Have you been to Walt Disney World, Aulani, or Disneyland and are wondering if Disney Vacation Club is worth it or not? Scroll to find out all about DVC and whether it’s right for your family.
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If you stay at a Deluxe Disney resort chances are at some point during your vacation you stopped to ask the question “is Disney Vacation Club worth it?”
You probably only asked yourself, because you didn’t want to get sucked into a sales pitch from a cast member. But your response would have had to be “I don’t know. I’ll have to find out.”
The problem with understanding the Disney Vacation Club and whether it’s worth it is that it is so subjective and it’s difficult to get good information indirectly.
If you have not heard of Disney Vacation Club, or don’t yet know what it is, it’s essentially a timeshare. That alone raises alarms for lots of people, but the idea may still intrigue you.
By the end of this article, you will have a better idea of what Disney Vacation Club actually is. You will also know if it is right for you.
Let’s start with the perfect Disney World vacation since the DVC is about purchasing a lifetime of these experiences.
The Perfect Disney World Vacation
Everybody does Disney a little bit differently. There are rookie mistakes that people make. There are insider secrets that the pros all know.
But beyond those commonalities, most of what ties a Walt Disney World vacation together is subjective and very personal to you.
You may even have differences among extended family. Some of you like to lounge about and be spontaneous, while others prefer to plan and keep a full schedule.
The cornerstone of any good Disney World vacation is your choice of resort. There are plenty to choose from and they provide very different experiences. The length of your perfect vacation is also subjective.
Whether you stay under or over a week has a tremendous impact on how you experience Walt Disney World and what it means to you.
Because everybody vacations with Disney a little bit differently, there are some guests who will find great value in the Disney vacation club. Is Disney Vacation Club worth it? It depends.
It is worth noting that Joining Disney Vacation Club does not exclusively connect you to Walt Disney World. There is also Disneyland, Aulani, and other hotels around the world.
Disney Vacation Club points can also apply to Disney Cruise Line once converted to Reservation Points. Adventures By Disney is another possible use for DVC points.
Having said that, Walt Disney World is the main thing you invest in when you buy into Disney Vacation Club, even if your home resort is elsewhere.
The Draw of Walt Disney World
Before you dive too deeply into the question “is Disney Vacation Club worth it?” you need to consider how often you return to Walt Disney World.
If you enjoy it once or twice a decade, then you should not even consider Disney Vacation Club as a valid option. Disney Vacation Club is for those who will visit at least one time every two years. You buy annual points, which you can bank or borrow. So at any point in time, you can book up to three years in purchased vacation points.
The first hurdle in discovering if becoming a DVC member is right for you, is knowing how often you are likely to return for more Disney fun.
Disney Vacation Club: the Value of a Deluxe Resort
The next hurdle you must face to answer the question “is Disney Vacation Club worth it?” is where you typically book your stays.
There is a reason you only see Disney Vacation Club marketing at the deluxe resorts as opposed to the moderate and value resorts. That’s because marketing is extremely targeted.
The more often you see adds for Disney Vacation Club, the more likely it is a good fit for you. That’s because these hotels are where you are purchasing your Disney real estate and where you will stay during your vacations.
Renting Disney Vacation Club Points
Another way to begin to answer the question “is Disney Vacation Club worth it?” is to try it out without the commitment. You can do that by renting Disney Vacation Club points to use on your next vacation.
Renting DVC points is totally legal and Disney allows it. It’s a great way to give the club a test drive and see if it is something you personally see the value of investing in. We’ve done this through David’s DVC Rentals for Walt Disney World and Aulani.
Renting DVC points is a win/win/win scenario because the DVC club member who rents them out is able to make something back on purchased points they are not going to use.
So, keep in mind that you have a fourth option as a DVC member on what to do with your points. You can either use, bank, borrow, or rent them out.
What Does Joining the Disney Vacation Club Do For You?
When you become a member of the Disney Vacation Club, you lock in the cost of future vacations. That’s why it is so important to know how often you will really be returning to Walt Disney World.
On one hand, you are paying for a lot of vacations. About one every year. On the other hand, the cost of those vacations is frozen in time as though you took them all today.
As vacationing at Disney World gets more expensive for non-members, you only pay the same amount for the life of the contract.
Your membership includes a yearly distribution of vacation points to be redeemed within the use year, or the following year if the points are banked.
Club Membership includes exclusive access to some lounges and potential invites and discounts but does not include park tickets. There are other ways to get discounted park tickets. But parking is free for DVC members.
The Cost of Joining the Disney Vacation Club
The cost of Disney Vacation Club includes two payments that you can make yearly or monthly in addition to the down payment you pay to join the club and start all the paperwork.
The paperwork is sent FedEx for you to sign and notarize before returning in a prepaid envelope. The two annual or monthly payments you make will be to pay back your loan if you took one and to pay your annual dues for the property.
When you buy a DVC membership, you pick a home resort. That does not mean you can’t stay at other resorts. Only that you can book at your home resort three months before you are able to book any other resort.
There is an important distinction between 8 and 11 month in terms of availability, so choosing the right home resort is crucial.
There is also a pricing difference among resorts, so you should research how far your points will get you in each hotel. You can choose how many annual points to purchase starting at 100. How many points you buy will determine how much Disney Vacation Club is going to cost you.
One final caveat to keep in mind about the Disney Vacation Club is that you have expiration dates for the points you purchase.
Banking them until next year only lets you redeem them in that following year. You can’t bank them again, so if you don’t use them they expire.
There is also an expiration date on banking your points. If you don’t bank them in time, they also expire.
To avoid losing points you have spent money on, you must always stay on top of your account even if you aren’t planning a vacation.
If you are in danger of losing your points, that is the time to rent them out so you can get something back from your investment. So, even with that little catch, there is a contingency plan.
If you reasonably expect to visit Walt Disney World about three times every ten years, and you would never stay anywhere other than a Deluxe/DVC resort, then it’s worth it. Otherwise, it’s probably not.