9 Reasons To Choose a Disney Deluxe Villa Resort Instead of a Hotel Room

Jennifer Kaufman Avatar

Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts Grand Villa
Disney Vacation Club Grand Villa. Photo Credit: Jennifer Kaufman

Looking for the ultimate Disney experience. While you can book in a value, moderate, or deluxe Walt Disney World hotel you should look at Disney’s Deluxe Villa Resorts. Often though to be only for Disney Vacation Club timeshare members they are actually available to the general public. We’ll introduce you to the deluxe villas, show you how to book, and let you in on a secret way to save big!

Disney Vacation Club Grand Villa
Disney Vacation Club Grand Villa. Photo Credit: Jennifer Kaufman

What are Disney’s Deluxe Villa Resorts?

First of all, if you’re unfamiliar with Disney resort hotel levels we give a full rundown of what value resorts, moderate resorts, and deluxe resorts include, from dining options at each level to waterslides.

You may be wondering what Walt Disney World resort hotels fall into the deluxe villa category. Here’s a full list and what makes each of them special in our eyes.

Disney’s Deluxe Villa Resorts include:

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas Jambo House and Kidani Village- immersive resort with live animal viewing. Slightly further from theme parks but many on resort activities.
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort- fantastic location on the monorail with easy walkable access to Magic Kingdom as well.
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort Villas- Walk into EPCOT’s International Gateway entrance, family fun at the BoardWalk area, and Skyliner access.
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Villas- Walk into EPCOT’s International Gateway entrance, good dining options at nearby BoardWalk restaurants, and Skyliner access.
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa- desirable table service restaurants, monorail access, and a boat to Magic Kingdom.
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort- Take a boat from this resort to Disney Springs for family fun or more table service restaurants.
  • Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa- great option for pool fun and golfers. Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course Clubhouse is located on property.
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort- on the Skyliner route so easy travel to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, easy access for morning Topolino’s character breakfasts.
  • The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge- Copper Creek Villas and Cabins and Boulder Ridge Villas- Copper Creek Villas and Cabins and Boulder Ridge Villas- a beautiful resort in a natural setting, feels like you’re truly on a break from the theme parks while in your villa.
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Villas and Bungalows- a uniquely themed resort with newly renovated rooms and villas. Monorail access and popular dining options.

Disney Villa Resorts, not for DVC Members Only

In 2006, my husband and I made a purchase that was actually even more fortuitous than we thought it would be: we bought our first 150 points in the Disney Vacation Club. Almost 11 years (and three kids) later when people ask us how we can travel to Orlando Florida’s Walt Disney World and other Disney Destinations as frequently as we do, we can point directly to that decision.

If you’re unsure about investing in DVC, there are actually a few ways you can stay at a Disney Vacation Club resort, such as Disney’s Saratoga Springs, without a membership. First, the rooms can be booked directly with the Walt Disney Travel Company (categorized as “Deluxe Villa Resorts”). Alternatively, you can have a Disney Vacation Club member book a reservation for you using their points. Finally, there are sites dedicated to renting Disney Vacation Club points just for one stay.

Our family recently stayed in the resort area at a lovely, non-DVC Disney hotel. We quickly realized that we have gotten used to some of the amenities offered in the Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts.

In other words, we’re kind of spoiled.

THE IN-ROOM DIFFERENCE at a Disney Deluxe Villa

Deluxe Villa Resort Studios have a more useful layout than comparable hotel rooms.

For my family, and arguably for any family of five, the Villas have a more beneficial layout than any hotel room of a similar size. Standard rooms at the Moderate resorts and Deluxe resorts sleep 4-5 people, and in theory are not all that different from a DVC studio. In place of a bed, however, in a Deluxe Studio there is usually a sleeper sofa (and possibly an additional chair) that forms a bed.

Our third, fourth, and fifth resort guests are children who could likely sleep on a stone patio after a long day at the parks. So these sleeping arrangements are more than sufficient for us. During the day, the “beds” disappear in favor of far more living space. It’s also more space for my 8-year-old twin girls and 4-year-old son to play when we come back to the resort for some downtime.

The exception here are tower studios at Disney’s Riviera Resort. At 220 square feet these efficiency style rooms are designed to sleep only two, with a queen bed that pulls down from the wall.

Deluxe Villas for DVC Members
Disney Vacation Club rooms offer a useful layout with lots of living space. Photo: Jennifer Kaufman

Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts/DVC Resorts offer more room options.

Sure, the studios can most directly be compared to a resort room at another Disney property. But the 1- and 2-bedroom units and the three bedroom Grand Villas are unlike anything I’ve seen anywhere else. Some of the Grand Villas are bigger than my first apartment, and much nicer! The larger room options also usually include additional bathrooms. Those will be a necessity as my twin girls get older and fight over time in the bathroom.

