The Disney Vacation Club membership is a timeshare package that lets members purchase points that translate into accommodation and other perks at various Disney resorts. The purchase consists of a lump sum payment upfront, as well as monthly maintenance fees. Although the package offers affordability compared to the open market, the buyer must consider how often they plan on going to Disney properties in order to decide if the membership is worth it.
When Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse and his other famous cartoon characters, little could he imagine it would lead to such a vast empire, including many theme parks and resorts. From Walt Disney World in Orlando to the Aulani resort in Hawaii and the Shanghai Disneyland, there is a huge array to choose from. Visiting these resorts can be a blast, but also quite expensive. One way Disney fans can potentially save money on stays at Disney properties is to buy a timeshare and become a Disney Vacation Club member.
Is it worth it, though? This question depends on how often you plan to visit Disney properties and how much you value the extra perks. Below we will go over some of the Disney Vacation Club features, its cost/benefit metrics, and some other variables to consider before determining if it’s worth it to join.
About Disney Vacation Club
The Disney Vacation Club is a holiday timeshare program operated by Disney Vacation Development, Inc., which falls under the umbrella of the Walt Disney Company. The first Walt Disney Vacation Club property opened in Walt Disney World in 1991. Since then, the Disney Vacation Club has grown to encompass a vast array of properties throughout the United States and the world.
How does the Disney Vacation Club work?
The Disney Vacation Club functions as a timeshare product, meaning the buyer does not own the property outright but rather is allotted a time per year to use it. A Disney Vacation Club buyer must first select a “home resort.” The home resort could be Disney’s Riviera Resort or Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, for example. The accommodation can range from small studios to Disney Vacation Club villas.
The home resort is usually the one closest to the buyer or the one they frequent most often. When a buyer purchases a timeshare package, they are allocated a certain amount of points to exchange for stays. The points can be used at either the buyer’s “home resort,” or a variety of other resorts.
These points are automatically renewed every year. If the purchaser fails to use the full points for one year, they roll the points over to another year. The timeshare can be purchased in full or with financing. In addition to the purchase of the timeshare, the buyer must pay a monthly maintenance fee.
Finding a home resort and purchasing the timeshare
A prospective buyer needs to find a home resort or the primary Disney property where they would like to purchase their timeshare. There are three factors you need to consider when purchasing a Disney timeshare.
Amount of points in your package
This is the type of DVC timeshare you are buying. What you are really paying for is a leasehold contract that allows you to use the property for a certain amount of time each year. Your timeshare is represented by a certain number of points. These points can be used for your own property or another property during the same “use year.”
Each year, you receive a certain amount of points for your DVC timeshare. Your use year represents the 12-month time period when you can use your points. You can also buy extra points, up to 24 per use year.
Different timeshare packages will have different prices based on when you want to visit. For example, dates that are near holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas will cost significantly more than those that are during more dead periods.
Is it worth it based on accommodation rates?
Disney Vacation Club cost
Disney offers its lowest entry point into a timeshare package at $32,550 for 150 vacation points. Here’s how that breaks down per point.
Now let’s take a look at Disney’s low-end vacation package at the Disney Riviera Resort.
Closing costs: $554
Annual maintenance: $1,248
Total cost first year: $34,352
Here you can see that you need to pay the purchase price + closing costs. Add that cost to the annual fees, and you will pay $34,352 for the first year. Every subsequent year you will pay $1,248 in maintenance costs. Remember, every year, you then automatically receive 150 points for your use.
Disney’s Riviera Resort rates with points
The weekly rate for a studio at Disney’s Riviera Resort in September is 76 points. If you were to stay two weeks, it would total 152 points. Remember, you can purchase up to 24 extra Disney Vacation Club points per use year. So you could buy two points to give yourself 152 in total, enough for the full two weeks.
