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Disney Vacation Club Explores Disney’s Wild West

posted on May 31st, 2015 by Ryan March, Editor, Disney Vacation Club’s Disney Files Magazine

Greetings from somewhere between Ketchikan and Vancouver!

Today marks the final day of our first Disney Vacation Club Member Cruise to Alaska, where our adventures through the Wild West have included a bit of time travel.


Two of my very favorite people – Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline and Disney author and historian Tim O’Day – are taking members on an irreverent journey through “Disney’s Wild West,” one of several unique entertainment experiences created for this special charter voyage. Their fast-paced presentation uses filmed treasures and rare artifacts from the Walt Disney Archives to illustrate “8 Simple Rules for Enjoying Life in Disney’s Wild West.” If history class had been this entertaining, I would’ve paid far closer attention.

Becky and Tim asked if they could share some artifacts with all of you, and I always do what historians tell me.

I’ll leave them to show off their treasures while I go grab seats for “Broadway and Beyond: Songs We’re Wild About,” a new finale concert created by our friends from Disney Theatrical Productions. Man I’m going to hate seeing this voyage come to an end. By this time tomorrow, the artifacts will be back in their vault, the celebrities will be back doing whatever celebrities do, and my bed will be in the same zip code every night. Good thing there’s another Member Cruise in August!

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Filed: Disney Cruise Line, Disney History, Disney Vacation Club

Disney Vacation Club Goes Wild About Goofy

posted on May 29th, 2015 by Ryan March, Editor, Disney Vacation Club’s Disney Files Magazine

Greetings from Skagway, Alaska, gateway to the Klondike!


Today marks Day 4 of our first Disney Vacation Club Member Cruise to Alaska, and things are starting to get really Goofy here on the Disney Wonder. I’m joined by Disney Legend Bill Farmer, the longtime voice of Goofy and one of the many special performers and presenters who are helping make this voyage unlike any other.

Bill recently earned a prestigious Annie Award from the International Animated Film Association for Outstanding Achievement in Voice Acting for a Television Production – one of several Annie Awards garnered by the contemporary animated shorts that have returned Mickey Mouse, Goofy and other familiar characters to their squashing, stretching, comedic roots. We’re screening some of Bill’s favorite shorts during our voyage, including “Goofy’s Grandma,” the title that earned Bill his Annie.

I asked Bill to share a few insights with our friends here on the Disney Parks Blog, and he does just that in the video below. I’ve also included the “Goofy’s Grandma” short in its entirety so you can hear Bill’s award-winning performance for yourself.

I’ll be back in touch again before our voyage ends, but I need to run to get Bill back to the buffet. You wouldn’t like him when he’s hungry.

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Disney Vacation Club Sails Onward to Alaska

posted on May 26th, 2015 by Ryan March, Editor, Disney Vacation Club’s Disney Files Magazine

My workplace looks a little different today. There are pine trees on the horizon instead of palms, I’m surrounded by water that appears oddly void of reptiles, and a curious number of people have cloaked themselves in some kind of woven, long-sleeved alternative to shirts called “sweaters.” Weird, but fun.


Clearly, I’m not in Florida anymore. I’m in Canada. Or at least I was yesterday. I’m not sure exactly where I am today, but I know I’m somewhere between the port of Vancouver and the Tracy Arm Fjord, sailing with Disney Vacation Club Members aboard the Disney Wonder on our first Member Cruise to Alaska!

Always my favorite business trip and long a highlight on many Members’ vacation calendars, a Member Cruise is a Disney Vacation Club charter voyage that enhances the already extraordinary Disney Cruise Line experience with custom décor, unique in-room gifts and a diverse lineup of special shows and experiences for Members and their guests. This year’s entertainment lineup is as wild as our Alaskan itinerary (a dramatic departure from our traditional Bahamian Member Cruise itineraries), featuring everyone from contemporary filmmakers to dynamic stage and screen stars to insightful authors and historians.

Part of the fun of the Member Cruise experience is the surprise reveal of our lineup as we sail out of port. For this year’s epic voyage, we introduced our entertainment lineup with an epic movie trailer. I actually voiced the trailer’s “scratch track” before we hired a professional actor, and I now understand why those temporary recordings are called “scratch” tracks. Listening to my voice describe the lineup made me want to scratch my ears off. Fortunately, the final cut I now share with you kept me safely away from the microphone. You’re welcome.

