DVC Resort Rankings: Best Disney Vacation Club Resorts

The biggest question in the world of Disney Vacation Club that people always ask is: what is the best DVC resort? While picking one is not an easy thing to do, there are clear winners when it comes to different categories.

This DVC resort rankings article will take a look at popular categories and decide which of the 16 Vacation Club resorts takes the crown.

DVC Resort Rankings: Before We Dive In

Before we even begin to explore categories and rank the DVC resorts, it's important to say upfront that each resort in the Vacation Club catalog offers unique experiences that are all wonderful and memorable. This DVC resort rankings is just one opinion, but we think it can really help you decide for yourself depending on what interests you have and what you desire in a deluxe vacation.

Secondly, we chose to only rank the resorts that are currently in the Walt Disney World Resort. This is not to say that Aulani, Hilton Head, Vero Beach and Grand Californian aren't amazing resorts. Each of these could win in all of the categories. Instead, we wanted the rankings to be fair and it's hard to compare an experience in Hawaii with one on Hilton Head Island. They are both so different! We will still highlight these resorts, but they will each take a crown in their own way.

Lastly, if you're looking to learn more about the Disney Vacation Club, be sure to check out our Disney Vacation Club guide on everything you need to know about this amazing program.

With that said, let's begin!

DVC Resort Rankings: How Did We Rank the Resorts?

As I mentioned, it's impossible to only highlight one resort as being the best. Therefore, we broke down the competition by coming up with popular categories for a deluxe Disney Vacation Club stay. There are certainly more, depending on interests, but we think these categories offer a wide enough umbrella to give you a taste of all that these amazing resorts have to offer.

Our DVC resort rankings will look at the following categories:

  • Best Resort Pool
  • Best Location
  • Best for Dining
  • Best for Families
  • Best for Couples
  • Best for the Holidays
  • Best for Point Value
  • Best for Unique Stays
  • Best for Transportation
  • Best Theming
  • Best for Recreational Activities
  • Best Overall

Each of the categories will include an overall winner as well as an honorable mention. Think of the honorable mentions as a close second. We will, of course, explain our rankings and give you a quick overview of the winning resort in relation to the category.

Alright, without further ado, let's take a look at the DVC resort with the best pool!

DVC Resort Rankings: Best Resort Pool – The Villas at Disney's Beach Club Resort

DVC Resort Rankings BCV

Disney's Beach Club Villas

Starting things off, this one really is a no brainer. With its renowned Stormalong Bay, the Villas at Disney's Beach Club Resort has the largest pool of any DVC resort at a whopping 3 acres! Seriously, we call this a pool, but it can really be called a waterpark.

Features of Stormalong Bay include a lazy river, sand bottom pools, a 230-foot long waterslide coming out of a sunken ship, an outdoor pool table, three whirlpool spas and, of course, a beach entry pool for kids where they can build sand castles. The lazy river offers complimentary inner tubes that allow you to float the day way.

The pool area features an abundance of seating and is one of the few resorts that offers private cabana rentals. Our experience with the cabanas has been incredibly positive. While it's a bit of a splurge, they are a lot of fun and really elevate a casual pool day. It's for this reason that we are giving the best DVC resort pool to the Villas at Disney's Beach Club Resort.

Honorable Mention: Disney's Polynesian Village

DVC Resort Rankings: Best Location – Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort

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Disney's Bay Lake Tower

What’s better than staying steps away from the world’s most popular theme park? Opened in 2009, the sleek and modern Bay Lake Tower offers the best location among the DVC resorts for its proximity to the Magic Kingdom. With a less than 5 minute walk, Bay Lake Tower has a designated pathway that takes you right to the main gate of the park. This is especially nice for large families who don't want to deal with any sort of transportation. Plus, the proximity to the Magic Kingdom makes it incredibly simple to leave the park during the day for a quick power nap in your villa.

Given that you're so close to the Magic Kingdom, it goes without saying that this resort also stands as the best resort from which you can watch the nightly fireworks. Villas with a theme park view can enjoy the night spectacular right from the comfort of their balcony. So, after you've put the kids down to bed, why not enjoy the fireworks in your pajamas right from the comfort of your own room! The music is even played inside of the rooms so that you can enjoy the show just as you would on Main Street.

