Pixie Dust & Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher, and Yasmine Spencer. As they explore the mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own business.
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of Pixie Dust & Profits today, Nicole and I are gonna be talking about something we talk quite a lot about already, and that is DVC. So as you all know, Nicole and I are both Disney vacation club members. And probably the reason why we talk about it so much is because it’s actually a lot different from a lot of other timeshare programs. That’s what it is. DBC Disney’s vacation club is a timeshare. The reason why we’re digging to why DBC is a lot different is because we wanna focus today’s episode on how Disney differentiates themselves from their competitors. So, Nicole, why don’t you start us off by talking about the actual differences of DBC compared to other times shares you might find in Florida?
Yeah, definitely. So if you have ever looked into a timeshare, you have probably seen some sort of sign about come to this presentation and get something for free and, you know, join a timeshare. A lot of people’s these time shares as maybe not the investment for them. They typically involve a really large purchase price and a set vacation week every year. So you get a particular property that you stay at every single year for the same exact week. And you know, that might work for some people, but, you know, in the course of a lifetime, I don’t know if you are able to commit to the same exact week, every single year for a vacation. And so that becomes kind of problematic. So where vacation club is a little bit different, not just in name, it’s not called a timeshare. You will see it mentioned as a timeshare in all the legal disclaimers that they have to send out, but other than it’s always called the Disney vacation club.
So where this is a little bit different than the traditional timeshare is that it’s got a lot more magic. They basically took all of the objections that someone would have to buying a timeshare and made a solution for it. So that typical timeshare, where you have to take your vacation in the same exact location at the same week, every single year. And then, you know, you have this forever. So once you pass away, it kind of becomes your children’s problem because it’s part of the estate that all of those things are really big factors that drive people away from buying timeshare. So Disney was like, how can we address all of those points? So first of their contracts have an end date, which might not sound that great that you’re buying vacations until 2057 or 2061. It depends on which resort you buy. We’ll get into that later, but these contracts have an end date and that actually frees people up to make those like life decisions without it becoming a huge family, hassle down the line, getting tied up in an estate dividing it up between children because the way you buy your points for vacation club doesn’t mean it’s very easy to divide up between anyone else.
Basically, you need to give that ownership over to one other person afterwards. So with these end dates, you can kind of plan for it to not become a burden on someone else. Timeshares always involve dues. Like we have yearly dues that go to the operation, cost the property taxes on the timeshare. And so doing it this way, where it ends, I don’t have to wear, read that my son, when I am 70 something years old, has to keep paying those dues for the rest of his life. So that’s one great feature about these. They have an end date, the other feature where we talked about, where you have to do vacation, the same exact location every single year, the same week. You don’t have to do that with this vacation club. And you heard me say points earlier. That’s because Disney vacation club actually turns all their time shares into points.
So with these point systems, they actually have 14 different resorts right now where they have this point allocation between them all and depending on where you are staying and what time of year it is and how large your room is, you can pay more or less points for one night in that hotel. And so for example, a studio is a space that can fit generally about four people. I wouldn’t necessarily put four adults in there, but it has usually a double bed and a sofa pull out. And so that can be any are from like 15 points in an off season to 20 something points in one of the newer hotels during Christmas week, they also have one bedrooms where there’s a shared common space and then a separate bedroom area and two bedrooms that are the same. They also have grand villas, which hope to one day.
See, in my lifetime, they are huge, bigger than my house. I think some of the biggest ones are property are like 2,800 square feet. That place is going to range in cost between 60 points a night and the off season at old key west to 200 points a night at Riviera in the Christmas, this or 4th of July week. And so by making this point allocation system that they have in place, you are essentially buying an equivalent to whatever you’d like, if you wanna stay a week, then you need to buy points an equivalent to that. If you wanna stay for three nights, if you wanna stay for two weeks, you buy points. And then you use for the time of year that you’re going and for the place that you wanna stay, Yasmin’s gonna talk more about all the different places and all the different flexibility you have there.
