Reflections on Being A Disney Vacation Club Member

I became a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Member back in July of 2008. It wasn't something that we agonized over purchasing like most people do, in fact it was a bit of the spur of the moment decision. I had wanted to join the club since it fist began selling its unique variety of time-share, however I never thought it was the right time. Our family was going through a long Disney dry spell and hadn't been on vacation for a few years, the day we joined DVC that all changed. So years later, as we near the end of the payments of our original contract, would I do it again?

Welcome To The Disney Vacation ClubWelcome To The Disney Vacation Club

Here are just a few thoughts on how our DVC Membership is working out for us.

I've always been a Deluxe Resort kind of girl. DVC now gives me the option of staying at all of those properties while at Walt Disney World. I can happily spend a lot of time just relaxing and enjoying the Resort, soaking up the atmosphere, chilling by the pool, boating at the marina, and eating on site. The Value Resorts don't have enough for me to feel like I'm on vacation, so this was a huge benefit because we can stay at a Deluxe Resort for "less" money.

It is very nice to have flexibility in what sort of room I want. As much as Disney travelers want it to be, a DVC Studio is not equivalent to a Standard Room. They feel a little small, and space on a sofa bed does not equal adult bed space. I wouldn't put more than 2 adults in a DVC Studio, but when I'm alone or it's just me and my husband a Studio is perfect. The next grade up, the One Bedroom Villa also puts guests on a sofa bed, we usually skip that one. This means that even if we have the kids along (4-5 people) we're in a 2 Bedroom Villa, which gives us tons of room and a full kitchen.

Animal Kingdom Lodge StudioAnimal Kingdom Lodge Studio

We really do use the kitchen and laundry room. As a hotel guests I would just pack more clothes, with a washer/dryer in my room I just do a quick load of laundry. And we never, ever have to put a cold wet swimsuit back on. It's a bit of a luxury that I didn't expect it to be. We also tend to use the kitchen, which we never expected to, but quick in-room breakfasts save us money, and we have a spot to stick our left overs from dinner. We also have fresh brewed coffee for all every morning before we ever leave. I never knew that I missed these things in a hotel room before I was a DVC Member.

We now take a vacation every year. Since the money for our DVC Membership comes out of the bank directly, that portion of the vacation budget can't get spent on "more important" things if we're having a bad month. Since we've started traveling every year, our overall stress levels have dropped, and our family looks forward to the annual escape. Becoming Disney Vacation Club Members actually made us happier people all year long.

Wilderness Lodge Villa 2nd BedroomWilderness Lodge Villa 2nd Bedroom

The Disney Vacation Club is not for everyone. If you don't visit every year or two, if your family spends most of your time in the Park, if you are happy staying at a Value Resort, and you rarely use hotel amenities, then you don't need to join the Disney Vacation Club. And that's OK.

I think that for us - DVC is the best purchase we've ever made, and the only regrets that we have is not getting more points on our initial contract. It's made our family travel easier, the booking process less stressful, and delivers a resort experience that we enjoy. I'm sure that once we pay off our contract, we'll be looking to add on to our points even further.

What about you? Is your DVC Membership everything that you thought it would be? Have you had disappointment? And would you buy in again? Leave a comment and let us know!

Lisa wrote on Thu, 08/25/2016 - 15:05:

Lisa's picture

Thanks for sharing! We aren't DVC members yet but have been considering it for awhile. This really helps make me think that it would probably be a good choice for us.

Kristen K. wrote on Thu, 08/25/2016 - 15:35:

Kristen K.'s picture

Oh good! I'm so glad to know my thoughts have helped someone, that always makes me feel good to hear.

Bill wrote on Fri, 08/26/2016 - 01:29:

Bill's picture

We joined way back at the beginning when points were just $50, can you believe it? We made several visits to the Customs House before buying, which is what the sales center was called, because they had a great ice-cream parlor - all you wanted for free! The kids (and I) really enjoyed that little perk.

