How Disney Vacation Club Actually Works

So back in November I shared the massively exciting news that on our recent trip to Walt Disney World, Matthew and I joined the Disney Vacation Club, and since then there’s been a lot of interest in me writing this post, so here goes!

Simply put, DVC is a timeshare, but its so much more than your typical 2 weeks in Spain every summer kinda thing. Yes, its a proper deed so officially you own the land and there’s a lot of official documents to sign, but essentially what you pay for is points.

Points

Getting points

So the price you pay for your membership depends the number of points you get. We own Disney’s Polynesian Resort, so this becomes our ‘home resort’, and our contract is for 130 points, which means every year we get 130 points to use within its allotted timeframe.

Using points

Every room at every DVC resort has a certain number of points, which varies based on the resort, the room size and the season – typically the bigger the room, the more expensive the resort if paid cash, and the higher peak seasons = more points. We chose 130 points per year as that’s the number of points it takes to have Deluxe Studio in Poly for 1 week during the season that we would typically travel, which is Oct-Nov time, but for the same amount of time in a Savannah View Deluxe Studio in Animal Kingdom Lodge, its only 88 points, so there’s a lot of variation which means we can be really flexible too.

Points do not have to be used every year, but if you aren’t going to use them, you have to ‘bank’ them by a certain time within your use year, and that means that if you want to do a longer or more expensive trip in 2 years time, you could bank this year’s points, and then use them on top of next year’s. You can also borrow points from the following year, for example, for our Aulani trip this April, we’ve borrowed 10 points from next year’s allocation, and then if you do need any extra points on top of banking and borrowing, members have the option of purchasing up to 24 extra points for a cash value.

Selling off

Your contract length varies depending on when you buy it, but if you’re purchasing direct from Disney, you’re looking at about 50 years. However, if its not working out for you, you can sell your contract back to Disney or sell it privately, as well as being able to transfer it into other people’s names, for example if you wanted to pass the contract onto your children.

Resorts

DVC covers every Deluxe resort or villas in Walt Disney World, plus Grand Californian in Disneyland, and also Disney’s Vero Beach, Hilton Head Island and Aulani resorts, so you can use your points at any of these places, plus they also have the RCI Network of thousands of hotels all over the world that you can use your points to pay for.

Booking resorts

Earlier I mentioned Polynesian being our ‘home resort’, and not only does this mean that this is the resort we actually own, but it also gives us the opportunity to book this up to 11 months in advance, while every other resort becomes available to us at the 7 month mark, and vice versa, those members who own other resorts cannot book Polynesian until the 7 month mark, so we sorta get a head start. Booking can be done directly through the DVC website, similar to the WDW website, or over the phone with DVC cast members.

DVC members can also book stays for anyone, so if for example we weren’t going to go one year, but my parents wanted to go, we book the stay for them using our points and our name doesn’t have to be on the booking at all, so gifting points is really easy. A lot of members also use this perk as a way of renting points out for monetary value, and there are a lot of Facebook groups and pages dedicated to point rental.

Staying in resorts

There’s no real difference between staying in a resort as a member or a regular guest, however while the rubbish is collected daily, the rooms are only serviced every 4 days, although you can request extra visits for a surcharge. However, DVC members do have the added perk of being able to use the pools in any DVC resort, even those that are normally off limits to guests not staying at that resort.

Paying for DVC

Membership cost

The cost of membership can be paid in full or Disney also offer financing, although there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from finding finance elsewhere. For US residents, finance is offered depending on credit searches, but if you’re from the UK, you’re automatically approved for finance through Disney at a rate of 12.5%. One of the great things about this, however, is that while it is a loan, because they cannot set up a direct debit with a UK bank account, the payments have to be made from a credit or debit card, and this means that it will not show up on any credit searches done in the UK, so this loan will not affect your credit score or affect your ability to get other loans of mortgages.

Dues

On top of membership fees, every year members pay resort dues, which is a one off payment in January that goes towards the upkeep of your home resort. Again, the amount of these dues varies depending on your resort, and typically the newer resorts have higher dues, but the dues also vary from year to year based on the work that’s predicted to need doing.

Member benefits

There are a tonne of perks that come along with being a DVC member. From the moment you sign your contract, you have access to a digital membership card to keep you going until your real one arrives, and that means that you can start to take advantage of the 20% discount off all WDW merchandise, 10% off dining and access to the exclusive DVC lounges such as Bay Lake Tower’s Top of the World Lounge straight away.

There’s also a whole bunch of other discounts available at other shopping and dining locations in Disney Springs, discounted park tickets, DVC exclusive events such as Moonlight Magic, and exclusive merchandise, plus early registration to RunDisney events.

Don’t worry folks, you’ve come to the end of my ramblings now! I hope this has been informative to anyone curious about DVC, but I’ll leave you with one little nugget of wisdom before you go. If you’re considering Disney Vacation Club, I thoroughly recommend that you go to a DVC open house and hear all this again from the experts – I’ve been to two open houses and I can honestly say that there is no one more knowledgeable or passionate about what they sell than the DVC reps, plus they do not pressure you in any way. If you have any more questions for me, feel free to drop me a comment and I’ll be happy to help!

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Lottie and Matthew Do Disney: Day 11

Waking up this morning was particularly difficult for some reason, but when we did drag ourselves out of bed, we were off to Magic Kingdom!

Cutting it close to the end time of our first fastpass, once we were in the park we hightailed it over to Big Thunder Mountain, and once that was done and dusted, breakfast was had in the form of a Mickey pretzel, and then we also decided to try a park snack I’ve been wanting to try for years now, the orange equivalent of Dole Whip: a Citrus Swirl. Matthew has just a plan swirl cup, and I had the float, he hated his, I thought it was ok but nothing to particularly write home about.