But I just wanted to make sure to point out that, that when the objection came in, that, you know, I have to deal with this time share for the rest of my life and my children’s life. Nope, not with Disney. I have to go on vacation the same week every year, and I can only stay in the same place. I always stay in. Nope, not with Disney. So there’s those awesome benefits right there alone. And there’s also a really cool benefit to you in buying from Disney in that you can resell your contract. Timeshares dot typically retain their value because they’re really, really hard to offload onto somebody else. If you’re getting rid of your timeshare, there must be something wrong with it, right? Not so with Disney. So I became a vacation club member in 2017 and right after I was locked in for my contract and bought my contract off the resell market they announced toy story land and Galaxy’s edge for star wars. And so the value of these properties actually jumped up. So even today with things kind of on a decline, my original contract for bay lake tower is worth more than when we bought it because Disney retains its value. And so when else might want to go on vacation there in the future. So that’s another huge benefit that you don’t see with other time shares.
Yeah. Nicole bought her resale and then you bought a small contract from Animal Kingdom directly through Disney, right?
Yes. So that’s another option available to you. You can buy between two markets, you can buy directly from Disney, or you can buy off the resell market where it’s essentially like someone flipping their own property. Now Disney does still have the right to refuse the sale. So you can’t try and sell a contract to your aunt or your cousin or whatever for a very small amount of money. Disney will say, Nope, we’ll buy that back instead. So they do have rules to protect the value of that investment is also another benefit to you as an owner.
Disney also is trying to make it more attractive for people to buy directly from them versus resale. Because shortly after Nicole bought her annual kingdom contract, they changed the rules where you don’t get your blue card. If you buy resale contract and that blue card is basically kind of like a perk card that comes with being a DVC member, it gets you discounts off of hard ticket events, merchandise discounts, certain restaurants are discounted and a whole bunch of other opportunities and offers that most of the public don’t have access to if they’re not DVC members. The other thing that they had changed after Nicole bought our contract, they increase the minimum amount of points to 75 points that you have to buy from Disney. And because of the blue card and the perks that come with it, it’s actually a lot more expensive to buy direct from Disney than it is to buy resale contract.
So when I bought my contract, this was last January and Nicole was with me and talk about the experience a little bit, cuz it was quite interesting. I had to buy minimum of 75 points in order to qualify for the blue card, which I wanted because it came with perks that I thought were worth having. Especially if I didn’t necessarily get an annual pass every time I went. So when I bought my contract to copper Creek, which I’ll talk a little bit about the different types of resorts in a second, I kind of had my mind made up. I mean, Nicole and I had been talking about it. I had expressed to her, I think the first night that we had met that, like I kind of really wanna be buy DVC and I’m like, don’t judge me, but I kind of wanna buy DVC and Nicole’s like, I’m already a member. And that’s when I knew we’d
I had just closed under contract. I think I was in the middle of closing when we met,
Oh my gosh. So since she bought hers, I kept on asking Nicole questions about it and how she liked it and everything. So when we went in January, I was kind of sold. So they didn’t really have to do a lot of work on me to, to get me to buy. But I think that’s the case for a lot of people who go into those DBC presentations, the perks that you get for attending aren’t quite as big as what other timeshares offered. I think it’s because Disney knows that the demand is there. I think we got like a $50 gift card if I recall correctly and three
Fast passes and then we got the fast passes to go on anything we wanted at whatever park with exclusions, the big, big rides were excluded.
Of course. And of course we spent the gift card money on ears because how can you not? So we went in and what was really fascinating was when we signed up, they took Nicole’s information which was very strategic because when we went into the room with our vacation club advisor, he actually knew everything about Nicole’s purchase history. You know, he looked it up, he knew that she bought resale and then bought a contract afterwards. And he probably figured out that she’s a really smart cookie and that they can’t necessarily play the same sort of like tricks with us. So when he came to the table, he was pretty straight with me. There were no mind games. There were no like there’s no pressure. Really. He was just like, this is what we’re offering. I know you’re interested. Kind of like take it or leave it. There wasn’t a lot of negotiation we tried. But you know, I walked away, Disney
Sells it for what Disney sells it for.
Yeah, exactly. It like I hear like back in the day you could have negotiated a little bit more, but not anymore. So definitely
I don’t even get my referral gift because ya is Canadian. And so Canada has different laws about time shares about you can’t give certain gifts or something. And I remember trying to negotiate, but I’m right here. Can you just give me my free bag for referring her?
