Should I Join Disney Vacation Club? Is It Worth It?
Should I Join Disney Vacation Club?
My first-hand story as a Disney Vacation Club Member
The question of whether or not someone should join Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is something that I get asked quite frequently. There is no right or wrong answer, as it’s a very personal decision and there are a lot of variables to consider.
As an aside, please feel free to read my post entitled: What is Disney Vacation Club: Is It Worth It? for more information on the DVC program and issues to consider.
Why I Joined Disney Vacation Club (DVC)
In this post, I will share my reasons for joining Disney Vacation Club and whether or not I continue to see it as having been a good decision for our family.
As I write this post, I have been a DVC member for almost 10 years. Even though I have been traveling to Walt Disney World for several weeks every year since the resort first opened in 1971, I did not buy into DVC right away when the program was launched in 1991. And there are several reasons for that.
Initially, Disney Vacation Club at Walt Disney World was launched on properties that were either standalone or not in the Magic Kingdom Resort area. As a longtime Disney traveler, the Magic Kingdom Resort Area is my go-to favorite destination. For many years in the early days, the Magic Kingdom Resort area was Walt Disney World. My preferred resort currently is Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, with Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort close behind. I do enjoy staying at (almost) all of the Disney Deluxe Resorts, but the resorts on the Magic Kingdom monorail loop top the list for me.
Monetary Savings Alone Was Not the Reason I Joined DVC
So, even though DVC initially offered monetary value over what I was paying each year for our family vacations — it would have definitely represented a cost savings over paying for rooms at my three favorite Deluxe Resorts, I was not willing to sacrifice my preferred location for monetary savings. For me, that compromise was not value.
Also, because I knew that I didn’t want to stay at any of the original DVC resorts instead of my favorites, I didn’t look too closely at the program and how it worked. Admittedly, I had some reservations about it (based on lack of knowledge) because it was a timeshare program of sorts, and timeshares have a bad rap in general.
So many years passed and we happily continued staying at the Deluxe Disney resort hotels that we liked, but paying dearly for the several weeks a year at these upscale Disney properties (usually in Club Level).
Things changed for me when Disney finally made the announcement about Bay Lake Tower opening up at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
At that point, DVC was something for me to consider more seriously because I would be able to stay in the Disney neighbourhood that I preferred and get any benefits offered by being a DVC member. I started researching Disney Vacation Club more seriously, but it still took me a couple of years to pull the trigger. When you’re new to DVC, it’s not the easiest thing to wrap your head around (with the points system). But once you get used to it, it’s not that difficult of a concept to manage.
Five Key Considerations That Led Me To Buy In To Disney Vacation Club
The decision for me to finally buy in to Disney Vacation Club came as a result of five key considerations:
- I could stay on the Magic Kingdom monorail loop.
- I would save considerable money over Disney hotel rack rates (and effectively have near-cost-free accommodations after only a few years).
- I would be able to use my points at a growing list of Disney resort hotels at Walt Disney World, Disneyland and beyond.
- I liked the idea of have villa accommodations with kitchen amenities.
- There are several perks that you receive as a Disney Vacation Club member.
Am I Happy with DVC?
Yes. Overall I am happy being a DVC member and I do not regret the purchase. I enjoy the flexibility that the Disney Vacation Club program provides in terms of staying in different room sizes, at different resorts and at different locations (Florida, South Carolina, California and Hawaii).
Some of the things that I don’t love about the program are that it can be challenging to get rooms at non-home resorts.
A quick explanation: when you buy points from Disney, you buy points associated with a specific Disney Vacation Club Resort. That is your home resort. You can book rooms at your home resort up to 11 months in advance. You can also use your points to stay at any other DVC resort, with a booking window of seven months in advance. Some resorts are not very large, so it can be challenging to get a booking at the seven-month window during peak periods.
While I do enjoy the villa-style accommodations, I do miss staying in Club Level accommodations at my favourite resorts. So even though we are DVC members, we do occasionally pay for rooms at Deluxe Disney Resort hotels.
Would I Recommend Disney Vacation Club to Others?
If you are a frequent Disney traveler and you enjoy staying at Deluxe Disney resorts at least once a year, then I would say that you should strongly consider joining Disney Vacation Club. In my opinion it will pay off for you from a monetary perspective and there are enough resorts from which to choose that the program offers a lot of variety (even beyond Walt Disney World and Disneyland) to make it well worth it.
As Disney continues to build out resorts and increases the offerings, I will monitor the program from a member’s perspective and report back if any of the changes made have an impact on how I view the Disney Vacation Club program as a member.
Want to Learn More About Disney Vacation Club?
As a Luxury Travel Blogger, I write regularly about upscale Disney vacations of all shapes and sizes, including Disney Vacation Club. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook for the latest news and insights on luxury Disney travel.
Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Luxury Disney Travel Expert