the disney food blog Rotating Header Image

Disney Food for Families: The DVC Villa Kitchens, Part 1

Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster begins this DVC Villas Kitchens series with a look at what you’ll find in your villa kitchen!

My family has been a member of the Disney Vacation Club since 2001. Because of this, we often stay in DVC villa-style rooms when visiting Walt Disney World, which we pay for using our DVC points. While villa rooms are most often used by DVC members, anyone may rent them. And one of the best parts about a villa is the inclusion of a kitchenette in studio villas and a full kitchen in one-bedroom and larger villas!

Over the next few posts, I’m going to discuss the villa kitchens. What do they include? What is easily available to cook in the kitchens? Is is possible to save money by cooking in your villa? Will the villa kitchen save you any time?

A statue of Ariel greets guests at the Beach Club Villas

Here are a few more details about DVC Villas: There are villa rooms at seven Walt Disney World resort hotels — Animal Kingdom Lodge, Bay Lake Tower (Contemporary), Beach Club, Boardwalk, Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, and Wilderness Lodge.

  • Villas are available in studio, one bedroom, two bedroom, and three bedroom versions.
  • Studio villas are like regular hotel rooms, with the addition of a small kitchenette area. The kitchenette includes a sink, a dorm-sized refrigerator, a microwave oven, a coffee-maker and a toaster.
  • One, two, and three-bedroom villas are like apartments. They include a the requisite number of bedrooms, often several bathrooms, a washer and dryer, plus a living room area and a full kitchen.

Bay Lake Tower (Contemporary) two-bedroom villa kitchen

The villas are a terrific option for guests with larger families or larger traveling parties, multi-generational families, families where the parents don’t want to sleep in the same room as the children, or for families who want, or need, a kitchen.

The larger space and multiple bathrooms make vacationing with my mirror-loving daughters a breeze — that alone makes the villas worth it for my family. But I must confess that I have a real love/hate relationship with the villa kitchens. Obviously, having a kitchen can be a godsend for guests who need to prepare food for an allergic or special needs family member. But what is the value of the kitchen for the average family? What is the value of the kitchen for the average mom, like me, who finds that one of the best aspects of vacation time is not having to cook?

As a first step in the Villa Kitchen series, I’ll show you what exactly you can expect to find in a Disney Vacation Club Villa kitchen at Walt Disney World.

Studio Villa Kitchenettes
There are real glasses and ceramic mugs provided in the studios, but all the other kitchenware is disposable. The room comes with several paper plates and bowls, plus a starter supply of individually wrapped forks, knives, and spoons. If you need more, you can always grab some extras at the resort’s quick service food area.

Beach Club Studio Villa Kitchenette

Bay Lake Tower (Contemporary) Kitchenette

With their limited supplies, the studio kitchenettes are perfect if you want to make toast and coffee in the morning or possibly a lunchtime sandwich, but you won’t be able to do much more than warm or reheat food there.

One, Two, and Three Bedroom Villa Kitchens
The first photo below shows the kitchen contents list for a one or two-bedroom villa at the Beach Club. While the style and color of the dishware varies depending on the villa resort you’ve selected, the supplies included are virtually identical no matter where you stay. The only difference is that in a larger villa you’ll have more of each type of dish, glassware or silverware to accommodate the larger party size that is able to fit in the room.

Villa kitchen supply list

Beach Club one-bedroom villa kitchen and dining area

Inside kitchen cabinet

Standard size refrigerator

Stove, microwave, toaster

Contents of another cabinet, Beach Club Villa

Kitchen drawers

Drawer close-up

More supplies

Kitchen sink

Pots and pans, Saratoga Springs Treehouse villa

Saratoga Springs treehouse villa kitchen

BBQ tongs, Saratoga Springs treehouse villas

Cleaning supplies provided in the villas

Silverware, Saratoga Springs Treehouse Villa

Now that you know what supplies you have available to you in your villa kitchen, next time I’ll tackle what foods you’ll have easy access to if you want to cook. Stay tuned!

Have you stayed in a Disney Vacation Club Villa before? Did you use the kitchen or did you choose to eat out more often? Let us know your experiences and questions in the comments below!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

16 Comments

  1. Heather Sievers says:

    The DVC rooms are what influenced us to become DVC members. We had gotten them twice in Orlando and then decided to join. The kitchens are great for families and can actually save a ton of money. We always stop at the grocery store to buy breakfast items, bottled water and snacks. We also bring our boys’ lunchboxes from home and pack them with snacks and sometimes lunch. The fridge is also great to keep bottled water in and then you don’t have to pay $4.00 a bottle in the parks, just bring your own. I have photos of the kitchen in the two bedroom villa at the Grand Californian where we own. It is AMAZING. Let me know if you want one for a post Erin.

