What’s the Difference Between DVC Villas and Disney Direct Rooms?

Grand Floridian DVC

My friends know me as an evangelist for all things Disney and for the Disney Vacation Club program. Since most people inevitably wind up at Walt Disney World and/or Disneyland at some point in their lives, they share a working of knowledge of hotel rooms.

So, they’ll ask me whether DVC Studios and Villas differ substantially from standard Disney hotel rooms. Let’s discuss what you’ll get by choosing DVC over a conventional hotel stay.

Value and Moderate Tier Hotel Rooms Are Fine

Have you ever stayed at a Disney All-Star Resort? I’m certainly not denigrating them, as Disney Imagineers work hard to sprinkle magic into every hotel room. Still, there’s a realistic limit to what you can do in a Value Resort room. That’s Disney’s lowest tier of hotel.

When you stay at places like Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort or Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, you’ll notice something quickly. All the rooms possess a sameness.

Courtesy of Disney Tourist Blog

You can google the floor plans or check YouTube videos if you don’t believe me. Disney has employed a cookie-cutter approach for the room layouts. The only difference stems from the theming, which is more visible outside the building than in the room.

Also, you’re only gaining 260 square feet of space and a pair of double beds in your room. You’ll spend your time in a single sitting area and cursing the tight spaces in the bathroom and dressing areas.

Even when you upgrade to the Moderate Tier, the rooms themselves fail to stand out. I’m an ardent proponent of Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, so much so that my brother is staying there this week based on my advice. Still, the advantages of this hotel don’t spill into the room, which is a basic 314-square-foot space with two queen beds taking up most of the area.

Importantly, none of these rooms include features like plates and cups. When you book Moderate or Value Tier accommodations, Disney presumes you’ll spend most of your time away from your hotel room. So, it skimps on amenities.

But DVC Villas Are Substantially Better

Contrast that to the Deluxe Tiers Villas that are a staple of the DVC programs. These rooms can include more than 450 square feet of space…and that’s just for the Deluxe Studios! One- and Two-Bedroom Villas are typically the size of apartments!

Disney adds amenities like kitchenettes, paper towels, plates, cups, and utensils so that you can eat in your hotel room if you prefer. There’s even a mini-fridge and microwave to keep your food cold/reheat it later.

When you book a Villa, Disney includes even better amenities. You’ll find full-service kitchens and washer/dryer facilities…in your hotel room! When designing DVC Villas, Disney assumes you’ll spend more time in your room. While you’re there, you’ll have everything you could possibly want.

Disney has created a tranquil space for you to relax and rejuvenate in between park visits. Not coincidentally, DVC members often find that they spend less time at the parks over time. Owners enjoy their hotel stays so much that they don’t want to leave!

The Hotel Amenities Are Vastly Superior

Here’s the x-factor as I see it. I just praised Port Orleans – French Quarter, my favorite Moderate Tier resort. However, when I stay here, I inevitably eat somewhere else. That’s okay because Walt Disney World offers so many exquisite dining options.

When I stay at a DVC resort, I don’t need to leave, though. We’re currently posting a series of DVC dining guides, and they’re underscoring an undeniable truth. DVC members can eat better at their home resorts than they can in their own hometown!

Think about the situation like this. How many high-quality restaurants are in your standard dining rotation? And how do they compare to the offerings at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort or Disney’s Contemporary Resort?

Unless you live in a major metropolitan area, you cannot compete with Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, which is home to Victoria & Albert’s. Earlier in 2023, yet another service honored that place as the best restaurant in the United States, an accolade it receives frequently.

That’s not the only objectively superior amenity, either. At Disney theme park resorts, the pools at Value and Moderate Tier resorts are surprisingly good. They just cannot compete with the Lava Pool or Stormalong Bay, though. Disney has reserved the best pools for its Deluxe Tier properties, and it shows!

Disney Vacation Club Beach Club resort's ship on the beach

Similarly, the shops at Value and Moderate Tier resorts are quite basic. They’re a combination of general stores with some standard Disney merchandise.

Contrast that to a distinctive, impressive store like the recently remodeled Bayview Gifts of the remarkable Zawadi Marketplace. Similarly, I defy you to shop at M. Mouse Mercantile or BouTiki and then not feel let down when you visit Everything POP Shopping and Dining afterward. And that’s probably the best Value Tier resort store!

Courtesy of wdwnt.com

The difference in these DVC amenities is so dramatic that I cannot in good conscience recommend Value or Moderate Tier resorts to friends. Conversely, I cannot tell them to spend so much money on a short stay at a Deluxe Tier resort. Instead, I encourage my loved ones to join DVC because it elevates the Disney vacation experience so much.

Access all DVC resale listings and learn more about buying and selling with DVC Resale Market.


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