If you are a frequent visitor at Disney, you have probably considered joining the Disney Vacation Club (shortened to be called the “DVC”).
If you don’t even know what that is, don’t worry we have all the details here.
Before you sign the forms to join “the club”, here is everything you need to know about the Disney Vacation Club to find out if it’s a good fit for you and your family.
If you already know the basics of the Disney Vacation Club, skip down to the next section. For those of you who don’t know anything about the Disney Vacation Club, we are going to tell you all about it here. First and foremost, you need to be aware that the Disney Vacation Club is a timeshare program.
Timeshares are an arrangement where owners/members have the right to choose a property to stay at for usually one to two weeks out of the year. To become an owner/member, you must purchase real estate interest in a specific Disney Vacation Club Resort (listed below). This resort will be like your timeshare “home.”
The amount of real estate interest you are buying is shown as an annual allotment of Vacation Points. These points can be used to reserve accommodations at one of the resorts available to Disney Vacation Club members.
It’s important to remember that timeshares mean you are actually purchasing “real estate” and you get some annual tax benefits.
Since I like to think about the bottom-line, I consider this truly a prepaid vacation plan.
Where Can You Stay?
Since your Disney Vacation Club membership operates on a points system, this means that members can use these points to stay at any of the Disney Vacation Club resorts.
The points that it will cost you to stay at each resort vary based on the time you travel and resort you choose.
There are ten Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World:
- Animal Kingdom Villas
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Beach Club Villas
- Boardwalk Villas
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Wilderness Lodge
- Villas at Grand Floridian
- Old Key West
- Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
- Saratoga Springs
- Disney Cruise Lines
There is one Disney vacation resort at Disneyland in California (the Villas at Grand Californian) and three beach location resorts including Oahu, Hawaii; Hilton Head, South Carolina; and Vero Beach, Florida.
While you can use your points for regular rooms and/or the Disney Cruise Line, they won’t give you much bang for your buck. For example, you might be able to get 21 overnight stays in your “home” resort or one 7-night stay on the cruise using all of your points.
Is It Worth It?
Before you go ahead and purchase a Disney Vacation Club membership, you need to consider all aspects of buying.
There is an initial cost to join which is very expensive (I’ve never seen any deals for less than $7,000), and then you pay annual dues to continue as a member. These rates go up slightly (around 2%) every year, so you need to be aware that the rate will not be the same year after year.
Factors you should consider in making your decision include your vacation habits and how often you want to visit the parks, and whether you can afford the cost of being a member.
As a Disney Vacation Club member, you are essentially paying for hotel accommodations. Where you stay is just a small part of the larger vacation picture. Meals for a ten-day vacation could cost you over $1,000 if you are leaning on the more frugal side, and this doesn’t even take into account your travel costs or your park tickets.
If you vacation every year to one of the Disney Vacation Club resorts listed above, then you should seriously consider becoming a member. Your vacations would pay for themselves after 5 years.
Who Is A Good Fit For The DVC?
If you stay at Disney a handful of times, and you typically stay in the cheapest accommodations, then you will not find good value in a Disney Vacation Club membership; however, there are a few reasons it might still make sense for you:
- You vacation to Disney World, Disneyland, or one of the beach resorts at least once every two years.
- You prefer Deluxe accommodations when staying at Disney and you stay a least ten days or more during the year when you visit.
- You plan out your family vacations at least 6-months in advance.
- You have the cash on hand to pay for the initial membership fee (approximately $7,000) without using credit cards.
- You can budget to pay for the annual maintenance fees to continue membership after the first year.
There is nothing quite as magical as a Disney World Vacation. And becoming a DVC Member could save you money if you vacation there often. I hope the information here has helped with your decision of whether or not it is a good idea to join the program.