We purchased a membership to the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) in August of 2000. We got engaged the night before, and we were still experiencing the warm glow that comes with the idea of spending the rest of our lives together, which would suggest we were primed for the purchase, but in reality we only checked out the DVC info because they promised a free lunch. We had some time to kill before our flight back to Washington (we lived in Seattle at the time), and we were hungry.
Fact: We are notorious impulse buyers (we’ve accepted this about ourselves), so once we saw the great deal—and could imagine the years of travel ahead of us—we said “yes.”
We had to arrange things quickly and sign papers before we traveled home because the state of Washington didn’t allow that type of sale at the time. It was a crazy day. We got on the plane, not sure if we had just signed our lives away, or if it was going to be as great as we hoped.
Spoiler: It is as great as we hoped.
How We Have Used Our DVC Membership
These days we live in Southern California, and we have used the heck out of our DVC points (each membership has a specific amount of points to use per year, points are used for hotel/resort reservations). So much so that a few years later we doubled our initial investment for more points per year.
Our home resort of Disney’s Boardwalk Villas was our first purchase, Disney’s Saratoga Springs was the second. We have stayed at the Boardwalk Villas, a nine day vacation to Walt Disney World (WDW), that we would have otherwise not been able to afford (the stay was covered by our allotted points, to purchase the same room for the that duration, according to their website, would have been thousands of dollars). We have yet to stay at the Saratoga Springs, but we have our eyes on the Treehouse Villas.
In 2001, the year after we purchased our first DVC membership, we used our points for our honeymoon and stayed at the Boston Harbor Hotel as well as Wyndham Hill Inn in Vermont, both of which were far too expensive for us to otherwise book at that time (there is a single fee, regardless of stay duration, for exchanging DVC points with timeshare partners, but far lower than a nightly room-rate).
We have used our points to stay at the Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and the Paradise Pier Hotel in Anaheim too many times to count. This past Thanksgiving we used our DVC membership to spend the week in Hawai’i at Disney’s Aulani Resort. Last month we traded some points with another timeshare company (through the DVC site) to stay at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco (we barely made it out with our hearts).
We have even used our points to reserve nights for friends. For instance, we gave two nights at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort in WDW to friends as a wedding present, because we’re givers. It’s their favorite hotel ever, which is pretty awesome.
Our DVC membership has been a big, wonderful part of our family adventures, and will be for decades to come. Granted, it isn’t cheap, but financing is available, and the savings that we have had on our respective trips far outweighs any money we have paid to DVC. To say it was a good purchase for us is an understatement; it’s really the best thing we have ever bought, and that is saying something.