer months with no problem. We even got into the BWV once on a day's notice (yes, one day). I do think those days are long gone...

So what do I know? I'm happy that DVC is expanding and making people happy. I just don't want Disney to lose sight of their primary mission (outside of making money, that is) - and that is to have a safe place where families can come and have fun. DVC has provided this for my family and me for years now.

Just be careful DVC; way too many companies have expanded way too quickly and then folded. I don't think DVC will ever have that problem, but from the sounds of many posts, more and more people are unhappy with DVC and their CM's. (Just take a look at DizneyFreak2002's post on their purchase - you'll get the idea.)

I love DVC a lot - but I am a bit concerned with the speed at which they are increasing enrollment - for myself, other members, and the quality of DVC overall.

hubbyofadisneyholic
09-05-2007, 09:35 PM
While it's only been 4 yrs since we bought our first points at OKW we have definitely noticed some subtle things.
The longer waits to get thru to Member Services, much longer wait for buses, staff that seems more mechanical than friendly and don't get me started on the night front desk manager back in June that uttered such a totally insincere apology that it would have been better if he had said nothing at all.

From what I have observed it seems that DVC has gone from having the feel of a family to being more like a city. And that isn't a good thing in my book.
Just my :twocents:

MinnieMommie
09-05-2007, 10:33 PM
This is a fair and interresting question Mikki. First let me be clear that I am happy with my DVC membership and have had very attentive resort staff and for the most part have had helpful CMs at MS. It is also clear though from what I am reading in various posts that some of my fellow Intercotees are experiencing less than desirable service.

I haven't had difficulty getting through to MS since the hours have been expanded. There was clearly an increase in volume corresponding to the increase in membership and the change in hours was responsive to this need. Maybe more is needed.

The bus service leaves something to be desired. In my experience buses have been increasingly packed and are too few and too infrequent. Often people are standing and lately some can not even get onto the bus. I have been told stories by moms who are holding sleeping babies and who have not been able to get a seat on the bus.

I have found less room availability and am not convinced there is immediate responsiveness to waitlist requests (based on personal experience). That all rooms are not immediatly available to members and that Disney "holds onto" some of them is problematic in regards to availability. Increase in membership requires a corresponding increase rather than decrease in available rooms. Perhaps Disney will rethink this issue.

I agree that rapid membership growth has resulted in DVC growing pains. However, after some of the posts I am reading I hope that DVC always remembers to keep the Disney in DVC. While I recognize it is a business, a trade mark of Disney business is creating a magical experience for their guests. As members we are also guests of Disney. I hope they always keep a clear eye to that detail. :mickey:

DizneyFreak2002
09-05-2007, 10:34 PM
Yes, Frank.. just read my thread.... I do not know if it is getting too big or if they have some incompetent people working for them... Maybe due to the fact they got too big too quickly.. I do not know.. and it would be unfair of me to make a guess... however, after going through what I am going through, I would really have expected more from Disney.... For a company that prides themselves on customer service, their customer service has been terrible lately....

Speedy1998
09-05-2007, 11:00 PM
I do not think it is just a problem with DVC, I have noticed this problem throughout the property.

I really believe the problem has more to do with a strong economy that is a. making it more difficult for Disney to hire the staff that it needs, and b. allowing more people to go on vacation and buy into the DVC (which only makes the staff shortages worse). I mean how many threads have been posted lately about there being no truely slow times at WDW anymore.

lockedoutlogic
09-05-2007, 11:22 PM
But Disney - including DVC - seems to be way too interested in sales, profits, and money overall. I know Disney is a business and DVC is a money maker for them. But Disney did NOT start out as a "for money" venture (Walt had little use for finances; he neither cared for them nor paid attention to costs).



I agree with everything in your post.....

But this strikes the proverbial nerve....this nostalgia you speak of died many years ago.

We aren't going back...Disney is a huge financial machine...who sells itself on the NYSE each day.

I would bet dime to the dollar thay you own Disney shares....good for you if you do....but you can't have it everyway.

The United States has become a polytheistic society...and our "gods" are 4 dead presidents, an ex-treasurer, and an inventor/writer/diplomat/politician.... That is not meant as a politcal, social, or religious statement of any kind (it was a metaphor...before I get any complaints) ...it is a simple statement of the fact that our society lives by....but won't openly admit....

The gigantic green elephant in the room.

