What is Disney Vacation Club?
The best explanation of DVC (Disney Vacation Club) is that it’s a vacation ownership program. Dare we say it – yes, it’s Disney’s version of a timeshare. You’ll never hear themselves promote it as a timeshare though. Many timeshares have a poor reputation and people often dismiss the idea once that dreaded word is mentioned. While that feeling is understandable, if you love vacations – especially vacationing at Disney destinations, you may fall in love with Disney Vacation Club like we did. They call it DVC for a reason – you really feel like you’re part of a club!
How many DVC resorts are there?
There are 16, most of which are located on Walt Disney World’s property.
Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort
Florida – Walt Disney World
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
Disney’s Beach Club Villas
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
Disney’s Animal Kingdo Villas – Kidani Village
Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort
Each are uniquely themed and immerse you into the stories they represent.Check out Disney Vacation Club’s official site to see more details about each individual resort.
How does it work?
You purchase a set number of “vacation points” that are allocated each year until the contract expires. The expiration date depends on your home resort. Some contracts end as early as 2042 and some end 2062. You use your allotment vacation points to “spend” on accommodations. The number of points per night will vary based on what resort you stay at, the kind of room you want (studio villa, 1 bedroom villa, 2 bedroom villa, etc.) and when you decide to go. Disney Vacation Club has 5 distinct seasons – Adventure Season, Choice Season, Dream Season, Magic Season, and Premier Season. We kind of like to equate the Adventure Season as the “value” season whereas the Premier Season is “peak” season.
Here is an example of a Lake View at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows for a Deluxe Studio:
Adventure Season (Jan 1 – 31, Sep 1 – 30, Dec 1 – 14) 20 points
Choice Season (Oct 1 – Nov 20, Nov 24 – 30, Dec 15 – 23) 21 points
Dream Season (Feb 1 – 15, May 1 – June 10, Aug 16 – 31) 25 points
Magic Season (Feb 16 – Mar 24, April 8 – 30, June 11 – Aug 15, Nov 21 – 23) 27 points
Premier Season (Mar 25 – April 7, Dec 24 – 31) 37 points
As you can see, there is a big difference between the Adventure and the Premier Seasons. We like to maximize our points by staying in a Studio Villa and going during the Adventure Season.
An important choice to make is where you want your home resort to be (aka where you buy your contract). It is important because you can book to stay at your home resort 11 months in advance. You can book 7 months in advance for the other resorts.
You can also exchange DVC points to use at RCI accommodations! RCI is another well known timeshare company that has hundreds of resorts around the world. We personally haven’t used our membership to stay at non-Disney properties, but it’s cool that we have that ability to do so in the future.
If you don’t use all of your points in the current year, you can “Bank” them into the next year. It’s a nice perk since some timeshares have a “use it or lose it” mentality! Another neat feature of DVC is that you can borrow points from the following year.
What are the rooms like?
What are the pros and cons?
- Membership benefits! You shouldn’t buy into DVC for the perks, but they sure are nice. Some perks include discounts and member only events. There are discounts on tours, merchandise, special ticketed events, and occasionally even offer specials for theme park tickets.
- Flexibility and lots of choices.
- Even if you are staying in a Studio Villa, you can get tokens to use the common area washers and dryers at no extra fee.
- You don’t have to pay for parking.
- All of the perks of staying on property – Magic Mornings, included transportation, the “Disney touch,” etc.
- Vacations and new memories year after year.
- Cost. We’re not going to sugar coat it, it is expensive. But what you are getting are countless memories to last a lifetime – and that to us is worth justifying the costs!
- This doesn’t bother us much, but it may bother other people… Since DVC is meant to be a “home away from home,” you don’t get daily mousekeeping service.
- YOU MUST BE A PLANNER. Again, this doesn’t bother us much since we love planning ahead. We suggest booking right at the opening window for your best chances at getting what you want. Unfortunately, resorts like the Grand Californian are always difficult to secure since there are only 48 villas total.
- Possibilities of annual dues increasing. Yes, there are annual dues.