My family and I made the decision to become members of the Disney Vacation Club in 2010. We came to this decision after a lot of research and discussion. Since becoming members, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about the “worth” of Disney Vacation Club. And now that we have moved to Hawaii, we are reviewing that question for ourselves. I’ve come up with 5 questions that I think will help work through the decision to purchase Disney Vacation Club points.
Just a small overview for those who aren’t familiar, Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is a real estate transaction. You purchase a real estate interest in Disney Vacation Club by buying an annual allotment of points at a home DVC resort. You decide how many points per year you’d like to purchase. You then use those points to book resort stays. You can choose from any of the DVC resorts as well as many other destinations throughout the world. There is so much more to DVC! If you’d like to learn more, visit www.disneyvacationclub.com.
So, on to the questions!
#1: How often do you travel to either the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or Disneyland Resort in California? Or even Hawaii, for that matter?
If you travel to either destination every 5 years, then DVC is probably not for you. DVC points expire. You are able to bank your points for use the following year and borrow from the next year, but even with doing that, you are limited to having to use your points at least every 3 years or lose them. Yes, there are options if you aren’t able to use your points such as renting or gifting, but why would you make such a huge purchase with that issue already on the table? So, if you visit less often than every 3 years, move to the next question!
#2: When you do travel to either resort, where do you stay?
This is a big one in the “worth” category. When my family began traveling to the Walt Disney World Resort, we stayed mainly at the Moderate Resorts. As we traveled more often, we found that we enjoyed staying at the Deluxe Resorts. It was just our family’s preference. We would find 40% off deals on room-only reservations and we really enjoyed those, but then it became harder and harder to find those great deals. At that point, we knew that DVC was the most economical choice for us if we were going to continue traveling as much as we did.
If your family stays off-site or at one of Disney’s Value or Moderate Resorts and travels every few years, then DVC is probably not the best “bang for your buck.” At this point, most of the DVC Villas are considered in the Deluxe level of resorts and therefore, the price per point reflects that level.
#3: Are you financially able to afford Disney Vacation Club points?
This is a very personal question and not one that anyone can answer for you. Disney Vacation Club is not cheap, by any means. Yes, financing is available through Disney Vacation Club, but then you are paying interest on the purchase as well as the original cost. And after the original purchase, annual dues must be paid yearly. This is not a set amount, but will change each year and are based on at which resort you have purchased an interest, and how many points you purchased. Everyone has their own situation to deal with, but as much as I love Disney and would spend as much time as possible at the Walt Disney World Resort, we didn’t think it would be worth it for my family to stress our finances just to buy into Disney Vacation Club, so we waited until it was right for us.
#4: Are you ready for a long-term commitment?
All DVC contracts will last for decades. The earliest contract expiration date is in the year 2042 at some of the DVC resorts. That’s quite a few years of Disney vacations! While there is some flexibility on use as I mentioned above, the majority of your vacations will revolve around Disney. Fortunately, there is a large selection of resorts and villas from which to choose. We have really enjoyed our stays at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas … almost as much as our various Walt Disney World Resort vacations! You just have to be sure that you are comfortable with the the commitment of Disney vacations for years to come.
#5: Where do you want to purchase?
Disney Vacation Club now has 13 vacation club resorts! What a selection! Of course, not all of the resorts are immediately available for purchase. Those resorts are listed as “Sold Out”, but you are able to get on the waitlist for purchase at those resorts in the case of re-acquisition by DVC from the original purchaser. Currently, Disney Vacation Club is promoting sales at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows and Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas. While you don’t always have to stay at your home resort, booking at your home resort opens 11 months prior to your arrival date. Reservations at all other DVC resorts is available 7 months prior. The advice I hear most is to “buy where you want to stay.” You may love the Magic Kingdom area and would hate to stay anywhere else. So, don’t buy points at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. You will be upset if you aren’t able to get your choice of rooms in the Magic Kingdom Resort area for every trip.
We had stayed at multiple Disney Vacation Club resorts prior to purchasing our points. We narrowed down our choice to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas and Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, but Animal Kingdom Villas won out because we truly love that resort and would never be disappointed to stay there.
All in all, purchasing an interest in Disney Vacation Club is a very personal choice. Nobody can tell you if your situation makes it worth it, because everyone’s idea of worth is different. My best advice is to be realistic when making the decision. Walt Disney World and Disneyland are magical places that inspire our imaginations and allow us to believe in dreams, but a purchase this large needs to be made with both feet on the ground and your head out of the clouds. Good luck and Welcome Home!