Everyone knows about the most dangerous part of Disney Vacation Club ownership: the addition of Add-On-Itis! Once you stay in resorts other than your home resort, you fall victim to the need to buy there. I have this struggle on every trip and am feeling like I will again on our most current stay, which was at the Boardwalk Villas.
But what about the other DVC add-ons? The add-ons to your member experience. These are they ancillary benefits of your Disney Vacation Club membership (a benefit of direct purchases only). The perks of being a member of the club, if you will. While these are benefits that should not shape your purchase decision, they are definitely factors that can weigh into your ultimate choice.
So, what are the top ones you may ask? Well, these are my top five:
5. The Merchandise:
Before you say it, yes I know that you can certainly buy DVC items without being a DVC member, and yes, the DVC “Merch” does leave a lot to be desired (especially for men), but it makes the list for a couple of reasons. First, when you can find it, they do have some great stuff. From shirts and pullovers, to umbrella, key chains, trading pins and even handbags, there are some classic items out there that will enhance your DVC life, if you are willing to search for it a bit. While it can be tough to find, I think of it like my own little scavenger hunt, a DVC Hidden Mickey if you will.
It gives a great opportunity to explore DVC resorts that you may not go to unless you were searching out just this type of item ( I am looking at you Saratoga Springs). I am personally on a hunt for a 2019 Little Mermaid DVC pin that I am both convinced that exists and convinced that I imagined.
4. The DVC Dining Experiences
The current dining experience for DVC members being offered is The Wave DVC Dining package and includes a pre fixed dining package of an appetizer, entree and dessert at the Wave for dinner, followed immediately by a champagne reception (sparkling apple juice for the younger or alcohol free guest) at the Top of the World lounge at the top floor of Bake Lake Tower. While a very good, not great three course dinner ( which a couple of small tastings sprinkled into the dining experience), the service and attention received from the amazing staff at The Wave and Top of the World Lounge, along with a very nice selection of course choices (including the beef tenderloin and their outstanding Bacon and Eggs appetizer).
Capping off a very good dining experience with the best view on property of Magic Kingdom makes for a very special evening. I am hopeful that this is the beginning of a variety of DVC oriented dining package that will include some of the other great restaurants on property.
3. The Discounts
Honestly, this would be higher on the list, except for the fact that for most of us, we are also Annual Passholders and have duplicate and otherwise available discounts as those received by DVC members. That being said, DVC members are entitled to some exceptional discounts that include dining, shopping, annual passes ( a great perk here for all members that usually offers a $100 discount available for every member of the household and also allows members to purchase the Gold Membership, something typically reserved for Florida residents), non-DVC room reservations, and private and guided tours. If utilized properly, these can put a decent dent in offsetting your annual dues.
2. The Lounges
Currently, there are two DVC exclusive lounges on Disney World property: The Imagination Lounge at Epcot and the Top of the World Lounge. The Epcot lounge is a great spot to enjoy unlimited Coke Freestyle machine flavored beverages, charging stations for your electronics, video game stations for the kids, and just a great place to regroup and recharge on your batteries on those hot around the world type of Epcot days. The Top of the World Lounge sits atop Bake Lake Tower and offers what could be the best view of the Magic Kingdom nighttime fireworks and a pretty phenomenal dessert in their Seven Layer Cake. A truly hidden gem exclusively for DVC members.
- Moonlight Magic
These days, the Moonlight Magic events, which started out as infrequent events, has become the hardest ticket in town to get, even for DVC veterans. They off a three hour block of time in designated Disney parks for an after hours event that includes rare character meet and greets, complimentary meal vouchers, unlimited Mickey ice cream bars, and one of the most amazing fireworks displays on property. While I would not necessarily suggest booking a trip just for this event, they are definitely worth factoring into your trip planning. For some, these are truly one in a lifetime events that is worth the slight struggle that is involved in securing tickets.
While certainly not all of the DVC perks (some others include the ability to pool hop any DVC resort pool and complimentary laundry service for DVC members), in my opinion they are certainly some of the best and definitely factor into the DVC purchase decision.
What are some of your favorite perks? I would love to hear about them.