Disney Vacation Club - How To Tell If It's Right For You
Our DVC journey started as I'm sure many others have as well... "there's no way we could afford this!" Alex and I planned our very first Disney trip together for my birthday in early September of 2016. Since I had never been I didn't know what to expect and I most certainly didn't know how much that trip would change my life.
I've always been a diehard Disney fan. I still weep over Beauty and the Beast. I still fast-forward through Mufasa. I know every song from the classics. What I didn't know was how I would react when I walked into Magic Kingdom for the first time. We got there super early, had the whole rope drop experience, and when we rounded onto Main Street USA - I lost it. Seeing the castle for the first time was an indescribable feeeeeeling. Ahem, so sorry. But seriously. This place is amazing. No detail goes unnoticed. They pump delicious scents into Main Street USA during specific times of the year for crying out loud!
When we went back for our second trip, our Honeymoon over Christmas 2018, we made it a priority to visit the DVC Preview Center at Saratoga Springs Resort. Ok, so we kinda wanted the extra FastPasses (you get three for doing the tour!) but we really wanted to see what this DVC thing was all about. We made a road trip of our honeymoon so after 18 hours in the car and one overnight stay in Jacksonville, we headed to Orlando. We decided to make our DVC tour the first thing we did and I wasn't ready for the emotions! The Disney Vacation Club is supposed to be your home away from home so when we walked in the doors of the preview center and the desk staff lifted their heads, smiled, and said "Welcome Home! " I again- lost it. (Do you see a theme emerging?) Ya know what guys, I am home. Call me Cindy and give me my key to that castle.
We sat down with Paul, our DVC rep and let me tell you, this guy loves Disney just as much as we do! We took tours of rooms and watched videos on how DVC works. The nitty gritty of it is this:
- You buy points to use each year at that current year's rates
- These points allow you to stay at resorts that may be out of your normal budget
- Points can be rolled over or borrowed to accommodate different travel plans year to year meaning you can decide to be crazy and bring your extended family!
-You have access to plan your vacation earlier than most guests because you can reserve your home resort up to 11 months in advance!
-Being a DVC member offers discounts throughout the parks including food, merchandise, annual passes, special ticketed events and more.
There's a ton more I could list and maybe some day I'll do a full in depth post detailing exactly how the tour went and go over the numbers but this is the advice we received from Paul. If you are planning on visiting at least FIVE times in TEN years, DVC is a no brainer. If not, well, maybe it isn't for you. The Disney Vacation Club is not like other timeshares in most ways but it is in one very important way... if you don't use it you will feel like you wasted money. Alex and I did the math and for the amount of times we will be visiting Disney over the next ten years and even further out, we would be paying thousands more than with DVC. To us, Paul was right, it really is a no brainer.
Alex and I don't have kids so Disney isn't the "take out a loan to pay off" kind of vacation it can be for larger families. I would say remember that when thinking how often you will be going. He and I can hop a flight from our little local airport on a Saturday morning at 7 am and be in our resort by 10am to get away for a long weekend (shout out to you Spirit Airlines!) so we are planning on going at least once per year if time off work allows. We talked, and talked, and then talked some more about whether we could financially pull this off and with some number crunching we realized we could. The resort currently open for new DVC members is Disney's Riviera Resort and let me tell you...I cried again. That might not be saying much but man Disney did it right with this resort. It's stunning and palatial, yet warm and inviting and just the place we want to call home. If we were to pay cash we would be looking at well over $500 per night to stay in one of these rooms. Definitely not something I would ever do! DVC has made luxury vacationing affordable to us. We aren't normally the types who feel the need to stay in luxury accommodations. We're just fine with the 2 or 3-star motel on a road trip but when it comes to our most favorite place on earth... we wanted to feel a little fancy. Having DVC affords us the opportunity to stay at Disney's most incredible resorts and not come close to spending what we would out of pocket. For us, that's a huge win and one of the biggest reasons we chose to become members. I'll never forget the look on Paul's face when I told him the walk in showers at most DVC resorts was the real selling point...but you try and shave your legs in a normal tiny hotel shower.
One perk that we didn't think of until very recently is being able to use points for a Disneyland vacation! We knew we'd want to visit sometime but flying across the country from PA, booking a hotel, plus tickets and spending money seemed to be a far reach. I'm sure Paul covered this but in our excitement I definitely forgot. The Grand Californian takes DVC points and Disney is currently building a brand new DVC resort in California! Something that once again seemed somewhat out of reach just became very real, in fact, we're already planning our five year wedding anniversary trip! Only two and a half more years to go........
Below are a few shots from our first trip as DVC members.
Photo 1- Rooftop terrace outside Topolino's, a signature dining restaurant at Riviera
Photo 2- Heading out to Hollywood Studio's for the day!
Photo 3- View from our perfect Preferred View Deluxe Studio.
The down and dirty explanation is as simple as they come :
If you use it, you'll love it, so get it! If you don't, please don't waste your time and money. And don't trash talk it if you really don't give it the ol' college try.
I've seen a few videos online ripping DVC, saying it's all smoke and mirrors. Most of these people went twice in six to seven years. To me, that's just not fair. If you're crazy like us and can't stay away from that Mouse and his house, DVC can be a wonderful addition to your years of vacations.
**Disclaimer - Yes, you can use DVC points at tons of other sites across the world, we're just not really into that so we didn't even consider that as a perk. We may take additional trips but most likely wouldn't even be tempted to use our points. If we could live in Disney, we would! This may be a make or break for your family so if you like to travel all over, look into the options for using your points at other locations!
Until next time,