I’ll check back later in the voyage to introduce you to some of our special guests. In the meantime, I’m off to see a presentation about bears. Maybe I’ll meet Kenai. Or Koda. Or Ditka!

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Disney Vacation Club Introduces Membership Magic

posted on January 30th, 2014 by Ryan March, Editor, Disney Vacation Club’s Disney Files Magazine

If you’re noticing an extra spring in the step of Disney Vacation Club Members, it could be because today marks the launch of Membership Magic, a diverse array of Membership enhancements, exclusive experiences and special perks. (Either that or members just happen to be wearing really springy shoes.)

“With Membership Magic, we are giving families even more to love about Disney Vacation Club,” said Ken Potrock, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Disney Vacation Club. “It’s our special way of thanking our members for being such a valued part of the Disney Vacation Club family.”


The first wave of Membership Magic offerings (for those who have purchased a vacation ownership in Disney Vacation Club) includes new opportunities to see the world, new Walt Disney World Resort experiences created with Members in mind, new discounts to help stretch vacation dollars, a new online home for exclusive merchandise and more. The lineup also includes the annual Member Cruise voyage’s first summer sailing (August 24-28, 2014 aboard the Disney Dream ship), and two Membership-exclusive Adventures by Disney itineraries (New York City, and San Francisco & Napa).

Complete details about Membership Magic offerings, including availability and continuing access, are available now at, and with more magic on the horizon (including offerings in California, Hawai`i and even at sea), look for Members’ collective step to get even springier.

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Building the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Less Than a Minute

posted on October 21st, 2013 by Ryan March, Editor, Disney Vacation Club’s Disney Files Magazine

“Step in Time” takes on new meaning when applied to the speedy team that built the newest addition to the Disney Vacation Club neighborhood – The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Clearly fueled by more than just a “Spoonful of Sugar,” the crew in this video managed to construct the entire building in a remarkable 56 seconds!

Oh wait, it’s a time-lapse video. Why does that always trip me up? Still, what the team has created (at an average human speed) is nothing short of spectacular.

Like its sister resort, the new building celebrates the gracious grandeur and casual elegance of a time in which families traveled to Florida by railroad. The villas (which include a variety of artistic salutes to the classic Disney film “Mary Poppins“) welcome families “home” to that bygone era with interior spaces masterfully Imagineered in a style that many of us here at Disney Vacation Club have taken to calling “Main Street modern,” elevating turn-of-the-20th-century living with decidedly 21st-century amenities.

In the fall issue of Disney Files Magazine, Disney Vacation Club senior vice president and general manager Ken Potrock described the experience of exploring the villas as “walking right down the middle of Main Street, U.S.A., with just a touch of Tomorrowland hiding around every corner.”

As Ken made no mention of the speed with which the building came together in this video, I can only assume he understands time-lapse photography better than I do.

The villas open this Wednesday, October 23.

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Virtual Disney Vacation Club Race Has Very Real Prize!

posted on November 1st, 2012 by Ryan March, Editor, Disney Vacation Club’s Disney Files Magazine

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately in virtual worlds, racing through amazing vacation destinations without even leaving my desk. Now lest you think I’m just playing around on the Internet when I should be working, that’s really not the case (at least not this time).

You see, I’ve been authorized to “play-test” a new Disney Vacation Club virtual board game, and I have to say it’s the most fun I’ve had playing a Disney game since “Where’s My Water?” started draining my phone battery. It’s officially called the “Disney Vacation Club Getaway Your Way Sweepstakes,” though I just call it “Cancel My Next Meeting…I’m Busy!”
The Disney Vacation Club Getaway Your Way Sweepstake

Every time you play, you get to explore three of the game’s five immersive worlds, each with its own vacation landscape to navigate and Disney Villain to race. The journey begins with “Safari Adventure,” where you race Simba’s unscrupulous uncle Scar through an African setting inspired in part by Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas.

Just as Disney Vacation Club Members do in the real world, players in this virtual world then choose their own path, racing through two of the following four environments:

Along the way, you can earn virtual vacation points, collect and share digital souvenirs, avoid “Tourist Traps” and more.
The Disney Vacation Club Getaway Your Way Sweepstake

Let’s see, did I cover everything? Virtual worlds…choose your own adventure…collect cool stuff…Simba’s evil uncle…yep, I think that’s it. Oh wait, the prize!

