So, you’ve heard about Disney Vacation Club on a trip to one of the Disney parks, or you know a friend who’s an owner, or you watched a DVC Show, or read something about it on DVC Fan, and now you’re intrigued. It sounds amazing. It looks like a lot of fun. But is it something that would work for you…and how do you know?
There are a few things that you should consider when making your decision on whether or not to purchase DVC. Let’s discuss some of the more important ones.
How Much Do You Love Disney?
Disney Vacation Club is a purchase that involves a considerable investment of time on your part. The contracts have expiration dates from twenty to fifty years in the future depending on which resort you buy. That’s a lot of Disney vacations. And while they don’t all have to be at one of the theme parks…Disney has DVC resorts in Vero Beach, Florida, Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Aulani in Hawaii…you’re still not going to escape the Mouse on your vacation. So, if you don’t plan on vacationing in a Disney park (or at another DVC property) at least every other year for the foreseeable future, owning Disney Vacation Club probably isn’t for you. If you only want to go to the parks every five years, but you love the DVC villas, then renting points from the DVC Rental Store would help you have the best of both worlds.
However, if you already go to Disney World every year (or more often), and don’t see that changing anytime soon, then you should definitely consider purchasing Disney Vacation Club. You can now check the first box…you’re a Disney super fan!
Is the Resort an Important Part of Your Vacation?
Now that we’ve established that you regularly visit one of the Disney theme parks, let’s move on to the next factor…the resorts themselves. If you view your resort as simply a place to shower and sleep, and you don’t care all that much about the theming or amenities…you just want it to be clean and comfortable…then you need to think twice about purchasing Disney Vacation Club. All DVC resorts are in the “deluxe” category, and the accommodations (and the price) reflect that. The resorts are a destination unto themselves, and most DVC members love spending time at them. In fact, a lot of members do “resort only” trips, where they never set foot in any of the theme parks for the entire length of their Disney World vacation.
If, however, your Disney resort is a huge part of your vacation, and you spend hours pouring over the different resorts and what they have to offer in dining, pools, and other amenities, then Disney Vacation Club might be perfect for you. Owning DVC allows you to stay at a deluxe resort on all of your Disney trips. At many of the Disney World resorts, the DVC villas are part of the hotel property (Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Boardwalk and more), and in others, they are “DVC only” resorts (Old Key West, Riviera, Saratoga Springs). But they are all the pinnacle of Disney accommodations, with villas ranging in size from studios to three-bedroom Grand Villas that sleep a dozen people, as well as free-standing cabins, and even tree houses. And you’re not locked into one particular room size. As a DVC owner, you can stay in any size room at any of the DVC properties (as long as you have the necessary points and they have availability). I love the flexibility this offers me. When it’s just me and my husband, we usually book a studio, and when my whole family is there, we get a two or three-bedroom. Whatever my needs are for my trip, there is a perfect sized accommodation with DVC.
Do You Plan Your Vacations Ahead of Time?
This is something else to consider when trying to decide if becoming a DVC owner is right for you. If you like to plan last-minute trips to Disney when you can get a cheap flight, or you decide on a whim to take advantage of a three-day weekend and head to the parks…DVC might not work for you.
Disney Vacation Club operates best for those people who can plan their trip seven months ahead of time, and even better for those who know they want to go eleven months ahead. While those times seem odd and random…they’re not. DVC owners are allowed to book at their home resort at the eleven-month mark (your home resort is the resort you own…where your points live). They can then modify their reservation and switch to a resort they don’t own at the seven-month mark. The difficulty lies in the timing. The most popular resorts are often gone right at that seven-month window. So, if you decide you want to go to Disney at the three-month mark, and you want to stay at the Polynesian, DVC will most likely put you on a waitlist. If it doesn’t come through, you will have to stay at whatever resort you were able to book while waiting to see if you got the Poly. That can be very frustrating for people who aren’t planners, but it’s one of the hard truths about DVC. The closer you get to the date of your vacation, the less resort availability there is.
On the other hand, if Disney trip planning is your hobby (yes, that’s a thing, and you know who you are), then DVC will work well for you. The best thing to do is to book your vacation at your home resort eleven months out from your vacation date (again, the resort where you own deeded property), and then if you want to change at the seven-month booking window, you can modify your reservation at that time. You may still have to go on a waitlist for the most popular resorts, but honestly, I’ve never had one not come through when I get on that waitlist at the seven-month mark. The early bird gets the worm and all that.
Can You Afford It?
Still with me? Answered all of the previous questions with a resounding “yes?” Great! Now we’ve arrived at the last of the basic “Should I buy DVC?” things to consider. It’s a big one. Can you afford it? I can’t answer this one for you, only you know your budget and what you can afford to spend on a luxury item. What I can tell you is that if you are already going to Disney World on a regular basis and plan to continue doing so, and you’re staying in at least a moderate resort when you do go…Disney Vacation Club will probably save you money in the long run. When you purchase DVC, you are essentially freezing the cost of your accommodations. They will not get any more expensive than what they were on the date you purchased your points. Disney hotel prices go up each and every year. That’s pretty much guaranteed. But you have to do the math for yourself and your situation. I’m not going to lie…it’s expensive. And the initial purchase price is not the only cost. You will be required to pay maintenance dues every year, and they do go up in price. But even with the cost of dues, my family has saved thousands owning DVC.
And while the purpose of this article isn’t to go too deeply into DVC math, I can tell you that there are ways to mitigate the cost of ownership. Buying Disney Vacation Club on the resale market is a great way to save money. I saved $17,000 on the purchase of my first contract by doing this. Check out DVC Resale Market to learn more about purchasing in this manner. They’re wonderful to work with, and snagged me a second DVC contract last year with banked points at a great price.
You also have the option of financing your DVC purchase, both when buying directly from Disney, and when you purchase resale. Monera Financial is more than happy to make this easy for you if you choose to buy resale. If you want to learn more about this, check out the DVC Show on this topic.
You Want to Have the Best Disney Vacation Ever
I can honestly say that owning DVC has made all of my Disney vacations even better. And we had a lot of fun on our trips before DVC! There’s something intangible about ownership that just gives you warm fuzzy feelings when you’re there. I love hearing the cast members say “Welcome Home” to me when my magic band turns the park tapstiles purple instead of green. I love the friendliness of the people at the DVC resorts. Old Key West feels like a neighborhood, not a hotel. I love how the cast members at the DVC resorts go out of their way to be kind and helpful…and how they remember you from past vacations and take the time to chat. I love being a part of the DVC family, and the friends I’ve made because of ownership. Our DVC Fan Facebook group is the best, and feels like a real community. And while Disney Vacation Club isn’t perfect…it’s still one of the absolute best things Disney has to offer. I’ve loved every minute of ownership.
And if this is something that you want as well…then purchasing Disney Vacation Club might be exactly right for you. Welcome home!