New Development Project Underway at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Construction is currently underway for a new resort development that will expand Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, distinguished as the flagship hotel at the Walt Disney World Resort, and continue the growth of Disney Vacation Club, Disney’s innovative vacation-ownership program.

Disney Vacation Club is building an estimated 147 villas as part of a previously announced expansion of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort (see top photo), one of the premier resort hotels at the Walt Disney World Resort. 

Estimated to open in late 2013, this new resort experience is slated to be the 12th Disney Vacation Club property and will be located near the spa and wedding pavilion at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. In addition to villa accommodations, plans for the expansion include a children’s water-play area and other amenities.

“We continually look for ways to expand Disney Vacation Club by creating resort experiences that our members will love,” said Claire Bilby, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Vacation Club. 

“With the continued popularity of Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, we are thrilled to offer our members and guests a new resort option along the monorail system with easy access to the Magic Kingdom Park, as well as a variety of shopping, dining and recreation experiences.”

Disney Vacation Club is owned by Disney Vacation Development Inc., part of the magic of The Walt Disney Company.

Check out timeshare rentals and timeshare resales currently available at Bay Lake Tower (see photo).

Wyndham Vacation Ownership Acquires Shell Vacations LLC

Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO), has acquired privately held Shell Vacations LLC (Shell) and its subsidiaries. Shell is one of the largest independent vacation ownership club and property management groups, serving approximately 115,000 members and 19 managed resorts in North America.

The purchase price for the equity of Shell is approximately $102 million in cash. The acquisition also includes $153 million of debt, which is primarily related to consumer loan receivables. Under the terms of the agreement, WVO assumes property management operations at 19 Shell resort locations in Hawaii, California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Wisconsin, Texas, New Hampshire and Canada.

WVO will now also operate Shell Vacations Club (SVC), a leading points-based reservation and exchange system featuring a wide variety of member benefits and travel options, and assumes management of all SVC marketing, sales and financial services activities.

“This tuck-in acquisition is immediately accretive to earnings and generates meaningful cash flow as well as a healthy rate of return. With strong fee-for-service revenues, this acquisition is consistent with our capital-light strategy,” said Stephen P. Holmes, Chairman and CEO, Wyndham Worldwide.

“With a history that spans more than four decades, Shell Vacations is both a pioneer and a respected leader within the hospitality industry,” stated Franz S. Hanning, President and CEO, Wyndham Vacation Ownership.

“We look forward to building upon Shell’s achievements and continuing the growth of its highly successful vacation club by pursuing the same formula of providing outstanding quality, value and customer care,” said Hanning.

“We’re excited to leverage the significant scale and expertise of WVO,” said Shelly Ginsburg, Chairman and CEO, Shell Vacations. “We believe our strong commitment to owner and guest satisfaction is complemented by WVO’s demonstrated strength in managing one of the most extensive and diversified timeshare resort portfolios.”

Wyndham Vacation Ownership, a member of Wyndham Worldwide’s family of companies, is the world’s largest vacation ownership business, as measured by the number of vacation ownership resorts, individual vacation ownership units and owners of vacation ownership interests.

Wyndham Vacation Ownership develops, markets and sells vacation ownership interests and provides consumer financing to owners through its three primary consumer brands, CLUB WYNDHAM®, WorldMark by Wyndham, and Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific.

Wyndham Vacation Ownership is headquartered in Orlando, FL, and is supported by approximately 13,700 employees globally.

Bluegreen Vacations Purchases Southern California Timeshare Resort The Club At Big Bear Village

Bluegreen Vacations has announced the purchase of The Club at Big Bear Village, a premiere timeshare resort property located in Big Bear, CA, approximately 90 minutes east of Los Angeles.

“Adding The Club at Big Bear Village to our collection of resorts just made sense,” said David Pontius, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer; President, Bluegreen Services at Bluegreen Corporation.