But you know, I walked away with a 75 point contract, which was the minimum, but was also perfect for me. I mean, at that point I was just about to get married, still didn’t have my daughter. And I knew that my husband, who I mentioned isn’t the biggest Disney fan yet, Dylan, I know you’re listened as you’re editing this. I knew that I’d have to like start a little small to sort of get him into the Disney life. And 75 points was perfect for us to basically go to copper Creek for almost a week and enjoy it. But the benefit of buying a time share through Disney, as, as Nicole said, there is a resort for everyone. And for every budget at that time, copper Creek was kind of the only option I had to buy. But if you go through the resale market, for example, there are different prices per point, and that reflects the different sort of value each of the contracts have.
And each of the resorts really gives you so copper Creek is at Disney school, just lodge, which I loved because it kind of reminded me of the Pacific Northwest, which is what it’s themed after. And I love to hike and the, I love the great outdoors and I knew that the time of year that I went, which would probably be early fall or early in the new year, it’d be just nice and cool enough that I could actually take advantage of the resort and amenities. So say for instance, you like the vibe of the boardwalk, for example, well, they, you have the boardwalk resorts. If you’re looking for something a little bit more coastal there’s beach club, if you, again, like the idea of upstate New York, well, Saratoga spring, as you cover there, like Disney has different aesthetics vibes and themes reflected in each of the EBC resorts. And once you sort of step into that world, it’s really like stepping into another part of, I would say, I guess the United States in this case or Revere Europe, because you’re really immersed in that sort of vibe and culture, and it really gives you something for everyone like Nicole, you you purchase that bay lake tower. And one of the benefits of that is it’s not overly themed, which, you know, for some people might be preferable, they might not want something necessarily
Cartooning. Yeah. I was gonna say that there’s definitely different strategies based on like buying, just to get the value of your points, kind of like budget buying vacation club, where you might wanna pick a certain resort, cuz you can get that cheapest on the resale market and you’re at Disney and then there’s other strategies where it’s buy where you want to stay. Yes. And so for us personally, we ended up buying bay lake tower and that was because the magic kingdom, it has always been our favorite park. They have a lounge at the top of bay lake tower where you can go see the fireworks. You can see the castle lit up. You can actually walk the path to magic kingdom and it was a contemporary design. And so I really loved that. Like that talks to me, that’s my, that’s my style, modern minimalistic.
And so we ended up buying that one and we had these visions of, especially when our child was younger, that we would like be able to walk to magic kingdom and go get our sourcers in the magic kingdom cards cuz you can get a pack every single day. And so that was some of the reasons behind why we bought there. But prior to becoming members, we had actually rented points from another vacation owner. So that’s another perk that you have that you probably can’t necessarily do as easily with a different time share is that I was able to, you know, get a reservation from a friend who was already an owner twice. We actually stayed at Animal Kingdom lodge before we became members of ourselves. And you know, it was amazing. I love animal kingdom lodge. So it’s probably the complete opposite of the VE like tower in that it has so much more theming and the animals are there.
And but I also love it and it has a special place in my heart. So when we bought that 25 point contract directly from Disney, that’s where we bought it and our eventual plants are to add on to that. So that way we can stay there in a bigger room for a much longer stay than we currently can with what we have. And so there’s definitely a different resort for everyone, a different type of room, a different length of stay. So what happens when you can’t actually go on vacation every year, but you’ve kind of bought into this contract where you said, you’d go on vacation every year. Disney has an answer for that as well. Since you’re buying points, they essentially allow you to say, oh wait, I’m not going this year. Can I just bank this year’s points into next year and I’ll use them later.
