What Are the Best DVC Amenities Overall?
Over the past few months, I’ve debated the best reason to visit all of DVC’s resorts. It’s a divisive topic with no right or wrong answers. Whatever you like the best is all that matters.
Still, we should acknowledge that some DVC resort options have proven so great that they’ve elevated the overall appeal of the properties. Here are what I’d describe as the best overall amenities at DVC resorts.
The Beaches of Aulani
Everyone dreams of an exotic vacation, with Hawaii often the destination of choice for these fantasies. The DVC program allows those dreams to become a reality.
During a visit to Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, you can bask in the warmth of the sun. You won’t need to leave the hotel campus to do it, either. Disney operates several swimming pools and lazy rivers here.
Still, for most guests, the pinnacle of an Aulani vacation involves those moments spent on the beaches of the Pacific Ocean. This amenity isn’t Disney-specific like everything else on this list, but it’s definitely magical in its own way. We’d all be at Aulani’s beach right now if we could, right?
The Disney California Adventure Private Entrance
We all value logistics during our Disney vacations. That’s true due to the sheer scale of Disney theme park developments. An oft-cited example of this is that Walt Disney World more than doubles the overall size of Manhattan.
Walt Disney famously couldn’t purchase all the acreage he wanted at Disneyland Resort. So, he went big in Orlando. Since Uncle Walt’s death, Disney has cobbled together hundreds of acres of land in Anaheim as well.
For this reason, when you’re spending time at Disneyland Resort, you don’t want to walk any more than required. When you stay at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort, you can avoid that stress.
That’s because the hotel lobby shares a wall with the entrance to Disney California Adventure. You will exit the hotel, turn once, walk about 30 steps, and you’ll be at the security checkpoint for the theme park.
This sort of proximity is arguably the best in the world for a theme park. The only other place even in the conversation is a Tokyo DisneySea hotel that’s technically inside the park.
The Disney Skyliner Station
Logistics don’t involve something as singular as a short walk to the park. A quick ride is nearly as good, which explains Disney’s thinking in constructing its new gondola system.
In one fell swoop, Disney fundamentally changed the reliability of transportation from several resorts to/from the parks. Not coincidentally, Disney also built an entirely new DVC resort to capitalize on this new kind of ride.
Since its opening, Disney’s Riviera Resort has afforded guests a short, gorgeous ride to two different theme parks. Fans like me find this option, the Disney Skyliner, addictive. This amenity alone sells many Riviera contracts.
The Great Ceremonial House
Every DVC resort hosts a spectacular lobby. Several of them, like Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas and the Grand Californian, will mesmerize you with their grandiose stature. But one lobby has impressed Walt Disney World guests since day one.
Before Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort opened in 1971, management recruited people like the late Aunty Kai’i to work there. Cast members like her have set the tone at the Great Ceremonial House.
For many years, Aunty Kai’i would hand-craft leis to place on the necks of hotel guests. Over time, Disney has honed an entire lobby vibe based on this single joyous act.
Many of the joys of the Great Ceremonial House respect and honor Polynesian culture. All three restaurants serve authentic cuisine, virtually all of which is delicious. Then, we have a pair of stores that blur the line between vacation trinkets, beachwear, and South Seas fashion/knickknacks.
Yes, the Great Ceremonial House is a bit touristy and kitsch. But you’re always happy when you’re here, right?
Several DVC resorts offer unique room types. As a DVC member with decades to try everything, I’d highly recommend you book all of them at some point. Some options stand above the rest, though.
At the top of most people’s lists is Savannah View at Animal Kingdom Villas. Disney has designed its twin hotels here so that many rooms overlook the animal habitats.
When you book Savannah View, you ensure that you’ll awaken each morning to the sight of animals starting their day, too. Throughout your visit, you can sip coffee and gaze from your hotel room to the living quarters of these animals. You’ll never want to leave the hotel.
I’m not going to pick the best overall amenity across the resorts. If I did, these last two entries would probably finish in my top three.
We all know what’s amazing about Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Beach Club Villas. Disney has built a mini-water park disguised as a hotel pool. Not coincidentally, management has blocked non-hotel guests from swimming here.
So, you’ll enjoy the entirety of this massive pool without any fear of claustrophobic feelings. Instead, the open-air setting, sand-bottom floors, and lazy rivers will calm you on an otherwise hectic park day.
You’ll know you can escape to Stormalong Bay whenever you want. Nothing could possibly top that!