After we made 3 trips to Disney within 3 years we decided to check out the Disney Vacation Club (DVC)! I had heard of it, but I was still a little confused on what it was all about! You will find DVC Kiosks all over the Parks, Downtown Disney and the Resorts! You need to set up an appointment to visit the Showroom and speak with a DVC Sales Rep which you can do at the Kiosks.
We set up an appointment for the following morning. Someone from DVC picks you up at your Hotel and drives you over. You can tour the showroom, which features some of the layouts of the DVC properties. And then you get down to business. Since we were pretty much sold on the idea as soon as we made the appointment, it wasn’t so much a sales pitch as it was an explanation. There is also no pressure to buy in.
The basics are that you buy points to use towards future vacations. The initial buy-in is a minimum of 160 points. For 160 points you can stay for at least a week, in a studio, at most of the Villas throughout the year. The Grand Californian, Grand Floridian and Bay Lake Towers need some extra points during Premier Season! You are purchasing these points for 50 years!! The DVC properties that you can buy into depends on what is currently selling. Right now it is the Grand Floridian and Aulani in Hawaii. Pretty soon the Polynesian will be coming up for sale! We initially bought 200 points for Bay Lake Towers as our Home Resort. Each year you do have to pay Condo Fees. Your fees are calculated by the number of points you own times the price per point at your Home Resort.
When we made our purchase, we were given a discount for our current stay. Not sure if this is something that is normally done, or an extra perk we got! As well, we got an extra discount for having someone recommend us to DVC! So, if you are thinking of signing up, mention Christine Urias to see if you can get an extra discount. Supposably we will also get an extra perk if you mention us! We then had to put a percentage down, that we put on our credit card. DVC set us up with a loan for the remainder. Once we got home, we added it to our mortgage and paid off the loan. There are no penalties for paying off the loan at once. He also back dated our start date, so we would have extra points for our first stay!
So now that you have bought points, what do you do? Our yearly date starts on December 1st. So every December 1st we get another 200 points to use to book vacations. You can borrow points from the next year, as well as bank points to use on a future trip! It does get a little confusing. For our first DVC trip, we had 2 years worth of points so we stayed for 10 days in a 1 Bedroom at Bay Lake Towers with a Lake View and it was an amazing room! Since then, we mainly stay in Studios so we can stay longer. You will be given a chart on how many points you need to stay at each Resort throughout the year. The values for the stays will stay more or less the same for the next 50 years! So even though the price to stay at the resort will go up, you won’t need to buy more points for your stays!
The best value for your points is to use them at DVC resorts, including the Villas at Walt Disney World, the Grand Californian at Disneyland, the Hilton Head Island Resort, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Aulani in Hawaii. However, you can also use them at other Disney Properties, on Disney Cruises as well as destinations around the world through RCI!! We spoke to people who have used them to stay all over Europe!
When can you book? You can book 11 months out for your home resort. Meaning, 11 months before I want to travel I can book a room at Bay Lake Towers. However, at the 7 month mark, you can now try booking a room at any other DVC resort! Depending on the time of year and the resort, there is a good chance to get a room somewhere else. The only one I had trouble with was an Epcot resort over New Years Eve. So, we will be at Bay Lake Towers on New Years Eve, even though we will spend New Years at Epcot. But we have stayed at the Yacht and Beach Club and have reservations for the Boardwalk, Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Grand Floridian! We plan on staying at all the resorts at some point.
Being a DVC Member comes with extra perks as well!! You get a 10-15% discount on purchases made at Disney Stores and other shopping spots on property; as well as 10-20% discounts at a lot of Table Service Restaurants! They offer limited time special pricing on Tickets and Season Passes! You get discounts on some of the Tours and for Cirque de Soleil’s La Nouba! Plus discounts for Boat Rentals, Richard Petty’s Driving Experience, Mini Golf, Regular Golf, Disney Quest, Bike Rentals, Horseback Riding, Archery, the Children’s Activity Centres and the Spas! Plus lot’s more!!
They have also started a DVC Membership Magic Exclusive activities. Gemma and I took part in the DVC Member Night at Splitsville Bowling event. It was a great time to meet other DVC members. Ironically we bowled with a family from Ontario!
Every Wednesday they have a Welcome Home Party at the Boardwalk Atlantic Hall! Gemma and I went last year and I won a year membership to the Owner’s Locker. They also hand out swag and you get some snacks.
Is DVC right for you? If you are dreaming about your next trip while you are still at Disney then I would say YES!! If you go at least once every 18 months then YES!! If you read this whole blog post then I would say YES!!
Gemma and I go to Disney more than Mark. We love to plan where we want to stay, what we are going to do and where we are going to eat! If we weren’t DVC members, I couldn’t afford to go every year and I definitely wouldn’t be staying at the Deluxe Resorts! DVC has given us the freedom to come back year after year and enjoy our time there! Gemma has basically grown up going to Disney! She is even planning her Fairytale Wedding there!!