Jul 272011
 

The living area of a Bay Lake Tower villa.

By:  Rhonna Costabile

Did you ever find yourself wondering whether or not you should join the Disney Vacation Club? You see the kiosks all over the place or you see the billboards – taunting you with “the best kept secret”. As a member myself, I will gladly point out some of the more significant advantages and disadvantages to help you make a decision one way or the other.

The Disney Vacation Club program is point based, and you have the freedom and flexibility to use your points however and whenever you want. Each year, you will receive a new allotment of points and you also have the option to bank (putting the points aside for the following year) or borrow points (taking points from the next year’s coffers) if you are wanting to do a Disney vacation but don’t have enough points for the room type you are looking at or you want to vacation longer than your year’s points will allow. I will spare you the grueling details of all of that.

Your points allow you to stay at any of the nine resorts that have special DVC villas. You can also use your points to stay at the Disneyland Resort, the brand new (upcoming) resort Aulani, in Hawaii, on a Disney cruise or any other Disney resort in the USA or abroad. There is a litany of ways you can vacation with your points. There is even an exchange program included, allowing you have even more flexibility and options.

One of the biggest draws about the villas is that they are more like apartments with their very own kitchenette, washer and dryer, and separate bedrooms. The whole idea is to make you feel like you’re not in a hotel room, but at home. To many families, just the idea of being able to do laundry for free and in the comfort of your own villa is enough to make them decide to buy in.

Another bonus is that your membership is good for roughly 50 years! In addition, there are other perks for DVC members such as discounts for merchandise and services.

So, how could there be any disadvantages? Well, the points are only good for one year. If you cannot do a Disney vacation in one year, you would have to bank your points. After that you have one more year to use them, or you lose them. It is constant monitoring of your points, which could be a huge hassle for some.

Another negative is that the villas do not receive housekeeping every day. You will only get new towels and have the trash removed from the room once or twice during your stay. The rooms are equipped with vacuum cleaners in case you make a mess on the floor and if you need clean towels or bed sheets, you can always wash them yourself. Don’t forget to pack those Purex 3 in 1 sheets!

Another thing to consider is that it can also be quite expensive. Each property sells for a different cost per point. In order to have enough points to stay for a full week at any time of the year at any of the resorts, you will need a large amount of points. They do offer payment plans, but there are interest fees, closing costs and annual dues.

In the long run, having a DVC membership does pay for itself and it is a significant cost savings where accommodations are concerned. As rack rates rise, the cost of your points stays the same for the duration of your contract. Even if the number of points you need to stay for a week increases, you are still paying less than you would with cash to stay in a villa, if you wanted that sort of accommodation.

It’s all a matter of what your family wants, needs and can afford. There are point packages for almost every budget. My family of five needs quite a bit of space, and everyone needs their own bed. So, either we book two rooms or one 2 bedroom villa. The cash cost would be the roughly same and we are all comfortable. After all, everyone knows that you need a good night’s sleep to navigate through a whole day in any WDW park!

For more information about the DVC program visit http://www.themouseforless.com/tripplanning/DVC/DVC.shtml and maybe one of these days, I’ll meet you at an exclusive members only party!

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  8 Responses to “To DVC or Not to DVC?”

  1. This was the best investment for Disney we ever made. Never would of stayed in Villas due to the price alone. Having my own bedroom while kids in another is another plus. Oldest Daughter has taken friends with us and like I said 2 bedrooms a plus, and the extra bathroom. Yes you do not get Mousekeeping every day, but we do not make a mess and if no big deal to throw a wash of towels in washer. Another plus is you can claim your interest and maintance fees on your taxes at the end of the year.

  2. I agree with Pat, DVC was the best investment in my family’s leisure time that we could have ever made. It’s true that you do need to regularly monitor your points, but once you get used to that it’s really not a big deal. And we actually don’t mind not having Mousekeeping every day; if my kids want to leave their toys out and I don’t want to secure the various electronics and valuables we tote along, I don’t have to! And having the kitchen is a huge time- and money-saver. We hit Publix or get a Garden Grocer delivery and we are good for the week. Yes, it’s rather expensive to buy in and you do have to pay annual maintenance fees, but there’s no quesiton it’s cheaper than a yearly visit to the World would be – if you could even afford to go yearly without DVC!

  3. We love our DVC “investment”. My husband, the work-a-holic, LOL, HAS to take a vacation now!! While I thought we might go to WDW every 12-18 months, we are actually going every 9-12 months because we own DVC. I wasn’t sure I was a “condo” type vacation person since I had only utilized hotel rooms in the past, but I LOVE having the convenience of the washer/dryer and kitchen. Sometimes, eating one more fast food or dine out meal is just not that appealing. We love our DVC.

  4. If I’m on vacation, you will not catch me doing laundry, unless I am away for a month. Or making my dinner. I might as well have a staycation.

    • ITA, Sally! To say nothing of not receiving daily maid service.

      Plus if you really crunch the numbers, you don’t save anything (or hardly anything) on your “investment”. If you still want to stay in a villa, just pay extra and stay there.

  5. I love the idea of DVC, but I really am uncomfortable making such a long term commitment. We typically travel during value season and take advantage of the discounts. We got 40% off the cost of a 1 bedroom villa at the Beach Club plus we’ll get maid service daily (which I really like). The last time we booked the villas we got free dining plan. It just seems like it would be years before the room would actually start saving money.

  6. I have to say on thing about the DVC, It is no longer worth the effort. When we joined back in 1991, there was only one resort, OKW. but there were not all that many members. There are now, I believe, more than 100,000 members, which makes it VERY difficult to get a stay during the time period that you want. A simple matter of numbers, too many members, not enough rooms. If I knew then what I know now, {famous last words} we never would have joined. Just my point of view from our personal experiences over the years.

  7. My husband and I were given a few nights at Wilderness Lodge for our anniversary present a few years ago, a studio. I was in love the moment I walked in. Then we found out the toilet had it’s own geyser that would not stop once it was flushed. We called the desk and they said they would be there to fix it, while we went to play at the parks. Evidence that they showed up, but it wasn’t fixed. If I was paying all that money for a DVC and had to endure that I would be FURIOUS. Good marketing people see the hook in your mouth and then they don’t have to please you anymore, because they already have your money! DVC is not for us. It’s vacation! I don’t want to do my own laundry or fix a toilet. For those of you who think you look cool getting on a DVC location bus…think again. We think it is hysterical that you were hooked into something that continues your work from home. Dishes, laundry, grocery shopping. We can spend the big dollars that you are paying out for the DVC on other things and still have a great vacation!

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