Now our boys are grown and we have six grand-kids. We just took the whole gang to OKW for eight days. We banked points for a year and got two 2BR villas. The kitchens and laundries got lots of use!

Never a single regret for joining DVC. Our countless WDW adventures, and Disney Cruises (with and without kids) have been a joy. Would I do it today at the current price? Well, I'd have to think about it. But, having the benefit if hindsight, I probably would.

Still have not been to Aulani - bucket list.

Spook wrote on Fri, 08/26/2016 - 02:44:

Spook's picture

We've been members since 2014. Love it! Even though we are quite happy to stay at Value Resorts and do spend most of our time in the parks, I have no regrets. I know in the future we will probably spend more time at the resort and enjoy the kitchens and laundry ( right now we stay in studios). We are in the process of adding on a small amount of points and in a few years, we'll add a few more. DVC has really come in handy for my current runDisney addiction =)

JMed wrote on Fri, 08/26/2016 - 21:30:

JMed's picture

We are members just over a year now. We also spend most of our time in the parks. We enjoy the flexibility and freedom of having better access to deluxe resorts than we would if paying out of pocket. We will eventually add on more points ourselves! Next trip to AKL is just around the corner! My parents are coming for the first time at AKL and we will have a 2 bedroom villa for the first time. Can't wait for them to experience it!

alicemouse wrote on Fri, 08/26/2016 - 23:05:

alicemouse's picture

Love, love, love our DVC. We've found it difficult to get certain resorts at 7 months, but let's be real. When you can stay at OKW for less than All-Star anything, you've got to call it a win. Between DVC & AP savings, we were able to spend 35 days in the parks in a 10-month period for less than half of the retail equivalent between Dec. 2013 and Oct. 2014. And we took family along with us who would otherwise have probably never gone back to Disney on two of the trips. Like Spook said, DVC makes runDisney feasible for a lot of us. In March, we were lucky enough to get in on the awesome member party in the Magic Kingdom for free. There are so many experiences that we've had because of DVC or that DVC enabled us to experience more affordably than we could otherwise have done. I'm very anti-timeshare because the presentations are always handled in such a scam-y way. I became interested in finding out more about DVC because I was never approached by a cast member who was trying to "sell" me on the experience. That spoke volumes to me.

Marc wrote on Mon, 08/29/2016 - 19:57:

Marc's picture

I agree with the comments above. (Our ownership began in 2001.) We, too, spend most of our time in the parks. So, in that regard, I disagree with the author's statement that DVC might not be the best choice if you/family spend most of the time in the parks.

Like so many others, having the DVC membership also prompted us to have vacations (and not just a "stay-cation").

DVC ownership is in the top tier of my best buys (alongside home, art, etc.).

Clint wrote on Tue, 08/30/2016 - 21:29:

Clint's picture

My wife Tina and I have been members since 2011 and we love it. Our stay at the Tree Houses with all of our grandchildren is one of the best vacations in memory. We are looking at getting more points. Like many I wish we had gotten more in the beginning. I doubt we will see Marc's $50.00 a point ever again, but I feel that the investment in our sanity and relaxation will be worth it. Enjoyed the article Krsten.

Steven wrote on Wed, 08/31/2016 - 13:25:

Steven's picture

Member since '03 here. Bought in at Beach Club for $80/point. Wish we had bought 100 more points---but at the time, what we purchased was plenty...No way would I buy in now. Price per point is way too much---I don't see how it's worth it at all. (Guess I'm glad we didn't buy that extra 100 points back in '03!) AP prices are up, food & beverage prices are up, & Disney is slowly pricing us out where we are now looking for other vacation spots. Taking 5 to the Boardwalk Dec. 18-23 this year---between flights, food, & park hoppers, we're still going to spend 5k on a 5 night vacation! Thankfully our points will get us the room, but 5k for 5 nights is madness! And yet we keep on going! The Disney pull is unreal, but that urge is getting less & less...Thx for letting me vent!