  2. We have owned DVC for about 5 years, but being just the two of us, my wife and I usually opt for a studio. We get milk and other items for breakfast, which certainly can be a savings. If we are planning on a “resort weekend” around the pool, we’ll also bring our favorite beverages, to help keep the bar tab down:) Every now and then we will have friends join us, in which case we get a 2-bedroom. In these cases, we usually load up on things like frozen pizza, and other snacks. Certainly one could make better use of the kitchens and save money, by getting items for lunch etc, but it also depends on one’s schedule as to whether it would work. Going back to the room for lunch on a park day may not be feasible.

    Great topic!

  3. Greg says:

    You’re on a roll! Another great post.

    I’ve been considering DVC lately. We have young kids (they will be 2 and 6 soon) and our next trip is at least a couple years away. One very serious consideration for me has been the kitchen and whether or not it would save us any money.

    I look forward to the next installment.

  4. Sarah says:

    I’ve stayed in a 1 bedroom at the Boardwalk Villas and a studio at BLT (as well as a 1BR at Bonnet Creek- Shh! Don’t tell!). I completely understand the love/hate relationship with the kitchen! With so many great restaurants on property, I find the mini-fridge in the studio sufficient. It’s enough to keep beverages on hand, and we’ve kept leftovers from dinner there for late night snacking (California Grill Flatbread for breakfast, anyone?). I will admit, reheating a flatbread is much tastier in an oven than a microwave, but I’ll pick my battles:)

  5. Alan says:

    Back in the old days, before the start of the DVC, when there were only three “Disney” hotels, there were condominiums at the current site of the Saratoga Springs Resort. They were reasonably priced and went from studios to three bedroom tree houses. We always stayed there and really enjoyed them. We originally though making some meals in the kitchens would save us money, but to be honest we never used them. With no kids, and the lure of some of the great restaurants right around the corner at the Disney Marketplace we always went out to eat.

    I know the DVC rooms as a one time rental as opposed to ownership are a bit expensive but with a few kids or maybe two or three couples the value of having privacy, space to move around and the ability to make a meal, it may be worth the extra money.

  6. Janna says:

    I am fascinated by this! Thanks for sharing.

    I have been contemplating DVC membership for a while now. I dropped the thought once I realized that I could not use the points at a value resort (my boys are 12 and 4 and they LOVE staying at Pop, as do I). As they get older, I think that DVC membership will be more viable for us. That said, I have always wondered about the kitchens. I honestly don’t know if we would use one that much. I look forward to eating out not only at Disney but also on vacation in general.

  7. Gen says:

    We are DVC members with one child, so we have done both studios and one bedrooms and I agree with your love/hate relationship with the kitchens. I think we save some time/money but we definitely don’t “cook”… that’s not a vacation to me :) We buy milk, juice, pop and lunch meat which will fit in either full fridge or small one in the studio. We also get fruit, cereal, breakfast bars, bread and snacks. Enough to grab a quick breakfast on some mornings but we also do one character breakfast and one trip to Boma is a must!

    The rest is more for snacks or lunch on a ‘break from park’ day or late night snack. I think that saves us a lot of money even though we do still eat in a lot of restaurants – how can you not when there are so many wonderful ones to choose from.. and you are on vacation after all!

    Knowing we can grab a sandwich or bowl of cereal when get back to the room saves having to grab something expensive in the parks, or lets us skip dinner for more riding, esp when parks close early (we go mostly off season). We bring baggies of grapes and carrots, throw some oranges and apples in the tote bag… you get the idea. We tend to graze and share meals and rarely eat three full meals a day so that is where the savings comes.

