050 Meet Steven Kriese Owner at Aulani and Copper Creek and Host of DCL Podcast
My DVC Points Podcast

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This episode of the My DVC Points Podcast is sponsored by DVC Resale Market, Vacation Club Loans and by community members in My DVC Points VIP Producer Club.

Steven Kriese, co-host of the DCL Podcast, joins us on Episode 050 of the My DVC Points Podcast. His family has been DVC members since 2013 and they own at Aulani and Copper Creek.

Steve confirmed that buying points on a DCL cruise may have a few extra bonus items not available elsewhere. Disney Cruise ship guides may offer one-time developer points, additional onboard credits, and military discounts.

Interestingly, however, the Kriesse's first exposure to DVC was from a trip to Aulani before the DVC units were even built! He and his wife are still kicking themselves for not having purchased back then, as it would've qualified them for subsidized dues! Steve explains his family's love for Hawaii. His parents live there for half the year, and flights from the west coast of the US are frequent and shorter than traveling to Walt Disney World. Both he and his wife work for Alaskan Airlines – he's a pilot, and she's a flight attendant. As a consequence, Steve's family had often vacationed in Hawaii, discovering Ko'Olina before Aulani had even been built. The Ko'Olina tranquil lagoons were of particular interest to them when the kids were younger. 

For Steve and his family, DVC isn't about traveling to the Parks. In fact, their kids have only been to WDW once, although they do visit Disneyland more frequently. They have even won the DVC lottery and found availability at the Grand Californian! For their family, DVC is more about Disney's exceptional level of service, quality accommodations, and about getting them back to Aulani time and time again. They love being Aulani owners; however, they picked up a small contract at Copper Creek just to be able to book runDisney weekends at the 11-month mark.

Usually, their family tries to stay in Studios, Hotel Rooms, and One Bedroom at Aulani. They prefer the hotel rooms at Aulani because of lower points, two beds, and they really do not need the couch. The family spends very little time in the room and most of their time at the pools, beach, and resort activities.

The most recent case of addonitis struck because Steve and his wife have become Run Disney aficionados. Booking anything at Walt Disney World for Race weekends became difficult without an 11-month window. Their Copper Creek contract was purchased to solve this problem.

The Disney instigator in the family is definitely Steve's wife! Growing up in SoCal, she spent her childhood visiting Disneyland. The other regulars in his travel party are his two boys, who are 13 and 9 years old, as well as his parents. In fact, Steve's parents can be blamed for starting his love affair with the Disney Cruise Line. Wanting to take a cruise to Alaska as part of their bucket list, and wanting Steve's family to join. Steve's wife insisted on a Disney Cruise so that their boys would be free just to be kids, rather than being shushed all the time on another cruise line!

Steve directs the conversation towards Dole Whips and then breaks the news that Dole Whips aren't in the standard offerings on the ship; however, he has not sailed on the Dream before. This leads Chad to challenge the use of the word “Disney” to describe the ship if they do not have Dole Whips! Steve promised to speak with the leadership to address the situation before our August sail date.

Rapid Fire DVC Questions:

  • Dole whip over Mickey Bars – but more importantly, from the Dole whip plantation in Hawaii!
  • Churro over Mickey Pretzels
  • Poncho over Umbrellas
  • T-shirt – especially resort T-shirts when they come out
  • Favorite park – California Adventure
  • Favorite ride – Radiator Springs Racers
  • Best for relaxation or a drink – Geyser Point – great food and beverages
A few days after recording, Steve sent me this picture to assure me that Dole Whips are available on the Disney Dream for an additional charge.

Tip for maximizing your DVC:

  • Enjoy all the different experiences available to you through DVC
  • Go visit Hilton Head
  • Go visit Aulani
  • Even use points for the cruise line
  • Explore all the different places you can stay at
  • Enjoy all the unique experiences each property has to offer
  • Break Out of Your DVC Shell – Try New Resorts and Places! Using Steve's DVC value system – Chad is outside his comfort zone, having to book at the 7 months versus the 11-month window.

Steve and His Family Have Stayed at:

  • Animal Kingdom
  • Copper Creek
  • Saratoga Springs
  • Aulani
  • Grand Californian
  • Excited to stay at Hilton Head over Spring Break!

Both Steve and Chad's families will be on the same Disney Dream cruise August 10th to 14th in 2020. We welcome families to join us for a drink!

Walt Disney World + Disney Cruise Line: Land & Sea Tips!

For DVC members, Steve's top recommendations surrounding a cruise:

  • Saratoga Springs while at WDW – proximity to Disney Springs and peace of mind for flights
  • If not going to the parks, ride the monorail, catch some fireworks,
  • Vero Beach for some post-cruise rest and relaxation at the beach because cruising can be exhausting!

Tinkerbell Points: Travel outside the US to visit Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea, staying in the largest room possible at Disneyland Hotel in Tokoyo that overlooks Mainstreet

DVC Bucket List: Staying in the Copper Creek Cabins

How has vacationing changed for your family since buying DVC?

  • Always planning for another vacation
  • The type of accommodation has improved immensely
  • Able to slow down and enjoy things outside the parks, and take in the environment

Tips for Aulani:

  • Aulani's Luau is spectacular
    • Great food
    • Get there early for crafting and face painting
    • Fantastic singers and dancing
  • A rental car is the best way to get to the resort
  • Food is expensive in Hawaii
    • Purchase food at Target and Costco
    • There are Grills behind Aunty's Beach House
  • Local owners come in for the weekends – so more crowded
  • Slowest season experienced so far is October

Advice for people about DCL:

  • Do your research ahead of time
  • Book at the opening window for best pricing
  • Check out past Navigators (Daily itineraries from the previous cruise) on Scott Sander's DCL Blog
  • Take time to relax – walk the lobby, hang out with princesses, etc

How to Connect with Stephen:

Today's episode was produced by Chad Pennycuff. Edited and engineered by Kenny Kingborough of Harbor Red Studios. Show notes by Sandy Symianick. Facebook admins and moderators of the My DVC Points Community Group: Andrew Darden, Valerie Fairnington, Donna Bickert, and Jeremy Murray.

If you enjoy the show, please consider buying Chad a dole whip and joining the VIP Producer's Club. Your support allows us to produce a weekly podcast and a weekly live show. Patreon's receive a bonus episode once a month diving a little bit deeper into ways to make the most of your membership.

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