It’s been quite a year for DVC members. The perks of being a member have dwindled with the borrowing restrictions, the lack of new annual pass sales, cancelled Moonlight Magic events, and the temporary closure of the Top of the World Lounge, just to name a few. Throw in the recent news of Magical Express service ending in 2022 and Extra Magic Hours being a thing of the past, and it’s hard not to feel disappointed. While it’s well known that perks are not guaranteed, it is a bummer. Magical Express is valued both as a convenient form of transportation and as a fun tradition for kicking off a Disney trip, and I truly enjoyed Extra Magic Hours, especially the ones at night. All of this got me thinking: what advantage do you have by staying at the DVC resorts compared to staying off-property? There are admittedly tons of options between other resorts and vacation home rentals in the Orlando area. Well, there are some compelling reasons why DVC resorts come out ahead.
To me, there’s something special about just being immersed in the “Disney bubble.” DVC resorts have some of the best locations that bring you as close as possible to the parks. From Bay Lake Tower you are just a short walk away from the Magic Kingdom, and you have some of the best theme park views from the villa balconies. From the Beach Club Villas and BoardWalk Villas, you can be at International Gateway in EPCOT or Hollywood Studios in a matter of minutes. Being so close to the parks means less time traveling and more time to enjoy the attractions.
We have pride in our home resorts for a reason. Each has its own unique theme and feel, from the wilderness of the Northwest at Boulder Ridge and Copper Creek to a tropical paradise at the Polynesian. Perhaps no other DVC resort is as detailed and immersive as Animal Kingdom Lodge. Between the animals on the savannas and the African art, the resort is an experience unlike any other. It is truly Disney Imagineering at its finest.
We may not have the Magical Express after this year, but we still have lots of great transportation options to travel between the resorts and theme parks. Bay Lake Tower, the Grand Floridian, and the Polynesian have the iconic monorail system. Riviera has the Skyliner, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite modes of Disney transportation. Then there are the many ferries and boats, such as the ferries from Wilderness Lodge to Magic Kingdom and the Friendship boats that take passengers from the Crescent Lake resorts to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Even the buses from the DVC resorts have an advantage over any non-Disney resort bus with the ability to pick up and drop off right at the front entrance of the Magic Kingdom instead of the Transportation and Ticket Center.
The Cast Members
Cast Members are nicknamed the “magic makers” for good reason. They are the ones who create magical moments for DVC members. At the BoardWalk, Poe from bell services went out of his way to help us commemorate our wedding trip. Right before we left for the Magical Express, he brought the pin trading board to my husband and me and offered us each a pin. In the past, cast members also helped us out with transportation to MCO when our flight changed at the last minute. It’s the little gestures like this that make DVC members feel so special.
Early Park Entry*
I put an asterisk on this one as early park entry is a perk that we have yet to experience; it will begin later this year as part of the 50th anniversary celebration. I am partial to Extra Magic Hours, but I am open to seeing if the 30-minute early entry to all four parks for resort guests may make for thinner crowds compared to Extra Magic Hours, which only had one park open for an additional hour for resort guests.
Perks may come and go, but I think there is still a lot to love about the DVC resorts. (After all, I am a DVC Fan.) As DVC members, we are in it for the long haul. Once we get past this pandemic, I’d like to think that there will be brighter days ahead.
Have the changes in perks affected the way that you feel about your DVC membership? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.