  8. Julia says:

    Make sure you bring coffee filters if you want to make your own coffee! The ones provided did not work

  9. Liane says:

    I have stayed at DVC properties numerous times, probably more than 15! We LOVE having the kitchen and the space. We typically have breakfasts and an occasional dinner in our villa. Last year, my daughters, some of their friends and I had a girls’ weekend for the Princess Half Marathon weekend. We had pre-race meals (dinner and breakfast) in our villa – it was so very convenient and “homey.” I don’t mind cooking simple meals, and many hands make the clean up light. You can certainly save a bundle of money if you are spending your “normal” weekly grocery budget on your meals…

    Another year our family had a reunion – we had probably 8 villas at OKW. Each afternoon a different group would host “Happy Hour” in their villa. That alone was worth having the kitchen. The kitchen is pretty easy to tidy up since there isn’t a lot of “stuff” to work around, and it still feels different enough to qualify for vacation.

  10. Joy4Tigger says:

    I adore DVC units! I’ve stayed in a studio twice but more times in a 1 bedroom unit. I love the ammenities, especially the full kitchen (the washer & dryer aren’t too shabby, either!). I’ll wait for part two to share what I do with the kitchen but we’ve been known to have real meals there and have used the kitchen to make portable lunches for the parks. I also love the real freezer for freezing water bottles so they stay somewhat cold in the summer heat.

    I am not a DVC owner at all, we just don’t have the upfront cash and wouldn’t finance that purchase. What I do is rent points from DVC owners who, for whatever reason, have no use for their points. It allows me to stay in such great accommodations for the cost of a deluxe hotel room.

  11. melissa sue says:

    Awesome post, AJ and Erin!! This is a GREAT idea for a series!

  12. Tiffany says:

    For the last 2 years we’ve done the 2BR villa at Saratoga Springs. We’re not DVC members, but as a family of all adults, the 2BR is the best option for comfort and space. (We’ve never been much for the sleeper sofas. An additional room configuration for mid-sized parties of 4/5 would be nice Disney!)

    We too are followers of the “vacation~off kitchen duty” philosphy, but our family does view the full kitchen as a preferred amenity. It’s nice to be able to do biscuits & eggs for those mornings when we’re feeling more leisurely or to toss a frozen pizza in the oven on those late nights when leaving the Parks has worked up a hunger. Regardless of eating lunch and dinner in the Parks, we always make a grocery run for snacks, milk, juice, & quick fix meals at the beginning of our trip as a fall-back option.

    True, the full kitchen, additional space, and washer dryer are added expenses… but after all, the Disney experience is a luxury of sorts!

  13. Lillian C. says:

    Thanks for a great write-up about what’s in the DVC kitchens. I’ve always wondered what items they provided. I’m looking forward to reading part two about what items you’ve cooked.

  14. Donna says:

    I was thrilled to see this because I’ll be staying in one of the DVC Villas in 3 days. I normally do Dinner by Design at home (pre-prepared frozen entrees) and am bringing them along for dinners with young kids and extended family. It’s also nice to see what I DON’T have to bring in order to cook “real” meals.

  15. Keri says:

    We’re DVC members and I love having the kitchen to use when we want, even if it’s just to make some frozen cinnamon rolls for breakfast! One thing that drives me crazy is that there is no pizza cutter in the room. We do sometimes buy frozen pizzas for a quick dinner and it seems like it would be a common practice, but there’s no pizza cutter!

  16. Debi says:

    We love the kitchens in the villas and use them. Being from California, our trips to WDW are usually at least 10 days long and I order our groceries from Garden Grocer. So far, we have been quite pleased with their quality and service.
    We save a lot of money by preparing our meals in the villas. We have our favorite restaurants to go to and we will try and make it to those by doing stand by for the most part. We usually only make reservations for special occasions.
    We have come to dislike being bound to reservations. If you like to play things by ear and not have everything planned out day to day and minute by minute, making reservations to keep several weeks ahead or depending on what restaurants are available when you are ready to dine, can be a headache.
    For the most part, we eat breakfasts in the condo, and then usually eat either a lunch or dinner in the condo each day.
    Something that works for our family is going into the park in the morning and then when it starts to get crowded and hot, head back to the condo, get lunch and then go to the pool for the afternoon, then maybe gear up to go out for dinner and/or back into a park. Or, if we are up to it, we will do the opposite, get lunch and spend enough time eating to rest up for the rest of the afternoon, finish off the park we are in, then back to the condo for dinner and a nice visit to the Jacuzzi afterwards.
    My tips if you are going to plan on meals in the condo, is to get at least one extra roll of paper towels if your visit is at least a week long as well as a package of paper plates for convenience. Keep meals easy and quick to prepare with quick clean up.

Leave a Reply

Current month ye@r day *