So they let you do that. And then they also let you borrow from another year. And so you can go banking a year ahead or borrowing from next year. And so you can end up with about three years worth of points all at once. So that’s basically me saying right now it’s 2020, not going this year. And then 2021, we’re gonna go and we’re gonna use our 2020 points or 21 points and our 2022 points and we are gonna go stay in a huge mansion for a week. So those are things that you can do that you can’t necessarily do with other timeshares. And Disney can do that because they have such a scale in just how many resorts they have, how many owners there are, things like that, that you wouldn’t get anywhere else. So to transit on this, over into your business and how you can differentiate, I’d encourage you to do some of the things that Disney did, you know, think about the objections people have to your industry or the products that you sell, or the services that you offer and see how you can flip that on its head and, you know, make that part of what makes your product different.
That’s a really cool way to say, Hey, I know you really don’t wanna buy a time share because you don’t know what’s gonna happen, you know, 20 years from now. Okay, well I have this product that will resell easily and you know, it has an end date, so you don’t have to worry about it forever. It’s a really good way to differentiate yourself.
In fact, a friend of ours, Elizabeth MCRA, she’s a website designer or endo graphic designer. And you know, there are so many options out there when you’re deciding who you wanna choose for your website, especially if you wanna go custom. And what she did was instead of just sharing her work as she went throughout the year, which, you know, we recommend that you do to sort of establish that portfolio and showcase the cool things that you’re doing. She spent two weeks basically revisiting all of the projects and all of her like web design projects and graphic design projects that she did at the end of 2019 in early 2020. And basically what that did was it reminded people, the full breadth of her work. So the scope of her talent and everything that she can do, but it also was a great sort of soft sell for her, the template side of her business. So she sells show at templates. So if you don’t necessarily have the budget to go with a custom project, it was really helpful seeing what she would is able to accomplish and all the thought and effort and detail that sort of went into her custom designs that are also reflected in her templates as well. I’m fairly certain that that really complimented the shop side of her business and drove revenue there.
It’s kind of like touring the 14 different vacation crowd resort. It’s getting a taste of each one being like, oh yeah. So you’ve got a little bit of everything here for me. And you know, you’ve worked with enough people custom that your templates must also include all the strategies you’ve used from that. So I just really thought it was a brilliant way for her to kind of showcase how she’s different, like she is doing custom and these set designs that you can purchase and weaving them together. The other thing we really wanna suggest about differentiating yourself and of course Disney does this so well because you know, you think Disney, you think magic, you think Pixy dust and it’s just automatic that those things come in, but it’s about making your own personal brand. And you know, we have some examples here of collector refers that we know and have worked with.
And Megan of all, she wrote notes, you think of Megan, you think fun, happy, confetti joy. You know, she’s a hand letter who hand letters, products. She does teach some hand lettering courses. She has a book, but a lot of what she does in her day to day is creating products. And so when I think of, you know, gifting someone some happy birthday, confetti rainbow colors, I think Megan and you know, there are other letters out there too who do completely different things. Becca of the happy aircrafter is a calligrapher. She teaches people calligraphy. She makes it access for everyone to be able to just jump in and learn this as a hobby or a craft. And that’s what she loves doing. And it’s a completely different style. Same, I don’t wanna say same type of product because it’s really not their two different artists, but you know what I’m talking about here, there are so many different calligraphers letterers artists out there and your brand is what sets them apart. You know what you’re coming to when you see their brand. And sometimes people’s brands aren’t for you and other times it is, but you know what you’re getting and that’s what makes it strong. And that’s what makes them different.
If you like bright, happy, fun, Megan’s your girl. If you like dad jokes definitely hit up Becca
And so true. They’re both amazing in their own ways as people, as clients as letterers just check them both out. So another example of making your personal brand different is Disney versus universal. How, you know, we can compare the parks and everything else, but right now we’re just gonna discuss a little bit of how they’re handling the at home pandemic and keeping their brands alive and going as they can’t record new movies, they can’t have their parks open, all sorts of things like it going on. And so Disney, we really feel like is showing up for their audience, providing all sorts of free things. I’m on their email list. So every now and then I’ll get an email with coloring book pages or activities to do with the kids of free book for teenagers. We’ve also seen different things where we’ve also seen different things where like Josh GAD, who voices Ola was reading stories at home of his own accord and putting them up on Twitter.
