Disney Vacation Club (DVC)
Some of you may be wondering what Disney Vacation Club is. On the surface it’s a time share but it’s points based rather than week based. You buy a certain number of points at your “home resort” and then use those points throughout the year or all at once for your stays unlike the traditional time share where you buy a week and certain size accommodations and you go then every year for a week. Then every year on your anniversary date they redeposit the next year’s point into your account. If you have more points than you’ll use in a year you can bank them to the next year so you don’t lose them and be able to do more the following year. If you need more points this year than you have available you can borrow some from the next year as long as you remember that those points won’t be available the next year. If you keep finding you’re borrowing every year you may be in need of more points. I mentioned earlier that your points are purchased at a Home Resort, this is probably the closest resemblance to a typical time share you’ll see. The only real matter here is for when you can book your room. You can make a reservation at your home resort 11 months in advance of your stay. But if you want to try another resort, you’ll have to wait until seven months out from your trip. This allows people to stay at their home resort before others swoop up the rooms, this is very important if you’re at one of the more popular resorts. I like to make a reservation at my home resort eleven months out so I’m assured that I’ll have a room, then if I want to change resorts I’ll call back at the seven month mark and switch them, I’ve seldom had an issue staying where I want to stay.
The amount of points a stay uses depends on where you go, when you go, what nights you stay on, what size room you need. There are certain designated seasons throughout the year so obviously the more popular times like Christmas and Spring Break/Easter are the highest points while September and January are the lower point seasons with a few in between.
There are many choices of location on Disney property in Orlando to stay at as well as one in Hilton Head, SC and another in Vero Beach, FL if you want to just get away to the beach but there are too many places online that show the differences of each so I won’t cover them all here but resorts closer to the parks with easy access to the parks, like by boat or walking in, use more points per night than one that requires a bus ride.
Friday and Saturday nights are more popular too so they are higher points than Sunday-Thursday nights which is why we usually only stay those nights when we take all the kids. They are roughly double on the weekends.
Then you choose the size room you need. When it’s just Kriss, Kellie, and I we get a Studio which is similar to a typical hotel room with either two beds or a bed and a sofa pull out. There is also a small sink, toaster, microwave, mini fridge, and a few dishes. A one bedroom has two separate rooms, a living area and the bedroom plus a bathroom. The bedroom has a king and a jacuzzi tub while the shower and toilet are in a separate room. The living area is similar to an apartment living room with a pull out sofa, TV/DVD center, a small kitchen on the side except now you have real appliances like a full size stove/oven, dishwasher, fridge, and fully stocked cabinets with dishes and cookware. There is also a washer and dryer and a nice balcony. A two bedroom is basically a one bedroom with a studio attached which is what we use when all of us go because there are usually seven of us and we can put two in the master bedroom with our own bathroom, two in the living room on the pull out, and up to four in the other bedroom which also has it’s own bathroom (remember there are five females on this trip!) Some of the resorts also have what is called a Grand Villa which adds a third bedroom and sleeps up to twelve and has a larger dining area, I’ve not been in one though.
So DVC is very flexible, there are tons of variables to help determine your vacation. When we go with all the kids we stay at Old Key West usually. It was the first DVC resort built so the rooms there are bigger (thats a secret to DVC new comers) but it isn’t right beside a park so it’s less points per night to stay there. We prefer to have more room and use less points for it since we need a two bedroom and stay all week in a mid points season. We also have a full kitchen and we cook or feed the kids a lot in the room to save a little money. When we go for the International Food and Wine Festival that’s at EPCOT we like to stay at either Beach Club Villas or Boardwalk Villas since they are right at the back door and you can walk or ride a boat in. We’re staying in a studio though since we aren’t cooking and don’t need the extra beds but this trip is in October which is one of the lowest seasons to go. When we’ve been for Thanksgiving or Christmas times we like to stay at the Villas at Wilderness Lodge because we’re there for the theming and the Wilderness lodge looks like a huge Lincoln Log cabin made up for Christmas and gives you the most “Christmassy” (is that a word) feeling. Plus it’s a short boat ride from the Magic Kingdom.