Deluxe One-bedroom Villas and larger offer a washer, dryer, and laundry supplies.

I know, I know. I’m pretty sure I’ve said in my life as well: It’s absurd to do laundry on vacation. You know what, though? I tried it. Now if we travel to Walt Disney World and I don’t have downtime at the resort to wash our clothes, I’m even more disappointed when we get home and I open suitcases full of dirty clothes. I’m just saying, it’s worth a shot… and is easy to try in a Deluxe Villa Resort.

Join our Private Disney FB Group for more tips! JOIN HERE

The 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom units also have a full kitchen.

I’ll admit – I’m not yet on board with cooking during our Disney vacation. But many people I know absolutely love this option. Groceries (perhaps even delivered to the resort) and a kitchen mean families can spend far less money on food, and meet dietary preferences easily. For our family, the full kitchen means leftovers may actually get eaten, since they tend to reheat better in an oven than in a microwave.

DVC Kitchen
1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom Disney Deluxe Villas all have a full kitchen and dining area. Photo: Jennifer Kaufman

Even in the studios, there are plenty of plates, silverware, cups and mugs. A toaster and bottle opener, too.

It was these things, however seemingly small, that really stood out to us on our most recent trip to a non-DVC hotel. That was especially true when we had to go on a scavenger hunt to track down a corkscrew to open a bottle of wine. And again when we served our children their pizza on coloring pages, since we had no plates.


The Deluxe Villa resorts offer a ton of activities for the whole family.

Once upon a time, this was a larger distinction. While DVC resorts had multi-page calendars of activities happening every day of the week, Deluxe resorts may have had a few activities (depending on the location), and Moderate and Value hotels only offered activities for guests on special occasions. Today, all of the on-property resorts have similar choices when it comes to pool games, dance parties, etc.

The major difference in DVC properties is the DVC Members “Community Hall” rooms at each location. Those include free DVD rentals, board games, video games, crafts, sporting equipment, coloring pages, on-site staff, and more. My kids found the crafts and coloring pages to be their favorites, and we’ve discovered a few great new movies during vacation nap times!

DVC Member Community Hall Disney Vacation Club
The DVC “Community Hall” rooms offer board games, free DVD rentals, and other family activities – sometimes include animation classes! Photo: Jennifer Kaufman

Like the Deluxe resorts, these properties have multiple pools (including one or more “feature pools” and additional quiet pools), hot tubs, and water play areas.

They often also have spas and recreational facilities.

Grand Floridian Villas Walt Disney World Disney Deluxe Villas
The Grand Floridian water play area (above) is themed to Alice in Wonderland’s “Mad Tea Party” Photo: Jennifer Kaufman

In addition to a kitchen (or kitchenette), DVC/Deluxe Villa resorts have grills on-site 

While we don’t usually use these in Walt Disney World, we always use them in Hilton Head and in Hawaii. There’s something special about taking time out of a busy schedule to barbecue and have a picnic dinner.

DVC DEluxe Villas BBQ Aulani
Disney Vacation Club resorts have barbecues and/or grills available for guest use. Photo: Jennifer Kaufman

With a DVC reservation, guests can purchase any of the Disney Dining Plans 

We usually have to crunch some numbers to see if the Disney Dining Plan makes sense for a given trip, but it’s nice to have the option if we choose to use it! We also have access to the Disney Magical Express/transportation eligibility, Fastpass Plus and Dining timeline. It’s also the same as guests find at other on-property resorts.

DVC Club Disney Vacation Club Villa Saratoga Springs
The cutest detail found in the Saratoga Springs Spa locker room has to be Minnie’s “locker”! Photo: Jennifer Kaufman

If you haven’t stayed in a Disney Deluxe Villas resort, you may not think you’re missing any of these things.

Take it from me. Once you have experienced the difference, you may start missing the strangest things on subsequent WDW vacations. These rooms and resorts make it even easier to slow down and simply take in all the magic.  That’s my family’s favorite way to do Disney.

Heading to Disneyland instead of Walt Disney World? Check out the DVC villas at the Grand Californian hotel.

SheBuysTravel recommends David’s Vacation Rentals  for discounted  DVC points rentals. Learn more about DVC points rental in this post.


7 responses

  1. Hey! the Grand Villas are bigger than my first apartment and much nicer!

  2. Ok Jennifer first time ever to Disney World. Grandparents trying to plan a trip for a granddaughter and her parents.
    Any tips on how to start the planning process? How do we look into buying points and such. This is NOT my normal planning., which is let’s leave today?. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time!

  3. 5

  4. 5

  5. Love your attention to the little details—looking forward to more of your travel stories.

    1. Thanks so much, Christine!

  6. 5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *