You’re Tempted – But is the Disney Vacation Club Worth It?

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Disney Vacation Club resort at Kidani Villagecategory
Photo: Walt Disney World

If you’re a Disney family then you’ve probably considered Disney Vacation Club a time or two. But the ultimate question of “Is the Disney Vacation Club worth it?” is a complex answer. This club comes at a price but pre-pays for your Disney vacation and ultimately locks in your rate for 50 years. Add in special DVC member perks and access to deluxe resort villas and it starts to sound like a great idea. But is Disney Vacation Club membership right for your family? Here’s how to decide.

What is the Disney Vacation Club?

The Disney Vacation Club (DVC for short) is a timeshare operated by Disney. The program offers resorts at Walt Disney World and Disneyland and also in Hawaii, South Carolina, and Vero Beach, Florida.

Like any timeshare, you pay into the program and schedule your vacations according to the program rules. Your DVC contract outlines the rules along with your annual dues.

Read More: How DVC Points Work

How Does the Disney Vacation Club Work?

The Disney Vacation club operates on a points system. You purchase a certain number of Disney Vacation Club points – a one-time buy – and then use them at DVC resorts. If you purchase points directly from Disney (or if you purchased resale points prior to March 21, 2011) you can also use those points at Disney Resort Hotels in California, Florida, France, Hong Kong, Japan, the Disney Cruise Line, and other non-theme-park vacations.

You can buy out someone else’s DVC membership – which also means that if it ends up not being a fit for you, you can sell it – but to get the very best of the perks, you need to buy directly from Disney.

King bed at Disney Vacation Club Resort Old Key West- DVC members have access to king beds
A king-sized bed in the master bedroom is DVC standard issue. Photo: Jill Robbins

We are newish DVC members and, while we appreciate the flexibility, we’re seeing that the most bang for our buck is using our points toward trips at actual DVC properties at Walt Disney World. We recently took a Disney Cruise. It was tempting to use some of our points to minimize our travel costs, we decided it wasn’t the best fit for us to use our points on the cruise.

I recommend number crunching each time you’re planning a vacation. There are lots of variables and I always find it worth my time to do a little bit of legwork to ensure we get max benefits. There are many ways to use points including Disney Cruises and Adventures by Disney but they may not be the best use of your points. If you are a DVC member planning an Adventures by Disney vacation, it is definitely worth doing some cost comparisons.

How Much Does the Disney Vacation Club Cost?

We’re not going to mince words. It’s expensive. A DVC purchase is a major one and an investment for your future. You’re buying your family vacations for the next 50 years. You purchase a set amount of points to use in a calendar year. The minimum number of points you can buy is 160 and the max is 2,000. We bought 250 points and our total investment was close to $40,000.

For us the decision to purchase meant we were locking in 2018 resort prices for 50 years. It also ensured that we were keeping ourselves in the deluxe resort category for those vacations. Disney has a resort for just about every price point. I’m not knocking the value resorts at all, but when planning trips we found we were steering towards the deluxe resorts for the space. Sometimes plans had to get very creative to make that happen when paying out of pocket.

SheBuysTravel Tip: If you’re thinking about buying into Disney Vacation Club purchasing while at Disney or on a Disney Cruise is smart. We purchased while aboard a Disney Cruise and additional incentives to purchase on the ship.

Disney Vacation Club Financing and Fees

Disney offers financing. We’re currently paying less than 10 percent interest, which is good for a personal loan. You can refinance with your own bank if a lower rate is available.

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Some important financial things to consider about DVC Membership:

  • There’s no penalty for early payoff
  • The initial buy-in cost is about 10% of your total purchase price.
  • You can sign into their portal and build your ideal membership to estimate the cost.
  • There are two separate fees after purchase that you’ll pay monthly- membership and maintenance fees.

SheBuysTravel Tip: If you plan ahead, you can do the initial 10% down on a credit card to earn points or miles.

Not Sure About DVC Yet?

If you aren’t quite ready to jump into DVC membership you can take it for a test drive. Whether you’re looking for a membership or just a great price on a Disney vacation, you can rent DVC points.

SheBuysTravel Tip: SheBuysTravel recommends David’s Vacation Rentals for discounted DVC points rentals.

Is the Disney Vacation Club Worth It?

Do you plan to vacation at Walt Disney World at least every other year?

If the answer is “yes” then the DVC is something you need to consider, especially if you’re a young family. My husband and I honeymooned at Walt Disney World. We considered DVC membership back then (and OH HOW I AM KICKING MYSELF) but decided it wasn’t a fit for us. We married in our early 40s. With one daughter in high school, I didn’t see frequent trips to Disney in the cards for us.


Surprise, surprise. We became parents again in our late 40s and frequent trips to Disney suddenly became more attractive.

However you look at it, “frequent trips to Walt Disney World” are definitely on the table. If that doesn’t sound do-able to you, then you might want to take a hard look at whether DVC is right for you.

Read more: Everything You Need to Plan the Best Disney World Vacation Ever! 

two boys at Disney World Checkerboard Wall
We love our frequent trips to Disney World. Don’t miss this checkerboard Instagram wall at the exit of Toy Story Mania in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Photo Credit: Jill Robbins

Sidenote: Where You Live Matters

When you’re ultimately deciding whether Disney Vacation Club is right for you, geography will come into play. We live in San Antonio, which is SMACK in the middle of the country, making it easy to fly to Orlando from where we live. It’s also equally easy to fly to Los Angeles and Disneyland. If you live in Florida, Georgia, Alabama or any place within a comfortable driving distance to Walt Disney World, then getting there for those frequent visits becomes easier and cheaper.

We can get a direct, early a.m. flight to Orlando and be at Disney before lunch. That said, flying a family of four to Disney twice a year gets expensive. We’re able to make it work but how you’ll get to Disney to enjoy your DVC membership is something you need to ask yourself before you sign on.

Does DVC Membership Mean a Nicer Room?

YES! DVC villas offer more amenities that your standard hotel room. Your room will be better if you’re a DVC member. There are three levels of resort accommodations at Walt Disney World: Value, Moderate and Deluxe. Disney Vacation Club Villas are in the Deluxe level resort category.

Even the smallest DVC units available, the studio units, are roughly the size of a Deluxe level hotel room (355-412 square feet) and include a mini fridge and a microwave making some small in-room meals are possible. Studios sleep four.

DVC Villas at Walt Disney World include:

  • The Copper Creek Villas and Cabins and Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House and Kidani Village
  • Saratoga Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas (best pool ever, btw)
  • BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney’s Old Key West
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

If you’re looking to stay outside of Orlando you also have options. There are DVC Villas at Disneyland, Vero Beach, Hawaii and South Carolina.

  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel
  • The Villas at Disneyland Hotel
  • Disney’s Vero Beach Resort
  • Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, Ko Olina, Hawai’i
  • Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort
Olivia's restaurant at Old Key West Resort
All DVC resorts have a sit down restaurant. We love Olivia’s at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

What If You Want a Larger Room?

If you need more space than a studio, look at the one and two bedroom villas. Most one-bedroom villas sleep four (and one baby in a crib), with a king bed and a full-size pullout sofa in the living room. My family of four (two adults and two children) is very comfortable in a one-bedroom villa. If you need more room, check out the two or three bedroom villas or the bungalows, cabins, or treehouses available. The idea behind Disney Vacation Club is for you to truly feel at home.

Obviously, larger rooms require more points. We’re able to make the points in our contract go further by staying in the smaller units. We love the one-bedroom villas for now. As our kids get older, we know we’ll need more room and more privacy. In the future we can purchase additional points as needed.

Is Anything Different About My DVC Stay?

One thing to note is that housekeeping services are a little different at DVC properties. You don’t get the same daily “mousekeeping” service that you do in a hotel room. You get a “trash and tidy” every four days, which is fine with us. Since you’re in an apartment/home-like setting, you don’t really need housekeeping service like you would in a hotel room. There also are washers and dryers in all units except for the studios (washer and dryers are available on site for studios, just not in your room) so you can wash your towels if you need to.

Benefits of DVC Membership

DVC Member Services is awesome. They offer vacation planning assistance to include help with flights, car rentals, room requests, and priority seating for meals. I consider myself very knowledgeable on all things Disney but the DVC Member Services peeps know way more than I do. Their suggestions and thorough question answers help us plan better vacations.

You can also arrange for groceries to be delivered to your room via Member Services, although in this day and age, most people use Shipt, Instacart, or Amazon. Ordering through the DVC gets your food INTO your room. Ordering through other delivery services gets your food to the concierge. You then have to arrange for them to deliver it. This isn’t a difficult process but it’s nice to walk into a room and already have milk and water in your fridge.

One of the things I love most is having a full kitchen. Now, I don’t love the idea of cooking on vacation. However, it’s nice to be able to make sandwiches and simple breakfasts. We also love doing things like baking cookies or making popcorn on vacation.

two boys at Disney's Saratoga Springs, a Disney Vacation Club property
Disney’s Saratoga Springs has so many fun photo spots. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

Pool Hopping

Members also have pool-hopping privileges at Walt Disney World. That means you can use a pool at a resort you’re not staying at. Over the years the list of excluded pools has gotten longer. The pool hopping option is not valid for the following Walt Disney World Resorts:

  • Bay Cove Pool at Bay Lake Tower
  • All pools at Disney’s Art of Animation
  • The leisure pool at Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  • Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Beach Club and Yacht Club
  • All Pools at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • The Lava Pool and leisure pool at Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Riviera Pool and Beau Soleil Pool at Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Boulder Ridge Cove Pool and Copper Creek Springs Pool at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

It’s always good to check listed membership benefits before traveling to another resort. Pool hopping exclusions are subject to change. When you arrive at another resort you need to check in with the front desk host or hostess. There can be capacity restrictions and blackout dates.

Although I like the idea of pool hopping in theory, I’ve never really been compelled to do it. If you’re staying at a DVC Resort, your pool will be amazing. All the pools have a slide, a whirlpool, and a poolside bar/restaurant.

a pastel colored staircase with gingerbread Victorian details at DVC member Disney's Old Key West Resort
Disney’s Old Key West Resort has lovely ice cream colors and subtle theming that DVC members. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

DVC Discounts That Members Get

DVC members also get discounts on everything from golf to shopping to dining (individual meals not dining plans) to spa treatments to rentals of all kinds (beach cabanas, wave runners, surrey bikes, beach chairs). While DVC members do receive discounts on water park tickets, they do not get a discount on regular Disney Park tickets. Occasionally, annual pass discounts may be offered but they are not always available.

My best advice is to pop that card out anytime you’re buying anything and ask if you get a discount. If you have questions on whether you’ll get a DVC member discount on something, a call to Member Services will get you the answer. I recently attended the Senses of Africa Breakfast at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is breakfast and a private tour of the savanna. This is a luxury, special occasion experience. After asking about DVC member discounts, I was able to get 20 percent off. Winning.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Heading to Disney Springs? Don’t forget to ask businesses there. Many retailers and restaurants have DVC member discounts available.

Disney Files Magazine

DVC members also get a free quarterly magazine called Disney Files. In addition to member news, Disney Files covers information on what’s new and hot across Disney companies, including movies.

view of toy story land roller coaster at walt disney world
If you want a place to chillax and regroup when you’re at Disney World, there are two lounges available to DVC members only. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

DVC Member Lounges

There are also two member lounges at Walt Disney World, one inside Epcot and one at Disney’s Contemporary Resort’s Bay Lake Tower.

The lounge at EPCOT is located on the second floor of the ImageWorks merchandise location in the Imagination! Pavilion. It gets hot in Florida so having access to A/C, WiFi, and complimentary soft drinks is great way for hot days. It also provides a great spot to make the most of a rainy day at Disney.

The lounge at Bay Lake Tower is a truly special experience for members. Top of the World Lounge- A Villians Lair, offers amazing views of Magic Kingdom’s fireworks. Open nightly from 6pm until midnight, there is a menu of food and beverages available to order from. Members do pay for food and drink at this lounge.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Top of the World Lounge- A Villians Lair is a very popular spot for fireworks. We recommend arriving very early.

There are also member lounges and opportunities outside of Disney World at Star View Station in Disneyland Park.

Disney Vacation Club Member-Only Events

There are also other member-only events offered throughout the year, including Members Only Cruises. Obviously, these are exclusive events that come with a price tag and not free events. It is cool as a DVC member to get these exclusive opportunities that the average visitor doesn’t get. Besides, Disney Vacation Club Members are a pretty cool bunch and it’s been fun getting to know them!

Special Offers and DVC Member Opportunities

Other benefits are always popping up. In 2025, a waterpark benefit has been added. DVC members can get complimentary admission to either Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach on their check-in day. It’s the perfect way to start off a Disney vacation.

Related Post: Save Money on a Luxury Disney Vacation by Renting DVC Points

My Best and Most Important Advice?

Take your time, do your research, and don’t make an impulse purchase- unless you’re in the habit of making impulse purchase that are in the $20K+ range.

