The key part of being a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) member is getting to spend those magical vacation points! However, not all points are created equal. When, where, and how you spend those precious points matters. In our DVC points guide, we’re going to explain the best and worst ways to use DVC points.
It might not be evident, but there are ways to increase the value of your DVC points. From studios to grand villas, there are prime times to spend those points and we’re going to tell you exactly when. Stick around and read our best and worst use of DVC points guide!
Buying DVC! Before we move on, we’ve got to mention our partners at the DVC Resale Market. If you’re looking to buy a Disney Vacation Club membership or even add some points to your existing contract, then the DVC Resale Market is the way to go. They are the largest resale marker for DVC points with over 1,500 active daily listings! They will take care of you from start to finish so all you have to do is pack your bags!
What Are Disney Vacation Club Points?
If you’re just getting started with the Disney Vacation Club, you might be asking yourself: what are Disney Vacation Club Points?! In short, DVC points are the annual vacation points that come with the purchase of a DVC contract. The amount of DVC points on each contract varies and those with more points make for a more expensive contract.
For example, you might buy into the Club with a 150-point purchase at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. This means that every year, through the duration of the contract, you’ll receive 150 points in your DVC account. That’s it in short, but if you’re looking to learn more about the Disney Vacation Club, be sure to check out our complete guide here!
Now, here is where this guide kicks in! We’re going to look at the best and worst ways you can use your DVC points so that you can get the most bang for your buck. You might be surprised at what you learn!
The Best and Worst Ways to Use Your DVC Points – Overview
Let’s get right to it and look at the best times and ways to use your DVC points!
For our guide, let’s consider the following:
- To make fair comparisons, we’re only going to compare the DVC resorts located in the Walt Disney World resort. If you’re curious about the others, we’ve got you covered here! (see points chart here)
- DVC accommodations come in all shapes and sizes. Again, for consistency, we’re only going to look at villas in the Standard category. I mean, we can’t compare a Savanna View at Kidani with a Standard view elsewhere!
- Our stays will be on Sunday through Thursday as these days will always require the least amount of DVC points.
- We’re going to show you two scenarios. The first will look at early September. This is a time of year when DVC villas typically require the least amount of DVC points.
- Afterward, we’re going to jump to Spring Break where we’ll see some of the most expensive point requirements.
The Best and Worst Ways to Use Your DVC Points – Low Season
With that in mind, let’s look below at the best and worst ways to use your DVC points during September, the typical peak of the low season.
We are looking at a scenario stay of September 9th through the 13th in 2024.
|1 Bedroom||BoardWalk Villas - 19 points per night||Villas at Grand Floridian - 16 point per night|
|2 Bedroom||Old Key West - 27 points per night |
Saratoga Springs - 27 points per night
|Villas at Grand Floridian - 31 point per night|
|3-Bedroom Grand Villa||Saratoga Springs Treehouses - 38 points per night||Villas at Grand Floridian - 44 point per night|
|Studio:||BoardWalk Villas - 9 points per night|
Old Key West - 9 points per night
Saratoga Springs - 9 points per night
|Villas at Grand Floridian - 111 point per night|
Let’s break it all down!
As you can see above, there are plenty of great options for a 4-night stay in September with relatively low points values! Notably, we see a 3-way tie in the best studio category. It’s also worth noting that Disney’s BoardWalk Villas come out on top in several of the best categories. Not too shabby for an older resort with a deed that expires in 2042. 19 points for a 1-bedroom villa is incredibly low! So if you’re looking to stretch your points, then the BoardWalk, Saratoga Springs, and Old Key West are the way to go during the low season. Read more about the Disney BoardWalk area here.
Unfortunately, if you’re a fan of Walt Disney World’s flagship resort, you’re in for disappointment. Even during the cheapest time to stay at Walt Disney World, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort takes the crown as the worst way to use your DVC points in every category!
The differences here are pretty drastic. Some will argue that the Grand Floridian is the best resort in Walt Disney World, but the Villas at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, for example, are just as nice in our opinion and offer some really fun nighttime activities that you won’t find at the Grand Floridian. So, if you’ve got tons of DVC points to use, then definitely treat yourself to the beauty of the Grand Floridian. Otherwise, the table above should give you a guide as to the best and the worst!
The Best and Worst Ways to Use Your DVC Points – High Season
Now let’s take a look at the best and worst ways to use DVC points during the high season. Typically, the highest, and busiest, times at Walt Disney World are around Easter and Christmas. So, we’re going to price out another 4-night vacation during Spring Break.
We will look at a vacation from March 25th through the 29th in 2024.
|Studio||Animal Kingdom Villas - 21 points per night |
Saratoga Springs Resort - 21 points per night
|Grand Floridian - 32 points per night|
|1 Bedroom||Animal Kingdom Villas - 38 points per night||Grand Floridian - 64 points per night|
|2 Bedroom||Animal Kingdom Villas - 55 points per night||Grand Floridian - 87 points per night|
|3-Bedroom Grand Villa||The Treehouses at Saratoga Springs - 82 points per night||Copper Creek - 176 points per night|
Alright, same as we did before, let’s look at this a little closer and unpack it all. This time the results might surprise you!
