Disney Vacation Club For Dummies
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What Is The Disney Vacation Club
The Disney Vacation Club is just what it sounds like. Its a club for people who love vacationing with Disney. The Disney Vacation Club features 14 luxurious yet family-friendly resorts and villas. Staying with the DVC allows you high end access to the best properties and extra perks to make your vacation extra magical.
Limited Experiences & Closures
Some of the normal experiences guests are used to at Disney World are not running right now. Since a Disney World vacation is not cheap, this can be a huge factor in deciding whether its worth the cost at this time.
Some of the things missing are:
- Some Stage Shows
- Limited Restaurants
- Fewer Park Hours
Thankfully, we have seen the return of fireworks to the parks on a nightly basis and dessert parties to go along with them. Some character meets are open again, even though they are a modified version of the normal greets.
On top of that, its unclear when things like the Disney Dining Plan, Extra Magic Hours, After Hours Events, & Free Dining might come back, though its possible we could see them again in 2022.
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Disney Vacation Club Fees And Recurring Costs
As with any vacation ownership property, DVC timeshares have annual dues that you will need to pay to continue to enjoy all that your membership has to offer. DVC fees change every year, and they are priced per point that you own. So the more points you have, the more you will owe in annual dues for your DVC ownership. Points to maintenance fee ratios vary by your home resort and accommodation type, so keep in mind that what each DVC owner pays is different. These annual dues and fees are how timeshare resorts maintain their property upkeep and are able to make renovations and improvements as needed. The fees also cover the annual property taxes, like youd pay if you owned a vacation home.
Rider Switch & Height Restrictions
While Disney World appeals to families of all ages, some attractions are unsuitable for young children. Many attractions have height restrictions for safety purposes, and they are enforced strictly.
However, if the kids are too small to ride, it does not mean adults and older siblings cant. Rider Switch, also known as child swap, allows guests with small children to take turns riding while another adult stays with the child.
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The Key Benefits Of A Dvc Membership
One of the key benefits of being a DVC member is that your family gets to enjoy nicer rooms. DVC villas come with more features and amenities compared to standard Disney rooms.
Keep in mind that Disney World resort accommodations come in three categories: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. The DVC Villas fall under the Deluxe level category.
Another key benefit of DVC membership is planning assistance. The DVC team can help arrange your car rentals, flights, and various room requests.
They can also arrange for your groceries or bring food inside your room minutes after you order.
Also, members can enjoy pool-hopping at Walt Disney World. You can dive into most pools even if theyre in a resort where youre not staying.
In case youre wondering about the health and safety standards in the hotels and resorts with the ongoing pandemic, the Disney Vacation Club is responding accordingly to health protocols.
Disney Vacation Club A Primer
The Disney Vacation Club is a popular vacation ownership program. With 15 properties at which to use points for room rentals, DVC allows members to experience high-quality, welcoming vacations in several desirable locations.
What is the DVC?
The Disney Vacation Club is the Disney version of a vacation ownership program. It was created in 1991 by Disney Vacation Development, Inc., a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company. Unlike a traditional timeshare where owners buy a specific size unit in a set time of year, DVC works on a point system giving owners the flexibility to travel when they want, as often as they want, for however long they want, and in whatever size unit they choose.
Also, unlike traditional timeshares, your Disney Vacation Club membership, for most properties, ends on January 31, 2042. Membership at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa will end on January 31, 2054, membership at the Animal Kingdom Villas will end on January 31, 2057, Bay Lake Tower ends in 2060, and Aulani, in Hawaii, ends . Although you are buying a real-estate interest and your purchase is actually deeded, your ownership ceases to exist after these dates.
How do the DVC points work?
When you buy into the Disney Vacation Club, you purchase a set number of vacation points. The minimum number of points that may be bought in your initial purchase, if buying through Disney directly, is currently 160 and the maximum is 2000.
What is a Use Year?
What does it cost to become a member?
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Considering A Walt Disney World Airbnb
One thing budget travelers will need to consider is renting an Airbnb near Walt Disney World. Airbnb is a service that allows people to rent out their apartment like a hotel room. But near Walt Disney World, its more common to see apartments, condos, or vacation homes that are rented out exclusively to vacationers.
Airbnb rentals tend to have good price, and youll have the space of an apartment, usually including a full kitchen. This makes an Airbnb a great savings option if youre willing to cook some meals or pack lunches.
The biggest downside of an Airbnb is transportation. Youll need to either drive or rely on Uber to get to Walt Disney World. As Disney hotels now charge for parking, drivers may find great value in Airbnb rentals that include parking. Those who rely on Uber can find rentals that are a $10 Uber ride from the parks, which means youll spend an extra $20-$25 per day on transportation.