You’ll see people in the Disney Parks, in the resorts, and on the Disney Cruise Ships offering to give you a presentation on the Disney Vacation Club or even take you to tour a property. You might be offered incentives, such as free meals in exchange for attending. While they’re not going to be those obnoxious, high-pressure sales people, their objective is to sell you something that costs a lot of money while you’re in a happy place enjoying yourself.

kitchen view in a deluxe villa at disney world for DVC members
I’m not a huge believer in cooking on a vacation but I love how the Disney Vacation Club Deluxe Villas give DVC members the option to make simple meals or sandwiches. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

While there’s nothing wrong with going to a presentation to get more info about the DVC – that’s why they exist – if you’re seriously considering membership read up on the process (like you’re doing now!) before you say that big “I do.”

I had done my homework on the Disney Vacation Club before we went on our cruise. I knew it was a fit for our family. Waiting to join while on a Disney Cruise because of incentive pricing was intentional. I’d done my research before I ever scheduled the presentation. I still had questions but I was able to make the decision based on knowledge and not being caught up in the moment.

Disney Vacation Club Membership Has an End Date

Even though you’re technically buying real estate (as with any time share, and your purchase is deeded) there is a date your membership will expire. The person who sold us our membership explained this really well and it will be in your contract that you sign. The length of our contract is 50 years and there are provisions that allow us to transfer or leave our membership to our children, or mention it in our wills.

Value Changes with the Season

The time of year and season will impact how much your points are worth. For example, staying during Christmas is going to use more points than staying during January because Christmas is one of Disney’s peak crowd periods.

Additional Points Can Be Added at Any Time

When our boys are older we plan to purchase more points. When they’re teens, we’ll want a two-bedroom villa. Purchasing more points can make that happen.

You Get an Allocated Number of Points During Your “Use Year”

You can bank and borrow points, meaning you can move your points forward or dip into next year’s points. Want to splurge on a cabin or a tree house? How about squeezing in an extra trip this year? You can. You can also do a one-time buy to cover a special or unusual trip. If you want to stay in a three-bedroom villa with two separate entrances and a pool table overlooking the Savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (all that sounds dreamy, right?), you can. Just buy extra points specifically for THAT vacation.

disney saratoga springs view of pastel building
Disney’s Saratoga Springs is one of the premier DVC properties. If you look closely, you might see some Mickey ears! Photo credit: Jill Robbins

You’ll Be Assigned a “Home Resort”

We had the choice between Copper Creek at Disney’s Wilderness Resort Canyon and Aulani in Hawaii (O’ahu). We chose Copper Creek. On our 2020 Disney Cruise, prospective DVC members were being offered the choice between the new Riviera Resort and Aulani. You have to pick from what they give you. This means you can’t just randomly decide you want to call Animal Kingdom Lodge “home.”

If you’d like to stay at other properties besides your home resort, you can. The rules for making reservations are different. You can make reservations at your home resort up to 11 months in advance. If you want to make reservations at any other DVC resort, it’s seven months. These time standards are no joke. We were able to reserve at our home resort right at the 11-month mark. But when we tried to book a room four months in advance, we had trouble finding anything. In the end, we split our stay between two different properties.

You Can Use Points at Non-Disney Properties

There are thousands of properties at destinations around the world available through Interval International for a vacation exchange. You’ll be given access to a site where you can view and book properties. If you’re not feeling Disney on a particular year but still want to take a trip, you can. But back to what I said earlier, if an every-other-year trip to Disney World doesn’t sound like something you want to sustain- DVC membership probably isn’t for you. Try renting DVC points instead of buying.

You Can Buy Points From a Reseller

You may pay a lower price per point but you may also not get the same benefits you’d get buying from Disney. Be sure to research what membership benefits you’ll miss out on.

In the end the decision to purchase a Disney Vacation Club membership is one that you’ll need to make with your families needs in mind. That is the only way to know if it is truly worth it for you.

2 responses

  1. I want to say thank you very much for your informative article on DVC. It pretty much answer a lot of my questions. But I do have a question. Does DVC have any specials for military families or Disabled Veterans?

    1. This is what the Disney site says:

      Savings for US Military Personnel and Cast Members

      To say “thank you” for all that you do, Disney Vacation Club is offering additional savings on Membership for select groups. This offer is extended to:

      Members of the US military (active and retired)
      Disney Cast Members
      Eligibility rules apply. Valid identification and/or proof of employment is required and subject to approval.

      For details, call (888) 681-6028†.