“We have been looking for the opportunity to further our westward expansion and the accommodations and amenities offered by The Club at Big Bear Village are ideal for our vacation club owners. It’s a perfect four-season destination that nicely compliments our Las Vegas and Phoenix properties, offering a unique and very special experience,” said Pontius.

The resort is located on Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino National Forest and has been referred to as an “ultra luxurious base camp to all the mountain and lake adventures that Big Bear offers.”

Bluegreen Vacation Club owners initially will have access to yet to be sold inventory in 14 three-and-four bedroom presidential units richly appointed with sub-zero kitchen appliances, Jacuzzi™ baths and steam showers, HD big screen TVs and more.

A handful of unit shellswere built, but not completed or furnished. Bluegreen is currently in the process of completing those units, with the intention of adding them to the available inventory by 2013. In addition, “a master plan for future development” of the property is in the works, for which Bluegreen will be selecting developer partners.

The Club at Big Bear Village was previously positioned as a fractional offering, designed to appeal to the Los Angeles drive-in market. As part of the transition, Bluegreen has worked closely with the existing owners at large as well as their association board to explain the company’s intentions.

“Dealing with high-end fractional owners as a timeshare company can be challenging,” Pontius said. “After all is said and done, we think the existing owners will really be pleased with what we bring to the table, and we know that existing Bluegreen Vacation Club owners will appreciate one more resort at which they can vacation and build memories.”

Marriott Vacation Club Resorts In Orlando And Palm Desert Named First Audubon International Green Resorts

Marriott's Grande Vista in Orlando, FL, and Marriott's Shadow Ridge in Palm Desert, CA (see photo right), are the first resorts to be designated as Green Resorts by Audubon International, an international conservation and environmental education organization.

The Green Resorts designation recognizes properties that have been eco-rated by Audubon International's Green Lodging Program and have achieved certification in at least one other Audubon International program, such as the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses.

Designation as a Green Resort is the culmination of Marriott Vacation Club's larger Green Initiative which began at its corporate headquarters with continued roll-out to its resorts worldwide. In addition to these most recent steps, each Marriott Vacation Club resort has established its own "green team" which manages its environmental efforts.

In 2009, the brand demonstrated its continued commitment to green operations by eliminating more waste from landfills through implementing recycled key cards, pens and Forest Stewardship Council certified paper for guest arrival packets worldwide and most recently announced a soap recycling partnership with Clean the World at its resorts in North America.

In 2011, Marriott Vacation Club committed to enroll all of its properties in Audubon International's Green Lodging Program and will achieve full enrollment of its North American properties by the end of this year. 

"We're pleased to welcome these two Marriott Vacation Club properties as the first Green Resorts," said Fredrik Realbuto, Director of the Audubon International Green Lodging Program.

"Building on our long standing cooperative agreement, we are excited to continue working together to better protect and sustain our land, water, wildlife, and other natural resources," said Realbuto.

"These two Green Resort designations affirm our long term commitment to green operations at our resorts and we're thrilled to be recognized as the first recipients," said Lee Cunningham, executive vice president and chief operating officer - North America and the Caribbean, Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation. 

Marriott's Grande Vista (see photo right) is a member of the Green Lodging Program, and the Faldo Golf Institute and Marriott's Grande Pines Golf Club are members of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. Marriott's Shadow Ridge is a member of the Green Lodging Program and Marriott's Shadow Ridge Golf Club is a member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.

"As an extension of Marriott Golf's unwavering commitment to the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, we are very pleased that Marriott's Shadow Ridge and Marriott's Grande Vista resorts, under the leadership of the Marriott Vacation Club brand, have become the first members of the Green Resorts Program," said Bill Nault, vice president of golf operations, Marriott International/The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co., LLC.

"Taking sustainability and wildlife preservation beyond the golf course and extending our eco-practices across the landscape of an entire resort facility further validates Marriott Vacation Club's dedication to environmental stewardship, and we hope this program becomes a model for all resorts worldwide," said Nault.