As a former DVC member, I have lived both worlds and can definitely say that there are pros and cons to a DVC membership. In many ways it can be amazing, and in other ways you may be able to do better and stay exactly where you want to stay for either the same or less money without DVC. It takes careful review and consideration of a family’s individual circumstances to determine what works best for them and what makes the best financial sense in the long run to guarantee that you have amazing Disney vacations! Here are the top 5 reasons why I think you should buy DVC, and the top 5 reasons not to… which side are you leaning toward?
5 Reasons to Buy DVC:
5. Discounts on food and merchandise.
When you show your DVC Membership card at many different locations across property, you will receive discounts (usually around 10%) at many shopping and dining locations all over Disney World. If you do a lot of shopping, this can definitely be a huge savings for you and your family on your vacations.
4. Get the Florida-resident rate for Seasonal/Annual passes.
You would need to do the math to determine how much this will save you, but it will likely net in your favor. If you can purchase for the Florida resident rate and time your vacations where the same pass will get you access to the parks for multiple vacations, you can usually save a pretty penny on passes for your trips, plus get invited to Annual Passholder exclusive events and merchandise releases.
3. Years and years of vacations.
When you purchase a DVC membership, this usually buys you up to 50 years of vacations (varies depending on terms) so once the membership is paid off, you are only paying the annual dues, but still get to enjoy your membership for year after year.
2. Transferrable to other members of your family.
You are able to book vacations or even rent your points to others and they can take advantage of your points if you are unable to use them for any reason, or want to allow others to use your points. You can also transfer the membership is a whole or leave the membership to someone else in the event of a death or unfortunate event. This protects your investment and ensures that it will be utilized.
1. Early access and registration to events.
DVC Members get early access to various events (for example RunDisney events) and can register and book before they are released to the general public. That can be a huge benefit, especially if you have your heart set on a particular exclusive event. Sometimes DVC members will also get discounts on some of these events (not RunDisney).
5 Reasons Not to Buy DVC:
5. Spontaneous, last-minute trips are difficult to get.
DVC is definitely not very conducive to last-minute planning. DVC members find that popular resorts book up quickly, especially during popular times of the year or special events. Once it gets closer to the date, Disney will also allow the rooms to be booked by non-DVC members if it appears that there will be availability. The membership works best for planners, not so much for spontaneity or last-minute whims.
4. No regular housekeeping.
If you have stayed at a Disney resort before you are probably used to the daily housekeeping, with your beds made, fresh towels, trash taken out, etc. That is not the way that stays in DVC resorts work. You receive your housekeeping on a different schedule based on the number of days that you are staying. Usually on a day 4 of a vacation, you will get trash/towel service with a restock of supplies, and then on Day 8 a full cleaning with change of bedding. That can be very different for guests, especially if you like the daily housekeeping service.
3. No discount options, free dining plan promotions, etc. on packages.
If you love the hunt for deals or waiting for the different promotions and packages to be released by Disney, then DVC definitely isn’t for you. DVC members won’t be able to benefit from any of the vacation packages, particular the free dining promotion that so many people go gaga over once it is released. You will have the same point costs based on your schedule and Disney promotions will provide no benefit and have no effect on those point requirements.
2. Large upfront costs, or financed charges with interest.
To purchase DVC points, you can expect a large upfront investment. It is usually around $16,800 for 100 points (you have to look at point values to see how far that can get you depending on the resort, time of year, etc.). Disney will let you pay a down payment and then finance the rest. Depending on your credit and what is being offered at the time, you can take up to 10 years for the financed amount. This ends up being similar to a car payment, plus you have to pay your annual dues each and every year. If you are good at shopping for deals, you’d have to weigh out the costs of the life of the membership to see which way you think you would come out ahead.
1. Annual maintenance fees and point allocations that constantly increase.
Your DVC membership will span over many years (decades, really), and each of those years you will have to pay the annual maintenance fees (you can do this monthly as well), which are not fixed. These maintenance fees usually increase at varying levels at different properties each year, depending on what maintenance is needed for the year to support the building. The annual fees are based on the property that you are deeded in and the costs to support that property. The point allocations for how many points it costs for your stay are also reviewed each year depending on what the market rates are doing and adjustments are made. This can affect how much your investment is able to get you in terms of nights at your resort.