I'm not meaning to be trite....but can we just accept that Disney keeps our fantasies a little more intact about where we spend our disposable cash?......their motivations and goals are the same as Starbucks, Microsoft, Wal-mart....and everything else that gets a more "Evil" wrap....

DVC is a seller...it guarantees more visits...which means more revenue...which means more profits.....

That is the goal...plain and simple...the "welcome homes" and pictures on the walls at Olivia's is merely window dressing...

Donald A
09-05-2007, 11:53 PM
As a new DVC member, I have yet to even take a vacation with my points. I have a vacation scheduled in January.

I guess my expectations are lower than the assumed high expectations for Disney. Since my honeymoon at WDW in 2003, I have been to WDW 3 times. Each time I have had significant problems at my resort from my room not being ready, luggage not coming, rude CMs, etc.

Disney is not a perfect place, no where on earth is. However, I still think it is pretty darn fun. I am going to get everything I can and as may trips as I can with my DVC membership.

I think the 100,000 memberships that are in DVC have a lot of power. Sure, Disney has your money, but they want to KEEP GETTING YOUR MONEY. They are only going to offer services that still make them money. There is a balance between making money and keeping people happy. The minute trying to save money overtakes the level of customer service expected by the members, the members revolt.

Revolting is easy, sell your membership. I am sure the timeshares in Florida or even Universal Studios will buy it for $40 a point. Disney has two choices based on the DVC contract we all signed. Let the competition buy the points or exercise right of first refusal.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it is a fine balance between making money and keeping people happy. I, for one, believe that I am still satisfied I am getting my money's worth for my investment and if that changes I feel I have a way out.

Ian
09-06-2007, 10:38 AM
I do not think it is just a problem with DVC, I have noticed this problem throughout the property. I agree completely. Rude or abrupt CM's aren't limited to DVC. They're all over WDW property these days.


As a new DVC member, I have yet to even take a vacation with my points. I have a vacation scheduled in January.

I guess my expectations are lower than the assumed high expectations for Disney. Since my honeymoon at WDW in 2003, I have been to WDW 3 times. Each time I have had significant problems at my resort from my room not being ready, luggage not coming, rude CMs, etc.

Disney is not a perfect place, no where on earth is. However, I still think it is pretty darn fun. I am going to get everything I can and as may trips as I can with my DVC membership.

I think the 100,000 memberships that are in DVC have a lot of power. Sure, Disney has your money, but they want to KEEP GETTING YOUR MONEY. They are only going to offer services that still make them money. There is a balance between making money and keeping people happy. The minute trying to save money overtakes the level of customer service expected by the members, the members revolt.

Revolting is easy, sell your membership. I am sure the timeshares in Florida or even Universal Studios will buy it for $40 a point. Disney has two choices based on the DVC contract we all signed. Let the competition buy the points or exercise right of first refusal.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it is a fine balance between making money and keeping people happy. I, for one, believe that I am still satisfied I am getting my money's worth for my investment and if that changes I feel I have a way out.I agree with most of what you said. Like you, I've visited WDW numerous times in the last few years and pretty much everytime I've had more than one bad experience of some sort. And even more experiences that, while not overtly "bad", certainly didn't measure up to what Disney sells itself as representing.

I think it's a combination of things ... the cookin' economy that Speedy mentioned ... a resort that's grown too big for it's own good ... and a serious form of institutional arrogance that was allowed to fester and spread during the Eisner years.

But I don't really agree that membership can "rise up" against DVC. What do they care? They've got our money already. Whether we hold on to our memerships or not, they couldn't care less.

And I think that's the real issue with DVC. The size isn't really the root cause, it's just a bi-product of the actual root cause ... they're selling memberships like hot cakes, so they really don't care about us. The money's pouring in and they're too busy counting it to answer their phones.

Mushu11756
09-10-2007, 06:18 PM
My wife and I are new Members and are staying at SSR for the first time in Feb. I agree with alot of what has been posted on this thread.

Dvc has grown alot in the past couple of years and so has Disney as a whole. We were told by our Vacation Guide that a lot of new growth in membership was coming from the west coast. Due to the fact that DVC was selling memberships at Disneyland for DisneyWorld. He also mentioned that they were also hoping to build a DVC resort there due to the hi volume of members signing up there and that would help relieve some of the booking problems at WDW DVC.

I have also been going to WDW since I was a child like many of you and also have noticed the changes over the years in CM and the condition of the Parks. I know that Disney does not pay very well at all. So you have under paid people dealing with million's of guest's a year that expect top quality service of a Five Star Magical dream that Walt himself wanted every person to have. The downside is Disney pays most of there CM Minimum Wage. So how can we expect top notch service from under payed employee's. what you get is the same service you would expect from Wendy's or Burger King!