The Disney Vacation Club: A Beginners Guide
If youre an avid Disney fan, chances are that you have at least heard of the Disney Vacation Club, but may not really know what its all about. The Disney Vacation Club , or the DVC, is the Disney version of a typical timeshare vacation property. Instead of buying a part of one house you have to share with other owners, you get your run of multiple Disney Properties with lots more options! With DVC you can get great perks, amazing resort locations and if youre like us you take every chance to upgrade your Disney vacation to something special. Want luxury? Something Extra? The Ultimate Disney Vacation? Its time you learned about the DVC.
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Disney Park Pass Reservation System
Just turning up at a Walt Disney World is no longer possible. In its place is a new park reservation system.
Disney introduced Disney Park Pass during the reopening of Walt Disney World. Disney Park Pass allowed Disney to control the number of guests entering a park daily. To access a park at Walt Disney World, you need to prebook a reservation through the new Disney Park Pass System. Guests must present their park reservation and a valid park ticket to access a park. Guests who do not have either of these will be refused entry, including if you have a dining reservation.
A limited Park Hopping option, described below, has now been introduced. However, Guests must confirm their first park entry each day through a Disney Park Pass Reservation.
How Do I Start Planning A Trip To Disney World
STEP 1:Write down notes. There are going to be a lot of details, prices, and dates to remember so get a dedicated notebook for your upcoming trip. If you prefer, you can take notes on your phone or computer, but make sure you have a way of jotting down notes in a convenient place where you will be able to find them.
STEP 2: Set a Budget. Make no mistake about it, a trip to Walt Disney World is expensive and costs can add up very quickly. So before you start choosing how many days you want to stay, your hotel, and ticket types, make a budget. It will be much easier to organize your vacation if you already have an idea of how much you are willing to spend.
STEP 3: Get familiar with Disney World. Even if you are not ready to book your vacation yet, start reading up on Disney World and familiarize yourself with all the locations, attractions, restaurants, and special events. A website like this is one way to do that, but also look through the official Walt Disney World website and download the My Disney Experience app on your mobile device.
STEP 4: Choose your Dates. These dont have to be written in stone, but we recommend at least having some idea of when you would like to plan your trip for. Later in this guide, we will show you how to decide those dates.
Once you get these four things done, you are ready to start planning the details.
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How Long Do I Need At Walt Disney World
Before answering this question, it is worth reflecting that the park changes make this question even more challenging to answer. Currently, some park attractions and resort experiences remain unavailable.
Usually, we recommend that most first-time visitors consider allocating a minimum of 2 days for all parks. However, you can have a great time at Walt Disney World even if you only visit for a weekend.
We have created a guide on how to decide the length of your Walt Disney World Vacation. However, this guide was created before the current changes, and you should read the advice with caution.
Deluxe Resorts And Deluxe Villas
Staying at a Deluxe Resort is similar to the name, its where Disney goes above and beyond! These rooms tend to be a little bigger than most other rooms on the grounds, and they have more amenities.
So you get all of the perks of the other tiers, with some nice additions like valet parking, higher quality dining on site and more recreation choices at the resort. This takes your Disney vacation from regular to extraordinary!
My favorite part about staying at the Deluxe resorts is how much closer they are to the parks, and transportation also seems to move a lot faster from these resorts . We tend to save the Deluxe Resorts for special occasions, like honeymoons, but weve taken the kids before and their were lots of other kids there too!
The Deluxe Villas are similar to the resorts, but they sleep way more people! Most of these are also at a different location than the other Deluxe properties, but still full of the same amenities.
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Say Goodbye To Magicbands With Disney Magicmobile
Up until January, 1, 2021, Disney guests received a new MagicBand for each resort reservation. Not only did these make great souvenirs, but these waterproof, wearable bracelets also served as your theme park ticket, room key, even credit card.
Now, while they arent going away altogether , you now have the option to accomplish the exact same things by using something you probably already have: Your cellphone and/or smartwatch!
Rather than the RFID technology that MagicBands use, the new Disney MagicMobile Pass uses NFC, or Near Field Communication, to do everything MagicBands do by simply holding your applicable smartphone or smartwatch up to a touchpoint. In other words, if your smart device isnt NFC enabled, you wont be able to use a Disney MagicMobile Pass. Disney MagicMobile works on NFC-compatible Apple devices, specifically iPhones and Apples Watches, as well as on Android devices that utilize Google Pay.