Honorable Mention: The Villas at Disney's Beach Club Resort

DVC Resort Rankings: Best for Dining – The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

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The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

For our foodies out there, the Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is really the top DVC resort dining destination. With eight different restaurants, we chose this as the top dining resort for the large variety of dining options that exist on property. While other resorts also have amazing restaurants, it was really the amount of choices for all palettes and fine dining offerings that made this stand out. At the time of writing these DVC resort rankings, the resort boasted the following restaurants:

  • 1900 Park Fare (Buffet with character dining)
  • Citricos  (Fine/Signature dining table service with accompanying lounge)
  • The Garden View Tea Room (Unique/Themed dining serving morning and afternoon tea)
  • Gasparilla Island Grill (Quick service restaurant)
  • The Grand Floridian Café (Casual dining)
  • The Enchanted Rose (Lounge with food options)
  • Victoria and Albert's (Fine/Signature dining experience with dining events such as the Chef's Table and the exclusive Queen Victoria's room)
  • Narcoossee's (Fine/Signature dining experience)

As you can see, the resort boasts a wide array of options that are sure to please even the pickiest eater.

Honorable Mention: The Villas at Disney's Animal Kingdom 

DVC Resort Rankings: Best for Families: Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows

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Disney's Polynesian Village

A resort that is sure to please an entire family can be tough, but we chose the Polynesian Villas for this title due to its theming, pool, accommodations and dining. Families come in all shapes and sizes so we really wanted a resort that had a little bit of everything for everyone. Starting with its tropical theme, the resort is perfect for a relaxing and fun tropical experience. The pool is a favorite among kids and isn't too large for parents to keep an eye on their kids.

When it comes to the accommodations, a major reason we gave this resort the crown here is for the fact that their studio villas come with not one, but two bathrooms! One bathroom has a bathtub while the second comes with a stand-up shower. This makes getting ready in the morning with kids a lot easier and you don't even have to splurge on the points to enjoy two bathrooms. While some may frown at the fact that (for now) the resort only offers studio villas, we still think that the amenities in the room are well worth it.

Lastly, with its themed bars and restaurants, including a character breakfast at Ohana, the dining options at the Polynesian offer something for everyone in the family. Did I mention you can even get Dole whip here?!

Honorable Mention: The Villas at Disney's Animal Kingdom 

DVC Resort Rankings: Best for Couples – Disney's BoardWalk Villas

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Disney's Boardwalk Villas

If you're looking for a more romantic getaway with just the two of you, then look no further than Disney's BoardWalk Villas. This fan-favorite resort has a surplus of dining and nightlife options that make for a perfect date night out. BoardWalk is situated on Crescent Lake and boasts a short walk or boat ride to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. What's more, point redemption values are moderately low at this resort making it an easy weekend getaway.

In the evening, you can see the Boardwalk come to life with free live entertainment and several bars. Our favorite bar here is the AbracadaBar. This charming bar gives you speakeasy vibes and has a ton of fun cocktails centered around magic and mysticism. It's a perfect spot for pre-dinner drinks.

For the night owls, head on over to the Atlantic Dance Hall for some dancing or Jellyrolls where you can enjoy a dueling piano bar. The dance hall is large and doesn't usually fill up, but Jellyrolls is so popular that, depending on the night, it's best to get there early. All in all, it's a solid resort for couples looking to enjoy some time alone. Also, don't forget to take a stroll around Crescent Lake-it's beautiful at night!

The BoardWalk is currently undergoing renovations and plans for new restaurants are in the works!

Honorable Mention: The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa 

DVC Resort Rankings: Best for the Holidays – The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

DVC Resort Rankings

We all know there's no better place to celebrate the holidays than at Walt Disney World. With amazing decorations, jovial entertainment and characters donning their gay apparel, it's only natural you'd want to be near all of the festivities. This is why we're giving this title to The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Aside from being Walt Disney World's Flagship resort, we can't help but fall in love with the beautiful holiday decor seen there throughout the holiday season. With its giant tree in the lobby as well as the annual showcasing of a life-size, fully functioning and edible gingerbread house, it's a clear winner in our book.  Where else can you purchase a hot cocoa made fresh inside of a gingerbread house!

The other reason we gave the title to this resort is because of its proximity to the Magic Kingdom. Though opinions can vary, one might say that the Magic Kingdom is the prettiest resort to visit during the holiday season. It's also home to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. This makes getting to and from the park a breeze either by foot, boat or monorail. So, all in all, we think that when ranking DVC resorts for the holidays, there's no place like the Grand Floridian.

Honorable Mention: Disney's Wilderness Lodge

DVC Resort Rankings: Best for Point Value – Disney's Old Key West Resort

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Disney's Old Key West

When planning a vacation, budgeting is always important. This includes thinking about where your points can stretch the most to enjoy more vacations down the road. So, if you're looking for the best resort for point value, then look no further than Disney's Old Key West Resort. Now, let me say this upfront: great point value does not mean a lesser experience. Disney's Old Key West is a true gem with lots to offer and impressively large accommodations. Built as the original Vacation Club resort, this sprawling resort is a fan favorite with lots of amenities and activities for kids of all ages. With rooms starting at just nine points, it's a great resort for those looking to stretch their points. Not to mention, it also provides some of the largest DVC villas!

