While vacationing this past May at Walt Disney World, I kept hearing about “Disney’s best kept secret,” the Disney Vacation Club (DVC). Essentially it is a timeshare.
While it’s marketed as a cost-effective way to vacation (save as much as 70 per cent on your Disney vacations!), I’m not entirely convinced. However, I can see how DVC can save you a some money over time if you prefer to stay in deluxe resort accommodations on property.
The Grand Floridian at dusk
Speaking of deluxe properties, my love of the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is no secret. Some say they are turned off by the “stuffiness” of the well-manicured resort and grounds, but our experience has been one of feeling at home.
This is why I am especially excited for the opening of this resort’s brand new DVC villas, opening in October.
The new building (under construction during our recent stay) will house 147 villas–a mix of deluxe studios, one- and two-bedroom villas and grand villas featuring three bedrooms and a media room.
A Mary Poppins theme will pull together the classic Disney touches that make this resort so enjoyable.
Check out the video below, courtesy of DVCNews.com for a look at the model rooms. There is so much to love–the tub! The chartreuse accents! The gorgeous window with muntins!
From the research I’ve done, DVC stacks up better than a lot of the competition out there.
For starters, DVC uses a points system that will allow you to vacation at any time of year (not just a pre-determined week each year). Points can be banked (from the immediate past year) or borrowed (from the immediate year ahead). Each resort has point values assigned for room types, according to the time of year.
If you’re thinking of taking the DVC plunge, you may want to ask yourself a few questions.
Are you planning to vacation in Florida (or at other DVC resort locations in California or Hawaii) at least every two-to-three years? The answer should be yes, as you won’t want to lose your points.
It’s important to note that there are many resorts at Walt Disney World that you may not have even known were Disney Vacation Club resorts–take Old Key West Resort for example. You can get great “value” for point use at this resort.
Olivia’s Cafe at Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Buying direct from Disney will cost a minimum of $15,000 for 100 points. Will you be able to pay cash? Otherwise, potential vacation cost savings may be wiped out by interest payments. You must also account for annual dues on the timeshare for resort maintenance.
Purchasing a DVC membership on the resale market is also an option. Check out The Timeshare Store for more information about DVC resales.
One last thing–unlike most other timeshares, DVC contracts have an expiry date. The property with the lengthiest contract is the Villas at the Grand Floridian, which has an expiry date of 2064. While it might seem that you may not be vacationing to Disney well into your 80s, it’s comforting to know that there is an end date, and you won’t be on the hook forever.
I have to admit, the Villas at the Grand Floridian are making me think about becoming a DVC member. A number of other DVC resorts are on my bucket list (The Beach Club Resort, Grand Californian and Aulani), and this could potentially make getting there easier.
What do you think? Have you ever considered buying a timeshare? Are there any good news stories out there?