How DVC Changed the Way We Do Disney

It has only been four years since my husband and I caught the Disney bug. It began with our first trip to Walt Disney World together in 2015. Since I didn’t grow up visiting the most magical place on Earth, I was skeptical of how I’d feel seeing Cinderella’s Castle for the first time as an adult instead of as a child. Despite that, I became so immersed in Disney’s world that the worries of everyday life seemed far away and insignificant. A large part of the magic came from staying on property at a Disney resort. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter was our first on-property stay. I remember falling in love with the wrought iron balconies and lamp-lit walkways, feeling like I was walking through the real French Quarter.

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- French Quarter

We were hooked and decided to save up for our next trip and returned in 2018 to stay at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Again, we fell in love with how Disney’s theming could transport us to another place entirely.

Deciding we wanted to visit Disney more often, we knew we enjoyed the moderate resorts for the affordability. However, visiting them often would add up fast. Aside from that, we were looking for a way to make Disney more relaxing as opposed to spending most of our waking hours in the parks. Moderate rooms are nice, but can be small, far from the parks, and lack private outdoor space.

I remember a fun conversation with my husband, Paul, about where we’d stay if we won the lottery. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort were our “dream” locations. We could not justify spending $400-$1000 a night on a hotel stay and decided in reality, these resorts were not possible for us.

Sometime during that second trip, we stumbled upon Disney Vacation Club (okay, not that it’s hard to miss one of those booths). In our desperate search to bring more Disney into our lives, we did more research. This brought us to realize we could buy DVC points from the resale market for nearly half of the cost of purchasing directly through Disney. It was not only something we could afford, but something that would afford us years of Disney vacations – staying at resorts we thought were out of reach. I’d never imagined a few months later I would find myself lounging poolside at Disney’s Grand Floridian as a guest of the resort.

Pool at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

As DVC members, we have enjoyed the flexibility to use our points at many of the deluxe resorts, including the ones on our “dream” list. Most of these resorts are located in close proximity to a park or Disney Springs, so it’s easy to hop over to your room for a midday break. DVC villas are much more spacious than typical Disney hotel rooms. Plus, they include one of my favorite amenities, nonexistent in non-deluxe resorts-a private balcony (or patio if you’re ground level). Relaxing on the balcony with these views -whether people watching at Boardwalk Villas or taking in the tranquil waterways of Saratoga Springs Resort – is now one of our favorite Disney activities. More than ever, we love spending more time relaxing at our resort.

Boardwalk view at Disney’s Boardwalk Villas

DVC has given us the ability to visit Disney more often (3-4 times every year compared to once every 2-3 years before). It has also given us the ability to share Disney with our family and friends since we can use our points to book larger villas to accommodate more people. We are very excited to be able to share our Disney love with both of our mothers for the first time this summer.

While DVC may not be for everyone, it is worth it to do your research and find out if this could be something you and your family would benefit from. I know that we love our DVC membership and the happiness it brings to always be counting down to our next trip.

Balcony in Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

11 thoughts on “How DVC Changed the Way We Do Disney

  • June 3, 2019 at 10:48 am

    DVC was the very best purchase i ever made. I would be able to visit Disney as much as i do. Not to mention stay at The Grand Floridian, Bay Lake Towers , The Beach Club etc. I love owning a piece of Disney for my life time and beyond.
    Its my favorite place in the world. But, i can anywhere in the world because of DVC.
    Thank you Disney

  • June 3, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    We felt that way too, at first. Over the years it seems to have become harder and harder to find studio availability anywhere that isn’t our home resort. It was alleviated a bit with Polynesian but still wasn’t a permanent fix. We dropped ours this year purely because of studio availability. We are going to revisit the idea in a few years.

  • June 4, 2019 at 7:24 am

    Absolutely! We had to save for 3-5 years for one family trip. Now, it is every year. (Sometimes 3 times a year.) Staying at the top line resorts is a thrill. The best investment we ever made!

  • June 4, 2019 at 8:16 am

    an alternative to that commitment is simply renting DVC resorts.

  • June 4, 2019 at 9:04 am

    We’ve enjoyed DVC for 12+ years but forget getting into some of the resorts the author claims to have booked. They’re doing a good job selling what DVC COULD BE LIKE to people interested. At the 7 month booking window, you’re typically “settling” for Bay Lake, Saratoga, OKW, Animal Kingdom Lodge. All are very nice, but Grand Floridian and Polynesian are on a different level but unfortunately never available….. We had always dreamed at staying at GF and we finally did it last vacation, we paid $$$ and banked the points we’d typically use. It was an amazing resort….!

    • June 4, 2019 at 10:39 am

      If you travel during the non-DVC “crazy” season (which seems to be April through all of August), it is really not difficult to get into The Grand Floridian or Polynesian. We booked the Poly at five months out just this year for July. 🙂 Last year, there was lots of availability at most all the resort for May and June at 7 months out and that availability continued into the summer. It certainly isn’t impossible to stay at those resorts. It is just more difficult during the busy season of Sept-Jan.

      • June 4, 2019 at 11:43 am

        I guess it’s easier to get in during the time of year DVC people are smart enough to avoid! May thru Sept have more heat, more crowds, higher chance of hurricanes, higher DVC points, higher plane tickets….it makes sense that fewer DVC members are looking to be there and inventory will be up. Also the reason we’ve always avoided that time of year. Early May has been very decent as schools are still going and heat is just starting to creep up.

        • June 4, 2019 at 6:01 pm

          We know that when we book during busy DVC season, we usually will stay at our home resorts. This is also the reason we made VGF one of our home resorts. We know that when we book during the non-busy season, we get to try other resorts. Although, we have gotten into more difficult to book resorts seven months out in October.
          Yes, it’s hot in the summer, but anymore summer crowds are no worse than some of the crowds we have encountered in October. Since we follow a popular crowd calendar, it is showing us very nice crowd levels for our trip this week. I agree that May seems like a great time if you don’t mind the love bugs. Hopefully, you have better luck in the future finding reservations in the resorts you like. 🙂

    • January 4, 2021 at 1:27 pm

      We booked at the 7 month window at the new Riviera(studio). I cant wait-mid may. But i could have had many other options. Novembet wine and food seems to be the toughest 7 month widow for us to book outside of our home resort

  • June 5, 2019 at 5:43 am

    I love the fact that DVC membership allowed us to slow our pace and really enjoy our vacations. We did a crazy weeklong trip in 2016 when my youngest had turned four and since we weren’t sure when we would be back again, there was so much pressure to try to see and do everything. The next year we rented points and took advantage of some resort days to offset the frenetic pace of our park days. We purchased in March 2018 and have been three times since with most of these vacations involving 2 days in the park and the rest of the time enjoying all the other amenities. We have already stayed at every DVC resort except for SS. My kids love exploring each new resort and get as excited about the hotels as they are about the parks.

  • December 19, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    A Disney Vacation is great … but very expensive and even more so if one purchases a DVC Resort Membership Contract. The average cost for a Disney World Vacation of seven days is around $15,000 when one factors in all of the vacation expenses. In addition, the DVC point program is very complex and requires extensive vacation planning. Not everyone is willing to commit to the planning process, and if one is not a detailed planner, DVC ownership is a no no.

Comments are closed.