I love going to WDW world but as a whole they need to stop worry about the bottom line. Take care of the employee's wich will in turn improve the parks and costumer satisfaction. They need to invest more in there employee's and in the long run they will make more of a profit because if they don't the volume of visitors may drop off and they will start to loose money.

Horizon93
09-10-2007, 11:42 PM
I agree. A better pay scale for the cms would help. I am also a new DVC member, who got great encouragement to join right here at Intercot. I have not had my first DVC trip yet, but I have booked 2 and MS has been very easy for me to deal with. After reading all of this, however, I anticipate some bad experiences ahead.

I don't think it is that DVC has gotten too big, I think it is that Disney has not worked to accomodate that growth. If you are going to sell memberships at an unprecedented rate. service has to increase at a comparable rate. That has clearly not happened.

In terms of Disney being all about the bottom line: Reminding us of Walt's vision is not nostalgic to me. It goes to the core of the company's mission. By following their mission, they will grow and profit. By following the bottom line, they will decline. The Eisner era is over. I would like to think that we are dealing with remnants of that era, but sooner or later, the blame has to rest with the Iger era.

I have faith that things will get better. If more members means more DVC resorts, and more accomodations, the wider variety of great vacations is available to us. Here's hoping!

Maleficent's Dad
09-11-2007, 10:29 AM
I don't think it is that DVC has gotten too big, I think it is that Disney has not worked to accomodate that growth. If you are going to sell memberships at an unprecedented rate. service has to increase at a comparable rate. That has clearly not happened.

In terms of Disney being all about the bottom line: Reminding us of Walt's vision is not nostalhic to me. It goes to the core of the company's mission. By following their mission, they will grow and profit. By following the bottom line, they will decline.
Ed,
Great Post!

I completely agree with what you wrote - and well written as well! :thumbsup:

Ian
09-11-2007, 11:59 AM
I know this isn't a popular opinion all the time, but I'm of the notion that, when it comes to Walt Disney World, bigger doesn't necessarily equate to better. All things in moderation, ya know?

The problem they have is that they've just gotten too darn big down there. They employ what? 55,000 people in that one location? I would say that it's flat-out impossible to find 55,000 people, willing to work for minimum wage, and live up to Disney standards.

I mean probably half the CM's you interact with on a daily basis are there on the College Program. They're not "lifers" and they're not necessarily into doing things the Disney way.

And in addition to the staffing woes that come with the resort's size, you've also got the management headaches. The place is so darn big it's almost impossible to keep tabs on what's going on everywhere at all times.

I guess I just think they may have backed themselves into a corner they can't get out of. I've actually heard people insinuate that their plan is to basically make Disneyland the "Disney park" and let WDW continue as nothing but a big cash cow.

Horizon93
09-11-2007, 12:17 PM
Ian, that is a gloomy outlook. There has to be hope somewhere.

Ian
09-11-2007, 12:47 PM
Ian, that is a gloomy outlook. There has to be hope somewhere.Well actually, the hope may come from DVC.

They're obviously working hard to convert a lot more of the resort to DVC. This effectively works to scale down the number of hotel rooms they have where the cost to maintain them rests on the company. At DVC resorts, we pay for the upkeep an maintenance.

Theoretically speaking, that should lower their overall expense burden and possibly allow them to start paying more for the remaining cast for which they foot the bill.

What moving towards more DVC does is effectively reduce the number of hotel rooms you have. I think the excess hotel capacity is one of the biggest burdens they deal with right now in terms of staffing and drag on the bottom line.

Horizon93
09-11-2007, 01:03 PM
Great way to look at it. I guess that would suggest that CRV is going to be DVC.

Ian
09-11-2007, 03:02 PM
Great way to look at it. I guess that would suggest that CRV is going to be DVC.I know there have been tons of rumors out there that have gone one way or the other, but I would wager a good bit of money that a portion of the Contemporary goes DVC.

I mean at this point it's almost financially irresponsible of them not to do it. I think that's why you saw Four Seasons get invited on property, too.

They're going to move away from managing their own hotels on property and go with a combo of DVC, resorts managed by other entities, and some moderate amount of their own rooms. And we already know that they're oursourcing the guest servicing positions at their resorts.

I mean I think they know they have an issue and they're trying their best to address it in a way that both makes their guests happy but doesn't break the bank.

