2023 Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide – Tips and Key Questions

The Disney Vacation Club is the ultimate way to save money while also enjoying deluxe stays at Disney parks. I know, how does saving money and a deluxe stay go in the same sentence? Well, this Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide is going to break down everything you need to know about becoming a Disney Vacation Club member. Even more importantly, it will break down how you can be saving money on your Disney vacation. From learning about points, home resorts and deluxe accommodations, we’ve got lots to cover! 

If you’re someone who enjoys visiting Disney parks once a year, or even every other year, then you need to at least think about what the Disney Vacation Club can offer you. 

Who knows, by the end of this Disney Vacation Club buying guide you might be ready to hear the phrase, “Welcome Home!” the next time you’re traveling to a Disney park or resort. 

The best way to buy resale! We’ll give more details further in the guide, but when it comes to resale, our pick for the best way to purchase a resale DVC contract is through our partner at the DVC Resale Market. They are an all-in-one trusted company that will take care of every last detail so you don’t have to worry about anything. Plus, they’ll even help you secure financing through the wonderful Monera Financial. It’s could not be more simple to own a DVC resale contract!

Keep reading our Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide to see if membership is worth it for you and your family! 

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide: What is the Disney Vacation Club?

You may have noticed the Disney Vacation Club carts located inside of the Disney Parks. They’re usually somewhat inconspicuous, but they are holding a great Disney secret. 

In its simplest form, the Disney Vacation club is a deeded timeshare program that allows you to buy a real-estate interest at a Disney deluxe resort. The program works by buying vacation points that you exchange for nights at a Disney Vacation Club resort. The amount of points you buy is up to you and you decide how and where you want to use them.

For example, you could buy 150 vacation club points at the Grand Floridian Resort and use those points to take an annual Vacation to this resort. So, one way to think of this is that you’re prepaying your Disney vacation accommodations for the next 20, 30 or more years. What’s more, once you own at one resort, you own at all of them! So, you could use some points to stay at the Grand Floridian and some for a paradise vacation at the Aulani resort in Hawaii. 

You may even choose to take advantage of some international destinations with your vacation points. You have the complete flexibility to decide how you want to use your vacation points and also where you want to stay. 

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide: Deluxe Resorts vs Vacation Club Deluxe Villas 

Understanding the difference between a deluxe resort accommodation and a Vacation Club Deluxe Villa is important in order to really understand the value of a Vacation Club membership. 

Both accommodations will be found on property of a Disney Deluxe Resort. Most often, the Vacation Club Villas are located in their own wing of the resort. From the outside, they look identical to the hotel rooms. It’s inside where you really see the difference. 

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide Aulani Living Room

View from your full living room at Disney’s Aulani Resort

Most of us are familiar with a standard hotel room accommodation with a king bed and a sofa or two queen beds. In a Vacation Club Villa, however, the accommodations are taken up a notch with kitchens and kitchenettes becoming standard on all villas. There’s also room for the entire family! 

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide Kitchen

Disney Vacation Club Villa Full Kitchen

Accommodations in a Vacation Club Villa include:

  • Resort Studios (sleeps 2 or 4)
  • Deluxe Studio w/kitchenette (sleeps 4 or 5) 
  • One-bedroom Villa with full kitchen (sleeps 4 or 5) 
  • Two-bedroom Villa with full kitchen (sleeps between 8 and 10)
  • Three-bedroom Grand Villa (Sleeps up to 12) 
  • Cabins and Bungalows (Sleeps 8 guests) 

All Deluxe Villas give you the same access to resort amenities as a deluxe hotel stay. In a Villa, you get the added space as well as the ability to cook your own meals in the kitchenette or kitchens. This is a huge bonus and a way to save some money! 

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide Cabin

Inside a Cabin at Disney’s Copper Creek

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide: Choosing Your Home Resort 

When you buy into the Disney Vacation Club, you’ll have to choose which property you’d like to own. This is called your ‘Home Resort.’ Many people will say that you should buy where you want to stay. That’s good advice, but not necessarily the only route to take. 

You will also be assigned a ‘use year.’ This simply refers to the month in which you will receive your points each year. 

While all of the properties are considered Deluxe Accommodations, they each are unique and cater to different desires and experiences. 

