Have you ever been to a Disney Park and found yourself looking at the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) kiosk only to have some very handsome guy come up and start telling you how fantastic it all is? That was me!
Technically, Disney has people that sell DVC memberships for a living, and my rugged looks aren’t for everyone, but I get by. Also, I have been asked to stay at least 150 feet from the display cart, but it’s too exciting!
Hello, my name is Whit Honea and I am a DVC member.
I should probably put one of those disclaimers on this post declaring my intent to solicit timeshare sales or whatever the fine print says, but this isn’t a pitch, it is a very biased review. Besides, DVC sells itself and disclaimers are boring.*
What is the Disney Vacation Club?
There is an official definition on the website, but basically DVC is a timeshare (although that word is never used by cast members) that offers its members a set amount of yearly points (depending on how many are purchased) that can be applied toward all sorts of amazing vacations. Members are able to use points for hotel rooms on their Disney vacation (for example, a room at one of the Walt Disney World resorts may be 26 points per night depending on room type, day of the week, and season), staying at Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii, or for booking a voyage with the Disney Cruise Line.
In cases where the desired lodging requires more points than a member has available, there are options for banking points into a subsequent year or borrowing them from the year ahead. There are deadlines for such things, and once transferred points must be used accordingly, but it is all pretty simple to figure out.
There are also a large number of non-Disney experiences that members can apply their points toward. For example, we have used our points to stay at the Boston Harbor Hotel, a fancy bed and breakfast in Vermont, and to book friends a romantic getaway for their honeymoon (we’re givers).
For people that visit Disney parks a lot (or want to), it is, in my opinion, a must-have. We live about an hour from the Disneyland Resort, so we don’t always need a room, but staying on property is so much better than driving home exhausted at midnight (you know what I’m talking about).
We often go to Disneyland or California Adventure (or both) for the day, stay the night, then wake up and have breakfast somewhere in Downtown Disney before heading home at a leisurely pace. Using our points means that we don’t have to allow for lodging in our budget, and that means churros for everyone!
My wife and I are firm believers that a DVC membership pays for itself in no time. For instance, our first membership (we have since bought a second) cost $10,000, which we financed (current prices may vary), and three summers ago I used our points to book a 10 day vacation at Walt Disney World‘s Boardwalk Villas, a room and duration that would have cost close to $6,000 (at that time) had I booked through normal channels. We paid nothing out of pocket. NOTHING.
Do the math.
Sure, we are still paying off the loan for the second membership, and there are annual dues (we pay both in easy monthly payments), but each share purchased is good for 40 years, and that’s a lot of family fun. They are also transferable, which means that each of our boys may one day receive a membership for their own family vacations (or at the very least continue to travel with us through our golden years).
I’m sure that there are reasons that DVC is not right for everyone; however, for people like us that can afford a small monthly payment (dues), but would struggle to afford Disney accommodations or cruises out of pocket, it is the best investment that we have ever made in terms of quality time for our family.
Who doesn’t want to invest in that?
Please note that all costs for my family’s membership(s) in the Disney Vacation Club were/are paid by us (the Honeas), and that I have not received compensation from Disney Vacation Club for this post. Also, the figures and non-Disney destinations outlined above are based on my personal experience at the time of purchase/use and may have been adjusted. Please check linked websites for current information and pricing.
*Not all disclaimers are boring. Actual level of boredom may vary. Possible side effects include sleep, yawning, eating a gallon of ice cream in one sitting, buying products you see on TV but will never use, and pregnancy. If you experience boredom for longer than four hours please consult a hobby, good book, or the great outdoors.
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).