If you have visited a Disney Theme Park or anywhere on property, you have most likely seen a kiosk with someone ready to tell you about the great savings of Disney Vacation Club (DVC). If you are new to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, you may be wondering if you can save some serious cash with this program. Is it too good to be true?
I have been visiting Disney Parks for many years and always look forward to my next trip. I have always loved the parks and now share that excitement with my three year old son (and daughter on the way!). Each time I visit, I have always noticed those DVC kisoks with signage claiming to save you 70% off future vacations. The first thing that came to my mind, usually, was “no way!” For years I would not even look at the sales agent, trying to avoid eye contact and a sales pitch that would most likely lure me into a contract. But, I am now happy to say that I am a proud DVC member (and not because of a sales pitch!) and thought I would share the basics of DVC membership.
What is It?
Disney Vacation Club is a timeshare with flexible travel dates. Unlike traditional timeshares, DVC allows members the opportunity to choose their dates for vacation. Members spend their allotment of points on vacation stays. The more you vacation at Disney, the more points you will need. Resorts average about 20 points per night for a studio room. The program also allows you to use points on other destinations, such as Disney Cruise Line (DCL).
Is it a Value?
Well, yes and no. Just the answer you wanted to hear! I have always remembered seeing signage that read “Save Up to 70%”, but on my most recent trip I noticed the signage states “Save Up to 50%”. I’m guessing they were having a difficult time actually making that calculation work out! Anyway, you can save money if you traditionally stay in a moderate or deluxe level resort (i.e. the Contemporary, Polynesian, etc.). The savings really do not amount to much if you are a traditional “Value” resort guest. Also, the savings reflect the time period of the contract, which is 50 years.
Another advantage to this program is that DVC resorts offer studio, one bedroom, two bedroom, and villas as layouts to their rooms. This is great for larger families or if you want to bring someone along with you, which my family occasionally does. There is also a kitchenette and other amenities to make you feel at home. Being able to cook in your room may be a huge savings for some families!
Remember the point flexibility and destinations? You can save the most with DVC if you use them on WDW Property DVC Resorts, The Grand Californian (Disneyland), Aulani (Hawaii), Disney’s Vero Beach, or Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort. The value does not transfer very well to DCL or other destinations.
Why Did YOU Buy?
So your interest has been piqued and you’re ready to make the move to learn more, possibly buy into the program but want to know from a member “is it worth it?” My answer is “yes” but not just for the savings! I have always stayed at value resorts, mainly for the price. Through DVC, I can stay at the Deluxe Resorts for ultimately the price of staying at Value Resorts. Yes, there is a contract and yes, there are yearly dues, but over the lifetime of the contract it comes out to save me money. I have been going to Disney World for 20 years and now have kids to share the magic. I also do not see a time where I will not visit the parks, both my wife and I are fans and will travel to WDW when the kids are older. Plus, we have the luxury of choosing many great resorts with our points and no longer have to worry about the price of the resorts! As a resident of South Carolina, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort (DVC) is located just a few short hours away. If you are a resident of Georgia, North Carolina, or South Carolina, this could be an option to use some points instead of heading down to Orlando. It is also fun to “own a piece of the magic”.
Where to Buy?
There are basically two ways to purchase into DVC. The first, and most traditional, is to visit a kiosk and sign up for a tour. You can also begin the process online at disneyvacationclub.disney.go.com. Check the website first to see if they are offering any specials for new members. Sometimes you can get a few nights free at a resort! Typically a contract through Disney starts around $20,000 and goes up depending on the number of points you would need for your style of vacation. The contract is based on the price per point at $160.00 per point. You can check out the DVC Resort point charts for seasons of the year at wdwinfo.com to get an idea about how many points you need.
The other way to purchase DVC is through resale. This can sometimes be cheaper. The main benefit of purchasing through a resale store is the ability to buy in a resort that is no longer available through direct purchase (giving you an extra four month booking time for that resort). Contracts through resale can vary depending on the points the current owner is selling. Some contracts are as low as 25 points to over 300 points. A smaller contract may help you own a piece of the magic for less! There are limitations, however. If you want to use points for Disney Cruise Line or Adventures by Disney, you must purchase directly with Disney. Points purchased through resale may only be used at the DVC resorts listed above.
The decision for each family is personal as to purchase or not purchase DVC. I highly recommend this if you are an avid Disney fan and will patronize the parks for many years. If you are an occasional traveler to WDW, then this might not be the purchase for you. As always, check out the DVC link on wdwinfo.com for pictures and other information for the DVC resorts!
Have you purchased or thought about purchasing DVC?
Daniel is a native of South Carolina. He loves to travel (to Disney!), teach, play music, and be a dad. As a graduate of the University of South Carolina's School Of Music, he cheers on the Gamecock athletic teams in his free time!