Disney’s timeshare program gets you loads of benefits for your Disney Parks visits
Are you what they’d call a “Disney family” armed with Mickey ears at any given moment? Or maybe you enjoy that annual visit to the “Happiest Place on Earth” with the grandparents in tow. There is a way to enjoy repeated Disney magic with extra perks—and it could even save you money in the long run. It’s called Disney Vacation Club and it’s been around for decades. But what is this fabled part of Disney fandom? Let’s peel back the curtain on the Mouse’s membership club.
What is Disney Vacation Club?
In a pixie-dusted nut shell… Disney Vacation Club is Disney’s version of vacation ownership. Essentially, it’s like pre-paying for vacations for years to come—and savings can be found in the long run for both annual and frequent visitors.
Members purchase points to redeem annually at any of the 16 Disney Vacation Club resorts. And it’s not just the theme parks—there’s the oceanfront Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii, and even the picturesque Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort on the coast of South Carolina.
Maybe you prefer the sea over land or to explore faraway lands? This yearly allotment of points can also be used to travel with Disney Cruise Line, and other Disney vacations around the world, including Adventures By Disney, National Geographic Expeditions, and hotels at most international Disney Parks. You can also convert points and use them at non-Disney Vacation Club properties around the world.
By using a points-based system, DVC offers flexibility in both accommodation style and destination as a family’s vacation habits change over time.
How does the Disney Vacation Club work?
Based on travel preferences, you decide how many points you’d like to purchase, and this will be the amount that you receive annually throughout the contract. Points needed per stay are based on destination, room style, and date of visit.
New contracts start at 100 points, but 150 is necessary to access ‘membership magic’—Disney speak for special perks (more on that later). You can also have multiple contracts at different resorts, and members can also add points to existing contracts as their vacation desires change. There’s also the ability to bank points and borrow from the following year—allowing members to use up to 3 years of points in one year for a larger vacation.
Looking to try it out? You can rent points from a qualified third party if you’re curious about room accommodations. Additionally, a limited stock of rooms at Disney Vacation Club resorts are available to the general public for cash stays.
What are the top DVC membership perks?
Disney vacations are a pricy endeavor but membership adds a Dole Whip-level dose of sweetness to the deal—especially for families with young children. Unlike standard hotel rooms, Disney Vacation Club resorts offer the desirable comforts of home, like larger common spaces, dining tables, kitchens, and washer/dryer in-room units. Accommodation styles range from deluxe studios all the way up to 3-bedroom grand villas, ideal for the smaller family or a multi-gen trip.
For families with little ones, complimentary cribs and playpens are also available. Pining for a night out? At Walt Disney World, Kid’s Nite Out is the top trusted child care service available in-room—and even arrives fully loaded with games, books, and toys.
What is Membership Magic?
One of the biggest perks of being a DVC member is what is known as “membership magic.” This includes exclusive member benefits, the flexibility to travel the world with your family, and theme park perks that cultivate a sort of community pride and yes, there’s even Disney Vacation Club merchandise.
Is your little one overstimulated? There are lounges in the theme parks available exclusively for use by DVC members. Available at Epcot in Walt Disney World and Disneyland Park in Anaheim, these lounges offer a welcome retreat to cool off with ample seating and ports to recharge your devices.
Perhaps the crown jewel of perks, members can enjoy Moonlight Magic, a complimentary after-hours event offered several times a year. Disney Parks after-hours events, like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, are a fan favorite but can set a family back hundreds or even thousands of dollars. This completely free party offers unlimited treats (hello, all-you-can-eat Mickey bars!), rare character appearances, and shorter wait times.
Discounts further add value, and include everything from savings on event tickets to dining and activities. There are even special member cruises on Disney Cruise Line.
Who can get the most out of DVC?
Since you can use your points however you’d like, and switch it up year after year, there’s not one cookie-cutter qualifier for who can get the most out of Disney Vacation Club. With flexible accommodation types, comforts of home, and perks, it particularly appeals to families with children. The multi-gen traveling family can save up points and use them for an annual extended trip with its larger, multi-room accommodations, or the frequent visitors looking to do several smaller visits can spread out their points across the year.
Insider Pro Tip: Disney Vacation Club will offer the best savings for those who plan to vacation at least every other year and who prefer to stay in deluxe-level accommodations.
A look inside some favorite Disney Vacation Club properties:
Disney’s Old Key West, Walt Disney World
Disney’s Old Key West is the quintessential Disney Vacation Club resort and the one that started it all. Its colorful, charming Floridian-inspired grounds are expansive, with standout pools and dining, making this the type of resort guests want to hang around for a much-deserved break from the parks.
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, Hawaii
There’s not a theme park in sight at Aulani, a stunning oceanfront resort on the quieter western shores of Oahu. Here, Disney’s excellence in storytelling is matched with local flair and architecture for an elevated experience all its own. Its on-site spa and gourmet bites stand out while also featuring the comforts Disney fans are used to, like Dole whip and character sightings.
Disney’s Riviera Resort, Walt Disney World
For a taste of the luxurious life at Walt Disney World, Disney’s Riviera Resort carries an upscale feel complete with posh accommodations. Inspired by Mediterranean resorts around the French and Italian Riviera, it feels far removed from the nearby theme park but with plenty of Disney touches throughout. The grounds are gorgeous and it’s home to some of the best dining at Walt Disney World.
The Villas at Disneyland Hotel, Disneyland
The newest property, the Villas at Disneyland Hotel has that classic Disneyland nostalgia combined with contemporary designs and upscale amenities. A stone’s throw from the theme parks, rooms here are inspired by Disney’s beloved animated classics, like “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Princess and the Frog.”