What I Wish I Knew about DVC Before I Joined

As the old song goes, “Regrets, I’ve had a few…” Some of them involve previous Disney vacations, ones where I threw away money because I hadn’t done my homework. Here are a few things I wish I knew about the Disney Vacation Club before I joined.

Investing Versus Spending 

Let’s start with the most essential aspect of DVC membership. Before I knew about DVC, I did what all other Disney fans did: I visited Walt Disney World and Disneyland, spending money on hotel rooms each night of my stay.

Disney has all my money now, but it didn’t have to be that way. If I had joined DVC before my first visit, I would have invested rather than spent. That same financial outlay would have gone toward a DVC contract rather than cash rooms.

So, what’s the difference between the two? For convenience, I’ll use a small contract I purchased in 2013 as an example. That particular membership is ten years old as of last week. 

Disney's Old Key West


When I bought those 50 DVC Points at Old Key West, I paid $68 per point. According to the DVC Broker Price Opinion Tool, that same contract is worth $117 per point today. If I hadn’t already spent this year’s points, it would have a value of $122 per point. 

In actual dollars, that initial purchase of $3,400 plus fees (I cannot find the records on what I actually paid for this contract) now claims a value of $6,100. That’s $2,700 in profit on a $3,400 purchase!

In other words, my investment has grown 79.4 percent in 10 years, which is about an eight percent annual increase. Even better, this purchase isn’t like most of my investments. I get to have fun with it! I visit Walt Disney World a few days each year with this contract.

You’re Investing in Disney Vacations!

Also, I should mention that this is a small-scale example. I’m just as susceptible to Add-on-itis®

as everyone else. If I had selected a bigger contract, the actual monetary growth would have been substantially larger. I picked this one because it just turned ten, and I’m oddly sentimental about it. 

To me, that particular contract represents our first ride on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which is how I utilized the DVC Points the following year. I spent 100 DVC Points (having banked the previous year) for an eight-night stay at Disney’s Old Key West Resort

We bought the Disney Dining Plan and a Walt Disney World Gold Pass to enhance our vacation and had the time of our lives. Still, my most vivid recollections involve how that investment enriched my life in 2014. 

My wife and I visited Walt Disney World for our wedding anniversary. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was in testing at the time. On the final day of our trip, we had given up on riding it. 

Disney's The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Courtesy of Disney Tourist Blog

Then, the seas parted, and a cast member warmly signaled us into the line queue. It was a magical Disney moment, the kind all DVC members happily recall after the fact. That memory alone justifies the $3,400 I spent on the DVC contract. 

However, due to the brilliance of the DVC program, that contract has appreciated in value. I only regret that we didn’t buy a similar contract at The Villas at Disney’s Grand California Hotel & Spa. It would have cost about 25 percent more, but it’s worth $303 a point now! Our return on investment on that contract would have been amazing!

Either way, we rode Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ten days before it officially opened. So, I will always remember this small contract fondly. 

Better Rooms for the Same Price

Here’s the part of the DVC program I never fully appreciated until I lived it. My older brother joined DVC in the 1990s, and he constantly pushed the idea on us. At the time, we were bigger fans of Cedar Point and Millennium Force. 

Most of my encounters with Disney hotels were of the “shady motel close to the parks” variety. Some involved stays at Disney’s massive properties like Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Those places are too big for an insular person like me to enjoy. 

Over the years, my DVC membership has allowed me to explore the various Deluxe Villas. I’m a changed man because of this fact. As a child, I once told my sister that I would live at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Now, I kinda do!

My membership empowers me with a gorgeous, spacious Studio whenever I visit. So, whenever I stay at one of the Moderate or Value tier resorts at Disney, I cannot help but notice the downgrade. I miss the extra elbow room, the logistics, and (especially) the amenities at DVC properties. These places are cathedrals disguised as hotels. 

The remarkable part once again comes down to money. The combination of buying a DVC contract and paying annual membership fees isn’t any more than staying in a Moderate resort for the same number of days. And remember that if you do the latter, you’re throwing your money away rather than investing it!

DVC membership entitles you to a better room at the same price. You’ll make a lifetime of memories during your vacations. Meanwhile, your investment should grow over time since DVC contracts have historically appreciated in value over time. If only I had known these things during the 1990s, I’d have saved so much money over time!

Access all available Disney Vacation Club resale listings, or learn more about buying and selling with DVC Resale Market.


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