One of the best known vacation clubs in Florida is of course Disney and they offer their members (over 100,000 families) access to all the Disney resorts throughout the world plus over 500 other Getaways destinations around the world.
The Disney Vacation Club started in 1991 and they now have fourteen Vacation Club Resorts (plus another one planned) of which twelve are in Florida.
Walt Disney World Disney Vacation Club Resorts
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas - Jambo House
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas - Kidani Village
- Disney’s Beach Club Villas
- Disney’s Boardwalk Villas
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
The newest announcement is Disney Riviera Resort which will open in the Autumn of 2019.
There are also two Atlantic Coast resorts; the Vero Beach Resort on Florida’s Treasure Coast and the Disney Hilton Head Island Resort in nearby South Carolina plus Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, Ko Olina, Hawai`i.
Properties range from Studio apartments to three bedroom Grand Villas. The villas are all equipped with kitchens and the one bedroom villas will sleep 4, two bedroom villas will sleep up to 8 and the three bedroom Grand Villas (only available in certain resorts) will sleep up to 12.
Disney Vacation Club Membership
The cost to join the Disney Vacation Club today starts from $17,600 (plus around $442 closing costs plus annual fees) and this will get you an annual allowance of 100 Vacation Points (the minimum number you can buy, at $176 per point) though Disney say most members buy between 210 and 270 points.
This example is for two Walt Disney World Vacation Club resorts, namely Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows and Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Annual fees are around $614 and $733 respectively.
Annual fees are based the number of points you purchase and the resort. The more money you spend, the more points you get each year.
Disney reckon 100 points is equivalent to the cost of a 6 to 8 night vacation each year in a Deluxe Studio sleeping up to 5 people.
Today, new members are buying into the Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows and Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the life of the membership is typically 50 years and it is deeded and transferable. It is also possible to buy a resale from an earlier Disney Vacation Club Resort, most of which expire on January 31, 2042 and typically these will be less than the current prices, though annual fees may be higher.
If you buy a resale, there is no minimum point level. You can also add on additional points at other resorts once you are a member.
The resort you buy into affects your annual fees and how far in advance you can make a booking. You can book up to 11 months in advance at your ‘home’ resort and 7 months in advance at all other destinations so when considering Disney Vacation Club membership, you need to decide whether it actually matters which resort is your ‘home’ resort.
Disney Vacation Club Points
When you join the Disney Vacation Club either through Disney or through a resale, you are allocated a specific number of Vacation Points each year to use as and when you please. These points are allocated to you on the anniversary of your joining; i.e. the same month every year so if you tend to take your annual vacation at the same time every year it might make sense to join in a specific month to give you maximum flexibility in terms of banking and borrowing.
The cost of each stay is determined by the size of the property and the time of year; each accommodation is worth a specific number of points depending upon length of stay and season.
For example in 2017, one week in a Deluxe Studio apartment at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa in high season would be from 150 Vacation Points and a two night Friday to Saturday weekend stay in a Deluxe Studio apartment at Disney’s BoardWalk Villas in September would be just 13 Vacation Points.
You can if you wish, bank (save up) your annual allocation and/or borrow (loan) from next year’s allocation to spend on a more expensive vacation or you can take several shorter vacations every year though Disney have quite complex rules regarding banking points and their subsequent use.
By both banking and borrowing you can actually spend three times your annual allowance in one year. It is also possible to rent Vacation Points so a non Disney Vacation Club member can buy their accommodation from a Disney Vacation Club member who makes the reservation on their behalf.
Disney Vacation Club Perks
One of the perks of being a Disney Vacation Club member is that you can get discounts on dining, entertainment, attractions like the Disney golf courses and Walt Disney World annual passes plus all the other Walt Disney World Resort guest benefits like Extra Magic Hours at the parks and buying the Disney Dining Plan. Also, it will not cost you extra if more than two adults are staying in the property, unlike staying as a regular Disney guest.
Disney offer over 500 alternative vacations through their Getaways Destinations program including:
- selected timeshare properties through Interval International (one of the main timeshare exchange program companies)
- selected full service hotels throughout the world
- adventure holidays including African safaris, eco-trips, backpacking and cruises
- all the other Disney hotels worldwide
Staying at a Disney property is generally cheaper than one of the other Getaways destinations available to members in points terms and you have to pay a $75 to $95 arrangement fee for non Disney hotels, so it is not really worth joining the Disney Vacation Club unless you plan to stay at one of the Disney Resorts on a regular basis.