Players may race once a day from now through January 31, 2013 (as many as 10 times total), at which time one randomly selected player’s virtual vacation points will become actual vacation points – the kind Disney Vacation Club Members use to book accommodations at Disney Vacation Club Resorts and hundreds of other destinations around the world. (Each round of game play counts as one entry in the sweepstakes, with racers earning a maximum of 10 entries.) Plus, the vacation points will be replenished annually for three years.

To learn more about the game and begin your adventure, visit

Good luck, adventurers…and “Kungaloosh!”

NO PURCHASE OR SALES PRESENTATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Disney Vacation Club® Getaway Your Way Sweepstakes begins 12:00 p.m. EDT on October 16, 2012 and ends 11:59:59 p.m. EST January 14, 2013. Open to eligible legal residents of 49 U.S./D.C. (excluding Nevada) and Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Ontario, who are at least 18 years of age as of date of entry. See for Official Rules and important details on participation, including an Alternate Method of Entry. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries. Skill-testing question required if winner is a resident of Canada. Approximate retail value varies between $16,000 to $49,300. Sponsor: Disney Vacation Development, Inc., 1390 Celebration Blvd. Celebration, FL 34747.

This promotional material is a timeshare solicitation and is not an offer in any jurisdiction where the timeshare is not registered. General Product, State, & Country Disclosures.

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Samantha Brown Shares ‘Stories from the Savanna’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas

posted on August 31st, 2012 by Ryan March, Editor, Disney Vacation Club’s Disney Files Magazine

I feel compelled to begin this particular Disney Parks Blog post with a statement of my innocence. I have never, nor will I at any point in the future, stalk beloved television personality Samantha Brown.

That said, here’s my fourth post about the lovely Samantha and her latest travels through the Disney Vacation Club universe.

Having already taken our camera crew to Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, Ko Olina, Hawai‘i (twice) to soak up the warm tropical sun, and to the Disney Fantasy ship’s birthplace to soak up whatever kind of sun Germany offers in January, Samantha travels this time to Florida to bring you “Stories from the Savanna.”

As you may have guessed from the show title, the real star of this Disney Vacation Club online broadcast (no offense, Sam) is Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, where the celebrated travel guru showcases the resort’s exotic beauty, immerses herself in African culture and pulls insider stories from Imagineers.

Here’s a little sneak peek of her African-inspired adventure.

Click here to learn more and to register for a time to watch the entire show, September 12-15.

Enjoy the show!

This promotional material is a timeshare solicitation and is not an offer in any jurisdiction where the timeshare is not registered. Not an offer where registration or other legal requirements for timeshare solicitation have not been met. General Product, State, & Country Disclosures.

Look below for more posts with Samantha Brown:

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Filed: Disney Vacation Club, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Samantha Brown Explores the Disney Fantasy Ship

posted on March 26th, 2012 by Ryan March, Editor, Disney Vacation Club’s Disney Files Magazine

If my calculations are correct (which my childhood math teachers would find remarkable), this is my tenth post on the Disney Parks Blog, and my third involving travel-television personality Samantha Brown.

The first two posts on my unofficial “Samantha Beat” spoke of her role in Disney Vacation Club online broadcasts filmed on the island of O‘ahu, and they included some offhanded quips (one bitter, one gleefully smug) about whether or not I was in Hawai‘i during the shoots. While I can report in this third Samantha-centric post that I was not on set for the latest shoot aboard the Disney Fantasy, my feelings on the subject are decidedly less bitter – and this show is fantastic!

Viewers can get a sneak peek at the newest addition to the Disney Cruise Line fleet and learn more about the wide range of experiences available through Disney Vacation Club by visiting and registering for an available on-demand viewing date.

For more posts with Samantha Brown, check out these below:

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A Goofy Milestone for Disney Legend Bill Farmer

posted on January 27th, 2012 by Ryan March, Editor, Disney Vacation Club’s Disney Files Magazine

Some kids take offense at being called goofy. Bill Farmer took it as professional advice.

Disney Legend Bill Farmer, the Voice of ‘Goofy’

Born with the gift of comedic gab, Bill has turned his ability to channel stars both real and imagined into an illustrious show-business career involving a colorful array of animated characters. None are nearer or dearer to his heart than Goofy, the iconic character to whom Bill has lent his voice for decades.

