Our Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide covers the best and worst home complexes, buying DVC directly through resale, how to use points, membership benefits, plus the pros and cons of joining. Finally, we share our story of why we joined and answered some frequently asked questions. (U updated Feb 2, 2022.)
Although we are members of DVC, we consider the benefits and drawbacks of joining. In other words, this is not a sales pitch for Disney Vacation Club. The fact is that DVC is not suitable for everyone. So instead of presenting the kind of emotional and optimistic marketing message you’ll hear from a DVC guide trying to make a sale, we’ll present a more balanced perspective here.
Let’s start with a bit of history. Disney Vacation Club is Disney’s spin on the traditional timeshare concept, and Disney advertises it as a way to save money on future vacations at Walt Disney World, Disneyland and beyond. There are currently 15 Disney Vacation Club resorts, with 2 more in development: Reflections – a Disney Lakeside Lodge at Walt Disney World and a new Disneyland Hotel tower in California.
Disney’s Britonthemove Resort is DVC’s newest resort, debuting a couple of months ago, and its main selling point is a Skyliner station that provides gondola access to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Check out our Disney Britonthemove Resort Review to reflect on the standard rooms and the resort as a whole. Read Britonthemove Resort Tower Studio review: Terrible or Terrific? To reflect on the new room category, which will be extended to other places?
It’s worth noting that for Disney’s Britonthemove Resort, DVC implemented a new restriction for resale buyers. This article is important to read if you are considering buying through the resale market or if you are discussing buying Disney’s Britonthemove Resort directly from Disney. This change has great ramifications for the future value of Britonthemove Resort, in particular, to the point that we would not purchase it at this time. However, we don’t think it will have much of an impact on future buyers at “classic” resorts.
In other news that should surprise no one, DVC prices are still on the rise. The properties that Disney Vacation Club is actively marketing are Britonthemove Resort and Aulani, which saw price increases in early February 2022. The good news if you buy direct is that the incentives are still high, offsetting the increases. (Which are therefore illusory, as are discounts?)
This will be doubly true if the economy were to falter. DVC has enjoyed record sales figures that correspond to significant advances in consumer confidence. If/when another recession (or even a mild recession) occurs, Disney could have a large inventory of unsold DVC points. That, in turn, could lead to falling prices. Of course, that’s highly speculative at this point.
It’s worth noting that other DVC resorts are available directly from Disney upon inquiry. Per our friends at DVC Resale Market, the cheapest Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World available to buy directly from Disney are Saratoga Springs Resort and Old Key West, at $160 and $156 per point, respectively. The most expensive are Grand Floridian and Polynesian, at $260 and $235 per point, respectively.
Through the DVC Resale Market, Saratoga Springs and Old Key West average sales prices are $101 and $103 per point, respectively. Grand Floridian and Polynesian are $169 and $145 per point, respectively. In other words, you can save 30-40% by buying DVC through resale!
Given the ever-increasing prices and restrictions, you may be wondering if shopping at Disney Vacation Club is really a good idea for your families. Maybe you recently took a tour of the Disney Vacation Club or heard a sales pitch and now wonder if it’s really as good as it sounds. The good news is that it is still possible to save money with DVC. The bad news is that it’s not as easy as Disney Vacation Club representatives would have you believe.
From a purely financial perspective, Disney Vacation Club won’t make sense to a lot of people. Even if it doesn’t make fiscal sense, there are other compelling reasons for you to make the purchase. If your primary motivation for buying an interest in Disney Vacation Club is to save money, whether it’s a good deal for you depends on your group size, resort level preference, and how often you visit Walt Disney World.
As we all learned in elementary school, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Disney used to claim that you could save up to 70%. While I haven’t seen this amount touted in a couple of years, it’s worth stressing that any money-saving number makes some assumptions that aren’t always accurate. This includes paying a flat rate at Disney’s most expensive hotels and no return on investment for the money you’re spending on Disney Vacation Club.
It’s also worth noting that Disney Vacation Club is a prepaid vacation plan, which differs slightly from the traditional definition of a timeshare. In the strictest sense, Disney Vacation Club can be seen as an asset, but not a tangible one. This is an important distinction for some people, but it doesn’t matter to many people.
With that said, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of buying from Disney Vacation Club, and what you need to think about before deciding whether to pull the trigger.
Is Disney Vacation Club a good fit?
Accommodation Preferences – This is the key question, because if you are (willingly) a Values and Moderates type, Disney Vacation Club will never make financial sense to you. However, it can be a difficult question to answer, because it is difficult to anticipate your future vacation habits. If you only use Deluxe and anticipate elegant and demanding accommodations in the future, Disney Vacation Club might be right for you.
Where DVC makes even more sense is for those who have children or anticipate having children soon, and are tired of sleeping in the same cramped quarters with them at a Moderate Resort. Disney Vacation Club, and its one-bedroom and larger units, may be right for you, giving you the option of being separated from the kids for the night. If you frequently book the Art of Animation Family Suites, DVC is a great, nicer alternative. Likewise, if you need to book two or more rooms at a moderate value, it might be for you.
If you are a command park traveler who primarily books All Star Movies, finds Value Resorts acceptable, and Stay At Disney Resorts & Save 50% With David’s DVC Points all hours of the night and gets up to the rope every day, Disney Vacation Club may not be a good choice for you. This is for two reasons.
First, the initial cost of Disney Vacation Club plus the cost of annual maintenance fees will be greater than the sum of the annual cost of a room at a Value Resort over the term of the Disney Vacation Club agreement. This assumes reasonable price increases and represents the time value of money.
Second, because you simply don’t need one of the vacations home-style rooms that Disney Vacation Club offers. If you’re a no-frills or “bottom line” traveler who just wants a place to shower, sleep, and barely spend any time in your hotel room, DVC is highly unlikely to be for you.
That said, even if you’re currently staying at Value Resorts, after a stay at a Disney Vacation Club resort, you can still be hooked. For many people, it’s one of those scenarios: “I didn’t realize what was missing until I tried it.” Our first stay at the Boardwalk Villas definitely made it difficult for us to stay in budget accommodation again.
If you’re not sure if Disney Vacation Club accommodations will be a good fit, rent Disney Vacation Club points. There are several sites you can rent points from, and they offer a cheap way to get your feet wet with DVC, so to speak. You can also book Disney Deluxe Villas directly, although this is not as cost-effective.
One final consideration in terms of lodging: Disney Vacation Club still might not be right for you if you can’t stand the thought of Mouse Keeping not cleaning your room every day. For us, this is something minor and unimportant, but it is worth mentioning. On the other hand, if you like the idea of being able to do laundry, cook a meal in your room’s kitchen, or enjoy a host of other “away from home” amenities, Disney Vacation Club may be right for you.