Not all Disney fan clubs are created equally. Some fans are so devoted to vacationing at Disney, they consider it to be their Home Away From Home.
Of course, we’re talking about the Disney Vacation Club! There are plenty of perks to buying into this program, like travel flexibility, exclusive events, discounts, and more. But recently, we’ve spoken to DVC members who are leaving the program and asked them why, but that made us wonder something else — what are the biggest reasons fans won’t buy into Disney Vacation Club?
What Is the Disney Vacation Club?
The Disney Vacation Club functions like a timeshare program, but there are a few key differences. Members aren’t “locked in” to any specific Disney destination, resort, season, or length of stay. Vacations are booked using a points system instead. Members receive a yearly allotment of points based on the size of their real estate interest or how much they’ve spent buying into their “home” DVC resort.
Members are able to “bank” or save vacation points that are unused for the next year, or “borrow” future years’ points for a sooner vacation as well. The program has changed over the years, including becoming more expensive while offering fewer benefits, causing some long-time members to end their DVC contracts.
Why Fans Won’t Join
We headed over to our Facebook page to see what our readers’ biggest reasons were for not wanting to buy into the Disney Vacation Club. Here’s what they said.
By far the most common answer we heard from readers was that DVC is just too cost-prohibitive. Of course, buying into any type of timeshare program is usually never cheap, but the Disney Vacation Club can come with some pretty steep prices. A few Disney fans mentioned that they were considering it, especially after the park closures, but after seeing the latest prices on the point charts, it didn’t seem worth it anymore.
Not only is DVC expensive to begin with, but some readers just don’t see the value — at least not anymore. Ticket prices have increased in the parks, and there aren’t as many stellar DVC perks as there used to be.
One reader shared that when they looked at the price per month they’d spend on a DVC membership compared to putting that money into some sort of designated vacation savings account, the latter made more sense for their family. By having that money saved, they’d be able to book a Disney vacation when they wanted — or a vacation anywhere else since they weren’t locked into a Disney destination.
Maintenance fees were also mentioned a few times by readers discussing the cost of a DVC membership. In addition to buying a certain number of points when you purchase a membership, you’ll also have to pay maintenance fees which can often be unpredictable. And ultimately, many of our readers just didn’t think spending all that money — what some equated to a second mortgage — on something you don’t actually own made financial sense for them.
But, it’s not just the cost our readers had a problem with…
One interesting thing about Disney Vacation Club memberships is that they last a lifetime…sometimes literally. Most DVC resorts were initially given an expiration date of 50 years from the date they were built, but occasionally extensions are offered (like in the case of Disney’s Old Key West Resort). So, as of now, the earliest any DVC contract might expire would be in 2042, with newer resorts like Riviera stretching all the way to 2070.
That’s a long time to commit to a payment, a vacation, a company, a destination — anything, really. Many of our readers said that the contract length — not the cost — was their biggest reason for not buying into DVC. One reader remarked that the future is uncertain, and signing a multi-year contract with monthly payments didn’t sit well with them.
Those who buy into DVC and later decide it’s not right for them or may have had a change in circumstances do have a few options when it comes to opting out. First, members can rent out their points by using point rental services. Any guest is then able to “rent” points for a stay at DVC resorts.
In other cases, members can sell their contracts entirely. This can be beneficial for those looking to get out of their DVC membership and those looking to purchase one at a discount or potentially for a shorter amount of time. You can read more about what to do if you want out of your membership here.
With many economic experts warning of a looming recession, it seems as though our readers aren’t too quick to jump into an expensive, multi-year financial commitment — no matter how many perks it might come with or how much they love Mickey Mouse.
Not Enough Flexibility
Even for some of the most die-hard Disney fans, the DVC just doesn’t make sense. Being locked into taking Disney vacations exclusively in most cases might sound appealing to some, but others want more flexibility. For most people, a DVC membership is their entire vacation budget and leaves them with little wiggle room when it comes to vacation destinations. Sure, there are DVC properties in Florida, California, Hilton Head Island, and even Hawai’i, but that isn’t enough for many of our readers.
Being able to spend the money they might have used on a DVC membership towards any vacation they want is a big reason our readers don’t want to buy into the club.
Not only that, but several fans replied that visiting the Disney parks, in general, is just less spontaneous than it used to be, with the addition of Park Pass Reservations. Members might be able to book the resort of their choice last minute, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to secure passes to the parks they want on the dates of their choosing.
With the overall lack of flexibility and more planning that goes into a Disney vacation these days, our readers don’t seem to think committing to a Disney Vacation Club membership makes sense for them. That, combined with those lengthy contracts and increasing costs are the big reasons why YOU won’t buy into the Disney Vacation Club.
Want to learn more about Disney Vacation Club? See the 2024 DVC Pints Charts here, and you can check out 2023 DVC Disney Cruise Line deals here.
Be sure to stay tuned to DFB for the latest Disney news and more!
Everything You Need to Know About Disney Vacation Club
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
WE KNOW DISNEY.
YOU CAN, TOO.