We’ll get into the cost a little later in his Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide, but for now I’ll list the price per point when purchased directly from Disney. 

List of Disney Vacation Club Resorts

When writing this Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide, the resorts include the following:

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas (Kidani Village or Jambo House)
    • Location: Orlando, Florida 
    • These two sprawling resorts are located near the Animal Kingdom park and are themed to an African Safari experience. Some rooms even open up to the on-site savanna right from your balcony!
    • Price per point: $200
  • Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas 
    • Location: Kapolei, Hawaii on the Island of Oahu 
    • This beachfront paradise boasts a lazy river and a private beach. 
    • Price per point: $207 
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort 
    • Location: Orlando, Florida 
    • Adjacent to Disney’s Contemporary Resort, this modern resort has the best view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks and is just steps away from the park’s main gate. 
    • Price per point: $265
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
    • Location: Orlando, Florida
    • This New England themed resort is situated in the Crescent Lake area. The resort is steps away from Epcot and offers the largest resort pool. 
    • Price per point: $265 
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Villas
    • Location: Orlando, Florida 
    • Also located on Crescent Lake and near Hollywood Studios, this resort’s prime location is a favorite among guests given its lively boardwalk entertainment options. 
    • Price per point: $230 
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge 
    • Location: Orlando, Florida 
    • Part of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, this resort transports you to the old American West in an iconic grand lobby. 
    • Price per point: $205
  • Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge 
    • Location: Orlando, Florida 
    • Copper Creek is also located in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and boasts the same style found in the Boulder Ridge Villas.
    • Price per point: $240 
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel 
    • Location: Anaheim, California 
    • The Grand Californian Villas is the only Vacation Club Resort in California and was inspired by the charming and quintessential California Craftsman style. It even has its own private entrance into Disney’s California Adventure theme park.
    • Price per point: $270 
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort 
    • Location: Orlando, Florida 
    • Part of Walt Disney World’s flagship resort, the Villas at Grand Floridian have recently seen a renovation, including new resort studio accommodations. This Victorian inspired resort is part of the Magic Kingdom monorail loop. 
    • Price per point: $207 
    • Read our general review of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.
  • Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort 
    • Location: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 
    • This beachfront resort is not located near a Disney theme park, but is still just as inviting as the rest with its beachfront accommodations.
    • Price per point: $155 
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
    • Location: Orlando, Florida
    • The original Vacation Club Resort, Old Key West is themed after the city in Florida and is a longtime favorite among vacation Club members. 
    • Price per point: $200
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows 
    • Location: Orlando, Florida
    • The Polynesian resort is serviced by the Magic Kingdom monorail and is one of the original resorts that opened the Magic Kingdom in 1971. 
    • Price per point: $250
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
    • Location: Orlando, Florida 
    • The Riviera Resort is the newest Vacation Club Resort and takes you on a trip through the European Mediterranean coast. 
    • Price per point: $207 
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort 
    • Location: Orlando, Florida 
    • Saratoga Springs is the largest Vacation Club resort and takes its inspiration from the horse-racing city in New York. This resort is within walking distance of Disney Springs. 
    • Price per point: $200 
  • Disney’s Vero Beach Resort 
    • Location: Vero Beach, Florida
    • Located just two hours south of Walt Disney World, this beachfront resort is just a skip away from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks and is perfect for lazy beach days. 
    • Price per point: $140

*Note that many of the Vacation Club Resorts are sold out, but options do exist for purchasing. 

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide Boardwalk Resort

Disney’s Boardwalk Villas

Home Resort Priority 

Once you purchase your home resort, you’re able to make reservations there 11-months out. If you’re looking to stay at a different resort, you’ll have to wait to book 7 months prior. This is important to consider when choosing your home resort. 

For example, if you’re a fan of the holidays at the Magic Kingdom and will always want to travel during the December holidays, you might want to consider owning at either the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian (read the review of Polynesian Village Resort at Disney World) or the Bay Lake Tower as those reservations are likely to fill up quickly. 

If you’re not attached to any particular resort, another option to consider is purchasing at a more economical resort, say, Saratoga Springs (read the review of Saratoga Springs), and using your points to book at any available resort at the 7-month window. This requires you to have more flexibility, but is an option that many choose to take advantage of.

