My family’s decision to become Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members was a long one, six years in the making in fact. We first took a DVC tour (Disney makes it incredibly easy) in 2001. We liked what we heard. We love Walt Disney World. We didn’t purchase. Why? Finances and uncertainty about our future vacation plans. We weren’t sure we could justify a large outlay of cash for the DVC when we were saving for a down payment for our first home. And then there was the question of “Will we really be going to Disney for the next thirty years or so?”
Fast forward five years. We bought our first home and had a one-year old. Oh, and by the way, we had been visiting Disney at least once a year since our first DVC tour so the question of whether we would still vacation at Disney was answered. In fact, we were vacationing at Disney while my mom watched the baby (don’t think I didn’t initially have guilt over that!) and weren’t really thinking of the DVC. That is until we sat with another family at the Biergarten and they practically sold the DVC themselves. We decided to take another look…and we became members.
Having a young family is what actually sealed the deal and turned us from lookers into buyers. So, why do I think the DVC is so great for families with small kids?
DVC Grows With You
With the DVC Vacation Club, you purchase points at a “Home Resort,” which gives you advantages in booking at that particular resort. The best part is you’re not locked into staying at a single DVC Resort. You can stay at any DVC resort and you’ll have a choice of a Studio, one-, two-, or three-bedroom vacation home. Each day of the year costs a certain number of points based on the resort you select, the size of your accommodations, and sometimes the view. You decide how to spend your points. Oh, and you have the flexibility to “borrow” points from a future year if you’re planning a big trip or “bank” points if you cannot swing a trip one year.
Not being locked into a certain week of the year or a certain number of bedrooms, as you are with traditional timeshares, makes perfect sense to me and was a deciding factor in our decision to purchase. As our kids grow, our vacations will change and we need our timeshare to grow with us. Before the kids are in school, we may travel in early November to avoid the crowds but during the school years, a vacation in the summer may be the way to go. One year I may bring grandma and grandpa and need a two-bedroom while another year we may take a family vacation in a one-bedroom and my husband and I may plan a long weekend in a Studio.
The possibilities are almost endless.
Once our son was born and we knew many family Disney World trips would be in our not-too-distant future, I couldn’t help but think back to my own childhood trips. Five people crammed into a Holiday Inn room didn’t exactly foster family harmony and meant a bit too much togetherness.
Since we’re not theme park commandos and spend most afternoons back at our resort, the DVC gives us a priceless commodity – space – while still staying on Disney property. (For more space without purchasing a DVC membership, look into the Cabins at Fort Wilderness, the Family Suites at the All-Star Music Resort, and in 2012, the Art of Animation Resort). With a one-bedroom vacation home that has a separate living area, there’s no more having to sit in the dark without the television until the kids fall asleep.
If you have small kids, chances are much of your time is spent either doing laundry or preparing snacks. A selling point for my family was the washer/dryer in the one-, two-, and three-bedroom vacation homes. I don’t plan on doing laundry on the trip but inevitably the need arises every time. It’s nice having laundry facilities right in our room. Even more convenient are the kitchenette in the Studio and the full kitchen in the larger accommodations. We save money by preparing simple meals in the room (usually breakfast and lunch) not to mention that sitting for three restaurant meals a day is too much for our children. Better still, I can have their restaurant leftovers wrapped for lunch the next day.
What if by some unnatural twist of fate our kids don’t like Disney World? Will we be dragging them to Orlando because by gosh, we paid for it? Nope. Lucky for them, Disney Vacation Club points can be used on the Disney Cruise Line, the Adventures by Disney collection, or at over 400 locations through the RCI exchange.
For our young family, the Disney Vacation Club offers a lot of benefits that make our Walt Disney World vacations even more magical. To help decide if the Disney Vacation Club is right for your family, read this great article by Chip and Company’s own Nancy. And, if you do decide to purchase a DVC membership, I wouldn’t complain if you said Lisa sent you. 😉
Lisa M. Battista is the author of Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers When she’s not chasing after her little ones, you can most likely find her at the beach or in the kitchen trying her hand at a new recipe. You call follow her on Twitter @DisneyExplorer.
This article was featured on this months edition of the Disney Blog Carnival. For more great Disney Articles check out the link here.