There is one caveat to this ranking. It is true that the Villas at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge do offer value rooms at even less than the nine points. However, these value rooms are not plentiful and so scoring one of them isn't always easy. We looked at overall point value paired with availability and it's for this reason that we think Disney's Old Key West comes out on top.

Honorable Mention: Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort

DVC Resort Rankings: Best for Unique Stays – Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

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The Cabins at Disney's Copper Creek Resort

If you're looking for an out-of-the-box unique stay for your next DVC vacation you have to check out the cabins at the Copper Creek resort. They easily win this title as they provide some of the most unique and beautiful vacations among all of the DVC resorts. Situated on the shores of Bay Lake, cabins really transport you away and make you feel as if you were camping, er glamping, in the deep woods. The cabins sleep 8 and include a covered porch along with your very own private sunk-in hot tub. Now, the cabins aren't cheap and they'll certainly set you back a ton of points, but if you have them and enjoy unique experiences, then this is the place for you.

Honorable Mention: The Bungalows at Disney's Polynesian Village

DVC Resort Rankings: Best for Transportation – The Villas at Disney's Beach Club Resort

DVC Resort Rankings BCV

Disney's Beach Club Villas

Getting around quickly and easily is crucial to a seamless Disney vacation. So when it comes down to giving the title for most transportation options, Disney's Beach Club Villas is the clear winner. Our Beach Club Villas guide goes deep into the details of this wonderful resort, but if we're focusing on transportation, it's the many options that elevate the convenience of this resort. With its close proximity to Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios, you're automatically looking at being walking distance to two theme park gates.

Secondly, though it's not considered an official Skyliner resort, a station was placed just steps away from the Beach Club resort next to the Epcot International Gateway so you can easily hop on and head to the various destinations it serves. Lastly, given that the Beach Club is situated on the waters of Crescent Lake, the friendship boats are another option for getting around. These boats will take you to Epcot or Disney's Hollywood Studios in no time. The usual bus transportation is available, too, if you want to travel a bit further, but with all the options we've talked about, you may not even need to hop on a bus!

Honorable Mention: Disney's Boardwalk Villas 

DVC Resort Rankings: Best Theming – Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas

DVC Resort Rankings AKV

Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas

If you're looking to be completely immersed and feel like you traveled to the other side of the world then head on over to Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas. From the minute you step into the massive and open lobby, you'll really feel as if you're just steps away from an African safari. Oh, wait, you actually are literally steps away! This unique resort boasts a lush savanna just outside of the lobby with rooms that give you complete access to the animals that live on the grounds. Talk about theming! What's better than waking up early before rope dropping a park and seeing giraffes right from your balcony?!

While staying at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas, be sure to spend some time checking out all of the cool features found throughout the resort. If you look closely, you can see the efforts Disney imagineers spent carefully choosing even the smallest of details for this resort to bring the African culture to this resort. You'll find authentic artifacts throughout the resort further making this a special experience that totally immerses you.

Honorable Mention: Disney's Wilderness Lodge 

DVC Resort Rankings: Best for Recreational Activities – Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort

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Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort

For some, vacation means staying active and if you're especially looking for outdoor activities Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort wins the title. For starters, if you're a fan of golf, you're going to love being right next to Disney's Lake Buena Vista Golf Course. Who says you can't work on your game while on vacation? And golf is just the beginning. Staying at this resort means you'll have access to 5 pools, sunrise yoga, tennis, basketball, shuffleboard, bike rentals, fishing, playgrounds and jogging trails. Phew-don't forget to pack your sneakers! For the kids, the resort also offers a community hall where they can do arts and crafts. So, it's easy to see why this resort comes out on top if you're looking for some outdoor fun on those days where you simply want to enjoy all that a resort has to offer.

Honorable Mention: Disney's Old Key West

Ranking DVC Resorts outside of the Walt Disney World Resort

Before we crown the best overall DVC resort, you know we did not come this far to forget about the other four DVC resorts located outside of the Walt Disney World Resort. Remember, we didn't think it'd be fair to rank these up against the rest given that their awesome locations make for totally new categories. So, let's explore what each of these four resorts has to offer and what makes them standout.