As this week marks the milestone 25th anniversary of Bill’s career going Goofy, I sat down with the Disney Legend for an interview that’ll appear in a special Goofy-tribute issue of Disney Files Magazine scheduled to begin mailing to Disney Vacation Club members next month.

 Ryan March Chats with Disney Legend Bill Farmer, the Voice of ‘Goofy’

Here are three of my favorite Bill quotes from our visit:

On his skeptical father-in-law finally respecting Bill’s decision to quit his “real job” to focus on a career in comedy: “Well, fast forward a few years [after landing the Goofy gig], as I’m getting him backstage access to Walt Disney World Resort attractions and inviting him to private parties with celebrities, and the tide definitely turned. I’ll never forget going with him to an event at his church in Melbourne, Fla., and having him introduce me to his friends. Here’s exactly what he said: ‘I’d like you to meet my son-in-law, Bill…and his wife, Jennifer.’ I had arrived!”

On being Goofy at home: “One story that’s quintessentially Goofy unfolded when I was outside our house hanging Christmas lights. To set the scene, you had me, a bunch of tangled lights, a ladder and a pair of thorny rose bushes. Perfect setup for a Goofy moment, and you can probably see where this is going. But I didn’t just slip and fall into a rose bush. That would be too easy. I managed to snag my sweatpants on the first rose bush and fall bare-butted into the second. That, my friend, is taking your work home with you.”

On his favorite film project: “Of all the great projects I’ve been fortunate enough to take on in my career, “A Goofy Movie” has been my absolute favorite… The movie wasn’t just about Goofy’s goofiness. It was about a father struggling to connect with a son who wasn’t so little anymore. I remember taking my son, Austin, to an advance screening of the film for Disney executives in Walt’s old screening room on the lot in Burbank. Austin was pretty little at the time, and he seemed to be a bit shaken as we left the theater. I said, ‘What’s wrong, buddy?’ And he answered, ‘When you and Max were about to go over the waterfall, I thought you were going to die.’ So either we’d created a film of such emotional depth that even my own son had suspended disbelief, or my kid just couldn’t tell the difference between Dad and Goofy.”

Ryan March with Disney Legend Bill Farmer, the Voice of ‘Goofy’

On behalf of all Disney fans, Disney Vacation Club congratulates Bill on 25 years of the goofiest career in Hollywood.

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Filed: Disney History, Disney Vacation Club

Why We Do What We Do at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on January 2nd, 2012 by Ryan March, Editor, Disney Vacation Club’s Disney Files Magazine

Not every great gift this holiday season came wrapped in paper and topped with a bow. Some arrived by email, attached to a photo.


That was certainly the case when I opened a recent email sent by a Disney Vacation Club member from Kansas named Mike. A proud and grateful father of three, Mike thanked cast members for the powerful role they played in the life of his son Brandon, born with Cerebral Palsy and confined to a wheelchair. Brandon passed away this year at the age of 16.

“For the past 9 years, my family and I have visited Disney World at least once and sometimes twice a year,” Mike wrote. “Every time we would go to Disney World, something magical would happen. From Mickey pushing his wheelchair … to Pluto dancing with him or Minnie kissing him … I have so many thoughts and stories that I could go on for days … Brandon only lived 16 years, but he had a great life. Thirteen trips to Disney, and he never got tired of it. He kept our family young at heart, and we learned to take nothing for granted.”

Addressing Walt Disney World Resort cast members, Mike wrote, “You should be very proud of the work you do and how you impact more lives than you probably realize. I am crying right now (tears of joy) as I think of all the hard work and dedication you show to everyone. At Disney World, Brandon truly was treated just like everyone else. Well, maybe a little better than most. We are saddened by his passing but grateful to have such warm memories. I have two other children, and our return to Disney is inevitable. We have so many great memories, and Brandon LOVED the Parks. How can we top that? I just wanted to say thank you for giving him dignity, honor and respect. I hope you know the value of your work and how it makes a difference in the lives of many. With much love, I thank you again.”

Brandon’s photo will appear prominently in a Member mosaic on the spring 2012 cover of Disney Vacation Club’s Disney Files Magazine as a small tribute to an enormously inspiring young man.

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