And so I guess he started recording some little snippets as if he was Ola and, you know, Disney sent those sound files over to their animators who made them into little shorts. So they have this whole brand coming out of everything they’re doing for us at home, you know, and at home sing along where they have people singing their songs at home, you know, doing dance routines and things like that. They streamed their fireworks the other day. So everyone could watch it and have a great time at home together. We watched it last night. It was a good way to kind of end a weekend of school vacation break. And, you know, we were coming back to going to school and work the next day. So they’re doing all these little things to stay top of mind for their audience to show up for them. And so we thought it would be fun to go look and say at what universal is doing.
So we hopped on universals, Twitter, and it really looks like imitation is a sincere form of flattery because they’re trying to pull a Disney here and not quite succeeding. A few of the things that we noticed was they started sharing like ride videos. So you can like experience ride at we know that Disney’s been doing that. They don’t necessarily have the same, I guess they don’t have the same content and resources that Disney does to pull from. So they haven’t been able to do things like Josh GAD has with frozen or they haven’t been able to do like the Disney family sing along that air on ABC last week. But they’re just sharing like clips from their movies and trying to push that out as like engaging content. The other thing, the
One really sad one we saw was like this nine grid. It was like play bingo with these universal treats. And there was a picture of a chiro and a pretzel. And the, but
That not only like from a food photography standpoint, that these did not look like something I wanted to eat, but they also just, weren’t fun. They weren’t branded, you know, we looked at the chiro and, you know, chiros aren’t unique to Disney world, but if that picture came out of Disney, you would surely expect that chiro on that plate to have a chocolate Mickey ear like hand drawn in, you know the donut would just be a little more, more pink and vibrant. And I just feel like it kind of fell really flat. And honestly, when we went onto their Twitter page, the first post was like, just popping into your feed to say hi. And it was, it, it was just sad, really. Not to, not to discredit whoever’s working on their social media or anything, but I think we have all done there as business owners where we don’t know what to say. And we kind of like slide in and say, oh, hi guys, hi, I’m here. Hi. And it’s just a very blatant display of that.
And it, it just, it sort of shows that like they’re trying their best to work within the constraints that they have, but Disney has definitely differentiate themselves, bro, both from a brand perspective because they really like, when you think Disney, you think Mickey Mouse, like, I don’t know if universal has the equivalent. I mean, they have like the big sort of earth with a universal thing, but that’s not a character. And that probably doesn’t have like the same brain to heal that the mouse has. So, so when
Personal, so when you can kind of learn from this, it’s just like, if you see someone else doing something that doesn’t mean you have to do it, but if you do yep. Do it in your own spin. If you wanna do a nine grade because you see someone else doing it, fine, put your own, spin on it though and make it super fun, make your colors on there. It was just this grab white, it looked like it belonged at a buffet of like here’s what’s available here. So just like taking that personal brand and elevating it, this is especially difficult for introverts because you know, we’re already a little bit toned down online cause we don’t wanna be that external front face of things. So just ramp up the personal brand a little bit more, bring to earn up the volume, you know, and just show people who you are and what they can expect from working with you.
Even if it’s sassy, even if it’s a little bit sarcastic at times, or it could be fun and pretty, there are so many different avenues that you could take your brand. And I really encourage you to think about that. Even if you’re selling a product, like you’re a re and you’re selling someone else’s product, people care about your story, they care about why you’re into this, like how you work with them, how you talk to them. So just be you and amplify it a little bit more, be you in the context of what your customers want to hear from a person. Don’t be you, if it’s gonna offend your entire audience.
Yeah. Authentic city matters, but there’s always a lines always
In the lens of the customer eye.
Yeah. Yeah. So we hope that you’re able to take away two key things from our episode today, the first one being, meet your customer’s objections and differentiate yourselves with a product. That way you can create the hundred and 19th course on launching a passive product, but make it uniquely you.
So make sure you’re showing up as you online and also make sure that you know, what your customers are objecting to. So that way you can answer them all before they get to that checkout page. Thanks for joining us this week. If you have any questions about vacation club, we are always happy to chat about serious that
Seriously, we got tips
Hit us up. We got all of the tips and tricks. And we can’t wait to hear from you again in our next episode. So join us on @pixiedustandprofits and send us a message for vacation club.
See you real soon. See you real.