As announced in a recent email to Disney Vacation Club Members, Terri Schultz is transitioning from her role as Senior Vice President of Disney Vacation Club, Guided Adventures & Expeditions and Golden Oak to the role of Senior Vice President of Commercial Strategy for Disney Signature Experiences (a segment that includes the aforementioned businesses, along with Disney Cruise Line). Stepping into the role of Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Vacation Club and Aulani is Bill Diercksen, a longtime member of the Disney Vacation Club leadership team.
With nearly a decade of Disney Vacation Club leadership experience on his more-than-20-year Disney resume, Bill is no stranger to our magical community.
“I’m humbled and honored to step into this role, and I know there are really big shoes to fill following Terri,” Bill told me during a recent interview for Disney Files Magazine. “I’m really grateful to be able to do so with a strong understanding and respect for this team, the strategies of this business and the needs of our Members. I won’t have to spend the first 6-12 months learning the dynamics of the organization. That’s a great advantage.”
Early and often in our conversation, Bill spoke about continuing to focus on the Member experience.
“We’ve obviously dealt with a lot of unexpected challenges since last spring, but I can tell you that our commitment to Members under Terri’s leadership never wavered,” Bill said. “We’ve stayed focused on controlling what we can control, aiming every decision at taking the best possible care of Members under unprecedented circumstances.”
Expressing optimism for the road ahead, Bill touched on a variety of new offerings poised to enhance the Member experience.
“I’m particularly excited about the new experiences we’re adding to our growing portfolio of exchange options, giving Members more ways to utilize their vacation points. From National Geographic Expeditions across the globe to the first-of-its-kind Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser experience here at Walt Disney World Resort, these are incredible options, and we have more in the pipeline that we’re eager to announce.”
As cruising has long been Members’ favorite exchange option, the return of Disney Cruise Line voyages has been among the news developments putting an extra spring in Bill’s step.
“To say that our Member Services team has been busy booking Members’ Disney Cruise Line reservations would be an understatement,” Bill said. “And there’s tremendous excitement around two particular voyages next summer – a Member-exclusive sailing aboard the Disney Wish that sold out in a matter of hours and the long-awaited Member Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder to Alaska, originally scheduled for 2020.”
As for Membership Magic events on dry land?
“We’re getting there,” Bill said. “We’ve been encouraged to see Member events big and small begin to return over the past several months, from this summer’s advance screenings of ‘Cruella’ and ‘Jungle Cruise’ at Disney Springs to the more recent previews of the Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction at EPCOT and the intimate ‘Delicious Disney’ events in our Member Lounge at that same park. We look forward to more Membership Magic unfolding in the months ahead, including seeing Members among the Walt Disney World Resort guests enjoying extra time in the parks during the 50th anniversary celebration, and we’re committed to returning, evolving and introducing other events as soon as possible.
“When you combine all of these encouraging developments with the continued growth of Disney Vacation Club Resorts, including the new accommodations in the works at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and our recently announced tower at the Disneyland Hotel in California, there’s a lot to be excited about as I step into this role. And I truly believe that the best is yet to come.”
Asked if there’s anything else he’d like Members to know as he takes on his new role, Bill answered, “Just that I deeply love this business and that I’m going to give everything I have every day to make sure that our Members continue to be proud to be Members.”
Learn more about Bill and hear more of his perspectives in the winter edition of Disney Files Magazine, scheduled to mail in January.