One question that frequented my thoughts shortly after signing my first Disney Vacation Club contract was – How much money will I be saving with this investment?  

Before getting started, I feel I must preface this post with the fact that before DVC, my wife, Amy, and I allowed ourselves to visit Walt Disney World every two to three years and stayed at moderate level resorts. Based on our previous spending, I have since concluded that I will save nothing in the long run and have instead committed myself to spending thousands of dollars at the Walt Disney World Resort over the next 40 years… you’re welcome Disney stockholders!

Although many on the DISboards have previously provided a very detailed approach to determine the value of their own DVC memberships, I’m choosing a more basic and laid back method.  Here, we will quickly look at the cash prices listed by Disney for three upcoming trips my wife and I have planned for this year.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House

First is a seven night stay this June at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House in one of the resort’s elusive 2-Bedroom Lock-Off Villa Value Accommodations.  This unique DVC room category is essentially made up of both a 1-bedroom villa and deluxe studio that were rebuilt from the lodge’s original rooms prior to becoming DVC.  Since the sizes are a little smaller compared to other DVC villas, it is an excellent deal for 209 vacation points. By combining the price of both a 1-bedroom value and studio value accommodations, this stay holds an approximate cash value of $6,651.

Disney’s BoardWalk Villas

Next, we jump to a busier part of the summer for a split-stay getaway during the 4th of July holiday. This trip begins with two-nights in a Garden/Pool View Deluxe Studio at Disney’s BoardWalk Villas for 36 vacation points. While this specific room category is unavailable for traditional cash reservations, a comparable standard view totals $986 during this season. The trip then concludes with three nights in a Standard View Deluxe Studio at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows for 77 vacation points and a cash price of $1,564.

Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – July Cash Pricing

Our final scheduled stay of 2019 occurs during one of the busiest DVC weeks in December, immediately following the Thanksgiving holiday. While we have multiple waitlisted resorts for this stay that will likely never see the light of day, our current reservation has us enjoying our home resort of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House for five nights in a Savanna View Deluxe Studio for 74 vacation points and a cash price of $2,826.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – December Cash Pricing

Totaling over $12,000 in cash value, these resort stays already validate for me why I purchased Disney Vacation Club. The rack rates of these resorts (even when combined with discounts) are steep for the average consumer, yet DVC makes them attainable. There is value in the fact that my wife and I now have the opportunity to visit a place we call home with such frequency and stay in resort accommodations previously thought of in our dreams. Add that to additional DVC discounts on annual passes, dining, merchandise, and more and I am satisfied with the price and value being received as a member. True, I will not necessarily be saving money and instead will spend more while vacationing more. The REAL value of DVC (and what we have really invested in) is the happiness it will bring by guaranteeing us years and years of Disney vacations.

Paul Krieger

Amy and I are new Orlando, Florida residents where we live with our dogs Odie the greyhound and Hermès the Spanish galgo. We are DVC owners at Animal Kingdom Lodge, BoardWalk Villas, Grand Californian, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian, Disney World Annual Passholders, and love educating Disney Vacation Club members on how to both use and maximize the value of their DVC points!

9 thoughts on “The REAL Value of DVC Ownership

  • When we started going to WDW with our 9yo DD, I made the mistake of booking a garden view at the Poly. Once you start deluxe, it is hard (impossible) to go moderate or value (we got close with a family suite at AoA — once). I still give about the same amount of my money to Disney but now I go 2 or 3 times a year with my DVC membership.

  • Before we purchased, our friends who had purchased already shared that owning it forces you to take a vacation each year. One first stay was at Port Orleans (a moderate) and my wife saw our friends villa at Boardwalk. She noted the huge difference. Our daughter at the time was only 6 so we envisioned going again. We bought direct before the Internet and Facebook made doing resale more readily visible and easy to do. Since then, we have stayed at various DVC properties, an RCI stay, brought friends with us and stayed “in luxury”. How often do our lives become so busy we “didn’t have time” to vacation? DVC helps push one to taking the time off. Have we saved money? Probably not, but we wouldn’t have had such wonderful memories either.