Oh boy, planning a Disney trip can be quite the adventure, and we totally get it! But fear not, dear friends, we compiled EVERYTHING you need (and the things to avoid!) to plan the ULTIMATE Disney vacation.
Whether you're a rookie or a seasoned pro, our insider tips and tricks will have you exploring the parks like never before. So come along with us, and get planning your most magical vacation ever!
Save 25% on the 2023 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining with code WDW2023.
Are you a Disney Vacation Club Member? Let us know in the comments!
I love our DVC membership. It allows us more freedom for planning our trips. We didn’t join for perks, since in the contract it flat out tells you that those can change. We are taking 4 friends with us in 10 days and staying at AKL which is a dream for one of the group. In June we are taking our family and friends to Vero Beach and CCV to help us celebrate our 30th anniversary. In December we are taking a trip for the 2 of us. For 275 points a year, we are getting 3 amazing vacations and getting to enjoy Disney magic. It would cost so much more to do these trips if we didn’t have DVC, much less be able to afford 2 bedroom villas at a Deluxe resort.
I really, really wish you would do more positive blogs. Lately they have been very negative which is discouraging to new people. I haven’t seen many positive articles from you lately, and it saddens me because I usually love your articles. At least balance the positive and negative better maybe.
Judith Dolan says
As a long time DVC member , we find it harder and harder to find any availability unless you are booking 11 months out. Impossible now to be spontaneous and with the uncertainty with things live covid, it’s very hard to plan so far out.
I have been a DVC member since 2008 with 3 contracts & really love going to Disneyworld. I don’t mind planning ahead because it takes the guesswork out of a trip. My children will inherit my membership which is what I wanted but my only concern is the constant increase in maintenance fees. I hope it’s not a burden for them in the future.
Ironically, it’s the idea that the points do expire at some point that puts me off DVC. That and my wife would never go for it…
Payments for the club only last up to 10 years then you are only responsible for the annual dues. During this time hotel room prices continue to rise.
As far as flexibility besides Disney resorts you have the option of Interval International with literally hundreds of locations worldwide. Also don’t forget the Disney Cruise as an option. I’ll admit the points for a cruise are pretty high, but it may be a great option if you can’t afford paying cash for a Disney cruise
I didn’t see any mention of the other world wide hotels and cities where you can use Disney points. It has a new name like Concierge but it does expand the use of ones points to non-Disney locations.
Thomas Welsh says
We bought into Bay Lake Tower 12 years ago and have enjoyed it 2-4 times per year ever since. For us, it was a good move.
Lynn Fortney says
I completely agree with Jenni (above). What’s with the negativity? All the “can anyone afford…” articles (ticket prices, resort prices, AP prices), the whining about park passes (which do help keep crowds manageable for BOTH guests and the company). Good grief – you are starting to make the happiest place on earth sound like a trip to Costco on a weekend. My husband and I are retired “elderly” DVC and AP holders. We love going to WDW and spent our last wedding anniversary there. A friend of ours thought that was really weird, until she went with her 3 generation family. The ALL loved it. Now she’ a Disneyphile, too.
I’m seriously thinking about selling my points and getting out of DVC altogether because of not being able to buy an annual pass. I think it’s outrageous that DVC members aren’t included in the exception to the suspension of AP sales.
Timothy O’Dell says
We just bought our first DVC contract in 2022 after traveling with my parents and seeing how nice the DVC properties are and experiencing the convenience of staying on property. We have our first trip planned for August and then we are planning another trip for the end of May 2024. DVC saved us over $7,000 on accommodations alone for our August trip. We will spend less money on MFs each year for a deluxe resort than what it would cost us to book a value resort. Yes, it’s still expensive. Yes, we have to plan out our vacations way in advance. And yes, the contract is long. But we bought DVC for our family to create memories and travel in a way we wouldn’t be able to otherwise. If you’re interested in DVC, check out the resale market. You can possibly save a lot of money over direct.
Bob C says
I also agree with the lack of spontaneity there used to be. Why do you think that is? My opinion is that DVC is letting so many non-DVC people book with cash reservations or the DVC members renting their points because of the lack of reservation space. This is one of the main reasons we sold our DVC membership back in September. It was getting harder to book, even 11 months out. We had been members for almost 30 years at OKW and with the cost of maintenance at the $2000 range yearly, we decided the cost would cover a stay at a moderate resort and we wouldn’t be shelling that out every year and be able to book any time we wanted. The magic is gone sad to say. As the saying goes, “all good things must come to an end”.
Park pass reservations must go. Bring back annual pass purchases and resort airline check-in.
DVC is no longer a good option because Disney in general is no longer fun. I hate genie plus. Hate the park pass system. I can’t think of anything that has improved at Disney in years.
Leslie Seibert says
I joined in 2009. I’ve traded my points for a week in San Antonio and a week in National Harbor, 1 bdrm suites with full kitchens and washers in a Club Wyndham property. Costs $95 to use the service and there are properties all over the world. I’m not happy about the ever rising maintenance fees. Should DVC consider selling 10, 20 and 50 yr programs?
