DVC Studio Stay – My Top 5 Essentials

My journey as a DVC member has been short but sweet.  My husband and I became DVC members in 2016.  Our Walt Disney World vacations became frequent enough to make us consider buying Disney DVC points. Today, we are proud owners of a small contract at the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows.

I absolutely LOVE The Polynesian Resort, and can write about the reasons why forever.  However, what is unique about the DVC units at the Polynesian Resort is that the vast majority of them are studios (well, I am aware of the Bungalows, but those are out of reach for most DVC owners anyway).

View of the Seven Seas Lagoon from The Polynesian Resort

Even when we are not staying at our home resort, we don’t have enough points to book 1-bedroom villas, which makes studios our preferred type of accommodation.

Let me preface this by saying that we are a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 boys) and our children are still small (7 & 1).  The studios at The Polynesian Resort are perfect for our family size.  They are spacious, beautifully themed and provide just what we need.  Now, studios can be a little tricky in terms of family dynamics.  In my opinion, they are step above a regular room, without some of the amenities that a 1-bedroom villa offers. 

The biggest negative of staying in a DVC Studio for me is not having housekeeping come in every day to clean your room, take your trash and tidy up a bit.  In addition, the kitchenette is stocked with just a few items to get you by.   Although I am staying at a DVC resort unit, and I am greeted with the big “welcome home” at arrival, the studio doesn’t scream “home” to me, it feels like a hotel room with a kitchenette.

Our studio at Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows

But hey! I am not complaining.  These are not deal breaking issues for me.  It is just a matter of knowing what to expect, planning ahead and bringing with you some essential items to get you through those small hurdles. 

I am currently planning my next stay at a Bay Lake Tower studio and have been thinking about what to bring with me. Although I can come up with a huge list of items to bring, here is a list of 5 essential items I like to bring when staying at a Disney Vacation Club studio.

(1) Big Trash Bags – When staying at a Disney vacation Club Studio, you are provided with a small rectangular garbage basket and a separate recycling bin.  I don’t know about you, but my small family of 4 generates enough trash to fill that basket pretty quickly (we also have a 1-yr old which means dirty diapers need to go somewhere).  Easily, that little basket can be overflowing by the second day.  Now, keep in mind that when staying at a DVC studio, housekeeping is provided every 4 days.  As you can imagine, a small garbage can doesn’t cut it for us.  With this in mind, I always pack a couple big garbage bags in order to keep trash contained, the room tidy and clean.

(2) My own coffee and filters – I NEED to have coffee in the morning.   If coffee is important to you, you want to read this.  The coffee provided in the DVC Villas is not great!  If you are an expresso lover like me, you will be disappointed with the coffee brewing machine that these rooms have.  I suggest you bring a bag of your favorite coffee, and if you are planning on using the coffee brewing machine provided, bring coffee filters since those are not provided.  I have a compact single serving expresso machine that will be coming with me on my next trip.

(3) Extra cutlery and plates – I like to bring my own disposable cutlery and plates just because we use them a lot.  Disney Vacation Club studios are stocked with plastic cutlery and paper plates, but it’s only about 4 each and we use way more that what they provide.  Obviously, we can’t prepare full meals in a DVC studio, but we always eat breakfast in the room.  Usually, my kids would eat a bowl of cereal in the morning so at the very least, I like to bring a pack of disposable paper bowls or, if you want to be environmentally friendly, bring 2-3 bowls and spoons in our suitcase and wash them every day.

(4) Tub of Disinfecting Wipes – We have 3 boys in our family (includding the Hubby), which means bathrooms get dirty pretty quickly.  I find disinfecting wipes handy when you just need to give a quick refresh to the toilet seats or clean dirty surfaces until housekeeping day comes around.

(5) Warm blanket – Ok this is more of a wish for me.  We always fly to Orlando so bringing our favorite cozy blanket would take way too much luggage space.  However, If I ever drive from Maryland to Orlando, I will definitely pack a warm blanket.  It could be just me, but I find the bed sheets in the rooms too thin which makes me really cold at night.  I understand that we can ask for more bed sheets but I just feel like those beds are missing a warm and cozy comforter! Those flimsy bed sheets are not enough to keep me warm at night.

Now, it won’t be necessary to bring all of these items if you choose to pay for daily housekeeping, but who likes to pay extra anyway right?

I would love to hear about your personal list of essential items to bring when staying in a Disney Vacation Club studio.  It is amazing to read about all the genius ideas other fans come up with.

17 thoughts on “DVC Studio Stay – My Top 5 Essentials

  • July 19, 2019 at 8:13 am

    All good suggestions. I don’t think the trash bags are necessary since Disney implemented their daily room checks after the Las Vegas tragedy. They enter the room and empty the trashes while also looking around the room to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary.

    • July 22, 2019 at 3:43 pm

      This is true now! You will receive trash service EVERY day at DVC now. It’s a god send!