I mean when you think about how many people are working on WDW property at any given moment, even giving them all a paltry $1 an hour raise would end up costing them a FORTUNE. They've got to find creative ways to boost the quality of their cast members without going broke in the process.

lockedoutlogic
09-12-2007, 01:01 PM
The truth has been stated already in this thread...so I'll just reiterate....

The Central Florida labor pool cannot support an continuing expansion of WDW run facilities. If they cannot effectively employ quality employees to run what they already have in place.....a reduction of Disney's workforce to outside entities that are willing to take on the labor costs and provide higher pay or better benefits is the only way to keep WDW expanding.

As far as the "quality will provide better business"...there is no doubt that in the long run this is correct....

But it is naive to think that Disney...or any company...is going to do that at this point.

It is no longer the american way....and if it were the american way...we wouldn't bargain shop for everything we buy....including every item carried in a Home Depot, Walmart, Target or any other large corporate conglomerate chain...
We wouldn't consume mass amounts of fast foods and pre-packaged food products...
And we wouldn't buy homes that are thrown up en mass in assembly line type housing developments without character...

We can only hope...as fans and the consuming public...that WDW can effectively encorporate outside vendors and operators, along with automation and redistribution of existing manpower...to allow more expansion of guest areas to provide more entertainment options and facilities in the future...

If the labor strain is not eased...we will never see another gate....or any other signficant addition to the property....it would be great is they increased their pay 30% to attract better quality employees....but it isn't going to happen. that's not how the labor/management works there...trust me...

MarkC
09-12-2007, 02:28 PM
It makes economic sense for Disney to do more DVC's. What they are doing is guaranteeing their "motel" is permanently sold out. I see why they are doing it.

On the other hand, thinking statistically, I don't know if they can get too big. Since they can't oversell there are always rooms available if you book timely. It's just whether you can find one on a short notice or at a different resort than your home resort. When DVC gets bigger, both the rooms and members should go up at the same time. You will eventually have more choices for your away-from-home resort, but more competition for that same room.

OogieBoogieMan
09-12-2007, 11:09 PM
This may fall in to the "be careful what you wish for category" but if the economy starts heading south with any more speed I suspect those DVC reservations will be easier to get. The economy has been on a tear for the last four years and we have seen quite a bit of growth. I remember the first time I ran the marathon in January 2002 thinking that while it was fun, the crowds were less than I expected. Well it was 4 months after 9/11 and I wasn't thinking that people still weren't traveling. Some of that was clearly related to flying, but the economy took a hit as well. It took some time for things to pick up in the parks again. If the economy loses significant steam again you can expect ownership and park attendance to trail off. As most of you know, even if your room is "paid" a trip to Disney isn't cheap.

Now with all that being said, I am certainly by no means rooting for a bad economy, but I can understand why Disney might overbook, per se, like an airline. It would be really inefficient, and the points would likely be much more costly, if they restricted membership to a level that allowed for greater flexibility booking. I would also suggest that model already exists in so much as you can simply rent by the night like the rest of the folks if total flexibility is your priority.

I think we are experiencing a peak right now and suspect things will begin to quiet down. It will become easier to get a room and then things will inevitably peak again. The nice part for Disney is that they get paid whether or not you can use the points. Certainly helps to smooth out the revenue stream. Too bad they can't smooth out the vacationer stream as well.

lockedoutlogic
09-13-2007, 12:59 PM
This may fall in to the "be careful what you wish for category" but if the economy starts heading south with any more speed I suspect those DVC reservations will be easier to get. The economy has been on a tear for the last four years and we have seen quite a bit of growth. I remember the first time I ran the marathon in January 2002 thinking that while it was fun, the crowds were less than I expected. Well it was 4 months after 9/11 and I wasn't thinking that people still weren't traveling. Some of that was clearly related to flying, but the economy took a hit as well. It took some time for things to pick up in the parks again. If the economy loses significant steam again you can expect ownership and park attendance to trail off. As most of you know, even if your room is "paid" a trip to Disney isn't cheap.

Now with all that being said, I am certainly by no means rooting for a bad economy, but I can understand why Disney might overbook, per se, like an airline. It would be really inefficient, and the points would likely be much more costly, if they restricted membership to a level that allowed for greater flexibility booking. I would also suggest that model already exists in so much as you can simply rent by the night like the rest of the folks if total flexibility is your priority.