I owned 400+ points with DVC back in 1999. I paid cash for it. My family (and extended family and friends) enjoyed a lot of Disney vacations for quite a number of years, thanks to my DVC membership. Then my kids grew older and way busier with their school activities, etc., so I sold my DVC because we simply weren’t going to be using it and I didn’t see the point in hanging onto it.
Fast-forward to 2018. We started to frequently vacation at Disney again and so I toyed with the idea of buying DVC again. I am fortunate that money is not an issue, so if I bought back in, it would be with cash again. However, things have changed drastically with Disney vacation planning, especially within the past couple of years. Disney has pretty much destroyed spontaneous vacations. It is because of that and that alone that I don’t see the likelihood of purchasing DVC again. Vacation planning should be enjoyable, not something I dread. Life is too short for that.
Thomas J says
We bought into DVC in 2009 and enjoyed anywhere from 2-4 trips per year. Now it’s difficult to schedule date’s even 11 months out and the fees are rising and the advantages of owning have lessened, not to mention park reservations and many of the other things everyone complains about. I used to say that I waited too long to buy in, now I wouldn’t buy at all and consider selling it back.
Carol Lafreniere says
As a long term DVC member I do not like your one sided article. It is easy to report what others “say” they do not like about something, but how about when what they say only proves that they have not actually looked into it thoroughly? DVC is not limited. It joins up with Interval International to allow access to thousands of other vacation options. Members are not locked into that destination, an impression about DVC that you bolded TWICE. Of course, based on the article title, there is no reason to print any of the great things about DVC such as the ability in many of the rooms to cook, do laundry and basically have a home away from home, suited to large family events.
I love your videos / website / blogs in general, but I’m not sure what’s up with all of the hate for DVC lately. It’s not for everyone. That’s absolutely true and I always recommend people do a TON of research before taking the plunge. But it doesn’t change the fact that thousands of owners love the product and it works for them and saves them money. I hate staying in regular hotel rooms anymore as the DVC 1 snd 2 BR villas have completly spoiled us. We are leaving in a couple of days to escape the PA cold and will spend a week at Hilton Head, 4 nights at Riviera, 5 nights in Vero Beach, and then another week trading our DVC points into the Marriott Grande Ocean at Hilton Head. All on points. I can’t wait! We’ve never regretting buying into the program and plan to use it for years to come. When we’re too old to use our points, we will sell whichever contracts our son doesn’t want for his family. The others I hope he uses for many, many years!
I would not buy into any type of timeshare. I don’t care where or who.
Joe cosentino says
DVC members since 2001 have wilderness, Saratoga and Aluhni our average cost for 570 points is about $96/ point. Not bad considering they are over 200 a point now. At 200 it is not worth it the only real perk is free parking at hotels and parks (just saw the Disney dropped parking fees for guest, thats a good thing for sure) the discounts are ok but you have to remember to ask every time, why can’t they be automatically taken on dinner reservations etc. they know from your account you are a DVC member, thats a total annoyance.
We came in today for 8 days and decided that the park fees are crazy out of control and we will not be going to the parks for the first time, I have been coming here since 1972. For 2 adults on day park-hopper (as DVC MEMBERS we visit often so we don’t need a full day in each park , we like to do 2 or 3 parks in a day ) we do rides we wan and if it’s busy we enjoy just walking around. Well for 2 adults one day Parker hopper with tax it was like $475.00 sorry but that’s insane Walt wanted his parks available to all I think the greed has taken over and they forgot Walts dream. So sad
I’m shocked by all of these comments about difficulties getting rooms. When are you people trying to book?! Just major holidays and school breaks?! I mean if so, that’s totally on you, not DVC. Everyone can’t expect rooms during Spring Break or Christmas, that’s just silly.
It also sounds like far too many DVC owners are buying in to resorts that they are not fully interested in. Then always trying to book reservations at other resorts with points instead of staying at their home. Tbh, in the last decade, not once have I been denied GFV (home resort) when I tried to book at 11 months.
Also I’d strongly advise against buying in with monthly payments and interest. DVC is really more of a cash up front purchase type thing. Then it’s just the annual dues., which are high, but for under $2k in dues a year, we get 3x Disney vacations, I’ll take that any day!!
Biggest gripe is that annual passes for DVC owners needs to come back. They are killing us on ticket costs now.
We had a friend who was a cast member. She told us not to do it because there are savings and deals that make trip planning less expensive than having DVC. She was 100 percent correct. We watch for deals and we save much more than what I would be paying for DVC had I purchased back then. Now we have an APH in the house, so her discount makes it even better savings! So glad I listened to her advice!
My friend has a DVC membership and we go together. While the rooms are nice and it’s nice to stay on the property. I often second-guess the cost of membership. I can get a room in a hotel for less than she pays for the DVC membership. Also, it’s hard to get room reservations unless you book months in advance. We were hoping for the flexibility of being able to get a room within a month or a couple weeks but most of the time the resorts are full for months in advance. I looked at the Hilton Head resort and it’s full for the next several months except one night here and there.