The Disney Travel Club (DVC) is going through a growth of 500 units. And the 16-year-old time-share Walt Disney company gets a more sophisticated and grown-up look.
The expansion includes plans to add 50 two-bedroom apartments in Anaheim, California, as part of the 2009 expansion of the Disney Grand California Hotel & Spa.
The extension will also be the first time the Disney Vacation Club apartments are being built to be built at an existing Disney resort outside of Florida. The club currently has eight resorts: six at Walt Disney World; one in Hilton Head, S.C .; and another at Vero Beach.
The Disney Vacation Club has doubled its membership in the last four years to 350,000 members from more than 100 countries and all 50 states, reliable sources show.
Meanwhile, in early 2008, Disney is completing its 109 Phase One unit at Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge, with another 340 Phase Two units set to open in the spring of 2009.
The new Animal Kingdom holiday apartments range from 366 to 2200 square feet. The largest unit, the Grand Villa, is themed with African artifacts and includes three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a kitchen, even a playroom with a pool table.
The Animal Kingdom Apartments are in a truly unique game park setting. The balconies overlook the hotel savannas, where dozens of African animals roam the natural habitat.
The Disney Vacation Club will have nearly 2,900 apartments at the completion of all current construction.
More holiday apartments are underway, but officials are yet to confirm when and where.
Next on the list may be the new North Wing at Disney World Contemporary Resort. If the persistent rumors turn out to be true, it will be the first time they have resorted to a single monorail linking both Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. Despite thunderous rumors, Disney Vacation Club officials will not confirm the information.
In August 2007, Disney opened a sales center for a time-lending club at the upscale Woodfield Mall, a Chicago suburban retail center. The new mall is called Disney Doorway to Dreams and includes a two-bedroom model of the Animal Kingdom apartment at Disney World in Orlando.
There's also a more sophisticated, adult-looking Disney Vacation Club look (http://www.edisneytimeshare.com).
Look for a major shift in DVC graphics and artwork in 2008. The brand will reportedly move away from its traditional Disney pixie dust approach to a more adult brand theme, highlighting worldwide travel options available to Club members.
Changing and relocating a graphic brand because strangely Mickey Mouse was not always considered the best approach when it came to selling stock on time. Tony Diehl, the manager of leased-time sales, reportedly says that buyers can't always make the connection between the animated icon and the actual sale and closing of the property. And DVC Vice President Lisa Becket says the club's logo, consisting of palm trees in Florida, ocean waves, mountain peaks and a silhouette of Mickey's head, doesn't tell the whole story.
The whole story of the Disney Vacation Club's time loans is seemingly broader and brighter than even the great Mickey Mouse can communicate.