Is the Disney Vacation Club Worth It?

FT Contributor  | 

The Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is a timeshare program administered by Disney. Unlike most timeshare programs, as a member of the DVC, you’re not tied to one location annually. You can redeem your membership benefits at a number of participating resorts and lodges.

Disney Vacation Club members also benefit from additional perks, such as discounted theme park admission tickets and invitations to special Disney events. Before you decide to buy into this expensive program, it’s important to learn more about its advantages and disadvantages to decide if it’s right for you.

How Does Disney Vacation Club Work?

You become a DVC member when you purchase Vacation Points. Every year, you’re provided with a previously determined allotment of Vacation Points which you can cash in for participating Disney resort stays around the world. Every time you book a vacation, a certain number of points is deducted from your total Vacation Points.

You must buy your points up front and you can complete the transaction with cash or by financing your purchase through Disney. In addition to Vacation Points that you can use for resort stays around the world, you may also enjoy other membership perks, including discounts on dining, shopping, and theme park admission.

Disney Vacation Club Resort Locations

The DVC makes it easier to save for vacation since you cash in your points for your resort or hotel. As a member, you have access to many domestic and international resorts with no blackout dates. You can use your points to book stays at Disney Vacation Club hotels and resorts in:

  • North America.
  • Europe.
  • Central and South America.
  • The Caribbean.
  • Australia and the South Pacific.
  • Asia.

The number of points you must use for your stay varies depending on the resort you choose. There are also several hotels and resorts not affiliated with Disney that will accept Vacation Points, such as The Fairmont in San Francisco and the Golden Sands Resort in Malta.

How Much Does Disney Vacation Club Cost?

You have the ability to choose the number of Vacation Points you want to buy when you sign up for the DVC. However, you must purchase a minimum of 100 points. Your expenses vary, depending on whether you finance your membership or pay cash for it. Your membership makes it easy to adhere to an annual vacation budget since your Vacation Points are valid for 50 years.

Currently, Disney charges $193 per Vacation Point. However, it’s important to keep in mind you may also be responsible for closing costs, which may vary depending on the Home Resort you choose and the number of Vacation Points you buy. Generally, these closing costs start at $587 but may be much more. In addition to financing, you’re also responsible for paying annual dues as a member of the DVC. These dues are used to pay real estate taxes and resort fees and may start at $70 per month.

For example, if you choose to purchase a DVC membership with 150 Vacation Points through Disney’s Riviera Resort, your purchase price is $29,250. Your closing costs are $772.13, so your total is $30,022.13. You’re also responsible for annual dues, which are $103.88 per month.

If you choose to finance this purchase, Disney may ask for at least a 10% down payment. If your credit is in good standing, the company may offer you a 10-year loan that equates to a $377.69 monthly payment, before your monthly dues.

The Pros of DVC

While a DVC membership is a hefty investment, there are several advantages, including:

  • Bonuses and benefits: As a DVC member, you’re eligible for unique benefits through Disney, including exclusive gifts and discounts on merchandise, meet-and-greet events with characters, and discounted tickets for Disney Broadway shows.
  • High quality lodging: By using your Vacation Points to book lodging for your vacation, you may be able to stay in a nicer room than you would if you were paying cash. Many Disney resorts offer high-quality and unique lodging, including villas, cabins, tower studios, and treehouse villas.
  • Locked prices on points: When you buy your DVC membership, the price you pay for your points locks in place. Point prices usually rise over the years, but your rate is locked in. While a Vacation Point is worth $193 today, the value may increase, but you won’t be charged a higher rate.

The Cons of DVC

DVC members experience several perks and benefits, but there are some drawbacks to the DVC membership, which may include:

  • You must plan your vacation well in advance: DVC resorts are notorious for selling out, especially during prime vacation season in the desired location. DVC members are generally encouraged to book their vacations at least six months in advance, which can be tough for busy families.
  • You have a 50-year membership: Once you buy a DVC membership, you’re locked in for the life of the membership, which is 50 years. You may be paying dues or losing Vacation Points each year if you don’t use them. If you stay in one spot, buying a vacation home may be more beneficial to you than a 50-year DVC membership.
  • Annual fees continually rise: While your point price is locked in place, your annual fee is not. DVC can raise these dues at any time during your membership, so your monthly payment may continue to go up.
  • DVC pays for limited items: You may cash in your Vacation Points for accommodations and you may be offered discounts on other vacation necessities, but DVC doesn’t cover all your vacation costs. You’re still responsible for airfare, food, and excursions, which can add up quickly.

The Final Word of the Disney Vacation Club

When deciding whether a DVC membership is right for you, it’s important to review your lifestyle and vacation planning. If you enjoy staying at Disney resorts and think you’ll use your Vacation Points every year, you may benefit from investing in a DVC membership. However, if you prefer to vacation in one location each year, a real estate investment may be more beneficial.

Review the resort locations that allow you to use your Vacation Points, as well as the added benefits of being a DVC member. Calculate your membership costs and keep in mind your annual dues can easily rise over the next 50-year period. Once you’ve analyzed the membership pros and cons, as well as your vacation needs, you can figure out if a DVC membership is worth it for you and your budget.


Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/