“Hey Lou, Love all that you do! My wife and I are hooked on every bit of content you create, and we can’t thank you enough for the hours of enjoyment you have provided us. We are currently expecting our first child (a girl!) and are already trying to plan our 1st WDW trip with her. 2 questions… Have you traveled with an infant to the parks? What tips do you have for us? We travel to WDW at least once per year for the last 8 years (from Rhode Island), is the DVC worth it for our family? Thanks!! Ron, Michelle and Viola”
Hi Ron, Michelle, and Viola! This is Vanessa from the WDW Radio Blog Team here to answer your question from Lou’s Inbox. First I’d like to congratulate you on the upcoming birth of your daughter! There is nothing more magical than visiting Walt Disney World Resort with children. You will rediscover many things through the eyes of your child. It has been quite a few years since I traveled with an infant to WDW, so I would like to direct you to several previous WDW Radio Blog posts on traveling with an infant that Alyssa Wiseman and Alyson Miller wrote.
As for your inquiry on whether Disney Vacation Club is worth the investment, I can help you with your decision. I have been traveling to WDW from Ohio since 1971. In 2003, we brought our three young children to WDW for the first time, and they fell in love with everything Disney. In 2014, I purchased my first DVC membership at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii, and recently purchased more points at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Our family usually travels to WDW at least once a year along with trips to Disneyland every other year, and we always stay at Disney resorts. Plus, I am a Platinum Castaway Club member with Disney Cruise Line because I have sailed on over 14 cruises with DCL. I can now use my DVC points for any of these Disney adventures, plus I can vacation at over a thousand other resort options around the world with RCI®.
For my family of five from Ohio, a Disney vacation can cost quite a bit, but now with DVC the yearly dues are much less than what I used to pay for a resort stay on one trip. If you factor in the initial cost of the membership, mine will pay for itself after 15 five-night stays. Plus, the DVC resorts and rooms are outstanding. They have all of the Disney magic, and are also larger than a regular resort room and have either a kitchenette in a deluxe studio or a full kitchen in a one bedroom suite or larger suite.
Another consideration is what type of accommodations you prefer to stay in. DVC has deluxe studios that can sleep 4-5 people and one and two bedroom suites that can sleep up to 12 people depending on the accommodation type chosen. The rooms are nicely decorated and themed to the resort where you are staying. You can also book regular resort rooms at other Disney properties. For example, I could not book a DVC villa at Disney’s Grand California Resort at Disneyland, but I was able to book a regular room at that resort and use my points to pay for it. You can book your home resort (the one you purchased points at) eleven months in advance and book other resorts seven months in advance. Sometimes this is a drawback if you do not own a membership at WDW and you wish to stay during a specific time like for a runDisney event or a holiday, as the resorts and room level may not be available within seven months out.
If you like to plan for larger trips such as a Disney Cruise, Adventures by Disney, or a large family gathering, you can bank/save and/or borrow your points so that you have more to use for that magical vacation. That way, you can really maximize your points. This can also work if you are not able to make a trip every year. Another option is to rent your points to other family members, friends or strangers through a rental service. By doing so, your points are not wasted, and you can recover some of your annual dues by renting them out.
There are many other benefits to a Disney Vacation Club membership. Here are a few to explore as you consider becoming a member:
- Special Member Events: DVC member previews of new attractions and lands, early movie screenings, special members only events at each park and in Disney Springs, and more.
- Special Offerings: Dessert Parties, Moonlight Magic, runDisney early registration, discounts for dining, park tickets, annual passes, and many more.
For my family, the decision to finally purchase a Disney Vacation Club membership was well worth the investment. My only regret is that we did not purchase it ten years ago since we are a Disney loving family and really enjoy our membership. We spent way more on resort costs in the past than our annual dues and a percentage of the initial membership cost. So, think about how much you currently spend on your trips and where you like to stay on Disney property. It may be more beneficial to purchase a membership, especially if you plan to vacation with your growing family. However, the decision to purchase a DVC membership is ultimately up to you and what you can afford as a family.
(Lou’s Inbox logo ©WDW Radio, Disney Vacation Club logo ©Disney.)
To learn more about Vanessa and read her recent posts for WDW Radio, visit her author page by clicking the link on her name at the top of this post.