Thursday, June 3, 2010

Growing Up.... with The Disney Vacation Club

Long, long ago and far, far away, I had heard Disney was beginning a “vacation ownership” plan (they hate the words “time share”) at Walt Disney World. I asked Disney for some information but alas, they could not send any as they were not licensed in our state.

Fast forward to 1992… My wife and I planned an anniversary cruise on Premier Cruise Line’s Big Red Boat in December. While we were in central Florida, we made plans to spend a day or two at WDW. We were able to tour “The Disney Vacation Club” resort (in the beginning there was only one resort and it was called THE DISNEY VACATION CLUB.) The Vacation Club had only been open for a little more than one year at that time. The property was absolutely beautiful and there were “hidden” Mickeys everywhere including the banister railings. We fell in love with The Vacation Club. My wife fell in love with the large Jacuzzi tub and I loved the Key West atmosphere. But one problem… it was a lot of money for us.

We went home without buying into The Vacation Club. But this was not the end. I spent the next three months trying to figure out how to pay for it and would it be a good “value” for my family. After all, I could probably stay at a cheap hotel for less. I talked to our Disney Vacation Advisor several times. We discussed how much it cost vs. staying in other hotels, how much it would cost over time, and would we really get our “money’s worth” by purchasing.

You could have heard a pin drop when I called our Vacation Advisor and told him to get the contracts ready and send them to us to sign. I know after all our discussions he had decided those were words he would never hear from me. We became the 3rd or 4th family from our state to join the Vacation Club.
And my opinion after 17 years…..

WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE DVC! It has been a good investment for my family. We have had family vacations, graduation trips, vacation get-a-ways, one wedding, and 3 cruises on the Disney Cruise line with DVC. The best part, after all these years our, now adult, children (and our son-in-law) like to vacation with us at WDW. Our newest family member, my granddaughter, just celebrated her First Birthday at WDW with Mickey. We are looking forward to many years of sharing the “Magic” and “Wonder” of Disney with her (and maybe a cruise on the Disney Magic or Disney Wonder too!).

Over the years we have watched both WDW and DVC continue to grow. WDW has grown to 4 parks. The Disney Vacation Club Resort is now Disney’s Old Key West Resort. DVC has grown to 7 resorts at WDW and one at Disneyland, plus Vero Beach, Hilton Head and opening in 2011 Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai'i.

With all that is available through DVC I can’t wait to see what lies ahead. I may sound much like a sales brochure, but we are “sold” on the Disney Vacation Club.

Are you a DVC member? What was your experience with purchasing DVC? Let us know your thoughts.


  1. Our experience was much the same as yours except that we waited even longer before we had them send us the papers to sign! We "thought about it" until 1997 when we finally purchased our first 230 point contract. By that time Disney Vacation Club had become Old Key West and Disney's Boardwalk Villas. We opted to stay with our first love, Old Key West.

    After all that waiting, we ended up buying a second OKW contract just a year later! We knew the original 230 points wouldn't be enough, so we added another 150.

    Now that it is just the two of us, our grown children come with us and occationally friends come with us. We have had a great 13 years of sharing our love of Disney and DVC! We hope to keep that going long into the future too! We will be in our mid 90's when those original contracts expire.

  2. My wife and I had been considering a purchase into the Disney Vacation Club for awhile but never took the plunge. We really didn't understand how it worked and were waiting patiently for the announcement of Bay Lake Tower. We had read all the rumors about the new resort but Disney had not confirmed it yet. While taking a Disney Cruise in July 2007, we decided to attend the onboard DVC presentation. After the presentation, we started to gain an understanding of how the program worked. We also talked with other DVC members onboard the ship as well as in the parks. Much to our surprise, everyone was very happy with their purchase and had no regrets of joining. They all wished that they would have joined sooner! During this cruise in July 2007, we had a newborn child and started thinking about the future and all the "magic" that we wanted our family to share together. I also realized that during the past year, I had spent over $20,000 visiting Disney World, Disneyland, and taking the Disney Cruise. For the same amount of money, I could purchase DVC and be able to vacation almost 50 years instead of only one. We bought the minimum 160 point Saratoga Springs contract while aboard the ship. Since joining, we have added on 4 times to increase our points. All of our contracts are at Saratoga Springs and we are very satisfied. Because we visit 6 or 7 times a year, we like to stay in all the DVC resorts to add a new experience to each vacation so our home resort is of no concern. It brings me great joy to know I have a virtual lifetime of accommodations on Disney property in Deluxe type resorts for my family to share happiness together. I'll be 90 years old when our contract expires and I plan to use every single year of it!

  3. Thanks for sharing your stories! Keep them coming!

  4. My husband and I are on the fence right now with buying into DVC...We looked into it last year when the points were on sale, but it seemed more like a "time share", and he was a little leary...I have been looking into it again and after booking ANOTHER $6k vacation for the third year in a row, he is more serious about it...there are two huge concerns for us..One, he LOVES AKL - Jambo..we have always stayed there, but they don't offer a 2 bedroom there (at least I don't think they do, we can't book one through Disney) and neither one of us like the idea of staying at Kidani and we need a bigger as much as part of us says, "we'll make it work", I don't know if we would..I know that sounds silly, but I don't want to be "house poor" so we can pay for a vacation club..right now I am a stay at home mom and that's the most important thing, for me to keep staying did you "justify" (I guess would be the only word I can come up with) it?

    1. OK.... First my disclaimer: I do not work for Disney or receive any remuneration from them as I often sound like a sales person when I talk about DVC.
      Now on to an answer...
      We purchased in 1993 at OKW when it was the only DVC resort. We toured in December 1992 and did not purchase until the following March. I did spreadsheets of cost of DVC vs. hotels and it came out hotels were cheaper. (I could never spend $1500 a night for a room, but have stayed in the Grand Villa at OKW that goes for that much.) However, the hotels we could afford would be staying at a value resort and while OK, do not compare to the accommodations at any of the DVC properties. (I have not personally stayed at the Animal Kingdom Villas yet but you may read Ridge’s review here)
      I did check the website and they do list a 2 br at Jambo House. They are slightly smaller rooms than the Kidani Village 2 br. ( per 945-1075 sq. ft. in Jambo House 1,173 sq. ft. in Kidani Village ). You may not have been able to rent a 2 br at Jambo House as they are only available to rent if not booked by members.
      We now have 400 points all at OKW and our annual dues run just over $2000 a year. (Be sure to add annual dues into your budget.) Annual dues vary depending on the property. Plan on the dues increasing every year, also. (Most years OKW has been about 2-3%.)
      When we bought in we started with a minimum purchase (at the time 190 points). We have done 3 add-on purchases over the years. So you can start “small” and add on more points later if you want. Buying on the resale market can be less expensive, but they do have Disney imposed restrictions on those memberships.
      Remember, It all comes down with what you feel is right for your family and your financial situation. For us it has been a good thing and has allowed us to take vacations we would never have otherwise done. However DVC is not for everyone and you should consider your family’s financial situation carefully before purchasing.
      If I can answer any specific questions email me direct at

  5. That is amazing!! I had no idea Disney World had "vacation ownership"! I'm going to have to look in to this..! :)


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