Being a Disney Vacation Club member has been better than we could have imagined! We have been able to experience some incredible vacations because we were part of DVC that I don’t think we could have done otherwise. We took the plunge while on a Disney cruise about five years ago, and it’s been SO useful ever since. We’ve been able to use our DVC points on a cruise, at Hong Kong Disneyland, at Tokyo Disneyland, at Aulani, at the Grand Californian, at Paradise Pier, and of course our home resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge. We’ve been able to stay in some really great places because of it and in a way, it feels like we’ve SAVED money by doing it. Not having to pay for your room while on vacation is a huge deal. But it’s not all cinnamon buns and roses (I like cinnamon buns, especially Disney cinnamon buns). Here are my pros and cons for being a Disney Vacation Club member.
Cons: It cost a lot of money.
Like becoming a premium passholder, being a DVC member costs a lot of money. Not only are you paying for your points, but also annual dues which are not cheap. When I last checked the DVC site (7/27/2015) points were $165 each with a minimum of 100 points to purchase and annual dues of about $51 – $55 per month (per 100 points). That means for the minimum number of points you will be paying about $16,500 in total plus annual dues of over $600. And the more points purchased, not only does your cost increase but so too does your annual dues. And even if you pay off your membership cost, you will continue to pay the annual dues until the contract expires. 100 points will get you about a week’s stay in a deluxe studio or a few days in a one-bedroom villa depending on quite a number of factors.
Cons: It’s not always easy to get reservations.
At your home resort, it’s usually not an issue. You can reserve 11 months in advance and only those who have that home resort can book that far in advance. At any other DVC resort, the reservation time is 7 months. That may seem like a long time, but there are limited spaces at each resort. Getting a room at Grand Californian can be near impossible depending on when you plan on going. Same can be true for Aulani and I’m sure for most of the new properties (Grand Floridian, Bay Lake, and Polynesian). To book our Aulani vacation, I woke up at 5am each morning to call in since the DVC call center is based on Orlando time. Each morning I would have to hope I’m one of the first to book the hotel so they could extend our stay!
So why in the world would someone become a DVC member? Because the pros outweigh the cons by a TON! Disney throws its legendary guest service into their vacation resort membership more than any other membership you can have. The list of perks for being a DVC member run pages and pages long (no kidding). Everything from discounts in dining to merchandise discounts to savings on spa packages to special member Disney Cruises to special member dining experiences to special members only movie nights at the resort…the list goes on and on and on. PLUS, you don’t have to use your DVC points at just Disneyland and WDW. You can also use them at Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris! In addition to Disney properties, Disney has agreements with prominent hotels all over the world you can you use your points at to reserve a room. AND if that wasn’t enough, Adventures by Disney has exclusive packages designed with the DVC member in mind! Whew. Still not sold? Here are my top 4 reasons to be a DVC member:
Pros: FREE admission to Hong Kong Disneyland for the length of your stay!
That’s right. Our entire family got to go to Hong Kong Disneyland for FREE just for booking a room through DVC for the length of our stay. Every day we had free admission to enter the park just for being a DVC member and booking a room through DVC. Our room held four people so we were entitled to up to four tickets which would be a cost savings of a little over $250 USD per day. Crazy right?
Pros: Special member experiences at the resort
Staying at a Disneyland or WDW resort or going on a cruise comes with special member perks. Not only are there member mixers sponsored by Disney where you can meet other folks in the DVC family and member programs like the morning run through Disney California Adventure, but Disney adds little touches too. On our cruise, they put a special DVC magnet on our door and a special DVC welcome package in our stateroom just to wish us a happy voyage! This fall and winter at Grand Californian they are doing movie nights on the Pier View Terrace free of charge and this summer members got to play at Typhoon Lagoon free of charge late at night!
Pros: Membership is transferable
One of the reasons we did it was as an investment for our children. We bought enough points so if our points outlast our lives our children can inherit them and still have enough points for each of their families. DVC is very helpful and we had a great cast member who made sure everything worked out just right. To me this was one of the biggest pluses for investing was that as resort costs continue to rise, our kids can still go with their kids someday without it being a burden to them.
Pros: Cost savings
Say what? I know I just got done telling you how much it cost, but when you consider you get a week’s stay at a top resort every year for what amounts to $330 per week – that’s an amazing savings. Even staying at a national chain would only get you about 3 days for that kind of money, but even in a deluxe studio you are probably saving about $400 a week! Yes, it does cost a lot, but the savings more than make up for it. That’s just my rudimentary math so you might want to check it out for yourself, but the savings is tremendous and pays for itself quickly!
So, is it expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? OH, YES! If you decide to join us as a DVC member, tell them Craig sent you!