To get started, youll first need to make sure that you have the app downloaded on your device and that your My Disney Experience account is set up. Youll also need to have your park tickets successfully linked to your account or an upcoming reservation at one of the Disney World Resort hotels. After that, setting up Disney MagicMobile is fast and easy. Heres how:
High Priority Genie+ And Lightning Selections
FastPass+ has been retired and Disney has shifted to its paid replacement Genie+. However, not all Genie+ or Lightning Lane reservations are equal, and there are some attractions where its much more advantageous to use them.
After all, you are limited to one Genie+ reservation at a time for the most part, so you need to choose wisely.
You should use Genie+ selections on higher-profile attractions that always draw long wait times like Peter Pans Flight or Test Track. Using a Genie+ on Alien Swirling Saucers at Hollywood Studios for example would be a waste.
Here is our list of High-Priority Genie+ attractions:
- Peter Pans Flight
- Splash Mountain
- Soarin Around the World
- Navi River Journey
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Mickey & Minnies Runaway Railway
- Rock n Roller Coaster
- Tower of Terror
Not all the Individual Lightning Lane selections are worth the money either as some dont usually have long enough wait times.
Here is our list of rides we would spend an Individual Lightning Lane selection on if the circumstances were right:
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Avatar: Flight of Passage
- Remys Ratatouille Adventure (EPCOT
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Do The Dvc Member Benefits Tempt You
There are quite a few different DVC member benefits. Some of the benefits are better than others. Here are some of the best.
- Annual Passholder Discounts because an AP is great for those multiple trips a year
- Free laundry Even the studios that dont have ensuite facilities have access to a free laundromat
- 20% Merchandise Discount
- 10% discount on some dining locations
- Discounts on tours and parties
- Pool Hopping my family loves this one! DVC members around allowed to use several of the pools around Disney World, but not all of them!
- Top of the World Lounge
- Imagination Lounge at Epcot a DVC member lounge providing a cool place to relax, charge your phone, and get some refreshmente
It is important to note, these benefits are only available to DVC members who buy direct from Disney. If any of these benefits are must haves, then you will need at least 75 points direct from Disney.
Walt Disney World And Orlando For Dummies 2006
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- Walt Disney World, including The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Animal Kingdom, and more
- Other terrific theme parks, including Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld and Discovery Cove, and more
- The best daring thrill rides, including The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Dueling Dragons twin roller coasters, Jurassic Park River Adventure, and the Tower of Terror
- Tamer rides and attractions, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Shrek 4-D, and Kilimanjaro Safari
- Great shows, parades, fireworks displays, and more
Like every For Dummies travel guide, Walt Disney World & Orlando For Dummies 2006 includes:
- Down-to-earth trip-planning advice
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What Entertainment Does Disney World Offer
I get this question from Disney Vacationers all the time- What is there to do at Disney?
There is SO MUCH to do at Disney World that you simply cant do it all! What I wanted to do was break down the basics for you!
This is not going to cover the rides, because they are in a category of their own! I do have a post on rides for babies, toddlers and pregnant women you can check out though!
So lets take a look at the Entertainment at Disney World!
Downsides Of Dvc Membership
While there are tons of perks to having Disney Vacation Club membership, nothing is without its downsides.
First, its impossible to look past how expensive DVC membership is. The upfront cost, the overall cost, as well as the yearly dues arent cheap. Plus the annual fees increase every year, and can be unpredictable.
Not only is the cost of the membership expensive, but it doesnt include other costs you incur on Disney vacations. Admission, food, merchandise, and travel are all other costs that you have to take into consideration especially if going once a year.
You have the membership for 50 years, and your families desire to go every year may decrease after awhile. Going every year may become tedious, and it does limit where and when you can go on vacation. While there are a lot of choices for booking, even places all around the world, not all of them will be easy to get to or affordable to travel to for the average family.
Having a Disney Vacation Club membership takes some of the fun and spontaneity out of booking for Disney. You arent able to book a Disney World trip on a whim and just go for a little trip whenever you want. In order to use your points, you have to book quite a ways in advance and plan for a trip in order to get the most out of your points.
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Should You Rent A Car
Renting a car at Disney World has its positives and negatives and is a big decision you need to make. It comes down to if you are going to visit other places outside of Walt Disney World or stay on property the entire time.
If you are going to spend the entire vacation at Walt Disney World, there is absolutely no need to rent a car. Disneys public transportation is more than sufficient for your needs.
If you are just going to spend one day in another Orlando destination like Universal Studios, you dont need a car and you will save money by catching an Uber or a taxi to your destination.
The only reason you need to rent a car is if you plan on spending multiple days outside Disney World. Just know that hotel parking fees can add up so expect to spend an additional $20-$25 per night on top of rental car fees.