For the Disney Riviera Resort, the timeshare contract on the building lease expires in 2070. This means that if you buy the Disney Riviera Resort studio timeshare, you keep it until 2070. That would be 47 years if you were to buy it in 2023. You can see the lease expiry dates for some of the other Disney properties below:
|Disney Vacation Club at Walt Disney World Resort||January 31, 2057|
|Disney Vacation Club at Vero Beach||January 31, 2042|
|Disney Vacation Club at Hilton Head Island||January 31, 2042|
|Disney Vacation Club at Disney’s Boardwalk Villas||January 31, 2042|
|The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge||January 31, 2042|
|Disney’s Beach Club Villas||January 31, 2042|
|Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort||January 31, 2054|
|Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas||January 31, 2057|
|Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort||January 31, 2060|
|The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel||January 31, 2060|
|Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, Ko Olina, Hawaii||January 31, 2062|
For the purpose of this example, we assume the timeshare was purchased in cash and not using the financing option. If you combine the yearly maintenance and upfront costs, the result is that you are able to stay at Disney Riviera Resort for two weeks at a time for 47 years. This results in a nightly rate of around $140 per night.
|Timeshare Package Price 150 +2 = 152||$32,984|
|2 extra points for 47 years ($19 each)||$1,786|
|Annual fees for 47 years||$58,656|
|Timeshare purchase + maintenance costs||$93,980|
|Total cost per year all in||$1,999|
|Total cost per night (2 weeks)||$142|
Disney Riviera rates on the open market
Now let’s compare that to the price you would pay if you were not a Disney Vacation Club member. Here are the same room rates for September of 2023.
They vary a little but let’s say that the average price you end up paying is $525 per night and you stay there for a week.
So $142 per night vs. $525 per night is a considerable savings. Furthermore, Disney Vacation Club members get additional perks, which you can read about below.
Additional Disney Vacation Club benefits
You may find that these benefits add value to a Disney Vacation Club membership.
Annual Pass discounts
DVC members can receive discounts on annual passes at Disney amusement parks. For example, DVC members can save $100 per person on a Platinum Annual Pass.
Moonlight Magic special events
DVC resort members are invited to attend special events, including the Typhoon Lagoon Beach Bash and the Safari Spectacular at Magic Kingdom.
Tours and events discounts
Obviously, most people go on vacation to avoid staying in their room all day, no matter how relaxing it might be. So Disney offers discounts on tours and events at their theme parks and properties. Disney even offers a special member’s cruise to the Bahamas on the Disney Cruise Line.
DVC members can receive discounts at the various restaurants in and around Disney properties.
So is Disney Vacation Club worth it?
Whether or not a Disney Vacation Club membership is truly worth it depends on you and how often you frequent Disney properties when you travel. If you really want to focus on Disney properties, the DVC package can be worth the cost. However, you will lock yourself into the cost and yearly maintenance fees until you resell or your lease runs out. For those who want more options when you travel, it may be best to search for other options besides a DVC timeshare.
If “investing” in a DVC timeshare is not a good fit for you, consider working with one of the investment advisors below.
What happens when you pay off Disney Vacation Club?
When you pay off the Disney Vacation Club timeshare, you have nothing else to pay except for the monthly or yearly maintenance fees. You are still allocated your points every year, so you can use these at your home resort or various DVC resorts. However, be aware that the timeshare is only valid for the time on the property lease.
What are the benefits of Disney Vacation Club?
Over the life of the lease, the accommodations are much cheaper than if you booked them on the open market. That is, if you average out the cost based on how much you pay upfront, how much you pay monthly, and the time on the lease. Furthermore, there are various other perks, such as discounts on tours and restaurants, available to Disney Vacation Club members.
Do people sell their Disney Vacation Club memberships?
Yes, there is a buoyant market for DVC resales. These can be found directly through Disney or various other timeshare resellers. You may even be able to get a better price on a resale timeshare.
Is Disney Vacation Club a tax write-off?
Yes, you can write off the interest on your loan if you choose to pay with financing, as well as your monthly/yearly maintenance costs.
- The Disney Vacation Club membership is a timeshare package that lets members purchase points that translate into accommodation and other perks at various Disney properties.
- The buyer purchases an allotted time frame at a home resort. They are then awarded points every year to exchange for stays at their home resort or various other Disney resorts. The point costs differ based on the time frame in which you book.
- Disney Vacation Club members can save a considerable amount of money on accommodations. But you will have to frequent Disney-owned resorts and properties to reap the benefits.