  • I grew up and live 40+ miles from the DLR. I was born across the street from Disney studios. I was a once a year Disneyland attendee from birth to the Rocket Rods years, when the park was in a steep decline. I remember EVERY time the Monorail made it’s Disneyland Hotel stop wishing I could get off and on there as a guest, but we were a modest income family. Once a year at Disneyland was amazing itself.

    In 2005 we started taking our 2 year old to the DLR during the 50th Anniversary. I got obsessed with Disney’s “best kept secret”. We were a solid two income family then and by Autumn of 2009 with another 2 year old, when they were selling the VGC, we were passively interested. We stopped by the sales office to hear the pitch and get 10 fast passes for our time. We had stayed several times at all three of the resort hotels by then.

    The very soft and logical sell did its job. 30 minutes and $18,000 later we had 200 points at the Grand Californian. it was October, so we’ve always been a year behind with “extra” points. For the first 8 years we stayed 5 days at the VGC and used our surplus points for the odd weekend here or there. We’ve yet to go to WDW. Our Longer stays would have cost us $2,500 to $2,700 times 8, which is $20,000 to $21,600. Add on the three or four days each year times 8, that makes another $12,000 to $16,000. Grand total $32,000 to $37,600. In year 9 we stayed 8 days at Aulani for another $7,000+ plus taxes and fees. So, in 9 years an $18,000 investment has saved us $23,000 to $28,600.

    Would we have stayed at the DLR as much as we have without a DVC membership? Definitely not. We’d have had 9 less expensive vacations with their own special memories, but nothing as cool as Aulani. No way would I have dropped $9,000+ on Aulani, but, at 52, it was the single most enjoyable vacation of my life. And thanks to the DVC we’ll do it several more times. And, hopefully, we’ll go to WDW in 2021 for the 50th Anniversary.

    • I am a DVC owner so I agree with the value but you can’t just compare the initial $18,000 against the $23,000 – $28,000 rack rate. You also have to add the nine years of maintenance fees to the $18,000.

      • I’m still 10 to 15k ahead and counting. It didn’t hurt that I bought into a hard to book property, but I stay about 11 days each year in a room that would cost $550 to $850 a day. It would be nice to never be out of pocket again, but what we pay is negligible in comparison.

  • When we bought in in 1992 at Old Key West, which was the first DVC built, it was $54 per point. We biught the minimum of 210 points. But the big bonus for us was free admission to all parks tbrough the year 2000. We considered this the deal of the century, as when you bottom lined the numbers, Disney paid us to buy in.

  • I bought my first DVC contract (160 points at AK) onboard the Disney Magic back in 2008. Then two years later, I bought my second contract (100 points at Aulani) onboard the Disney Wonder (do you see a trend here?) Since then I have used my points to say at Aulani, AK, SSR, OKW, Boardwalk, Grand Californian, a five star resort in London right next to Kensington Palace and an Alaska cruise (I know it was not the best use of my points but they were about to expire so why not. Now I find myself never really having much of a balance since I am usually having to barrow into my next use year. Looks like it’s time to keep my eye out of the resale market…

  • For us bought in 1998. It allowed us to be able to stay on property vs. off as well as better accommodations. We would stay moderate resorts on property and off property it would be Days Inn, Holiday Inn roadsides. We had 2 little kids so DVC allowed us to have a 1 BR or 2 BR and not have to be in bed with lights off when we put kids down. Having the pools and Disney resort touches made it even better. The only thing I would have done differently is bought more sooner. We purchased a 2nd contract at Poly. With the kids grown we visit more often using studios, and we still run out of points!

  • I hear you with this and thank you for the post. The question that’s kept us from purchasing is that the cost of purchasing is the same cost and more in the long run than paying for Deluxe resort rooms out of pocket? I mean, when is Disney one to offer a deal without a catch? I don’t think the DVC is any exception.

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