People are always talking about how expensive it is to visit Walt Disney World (WDW), and I have to admit that it certainly can be. However, my membership in the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) has eliminated this concern for me. I’m sure some of you will disagree with my opening statement in the title of this article about DVC being a value, but I personally believe this to be true and I’ll give you my top five examples why I think so.
My opinion goes all the way back to when I first purchased at Disney Vacation Club the second year they were in existence. I had purposely avoided even looking into the possibility of purchasing the year DVC was introduced. Then in the second year of operation, on the very last day of a trip to the World, I decided to stop into the Welcome Center and see what DVC was all about. It took me all of about five minutes to decide that the purchase of a share in a DVC resort was something that I just had to do.
So here’s my first example – I originally purchased 190 points in 1992. I, quite honestly, don’t remember exactly what I paid for these points but I know it was in the range of $50-$55 per point. QUITE a bargain compared to today’s current pricing. Anyway it ended up being somewhere around $11,000 I think. I know that based on the points system (which was entirely new to the timeshare industry at that time) I figured out that with my 190 points I could stay for two and a half days in a grand villa at the highest level season and 31 days in a studio at the lowest. Wow, that seemed incredible to me. Now if you took my $11,000 and divided it by 31 days, the cost of a night in the World was going to be $354 dollars. Now certainly in 1992, $354 would have been a lot to pay per night for studio accommodations, but still, you can probably understand where I’m headed with this. I thought about the possibility of 31 nights per year times the 50 year contract and this purchase seemed like a no-brainer to me.
31 Nights Per Year!
Now, I haven’t stayed in WDW 31 nights per year even once in the past 20 years, but I felt then, and I still feel now as if my DVC points were the best purchase I ever made.
Here’s example two – in one year I was able to make two trips to WDW with a friend and send Shelley on a college spring break trip with friends. Another year I sent my son, Mark, and his girlfriend on a trip for his college graduation, and I still took a two week trip with a friend myself. These examples were all accomplished when I still only owned 190 points!
Example three – cruising. I know there is much disagreement among the community on whether or not it is a value to use DVC points for a cruise. Granted a cruise takes more points generally speaking than staying in a typical DVC resort, particularly if you are like me and usually book studio rooms. However, to me, it is well worth combining a couple of years’ points to experience the magic of a Disney cruise. For our cruise next spring we are utilizing 440 points for two of us to stay in a stateroom with a Navigator’s balcony. The same cruise would cost us $3,334. Since I paid off my original purchase price a long time ago my annual cost is my maintenance fees only. If you estimate those at about $5.00 per point than the “cost” of the points for this cruise would be $2,200 or a savings of $1,134. This is a great deal to me….. And I didn’t have to come up with over $3,000 in cash to take a trip. I don’t know about you, but I’m not very good at saving money for a trip. Paying my maintenance fees each month for me is kind of like an enforced vacation savings plan.
Example four – I actually got to stay at the Grand Floridian! Now I know that soon the Grand Floridian will have a DVC resort as part of its property. But prior to this occurring this was a resort that I thought I’d never be able to stay in. I mean, my goodness, just look at it. You know it’s going to be pricey! Well the year after I finally convinced one of my friends and regular travel partner to purchase DVC herself, we combined our points and spent ten wonderful days at this amazing resort! Don’t get me wrong, it was a LOT of points. But, this is a hotel that I will never be able to afford on a per night cash basis. It was a wonderful trip and we loved, loved, loved our stay there.
Final example number five – On our next trip this November we are staying in three different DVC resorts; Boardwalk Villas, Animal Kingdom – Kidani Village, and Bay Lake Tower. We are also mixing up the type of accommodations we are staying in with a standard studio at Boardwalk, a standard one bedroom at Kidani and a Theme Park view studio at BLT; and staying a total of 11 nights. These 11 nights will use up 246 of my points, which is now a little less than my annual allotment. Using the villa cash pricing listed on allears.net as a reference point, these accommodations would cost us anywhere from $385 per night all the way up to $555 per night resulting in a final cost of our stay of $5,645! I don’t know about you, but that price tag is way too high for me!! Again, I repeat……. Over $5,000! My maintenance fees are around $1,500 for the year and I didn’t even use my full year’s allotment of points.
I don’t have a picture of Kidani Village yet. You’ll just have to wait until we get back!
Flexibility in planning has always contributed to making the most of my points. You’ve got to be willing to change up when you want to go, where you want to stay, and how long you want to be there to get the biggest bang for your buck. But, if you’re willing to look at all the options you too can have many, many affordable trips in your future.
I love DVC and they don’t pay me to say that….. Though of course I wish they did! Can anyone say cast member!! Seriously, I’m their biggest fan because it has worked so great for me. Maybe it would work for your family too.
Thanks for reading!!
Jo Scholl is proud mom to three wonderful grown children, one of whom is my fellow WDW Fan Zone columnist Shelley. Oh, and I’m also mom to a small black dog named Mickey Mouse!Share