Deed Expiration Dates 

When you buy into the Disney Vacation Club, it’s important to understand the deed life of every Disney Vacation Club Resort. The deed is essentially how long you have ownership at a Disney resort. At the time of writing this Disney Vacation Club buying guide, the following are the expiration dates of the Disney Vacation Club Resorts:

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas: 2057 
  • Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas: 2062 
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: 2060 
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas: 2042 
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Villas: 2042 
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: 2042 
  • Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: 2068 
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel : 2060 
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort: 2064 
  • Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort: 2042 
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort: 2042 or 2057 
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows: 2066 
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort: 2070 
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort: 2054 
  • Disney’s Vero Beach Resort: 2042 

As you can see, the resort deeds expire at different dates so it’s important to consider how long you want your Vacation Club membership to last. 

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide Hilton Head

Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort

Annual Dues per Resort 

The final thing to consider when choosing your Home Resort is the cost of the annual dues. 

Every member has annual dues that are determined by the amount of points they own. The price per point varies by resort and typically increases year over year throughout the life of the deed. For example, if you own 100 points at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, you can expect to pay $824 in yearly dues based on current price per point.

Annual dues cover things such as routine maintenance and upkeep of the resort. All members pay the same annual dues for the resort they own.

At the time of writing this Disney Vacation Club buying guide, the 2023 annual dues per point for each resort are as follows:

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas: $8.24
  • Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas: $8.67
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: $7.08 
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas: $7.54
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Villas: $8.08
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: $8.15
  • Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: $7.60
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel: $7.48
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort: $7.01
  • Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort: $10.07
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort: $8.81
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows: $7.39
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort: $8.38
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort: $7.33
  • Disney’s Vero Beach Resort: $11.94 

As you can see, the annual dues per point varies. So while the cost per point for a resort can be lower, you may end up paying more in the long run given the amount you’ll pay annually in dues. 

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide: How to Buy a Disney Vacation Club Membership 

If you’re still considering buying into the membership program, then let’s dive into how you can own a piece of the magic! 

How Many Points Do I Need? 

After picking your home resort, the next biggest question is determining how many points you should buy. The Disney Vacation Club website has a neat tool to estimate how many points you need, but of course there’s lots more to consider. 

Putting cost aside, you first want to ask yourself how often you want to travel, time of year you’d like to visit and what type of accommodations you want to enjoy. This is where point charts come into play. 

Point Charts 

Every year, Disney releases point charts for each of their Vacation Club resorts. While they don’t tend to change dramatically, they do adjust them annually to balance supply and demand.

You can see the new 2023 point charts here. Each chart will tell you just how much each of the resort’s accommodations cost per night as well as the different travel periods defined by Disney. Unsurprisingly, you’ll see that holidays tend to have higher point costs, while off periods will allow you to stretch your points a bit further.

Example of Points Needed

Let’s say for example you’re thinking of purchasing at Saratoga Springs. For reference, you’re a teacher with a family of 4 and will likely only be able to travel in the summer months. You’ve also determined with your partner that you want the privacy of a detached bedroom so you’re only interested in either 1 or 2 bedroom stays. 

If we look at the point chart for Saratoga Springs in July, you’ll see that a one-week stay in a standard 1-bedroom Villa will cost you 206 points. This now gives you an idea of how many points you’ll need when purchasing. 

On the other hand, let’s say it’s just you and your partner with no kids and can easily fit in a studio. That same weeklong vacation in July would only cost you 102 points. 

So, the difference is indeed quite drastic so you’ll have to think about what makes the most sense for you and your family. Luckily, the options are endless and you can always purchase more points down the road as your needs change. Note that you could also sell points later on! 

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide Grand Cal

The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel

Where Can I Buy a Membership? 

When buying a Vacation Club membership, you have two ways to buy. The first option is to buy directly from Disney and the second is to purchase resale from a third-party agency. Our pick for the best way to purchase a resale DVC contract is through our partners at The DVC Resale Market. With over 1,500 daily listings, they are the largest and most reputable company that will guide you through the entire process step by step! The expert guides at The DVC Resale Market are experts in Disney since most of them used to work for Disney directly! They’ll find you the perfect contract and do all of the tedious paperwork so you don’t have to worry about a thing!

Our Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide will explain the difference between the two options so that you can determine which one is right for you.

