Podcast Episode 84: Disney Vacation Club

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Welcome to Episode 84 of the RetroWDW Podcast: The Disney Vacation Club – We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of our previous shows from over the years. We have visited multiple parks, resorts, and just about everything else in between.

Listener Mail

We open the mailbag monthly and are ready to hear from you. Be sure to reach out with questions, stories, memories, and more. You never know if your letter will be read on a future episode: podcast@retrowdw.com

  1. Our first message in this episode is from our friend Zac who caught onto the podcast during his day job. We would love to hear about where you listen to the show, especially if you have a unique activity, spot, or routine for your listening enjoyment.. Also, where is the weirdest place you have listened to the show?
  2. Jon is up next and he was a regular listener during his marathon training. Great job on the run and thanks for sharing about the runDisney photo-op with all the classic props.
  3. Scott has a message about Body Wars, which we touched on a few months back. He tells us that Leonard Rosenman scored Body Wars, just like Star Trek IV, which was also directed by Leonard Nimoy. Great catch and thanks for sharing this Scott! We did some digging and found some of the original music from Body Wars, enjoy!
  4. Let’s get into some Disney Institute letters – Claudia is up first and she discusses her experience as a cast member during a day trip at the institute. She offers up some fascinating stories about the later day trips they offered. Also, Claudia is coming all the way across the Atlantic to see us at RetroMagic; that is so amazing Claudia!
  5. Bob wrote us about his experience at the institute where he organized a leadership retreat for his company. Staying at Coronado Springs, they picked some various activities and sessions including the famous topiary class. Each session ran about $70 back then and unsurprisingly, the topiaries did not last long once returning home.
  6. Another Disney Institute visitor, Eric and his wife went during their honeymoon in a somewhat unique package. They did the computer animation course, which sounds intriguing, but he does add that the resort seemed to be on the way out. We do discuss with How what possibly was used during the animating process, including the SGI Indigo. Let us know if you remember any of those details, Eric!
  7. The letters continue and Melva is another past attendee! The topiary strikes again… Melva’s actually made the drive home to Philadelphia and she is looking for photos of the gardening area, which seem to be nonexistent.
  8. Justin spent a day at the institute, doing 2D animation and the Radio DJ course. We haven’t heard much about the DJ course, so this was fascinating and interesting. We also love the lady on the rockwall reference! Justin shared with us the Day Visitor information if you would like to take a look.

Main Topic

For our main topic, we take you back to the late 80s and early 90s and get into the history of the Disney Vacation Club. We all know what the vacation club is nowadays, but how did it start, and why? In this era of Walt Disney World, things were much different, and the concept of a timeshare at Disney World seemed impossible. Disney decided to change this and tackled the concept of taking ownership in their properties. The Disney Vacation Club Resort was the original, changing names to Old Key West as it is called now. To kick this one off, we get into some personal stories about timeshares, how people get picked to purchase, some of the trickery that has occurred over the years, and more.

As we move along, the episode discusses what Old Key West was upon opening. How actually spent some time there in the early years, describing how different it was compared to now. Take a look at this video from May of 1992.
If you look at Old Key West on an aerial view, you can really take in what they were going for back then. The resort is basically built around the golf course and it sits on the Sassagoula River, which makes the entire feel of the resort unique at the time of the build. We discuss how this one feels when you compare it to the newer properties, where Old Key West is very much more like a community and less of a resort type of thing.

Finally, we get into what went wrong for them at the start, running into development problems and where they went from there as a company. DVC is still going strong but it has changed to what it is now. The perks back then were much better and they slowly have chipped away at what made DVC an interesting proposition back in 1992. Either way, this portion of Disney history and how this adds to the WDW property is an interesting one. We all have stayed at DVC properties but none of us are members. What is it like being an official Disney Vacation Club member? Have you found it to be a good value? Do you regret the purchase? We would love to hear from you and what this has done for you and your family. Thanks so much for listening and we hope you have enjoyed this look at the early years of DVC.

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June 29, 2023 4:59 am

The weirdest place I have listened to your podcast is probably the delivery suite of the hospital whilst I was preparing for the birth of my child. It was a LONG process so I got through quite a few of them! I had also taken The Unofficial Walt Disney World 1971 Companion by Jim Korkis to read whilst I was in hospital… about 2 minutes after the birth, in a slightly delirious state, I started explaining to all of the medical staff that my child was born on the same date that Walt Disney viewed and selected the location where… Read more »

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