As certain as the sun rising in the east, there's several people on the fence deciding whether or not to purchase into Disney Vacation Club. To buy or not to buy.....that is the question! Here's some important questions to ask yourself.
- How often do you go on vacation?
- When you go to WDW, what level of resorts do you normally stay at?
- Are you or have you been able to book a Walt Disney World package during the times they offer the dining plan for free?
- Can you afford the annual dues, which tend to go up every year?
First and foremost, If you normally stay at deluxe resorts when you go to WDW and you normally go to WDW at least every other year (or other vacation location where DVC points can be used), yes! You save money.
For my 'ohana, DVC is a luxury item. We could live without it and definitely save a lot of money by NOT being a member. We never went to Disney with more than 4 people, only went to WDW every other year and stayed at moderate resorts 99% of the time. (We were able to stay at a deluxe resort once in my life, because of the free dining we qualified for that one year.) In order to fit more than 5 people in one room, you need to stay at a deluxe resort or you have to book multiple rooms. Unfortunately, they can't guarantee the rooms would be together or even in close proximity. Disney is changing things by trying to make bigger rooms (suites) in the value resorts, but even those are expensive.
We only bought into DVC, because of a trip we were planning for 10 people. It made mathematical sense to buy into DVC rather than pay $15k for 1 week for a 3-bedroom villa at Animal Kingdom Villas for a one-time, large family vacation. We also figured we can use the points in so many other places in the world, sell the points later, etc. So, instead of saying good-bye to $15k for one week, we put it towards an investment knowing we could use it on several trips or possibly get much of that back if we decided to sell the contract.
Now, we're empty nesters. Everyone's needs change over time. The biggest cost for a Hawaii trip is the stay, food and flight. With DVC, we've secured the stay with something we already own, but that ownership comes with a cost.......The annual dues. Depending on your home resort and the number of points you buy, your annual dues could be a burden. My annual dues went up $200 in the first year. Thankfully, they didn't go up much the next year. Depending on how many points you buy, the annual dues could pay for a moderate resort every year. So, if you went to WDW every other year, the two years of annual dues could potentially pay for a stay and theme park tickets or just a long stay or more instead of being a DVC owner.
Another little downside: Once you are DVC and you stay on points, you are not offered the dining plan for free. But, If you are a DVC member, you can pay cash for a room and qualifying number park tickets as if you are not a DVC member, the free dining is offered during qualifying times, but you may be wasting money at that point depending on where you stay. If you think becoming a member is not best for you right now, but want to stay in a deluxe resort, take a look at renting DVC points.
I hope this helps! Hakuna Matata!!