Direct Purchasing Option 

The easiest, but more expensive, way to purchase a membership is to purchase direct from Disney. With this option, you could have your points in your Vacation Club account within hours and be ready to book your welcome home stay!

Currently, Disney is selling direct points for Aulani ($207), Riviera ($207) and the Grand Floridian ($207). While you may still be able to snag some points at other resorts, these are currently the only ones not considered sold out. 

The minimum amount of points Disney will sell you is 150. With 150 points, you’re entitled to what Disney calls Member Benefits. Member Benefits are added bonuses that you receive for being a direct buyer. It’s important to know that these benefits are not included in your deed and can change at any time. After your initial purchase, you can always buy as many additional points as you need in increments of 25.

Member Benefits 

Member benefits include dining and shopping discounts, special access to member-only events such as Moonlight Magic. Moonlight Magic is a private event where members enjoy access to a theme park after hours. Disney also provides direct member-only spaces and lounges such as the recently reopened Top of the World Lounge at Bay Lake Tower and the EPCOT lounge located inside the theme park. At the time of writing this Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide, the list of member benefits was long! 

In the past, direct members also received access to a special Annual Pass, however we still don’t know if this benefit will return. 

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide Top of the World

Top of the World Lounge

Non-Direct Purchasing Option 

Our Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t talk about a non-direct purchasing option. For many, this money-saving option is the perfect way to still enjoy a Vacation Club membership without breaking the bank. 

When you purchase a resale non-direct contract, you’re purchasing from a third-party broker like The DVC Resale Market and not from Disney. One thing to consider here is that many of the member benefits mentioned above are not offered to non-direct buyers. Also note that while you are still able to use your resale points at other resorts, the new Riviera Resort is excluded from this list. However, aside from these two cons, you are still a full-fledged vacation club member. 

Buying resale is also a slower process that can take up to 90 days instead of the instant transaction through Disney. 

The biggest incentive for purchasing resale is the incredible savings! You can expect to save up to 45% off the purchase price per point compared to buying direct. 

Direct vs Non-Direct Savings 

To look at the savings, let’s take a look at our hypothetical family from our example above. We decided that they needed 206 points annually to enjoy their weeklong vacation at Saratoga Springs. If we take the direct price, their 206 point contract would cost $41,200 plus fees and closing costs. 

However, if this same family chose to purchase on the resale market, with an average resale price of $131 per point for Saratoga Springs, the same contract would cost only $26,986 plus the same fees and closing costs. This is a savings of over $14,000! 

You can see why resale is such an attractive route, especially if you don’t care about any of the member benefits. 

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide Saratoga Springs

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide: Financing Options 

When you purchase a contract, either direct or resale, you do have options to finance your contract. 

Disney will allow you to finance through them and it’s a one-stop shop. They offer 10-year loans with appropriate interest depending on your credit. You will need to pay a 10% deposit on your contract and can get monthly payments for as low as $434 per month. For some, this option makes the most sense, but do be cautious of the finance charges as they’ll add more to your overall cost. A hard credit inquiry will be done if you choose to finance through Disney. 

When buying resale, you have the option of working with a private lender that will secure a loan for your Vacation Club membership. There are tons of options out there that work with Vacation Club Members. They work with lots of buyers and are familiar with the Vacation Club buying process. Note that some lenders do not require a credit check for a loan. Interest rates will vary depending on the lender you choose.

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide Old Key West

Disney’s Old Key West Resort

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide: How else can I use my Vacation Club Points?

If you come across a year where a Disney vacation isn’t what you’re looking for, you’ll have lots of flexibility with ways to use your points.  With this flexibility there is a BIG caveat though. Using your points for things other than Disney Vacation Club properties is almost always a bad deal and poor use of your point value. When considering a purchase of a DVC membership, you should not plan to use your points for these other travel offerings. You would be better off paying for them directly in dollars.

Banking and Borrowing Points

The first option you have is to bank your points. Disney refers to ‘banking’ as a way to save your points to use the next year. For example, if you own 100 points but can’t travel in a particular year, you can bank those points and then have 200 points available for the next year. Similarly, you can also ‘borrow’ your points from the next year in order to have more points in a given year. This would allow you to take a grander vacation.