This time around, the Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas comes out on top as the most affordable accommodations during the high season! This resort is a fan favorite and boasts its beautiful savanna-view rooms with the animals right in front of you. If you want to see more of this amazing resort, be sure to check out our guide here!
Considering that we’re looking at the high season, even 38 points per night is not bad. Sure, it’s a standard view, but you can always walk down to the savanna and enjoy the animals from the resort lobby! And of course, a grand villa at Disney’s Old Key West for 82 points per night is also not too high. It’s a great way to vacation with the entire family!
Now for the worst way to use those precious DVC points. Once again, the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian takes the crown as the worst use of DVC points. At this point, we’re feeling bad about putting this beautiful resort in this position. Again, this is strictly based on point values (we love the Grand Floridian, too!). We love to save and maximize so it would be hard to justify a 1 bedroom for 64 points per night here when we could stay at Animal Kingdom for only 38!
So, take what we’ve shared and see how it fits in with your vacation plans. While we only looked at two seasons, we’re pretty confident that other times of the year will be similar given that the more affordable resorts are usually spread throughout the year.
Disney Vacation Club Annual Dues
If you’re thinking that you’ll never buy at the Grand Floridian, hold your horses. One other thing to consider when thinking about value is that each resort comes with its annual dues. These dues come every year and cover the cost of running the resort. So while you might think that a low-point resort is the way to go, you might actually end up paying more annually because of these dues.
Current Lowest DVC Annual Dues
Now it’s time for some serious redemption! Currently, the resort with the lowest annual dues is….drumroll…..The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort!
Suddenly, we’re not feeling so guilty anymore! This resort holds the lowest annual dues with a current price of $7.33/per point. For reference, in 2022 the cost per point was $7. That means 2022 to 2023 only saw an increase of 4.64%. Annual dues should be taken into account when thinking about the cost of owning a DVC resort, so this is a great selling point for the Grand Floridian.
Current Highest DVC Annual Dues
The resort with the current highest dues is Disney’s Old Key West. You’ll notice that this resort was ranking as one of the ones that offered the most affordable DVC accommodations, but here it’s not so sweet. Currently, the resort is charging $9.35/per point. Last year it was $8.80/per point. This is a (sharp) increase of 6.25%. So, while it may be cheaper to stay here, this resort has annual dues that suddenly don’t make it as affordable as we thought!
Overall Best in Annual Dues
Naturally, you might be thinking about historical increases. Meaning, which resort has the lowest annual percentage increase in annual dues? Well we’ve compiled this information for you so can see which resort has the lowest annual increase average since its opening.
|Annual Due Historical Increase Average|
|Animal Kingdom Villas||4.1%|
|Bay Lake Tower||5.2%|
|Boulder Ridge Villas||3.8%|
|Old Key West||4.2%|
As you can see, Disney’s Riviera Resort has the lowest average increase in annual dues, but that can be misleading. Disney’s Riviera Resort only just recently opened so it doesn’t have a lot of data to pull from. It’s been historically true, too, that new resorts have less of an increase in annual dues since the maintenance is initially low.
If we’re looking across some of the more established resorts, then we’re looking at BoardWalk as the winner here. Since its opening in 1996, the historical annual average increase in dues has only been 3.25%! That’s a very low number for a 2042 resort and gives some comfort in knowing that this resort doesn’t typically see high spikes in annual dues increases. However, it should be noted that annual dues can sharply increase at any time.
All said you should always think about the needs of your family and where you want to stay. If the Grand Floridian is the resort that gives you that magical feeling, then definitely make that your resort. After all, this is your vacation and you should stay wherever you feel the happiest. On the other hand, if you’re someone that doesn’t care too much about where to stay, then this DVC points guide can be really valuable in helping you stretch those points.
If you’re not a DVC member yet but are curious to see what all the hype is about, then you’ll want to make sure you check out our partners at the DVC Rental Store and David’s DVC Rentals. Both of these reputable companies can help you find the perfect DVC rental so that you can try a villa accommodation and see if it’s for you. The best part here is that you’ll save a ton of money on your deluxe accommodations. They’ll take care of it all so you can have great peace of mind in renting DVC points. Note that the DVC Rental Store does not require you to pay all upfront if you book more than 75 days out. David’s does require full payment upfront, but you’re likely to find more money-saving deals with them. Choose the one that best fits your needs! You can’t go wrong with either.
Plan your next Disney Vacation with us!
If you’re ready to plan that magical Disney escape, let us help you! It can be overwhelming to plan a perfect Disney vacation, but you don’t have to do it alone! Our team gathers all of the best deals out there and can help you maximize your dollars! Let us prepare a FREE quote so that you can see what we’re talking about!
If you want to learn more, be sure to check out the following guides:
- DVC “Use Year” Explained – 2023 FAQ for Disney Vacation Club Buyers
- DVC Rental Store vs David’s Vacation Rentals: Which is Best DVC Broker?
- Renting DVC Points: How Many Points Do I Need to Rent?
- Owner’s Lockers: A DVC Owner’s Best Kept Secret
- Buying DVC Direct vs Resale: Member Benefits and more!
- Disney Vacation Club Rentals 2023: How to Rent DVC Points
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