Bill wrote on Wed, 08/31/2016 - 14:01:

Bill's picture

We became DVC members in September, 2009 with a small 50 point contract from the resale market. Since then we have purchased and sold several small contracts to get to where we are now with ownership at BCV & BWV. My wife and I are empty nesters so most of our trips to WDW are just the two of us. However, every other year we invite our adult children and their spouses for a family trip. We would not have been able to afford these trips and stay in deluxe resorts without DVC. After our trip this fall to F&W, we will have used our DVC points for 11 trips and that includes a trip to DVC-Aulani in Hawaii on our anniversary plus we were able to give another Hawaii stay to our daughter for her honeymoon! If you put a cash value on the room portion of our trips and compare that to our cost to purchase DVC (all resale market) plus the annual fees, we "broke even" after our 7th trip. From this point forward, our only cost are the annual fees (unless we add more points!) and that equates to a VERY inexpensive resort room cost each trip. We also time our purchase of annual park passes so that we take 3 trips within the year they are valid. We have truly enjoyed our DVC purchase and look forward to many more trips.

Rockster wrote on Sat, 09/03/2016 - 07:14:

Rockster's picture

We bought into DVC back in 2003 at $85/point. We started with 220 points but discovered that wasn't nearly enough and ended up borrowing from the next year too often. So, we added 100 points and then added another 100 points. We stopped there as the yearly maintenance costs are getting up there and 420 points is a lot of points. But buying in is the best thing we ever did as it makes us go every year, twice a year, to get our season passholders worth. Yes, we live 1100 miles from Orlando, but still have season passes.

We like to take family with us - sometimes friends, and sometimes the wife and I (both retired) by ourselves. We have used our points for 3-bedroom villas and had 11 guests in our room. What a hoot that was. It is great fun to be able to treat friends and family to a free place to stay (for them) and to enjoy the fun they have when they go down with us. Lately, we have just been doing the trip ourselves, but we have one coming up in October to catch the food/wine festival. My brother (also a DVC member with more points than us) is going with us.

There are certain rides that we have to do - like soarin, test track, Toy Story, Haunted Mansion - but after going down for more than 30 trips, we just enjoy the ambiance of the whole experience, acting like kids, wearing Mickey ears, eating at some of the nicer restaurants regularly (Jiko and San Angel Inn), noshing at all the food booths along the Epcot lagoon, being amazed at the topiaries at Epcot during the Flower/Garden show, trading pins with cast members and other park visitors, taking in the nice weather in Spring and Fall, getting 25,000 steps/day on our pedometers, playing the sorcerer game, and the list goes on. There is never a dull moment and when our typical 8-day stay is done, we hate to head home. My retired sister is also a DVC member, so our family is making sure that Mickey has enough dollars rolling in from us to enable him and the gang to keep the parks open for business for a long time - ha..ha..

We have not had any negative experiences at Disney World in all the times we have gone down. Cast members are so friendly. The parks are always clean. The bathrooms are always clean. Most visitors are friendly and outgoing. It is a pleasure to just hang out in any of the parks and enjoy whatever is going on. For us, the significant investment was well worth it. We have 33 years left on our contract and I am 69 years old. That puts me at 102 years old when time runs out. My mother is 94 and we took her there last year and she had a great time. In fact, cast members bent over backwards to make her feel special. So, I am figuring that I have the same good genes and that I am going to last to at least 102 to make sure I get my money's worth out of those points - ha..ha..

Erika wrote on Fri, 09/23/2016 - 15:10:

Erika's picture

I was recently speaking with on of my good friends the other day mentioned that me and my family were hoping to start a tradition of going to Disneyland often. She started telling me about the disney vacation club. I had no idea that that even existed! Relaxing by the pool, enjoying the resort, soaking up the atmosphere... those all sound amazing! I'm going to keep looking into it further with my husband.

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