Adventures by Disney

If you’re looking for a different type of vacation, but don’t want to lose the Disney magic, then Adventures by Disney is your way to go. Direct members can transfer their points for expertly guided Disney vacations on all seven continents. Led by official Disney Guides, these vacations allow you to explore the world with the same Disney touches that we all love.

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide Adventures

Adventures by Disney

Disney Cruises

Part of the Disney Collection, direct members can also transfer their points towards a cruise on the official Disney Cruise Line. While it is a bit more expensive to do this, many use their points as a way to at least offset the cost of a Disney cruise. You can also read about a once-a-year Disney Vacation Club member cruise that we sailed on last year.

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide Disney Cruise

Disney Cruise Line

Interval International

Another option that is open to all Vacation Club members is to use your points for a vacation around the world with stays at other timeshare resorts through Interval International. These vacations won’t have the same Disney touches, but do allow you to book prepaid stays around the world. Note, however, that transferring your points for other timeshare stays may not give you the greatest value for your points.

Renting Points

The last major option you have as an owner is to rent your points out to non members looking for a Vacation Club experience. A third-party broker can help organize this for you and you can get up $18 per point when renting them out! Blog sites also exist where you can advertise and rent out your points yourself, but why not partner with someone that can take care of it all?

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide: What Does the Future Hold?

The Disney Vacation Club portfolio continues to grow with recent new additions as well as two new projects coming up. While no one can predict what will happen when the original 2042 resorts expire, it’s safe to say that Disney continues to show strong interest in the program.

Earlier this Summer, Disney opened a new wing of Vacation Club accommodations at the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. This massive project converted existing hotel rooms into fresh and new Disney Vacation Club Villas. This overhaul even introduced a new type of Vacation Club accommodation at this resort: the Resort Studio. These resort studios come with two queen beds instead of the one queen and one sofa bed and don’t have the full kitchenette that studios typically have. So, if you’re looking for a place to simply sleep and aren’t interested in any sort of cooking, this might be appealing to you.

The Disneyland Resort is finally getting another Disney Vacation Club Resort with the recent announcement of the Villas at the Disneyland Hotel. This new resort will be located in the Disneyland Hotel resort and will add 344 new rooms. New! Disney released details on the new Disney Vacation Club new Disneyland Hotel Villas.

Lastly, we’re looking forward to seeing the new Disney Vacation Club project at Disney’s Polynesian Village. Announced earlier this year and tentatively scheduled for a late 2024 opening date, this new addition to the Polynesian Village will presumably add 1, 2 and 3 bedroom accommodations that the current Vacation Club resort lacks.

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide: Is DVC worth it? 

Our Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide has broken it all down, but admittedly the question of is it worth it will have many answers depending on the person. However, in our experience we really do think that the Disney Vacation Club is absolutely worth it. If you’re someone who enjoys the deluxe Disney experience and can see yourself traveling every or every other year to a Disney resort, then you might want to consider purchasing a membership. Whether you purchase direct or not, you’ll end up saving thousands on your accommodations in the long run. The club comprises thousands of happy members who enjoy having deluxe accommodations in their account every year to use. 

It’s a big investment, but once you do your homework, you should be able to see the benefits it will bring you and your family. So, who’s ready to hear “Welcome Home” the next time you check in to your Disney resort?! If you’re ready to speak with a Vacation Club Guide, you can do so here

Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide Riviera 1BR

1-Bedroom inside of Disney’s Riviera Resort

Plan Your Vacation to Walt Disney World!

If you’re not ready for a Disney Vacation Club membership but still are dreaming about your next Disney Vacation, then let our team help you plan your next getaway! We offer exclusive deals and tips for your next perfect escape that you won’t find anywhere else. Best off all, they are all ways to help you save money! Be sure to sign up for our FREE newsletter that will deliver straight to you all of this information. For more information and tips to plan your next Disney vacation, be sure to check out these following articles: 

Disclosure: We have used all the products recommended on Mickey Visit. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products featured.

About Eduardo Silva

Eduardo is High School Vice Principal who loves to share all things Disney and is also an experienced translator with voiceover work in Spanish and French. Originally from Southern California, he grew up visiting the Disneyland Resort and it's there that his passion for Disney was born. Today, Eduardo is a Disney Vacation Club member and enjoys sharing his experiences as a member writing for Mickey Visit and Disney Dose.

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