Before diving into this article, I recommend that you check out PART 1 and PART 2 first. All of this came out about after I did a lot of research into each of the DVC resorts. I am a bit of a spreadsheet nerd and I wanted to see how each resort stacked up against one another in as simple a form as I could manage. This means that I am in no way saying any of the resorts are bad or the ‘worst’, they merely rank as the worst based on the numbers. A few people asked about the full rankings and an ‘exclusive’ look at Walt Disney World DVC resorts. This should go at least a little way in answering some of those questions. Throughout the article, I have ranked these ‘by the numbers’ and where there was a ‘tie’, I have simply placed them in alphabetical order. One final note before we get going, I have included Disney’s Riviera Resort wherever information is available.
Vacation Points Usage
Before we get to the full ranking I just wanted to note that you will see I have added in an extra section here for all the rooms that have been classified as ‘other’. These rooms were not included in the original ‘best’ and ‘worst’ sections. The reason that they were not included is that there is no real direct comparison. For instance, you could argue that a Bora Bora Bungalow at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows is a 2-Bed property so they should be compared to all the other 2-Bed Villas. However, I don’t think anyone would argue that the Bora Bora Bungalows are a very unique property and the only real comparison is the fact they are 2-Bed. When I was compiling the ‘Best’ and ‘Worst’ I decided it was fair to only compare ‘like-for-like’. Nevertheless, I have included them for you to draw your own comparisons and conclusions.
It is also worth noting that for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House there are both ‘Value Rooms’ and ‘Club Concierge’ level available for Deluxe Studios, 1-Bed and 2-Bed Villas. These are included because Disney does not classify these as their own accommodation type but lists them under the ‘room view’ section. I explored the points charts to determine what was an accommodation type and what was a room view. Ultimately, I default to classifying them as Disney does. However, this does skew the ranking for both the entry-level (value rooms) and the top-level (club concierge rooms). If you exclude the ‘Value’ and ‘Club Concierge’ room view options, the resort becomes level with Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village.
In a strange quirk, over at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, there are Deluxe Inn Rooms with both a Standard View and an Ocean View but these are listed on the points chart as their own ‘room type’ or accommodation. Therefore, they have been ranked accordingly. Very confusing I know!!!
As with the previous look at vacation points usage, this is all based on the 2020 Points Charts. In addition, it should also be noted that there are some slight variations when it comes to the ‘seasons’. This is relevant particularly when looking at resorts outside of WDW. Nonetheless, the below chart is a ranking based on their ‘entry’ level or Adventure Season ‘starting from’ vacations points cost per night…
The next chart is each resort ranking based on their ‘top’ level or Premier Season vacation point cost per night. Essentially, this is the very highest that each resort will use your vacation points but ranked by which resort has the lowest of those top levels…
Moving on to how the annual dues costs stack up by resort I found it quite interesting looking at the differences between either end of the scale and also how the resorts ranked compared to the cost and the percentile increases both for this year and since 2015.
Again, it is worth stressing here that this is just a snapshot since 2015. Disney’s Old Key West has been open since 1991 which means it carries a whole lot more data than Disney’s Copper Creek Cabins & Villas which only opened in 2017.
As mentioned in Part 1, the annual dues are a very complex area with a wide range of factors that have an impact on the costs and increases. In addition, you should consider what the initial cost per point was at the time of purchase too. Digging into the initial costs is something that makes the subject even more complex when you have to take into account whether you have purchased direct or resale, whether there were cheaper rates or incentives while the resort was being developed. That is without even getting into the appreciation of the initial investment data. This is why I have not included any comparisons or rankings on that basis. In essence, I was trying to keep it as simple as I could. On reflection, the annual dues are an area that goes beyond a simple ‘best’ or ‘worst’ comparison or a ranking but as I have said previously, hopefully, it is interesting nonetheless.
Looking at the room sizes by square footage is pretty self-explanatory when you look at the chart however it is worth noting a slight anomaly. Once again, Jambo House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was the ‘problem child’ when it came to comparing it to other resorts. This is because there is a noted variance in the room sizes. As mentioned, because Jambo House also offers ‘value rooms’ and ‘club concierge’ it makes sense that there is a variance in the room sizes. As I have ranked them from largest to smallest, I have used the largest Jambo House room available for its rank position but I have also noted the smallest room size too. Please note that Disney’s Riviera Resort is not included.
Another thing I wanted to note here since I did not go into the detail of it in the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ comparisons, takes us back to the Bora Bora Bungalows. They are just one vacation point per night more than the 3-Bed Grand Villa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. They also match the absolute top level vacation point per night cost of the same room. What is interesting is when you look at that by room size. The Bora Bora Bungalows are 2-Bed accommodations with a size of 1093 square foot. When you compare that to the 2800 square foot of the 3-Bed Villa at Grand Floridian it puts it into perspective. It really does go to show how unique the Bora Bora Bungalows are or at least where Disney places their ‘value’.
One of the things I find most interesting, as I mentioned in Part 1, is when you start looking at how the resort ranks for its size compared to how it ranks for vacation points usage. Of course, it is essential to bear in mind that room size alone does not dictate the points per night rate. I can’t even pretend to know the full gamut of factors that are taken into consideration when Disney is plotting the points allocation. For all I know, the size of the rooms may have very little to do with it. However, at a very surface level, there are certainly some instances where resorts rank as some of the most points hungry accommodations yet rank as some of the smallest rooms. At the other end of the scale, there are resorts which rank as having both the most points hungry rooms which are also amongst the largest rooms available.
Another interesting point I noticed was the areas of consistency and inconsistency for room size. Before digging into it I half expected to note that it would all be rather consistent. Looking at Old Key West a deluxe studio is 390sq. ft. and a 1-Bed is 1005sq. ft. That is a difference of 615sq. ft. I was genuinely expecting to see that relative increase across all of the resorts and for the ranks to be pretty level by resort. This isn’t the case of course.
A deluxe studio at Boardwalk Villas is 359sq. ft. and a 1-Bed villa is 712sq. ft. That is a difference of 353sq. ft. If I was so inclined, I would apply the simplest form ratio to all of the numbers to see where those differences are at the most extreme but at this point, this article is long enough already wouldn’t you say? Ultimately, I was just surprised to see that a couple of the resorts rank quite differently depending on the accommodation type that is chosen. If I was a person looking for that extra bit of space for a particular accommodation type this would be quite handy.
I ended Part 1 looking at the room sizes so it makes sense to end this part here. In Part 4 I will continue looking at the amenities available across the resorts and ranking them accordingly.