I think we are experiencing a peak right now and suspect things will begin to quiet down. It will become easier to get a room and then things will inevitably peak again. The nice part for Disney is that they get paid whether or not you can use the points. Certainly helps to smooth out the revenue stream. Too bad they can't smooth out the vacationer stream as well.


I agree with you about the economy...when it dips...there will be more DVC room available...people will scale their travel back...as they always do...and maybe only go for a week a year instead of 2 or more trips....

also, just like what's happening with the mortgage crisis...I'm sure many got caught up in the hoopla of an economic boom and bought DVC with really think they can afford it. If people bought it for little down and financed it....and then an economic rollback hits...they may have to sell it.

As far as overbooking...florida law prohibits overbooking of hotel rooms....disney creatively gets around it because they link the inventory control of all resorts under the same computer system...

Ian
09-13-2007, 01:53 PM
Should be interesting to see what effect, if any, a cooling of the economy will have on WDW attendance.

It's true we've been in pretty much a boom economy for the last 3-4 years and things are certainly slowing down a bit. Trust me ... as someone who works in the mortgage industry I know that!

Since most DVC purchases are probably under fixed rate mortgages, the ARM crisis shouldn't hit them too bad. What you might see, though, is a softening demand for memberships (both from Disney and resale) which will lead to lower prices.

Whether or not it slows down the attendance I guess remains to be seen.

Mushu11756
09-13-2007, 03:23 PM
Disney has grown so much in the Past 20 years in amazing they have been able to keep up with the growth to this point!! Not just the park's but has an entertainment giant.. ESPN ,ABC DISNEY CHANNEL, not to mention all the new parks over sea's.

I remember going to wdw in the 80's after epcot opened and there was only 2 hotels on the property I think.... We stayed in condo's on the disney property.... they had extra magic hours and it was great!!!! because they did not have 18 hotels or so
on property. Now I stay away from the parks that have extra magic hours because they are to busy....

My point is Disney has gotten so big not just here but the most growth has come from visitors from outside the US.... I don't know how much more they can go with out having a big hickup!! I'm not sure about outsourcing the work either because that takes it out of Disneys control and there would be now way for Disney to address quality issu'e. (like they are now).LOL

lockedoutlogic
09-13-2007, 04:22 PM
Should be interesting to see what effect, if any, a cooling of the economy will have on WDW attendance.

It's true we've been in pretty much a boom economy for the last 3-4 years and things are certainly slowing down a bit. Trust me ... as someone who works in the mortgage industry I know that!

Since most DVC purchases are probably under fixed rate mortgages, the ARM crisis shouldn't hit them too bad. What you might see, though, is a softening demand for memberships (both from Disney and resale) which will lead to lower prices.

Whether or not it slows down the attendance I guess remains to be seen.

So since you're in the the mortgage industry...can you tell me: are mortgage companies done issuing 550,000 dollar mortgages to families with a 72,000 annual income.

My wife and I became interested in real estate right out of college...and it was obvious to even youngins' like us that the mortgage and real estate prices were out of control a few years ago....would you buy a car that required $200 a month for the first two years then $1200 a month for the following three?
Heck no...so by that logic...why would anyone agree to an ARM? Unless they were uninformed...as which is probably the case...

Anyway, back to DVC...I'm not saying that people purchased DVC on an ARM....but when the ARM they took on their inflated home kicks in...even a 10% finance of DVC might be too much to pay per month.

I think that if the economy does continue to slow...DVC resales will be inundated...just a hunch though...:thumbsup:

Ian
09-14-2007, 05:19 PM
Not to derail this into a dissertation on adjustable rate mortgages, but there are actually many legitimate reasons to get ARMs. The problem comes when people don't know what they're getting into.

For example, if you're moving into a home and you know you're only going to be there for 3 or 4 years then getting into a 5/1 ARM is a reasonable idea. It keeps your payments lower while you're there and you'll be out of it before your first rate adjustment comes.

Also, some people get ARMs so they can afford more house up front, knowing their incomes will grow or other bills will be paid off by the time their first rate adjustment hits.

Also, bear in mind that it's very unusual for rates to fluctuate as much as they have in such a short time. I mean you could have gotten an ARM at like 4% in 2005 and if it's adjusting now you're at like 9%!

Anyway ... the news media's overstating how risky some of these products are. They're good vehicles for a lot of people (investors especially), but you have to understand and prepare for the risks. I have a tough time feeling sorry for most people who knew right well their payment was going up and they just didn't plan for it properly.

Now sub-prime mortgages ... that's a whole other story.