Best for a Beachside Vacation – Disney's Vero Beach Resort

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Disney's Vero Beach Resort

Located just two hours southeast of the Walt Disney World Resort, Disney's Vero Beach Resort is the perfect destination for those looking to combine Disney touches with a fun and relaxing beach getaway. While the resort isn't as massive as some of the others that we've seen, it still holds its own with its beautifully manicured grounds and its blue waters. A golf course is nearby as well so if you're looking to play 9 holes before hitting the beach, you're definitely able to do so. Disney's Vero Beach is also famous for the annual Tour de Turtles. Every August, the resort hosts a sea turtle extravaganza that coincides with the resort's environmental efforts at preserving loggerhead sea turtles. The resort is home to a nesting ground and has vowed to keep it protected so that these creatures can inhabit the space free of any dangers.

Rooms start at just 9 points so that makes this destination a perfect weekend getaway that won't break the point bank. Plus, you'll presumably have a car so don't forget to explore the community of Vero Beach as it also has lots to offer.

Best for a Golf Getaway – Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort

DVC Resort Rankings HHI

Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort

Located on the famous Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort is a perfect golf getaway for those around the Southern states. Hilton Head Island is a popular tourist destination on its own, so the resort is right in the middle of the action. The resort is located near 32 public golf courses! This makes the resort a golf player's dream. Plus, if you're looking for tennis, the island also boasts over 300 courts to choose from. With direct shuttles to the beach, it does also allow for guests to enjoy a beach day. The best part of it all is that the resort rents bikes and most of what you're looking for on the island can be accessed via the countless bike trails. Rooms at Disney's Hilton Head Island start at just six points a night!

Best for a California Adventure – The Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel 

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The Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

The Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel could easily rival the most lavish resorts at Walt Disney World. Located in the California Disneyland Resort, this exquisite resort is a California dream that offers tons of amenities within walking distance of Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. With its beautiful California craftsman style theming, the resort offers 3 pools, 2 specialty restaurants, a lounge, a spa, and a super convenient private entrance to Disney's Grand Californian Hotel. What's more, this resort offers Villas with balcony views of Disney's California Adventure park perfect for watching World of Color right from your room. It's still (for now) the only DVC resort at the Disneyland Resort. Rooms start at 17 points a night so it's not necessarily point-friendly, but certainly well worth the splurge.

Best for a Beautiful Tropical Destination – Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, Ko Olina, Hawai'i

DVC Resort Rankings Aulani

Disney's Aulani Resort

Aulani is considered one of, if not the most, beautiful DVC resort and it's easy to see why. Located on the island of Oahu, this tropical paradise blends the beautiful Hawaiian culture with the appropriate Disney magic. It is inspired by the captivating history and beauty of the Hawaiian islands and aims to have guests appreciate all that Hawaiian culture has to offer. The resort boasts lush tropical greenery throughout with several pools, a lazy river and a private beach. Since you're in Hawaii, it's also a perfect home base to explore other parts of the island that the resort can help you plan. At night, be sure to catch the KA WA'A – A Lū'au dinner show. This culinary adventure includes exquisite island cuisine as well as performances that showcase the natural beauty and culture of the Hawaiian islands. It's truly a paradise destination that all ages will enjoy.

Our Final DVC Resort Ranking

And now for the moment we've all been waiting for. It's time to rank the Best Overall DVC Resort! We've taken a look at all of the other rankings in and out of Walt Disney World, but there's one DVC resort that truly stands out as the best, in our opinion. Drumroll please…

Best Overall – The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

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New Resort Studios at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

Our pick for the best overall DVC resort goes to the Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. This flagship resort really has it all and is the quintessential Disney World destination. With its rich history and beautifully maintained grounds, the resort will offer a magical vacation that is sure to create memories for a lifetime. We had ranked this resort as the best for holiday stays and dining, but that's just the beginning. This resort could have easily swept many of the other categories. New rooms were just refreshed and prove that the resort will always remain a classic one with modern touches. The new resort studios also are paving the way for a new type of accommodation that meets the expanding diverse demands of DVC members. Let's also not forget the incredible Senses Spa. While it can be pricey, it's definitely worth it and will have you feeling relaxed and energized after all that walking.

If you have the points, definitely add this resort to your bucket list. You will instantly see why this resort takes the overall crown on our DVC resort rankings as best overall.

One Final Word

While it's fun to rank the resorts, we really can't stress enough that all of the DVC resorts have their own special magic that make them incredible deluxe Disney destinations. You might have noticed that Disney's Riviera Resort did not make any of the rankings yet. Opened in 2019, the newest DVC resort is quickly earning its stripes and will surely begin to take titles from some of our categories. It's a delightful and charming resort that is quickly gaining followers and lovers. For now, however, given that it's so new, we want to see where time will take this resort and who knows, it may end up taking a new title of its own!

Plan Your Vacation to Walt Disney World!

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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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