With 20.96 million visitors in 2019, Disney World topped the list as the most visited theme park anywhere. If you were one of those visitors or you head to Disney properties regularly, you’ve likely heard of the Disney Vacation Club.
Is the Disney Vacation Club worth it? If you’re a Disney lover and plan to visit that famous mouse frequently for the foreseeable future, the Disney Vacation Club could be a good investment for you. Reading Disney Vacation Club reviews and fully understanding how the process works helps you determine if it’s the ideal vacation option for you.
Check out the basics of DVC below.
What Is the Disney Vacation Club?
DVC is similar to a timeshare with a little Disney magic mixed in. You make a real estate investment in a Disney property with a contract. In return, you get Vacation Points, which are replenished every year and used to book vacations.
When you’re ready to go to a participating Disney resort, you use your points to pay for the stay. The amount of points required for the stay depends on several variables, including the time of year, resort you choose, length of the stay, and type of room.
DVC is a flexible timeshare program in that you can use the points for a wide variety of vacations. While you have to choose a home resort, you can use your points toward stays at other DVC resorts and for other vacation types, such as Disney cruises.
Disney Vacation Club Resorts
When you join DVC, you choose a home resort from multiple options. Disney Vacation Club resorts are primarily located at Disney World in Orlando. Home resorts outside of Orlando are located in California at Disneyland, Vero Beach in Florida, Hilton Head in South Carolina, and in Hawaii at Disney’s Aulani resort.
Many of the DVC resorts at Disney World are part of larger resorts or have a DVC section along with regular rooms for non-DVC visitors. Examples are the Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary, Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge, and The Villas at the Grand Californian Hotel.
The resorts have different room options, starting with studio rooms, which are similar to a larger, standard hotel room. Most DVC resorts have 1- or 2-bedroom villas if you want more space. Certain resorts have 3-bedroom grand villas or other accommodations, such as bungalows at the Polynesian and cabins at Copper Creek at Wilderness Lodge.
How to Join the Disney Vacation Club
To join the Disney Vacation Club, you need to choose your home resort and complete the contract by purchasing a real estate interest in that resort. In exchange, you get vacation points that you use for booking future Disney vacations. These points refresh every year, so you can book vacations yearly with your points.
Consider which resort you’ll want to stay at most often when joining DVC. It’s easier to get rooms on your choice of days at your home resort.
The number of points you buy is also important. You want enough to cover your intended stay without have lots of extra points.
Disney Vacation Club Cost
The Disney Vacation Club cost depends on how many points you buy. If your price is $201 per point and you purchase 200 points, your investment is $40,200. You also have closing costs, which depend on the home resort you choose and how many points you purchase.
If you can’t afford the entire amount upfront, you can finance the investment. This allows you to pay over several years while enjoying your DVC membership. You’ll make a down payment and then make monthly payments until you pay off the initial investment, much like you would finance and pay off a mortgage.
You also pay annual dues, which vary based on the resort you choose as your home resort. They cover things such as operating costs and the real estate taxes for the resort, and the dues can change yearly. For an example, see the DVC annual dues 2021.
Booking DVC Stays
Each year, you get the number of points you agreed to in your contract to use toward a Disney vacation. You can add points to your contract down the road if you always come up short.
You also have some flexibility to use the points in different years. If you want to take a big vacation this year, you can borrow some points from next year. If you want to save up for a bigger vacation next year, you can carry over this year’s points.
You can book a stay at your home resort starting 11 months before your travel date. If you want to book a vacation at a different DVC resort, the window opens up 7 months in advance.
You’ll have a better change of getting the dates and room type you want at your home resort since you can start booking sooner. Availability usually decreases significantly the closer your travel dates get. DVC availability can be especially limited during busier travel times.
What happens if you join the Disney Vacation Club but can’t use your points one year? You can rent out the points to people who aren’t DVC members. This allows you to earn money on the points that you won’t use.
If you’re not sure you want to join DVC, you can rent points from a DVC owner. This is a good way to experience the DVC resorts to see if you want to become a member yourself. It can also be an affordable way to stay at a nice resort without becoming a DVC member.
Perks for DVC Members
Having your yearly Disney vacation is a nice perk itself, but you get some extra bonuses when you become a DVC member. You get discounts on annual passes, which can save you money on park admission. The combination of a DVC rental and a park pass can make your trips more affordable.
You can also get discounts on other products and experiences at Disney. Members get discounts on food and merchandise. You can also book special tours inside the parks at a discounted price.
Disney hosts special events throughout the year that are only for DVC members. You also have access to DVC-only lounges throughout the Disney Parks.
Enjoy Disney Vacation Club
Does the Disney Vacation Club seem like the perfect fit for your magic-loving family? If the investment works for your budget and vacation plans, signing up gives your family access to years of Disney vacation fun.
Visit our archives for information on other destinations around the world.