  • July 19, 2019 at 8:43 am

    You’ve included some good ones, but our list is a little bit different. We also fly into Orlando for our trips and we ship ahead our box of essentials: 1) Toilet Paper, 2) Bottled Water, 3) Glow Sticks (the bendy-make into bracelets & necklaces kind), 4) Coffee Stuff (Coffee, Creamer, etc.), and 5) Snacks. If you’ve ever been to Disney World you will understand about #1. #2 is a huge cost saver for us. While in the parks we go through 3-5 bottles per person per day. This adds up quickly, so having cases shipped ahead is financially noticeable in the cost of a Disney trip. We have noticed that staying in any hotel, including DVC properties, there is a lack of night lights to guide sleepy people as they stumble to the bathroom in the middle of the night. A tube of these glow sticks can be bought for about a dollar. Placed around a doorknob they make excellent night lights, just enough to guide without disturbing other sleepers. That the rest of the tube can be turned into glowing jewelry for night time park trips is a bonus. #4: What Ms. Berrios said about the coffee also applies to the other coffee supplies. 5) As with the water, getting food from outside the park system can be a huge cost savings. One of the advantages to staying in a DVC property is the kitchen or kitchenette (Studios). It provides the means to make a meal in your room. If your child’s preferred breakfast is cereal, why pay for a $35 breakfast buffet in which they will only be eating Cheerios with milk? The same holds true for snacks. A few granola bars in a pocket can work magic in keeping the family happy while waiting for a fining reservation.

    • February 17, 2020 at 1:10 pm

      Have you considered taking an Über to a Walmart and buying all that stuff down here? And why do you need to bring your own toilet paper?

  • July 19, 2019 at 10:45 am

    I agree on larger trash and recycling cans. On our last OKW studios stay, trash pick up was very hit and miss.

  • July 19, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    Not sure if you know this or not, but they do trash pick up daily now.

  • July 19, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    We always travel with our Disney fleeces, bought and personalized on the shopping website. We carry them onto the plane, so no need to get them in a suitcase. I put them all in a bag (the kind the folds up into a small pouch) and hand them out to the kids as we board, so the bag doesn’t “count” as a carry-on.

  • July 19, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Ziplock bags, gallon and quart
    solo cups
    laundry pods
    over the door shoe rack ( clear plastic )
    1-2 travel blankets

  • July 19, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    I always pack at least one “real” knife and a large Pyrex measuring cup to boil water for tea in! Coffee and filters always travel along.

  • July 20, 2019 at 9:37 am

    You can always ask housekeeping upon arrival for extra trash bags, paper products and I have even asked for non-paper plates, bowls, more silverware as long as you leave it there in room when you leave. They are most accomodating. There are blankets usually on the shelf in closet- you can ask for extra. I usually bring the coffee filters and extra coffee with me so we can enjoy morning coffee without a trip to the grocery store. Maxwell House and I think Folgers used to carry prepackaged coffee in a box of 8 or 10 but sometimes it is hard to find. Check on line and they pack easily. I also bring some wire hangers from dry cleaners to hang my shirts, blouses and at end toss them in recycle bin! Salt and pepper shakers at dollar store are good to bring for meals . I kept a list “MY DVC LIST” and every year I add something extra to bring. I start getting the stuff ready when I make reservations and when I come home, some of the stuff I just put away until next trip! Been doing this for almost 20 yrs as a member! Have fun!

  • July 20, 2019 at 9:46 am

    i as well, would love to have a warm blanket. i have for years traveled with a small heating pad as i can not go to sleep unless i am warm.

    my next wish is for a k-cup coffee maker in the room. i can put the k-cups in my travel bag for the flight.

  • July 20, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Aren’t there extra blankets in your closet? You may ask for them from housekeeping. You may also change the air conditioning settings. We have been DVC members since 1992 and understand well your comments.

  • July 20, 2019 at 11:54 am

    Garbage is now removed every day by housekeeping.

  • July 29, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    We own at the Poly and they dont have a dresser. We bring down 2 expandable cubby hole hangers to hang in the closet. Each 1 has about 5 cubbies, so it works great to store ur clothes and it still leaves you with enough closet space to hang other clothes. When ur trip is over u collapse them back down and toss them in ur suitcase. Has worked great there as well as other dvc resorts we’ve stayed at.

  • October 2, 2019 at 4:49 am

    I agree with the blanket. We’ve stayed twice now in a one bedroom villa at Old Key West and I’ve been the one to sleep in the pullout chair that becomes a single bed. I like it cold, but there’s just a thin blanket thing and I usually wake up a little chilly in the night. Turning down the air is not an option since then I wouldn’t sleep. Always found it curious they don’t give you an extra warm blanket.

  • November 16, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Usually there are extra blankets in the closet or in the chest in front of the sofa bed. If not, just ask; there’s no extra charge.

  • December 21, 2020 at 10:58 pm

    I few essential that I bring in my DVC trips:
    1. Roku or Firestick (& don’t forget the remote)
    2. Extension cord (from the dollar store)
    3. Laundry detergent
    4. Beer & soda (perfect to bring to the pool rather than overpaying Disney prices)
    5. Disney tumblers from prior visit (for discounted refills)

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