The decision to buy a Disney Vacation Club membership (Disney’s timeshare) can be grueling to make, especially if you’re sitting across the table from a friendly sales representative who has been showing you the benefits of ownership for the past hour.
Sure, Disney Vacation Club (DVC) provides great experiences for families from all over the globe, but is it right for you?
Below, you’ll find five reasons to buy DVC and five reasons not to buy. Only you can determine which category fits you.
Reasons to Buy Disney Vacation Club
Purchasing a 50-year DVC membership provides great value for repeated guests of Walt Disney World Resort. Essentially, you pre-pay for future vacations, meaning that you’ll avoid some of the highest price increases over the years.
Of course, DVC owners pay yearly maintenance fees, but these expenses are negligible compared to resort costs for regular guests. Members also avoid the hefty 12.5% hotel tax since they’re considered owners instead of visitors, and multiple guests can stay without incurring additional charges.
In the long run, you’ll save thousands of dollars for Disney vacations.
4. Gifting Them to Your Children & Nationwide Travel
Even if you tire of visiting Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort as you age and your children grow up, you’ll find DVC useful in the future.
For example, you can give vacations to your family and friends whenever you don’t plan to use your DVC points before they expire. Also, you can deed or will your ownership to your children when you’ve decided that you won’t be using it anymore.
Imagine the joy you’ll bring your grandchildren when they experience their dream vacation.
Keep in mind, even if you tire of Walt Disney World, you can always use your Disney Vacation Club points are multiple Resort destinations around the globe. From other Disney Park Resorts to non-Disney Resorts (typically require a small fee), points are easily used outside of Walt Disney World.
3. Better for Large Parties
DVC properties provide deluxe villas with plenty of room for large families. Some locations group studios and villas to host eight or nine guests comfortably; others provide similar accommodations in a single unit, and the grand villas sleep up to twelve.
If you normally travel with large groups, then purchasing a lot of DVC points becomes necessary.
Otherwise, members may bank their points from the previous year, borrow from other members, or rent points from a retail outlet. DVC provides extra space and premium value that you won’t find by reserving two or three rooms at other Disney resorts.
2. Membership Extras
Disney Vacation Club members received additional savings for select dining, spa treatments, recreational activities, merchandise, tours, and theme park tickets and annual passes. In addition, owners have access to special events, such as VIP tours, seasonal parties, tournaments, cruises, festival experiences, demonstrations, shows, movie screenings, and more.
Disney also has a DVC Member Lounge at the Imagination Pavilion in EPCOT, giving members a quiet place to relax, let the children play, recharge devices, use computers with printers, access free Wi-Fi, and receive complimentary soft drinks.
DVC Members can also enjoy the exclusive Villians Lounge located at the top of Bay Lake Tower. The resort, neighboring Contemporary Resort, has stunning views of Magic Kingdom Park, making this enchanting member-only lounge a popular one among DVC members.
Disney constantly invents new benefits to make DVC ownership more attractive, so looking forward to the future can be exciting.
1. Resale Markets
Unlike timeshares, DVC ownership retains value over the years. Some resorts have even appreciated those who bought them early, though most will depreciate some. However, knowing that you can sell a DVC membership in a vibrant market whenever you’re finished provides a layer of protection for your purchase.
Disney has attempted through the years to dissuade buyers from purchasing used properties; recently, they imposed a restriction of membership extras to those buying directly from them.
However, this policy hasn’t hurt the resale market since bargain pricing still attracts buyers. But even if you don’t want to sell but can’t vacation at Walt Disney World for a few years, you can still rent out your DVC points and put the money towards maintenance fees.
Reasons Not to Buy Disney Vacation Club
5. Infrequent Use
If you don’t visit Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort at least once every two years, avoid buying DVC. You’ll save more money by simply booking rooms as you need them.
Owning a membership only benefits repeat visitors, especially those who can’t let a year pass without making the pilgrimage to see Mickey.
Disney’s sales representatives will tout the flexibility of using DVC points to book with the Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney or to exchange into the RCI system for alternative destinations. However, such plans use an excessive amount of points, thereby diminishing their value, so sporadic Disney World travelers should stay away.
4. Upfront and Annual Costs
Though savings increase over time with membership, upfront costs will climb above thirteen thousand dollars and skyrocket far above that for some home resorts and higher amounts of DVC points. You must purchase a minimum of 100 points when you sign up, and don’t forget hundreds of dollars in annual maintenance fees. Disney offers financing options, but the interest you’ll pay offsets your savings.
In addition, consider how inflation will increase annual maintenance fees to determine if you can afford ownership. Unless you have a stash of disposable cash to pay the upfront costs and your budget can accommodate increasing fees, you shouldn’t invest in a DVC property.
3. Cheaper Prices at Resale Outlets
Perhaps you want to enjoy the cost benefits of owning a DVC membership, but you aren’t crazy about signing a 50-year contract or you can’t afford the initial expenses. In this case, don’t buy DVC directly from Disney, but check the resale markets.
These outlets purchase used memberships and resell them to prospective buyers. With only 40, 30, or 20 years left on a DVC contract, you’ll pay significantly less; of course, yearly fees still apply.
Realize, however, that those buying DVC secondhand won’t receive the membership extras mentioned above since they require membership cards issued directly by Disney. Nevertheless, if getting a great bargain is your primary goal, resale markets make perfect sense.
Want to ensure you are buying from Disney? Ask a DVC representative if they are offering any shorter resale contracts. Most of the time, they have alternative options.
2. Too Much Planning
Walt Disney World vacations already require a lot of planning to make the magic happen at its highest level. You need to choose your restaurants 60 days in advance if you’re picking popular dining spots, make park pass reservations if an Annual Passholder, and plan for what Genie+ selections may be best to make if you purchase the addition for your park visit.
Using Disney Vacation Club entails an additional level of planning that spontaneous travelers may find daunting.
Bookings begin 11 months in advance for a DVC Member’s home resort (the primary resort they purchase points from). To ensure that you reserve the rooms and resorts you want outside of your home resort, you need to attempt to snag a reservation 7 months in advance.
You can also place your name on the waitlist seven months ahead of time if the resort is unavailable. You can ultimately be at the mercy of whatever is available.
Impulsive Disney fans find this process frustrating and shouldn’t buy a DVC membership if planning ruins the magic.
1. Value and Moderate Shoppers
A preference for staying at deluxe-level resorts at lower costs over the long term remains the biggest draw for owning a DVC membership. You’ll notice that value and moderate resorts don’t appear on the list.
Frequent users of inexpensive accommodations (Disney’s Value Resorts) who don’t mind sacrificing deluxe amenities and benefits should avoid buying a membership.
They can use their savings for theme park tickets and souvenirs. With many non-Disney hotels surrounding the area, choosing to stay off-property to save money on future vacations may even be the wiser choice, one that’s impractical with a DVC membership.
Please visit Disney Vacation Club’s official website for all DVC questions and membership opportunities.
Are you a Disney Vacation Club Member? In the comments, let us know if you feel it was a good purchase.