What is the Transient Tax Disney Just Announced?

Disney Vacation Club officials just confirmed what many of us had suspected. The upcoming Villas at Disneyland Hotel will require a transient tax for every stay. 

You likely have questions about transient taxes, especially if you’ve never stayed at Aulani. So, here’s what you need to know about this tax.

What Is a Transient Tax?

You almost certainly know what this is, even if you’ve never heard the term. The technical name for a hotel occupancy tax is a transient tax. 

Many state and local governments, especially in popular tourist areas, add these taxes. It’s an exceptional way to generate income from non-residents. So, politicians gain local revenue without raising taxes on the people who vote them into office.

In fact, if you’ve ever stayed in a cash room at a Walt Disney World or Disneyland hotel, you’ve paid the transient tax. It’s right there on the City of Anaheim’s website

Chapter 2.12 Subsection of the Anaheim Municipal Code requires that tourists staying in hotels “pay a transient occupancy tax of 15% of the rent charged by the operator.” That’s the reason why many of us expected this change. Anaheim officials have recently cracked down on delinquent hotel taxes to enhance the city’s revenue. 

At Walt Disney World, guests pay a six-percent transient tax. That’s part of a general tax of 12.5 percent that guests pay at most Walt Disney World resorts. The All-Star resorts charge 13.5 percent for reasons too arcane to discuss here. 

Still, the overriding point is that transient taxes aren’t unusual. As DVC members, we’re fortunate that we’ve historically paid them at only one resort, Aulani

How Will This Tax Impact DVC

The answer here is simple. You’ll pay a nightly fee for the transient tax. DVC has settled on the amount of $2.73 per point during 2023. The company has also provided this helpful site you should bookmark. It shows how much you’ll pay for the transient tax per day/week. 

Before I discuss specifics, I’ll add one more note. You should understand that Disney lacks control over this fee. Anaheim officials will determine it. I mention this because the Aulani transient tax doubled since 2016. Please be aware of this possibility when you contemplate ownership here.

In terms of hotel stays, the prior link shows seven Travel Periods at The Villas at Disneyland Hotel (VDH). Let’s use the middle one as a baseline for the average cost. According to this chart, here are the applicable transient taxes:

  • Duo Studio: $38.27 – $46.47 per night
  • Deluxe Studio: $54.67 – $71.08 per night
  • One-Bedroom Villa: $109.35 – $125.75 per night
  • Two-Bedroom Villa: – $164.02 – $188.63 per night  
  • Three-Bedroom Villa: $347.18 – $410.06 per night

Disney hasn’t posted weekly fees because it probably doesn’t like the way those numbers will look on paper. I’ll save your Siri/Alexa some time and tell you that a week in a studio at VDH will cost $380-$500 out of pocket on average. That’s in addition to the DVC Points you’ll spend.

Disney Parks Blog

Of course, you can save some money by visiting during less expensive Travel Periods. Still, this fee does add to your vacation budget for any stay at VDH. Please be aware of it. 

Let’s Talk about the Taxes at Aulani vs. Disneyland Villas 

Owners and previous guests at Aulani are familiar with the transient tax. DVC has charged this fee since Aulani’s inception. As indicated, the cost has risen over time. 

Again, Disney cannot control that. Both city and state officials control taxation rates on the islands. Gradual tax increases occur when the government needs more funding. Since tourism drives Hawaii’s revenue, such tax hikes are inevitable there.

I don’t view The Villas at Disneyland Hotel in the same light. While anything can change in the wake of an election (see: Florida), Disney currently enjoys a strong relationship with Anaheim’s City Council. As such, I personally envision less fluctuation with the transient taxes in Anaheim. 

To a larger point, there’s one simple thing you need to know about these two properties. They’re the only ones in the DVC library that require guests to pay out of pocket for transient taxes during a DVC hotel stay. 

Let’s Talk about the Grand Californian vs. Disneyland Villas

DVC has taken a different approach with the new villas. You always paid the transient tax at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. You probably didn’t know that, though.

Disney included those taxes in annual membership dues for Grand Californian owners. The price for 2023 is about 51 cents per point. So, it’s interesting that you’ll pay these taxes outside the standard annual dues at VDH. 

Until now, a new contract at VDH struck me as more appealing than Grand Californian. I felt that way due to the new villas being new as opposed to 20 years old. Also, the limited inventory at Grand Californian has always proven problematic for me in trying to book here.

However, this difference in transient taxes adds a new wrinkle. The annual dues at Grand Californian cost $8.04 per point in 2023. 

Disney just announced that the annual dues at VDH will cost $9.06 for 2023, which is a dollar more. Plus, you must pay the nightly transient tax. 

So, please draw your own conclusions here about newness and saying you own at Disneyland Hotel versus saving money at Grand Californian.

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