After that I dragged him on a customary It’s a Small World ride, and then I went to buy something very exciting (haul post when I’m back!) in Fantasyland before we made our way back to Adventureland for lunch at MK’s newest table service, Skipper Canteen, where despite us both being a little underwhelmed at the menu on first glance, we both had excellent meals and I absolutely would recommend!

Lunch took us nicely up to pre-parade time, so we snagged a spot on Main Street for Matthew’s first ever Festival of Fantasy – I was Disneybounding as Rapunzel as she spotted me out of the crowd, in dead. The park was much busier today than it was on our last day in MK, so queues were a bit of a nightmare, so we decided to do Mickey’s Philharmagic, and even that was packed! Being a Christmas party night, the park was really filling up so we decided to do some resort hopping, and caught the monorail to Contemporary first, meaning we got to see the Christmas gingerbread castle and do a little bit of exploring, and then we went round to the Grand Floridian to do the same, with the addition of hitting Basin White!

From GF we got the monorail across to Epcot for a quick look in a few shops (making final shopping decisions as we’re coming to the end of the trip!) and then got the bus back to our resort, where we decided to actually try out the food options here for dinner!

I’ve got some really nasty mosquito bites that have been giving me grief over the last few days and today has been particular horrible, plus I think I’m starting to come down with a post-Disney cold a few days early, waa!

Lottie and Matthew Do Disney: Day 1

Well here we are folks, another Disney trip has begun!

Courtesy of the time difference, we were awake well before our alarm, and on the bus to the Magic Kingdom just before 7am. We got to MK at about 7:25, and waited in the area reserved for those with breakfast reservations, getting let in at about 7:50. Our breakfast was at Be Our Guest, and wasn’t actually until 8:50, so we took our time getting castle photos, and even had a ride on the carousel before going to the restaurant. Despite being about 30 mins early, they let us straight in, and we were actually finished with our food before our actual reservation time.

After breakfast – which was so good by the way – we had planned on Pirates of the Caribbean, but it was closed, so instead we headed to Big Thunder Mountain and got on the first train out, plus I asked the cast member if we could be in the last row and she let us! From there we did Jungle Cruise, then Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, and our first fastpass of the day, Space Mountain.

The park has been so nice and quiet this morning, and after Space Mountain we managed to do Dumbo, The Barnstormer and The Little Mermaid ride in quick succession, and then made our way round to do Haunted Mansion. Next on the agenda was sorting out a few bits and pieces; Matthew needed to reset his MagicBand pin and my memory maker wasn’t working properly, so we went to Guest Services, via shopping on Main Street USA. We went to City Hall but as there was a queue, the cast member directed us to Liberty Square Ticket Office, a lesser known guest services spot, and thanks to the wonderful Javier, we got everything fixed and he even gave us 3 free Fastpasses by way of apology for the issues I had with my memory maker.

To use them up, we did Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, then Tomorrowland Speedway and Space Mountain, and then we did a lap of TTA Peoplemover and had a sit down in Carousel of Progress, which took us nicely up to our early dinner reservation at The Plaza Restaurant. The food was nice, but I wouldn’t rush to eat there again, and had we not been on the dining plan I don’t think I would have liked to actually pay what we should have done.

After dinner the lack of sleep from the night before was really kicking in, so we finished up with our last fastpass of the day, Pirates of the Caribbean, and headed out from Magic Kingdom for the night – we would have been kicked out later due to the Halloween party anyway! 
Back to the resort, and we picked up our refillable resort mugs, and as we started to walk back to the room I noticed a furry friend was just outside the reception area, and in the cutest outfit too so I just had to have a cuddle! So we just spent the evening at the resort and ended up falling asleep nice and early, which was definitely needed!

Tomorrow is going to be a long day!

February Disney Trip Day 2

Still can’t really believe we’re actually here, and still can’t get over yesterday, but today is an Epcot day!


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We got into the park just as it opened, and after a quick chat with guest relations regarding my failing Memory Maker, we headed to meet Baymax – and waited probably all of about 30 seconds – and then jumped into the shortish queue for Sadness and Joy! Three characters under our belt, we made our way to The Land so Sarah could do Living with the Land, which she’s never done before, and then grabbed some breakfast in Sunshine Seasons. Then a wild Milly appeared!

It was so lovely to see Milly after so long, and we sat in Sunshine Seasons for ages having a catch up before she left to go to work, but we’ll see her later in the trip! After buying ponchos, courtesy of the now pouring rain, we headed out and to the World Showcase – first stop Donald, I mean Mexico..


If you didn’t know my love of Donald, I planned my whole outfit for today around him, and he was so sweet! I’m so happy I got to take photos with him inside the temple because it was too wet for him to go outside! After that, we did the Gran Fiesta Tour, then headed round to Norway and met Anna and Elsa in the Royal Sommerhaus with only a 15 minute wait! Then it was time for our fastpasses for Frozen Ever After, which was cute, but I definitely wouldn’t queue as long as some people were in standby!

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With the rain dying off a little, we headed round the World Showcase towards Japan, where after a wander around the big Japanese shop, we stopped for our lunch at Teppan Edo. Despite having already eaten here before, I was still blown away by the meal. Our chef was super funny and really talented and the food was, of course, incredible!


Tummies full of food, we headed back towards Future World via the rest of the World Showcase, and had our fastpasses for Character Spot, meeting Mickey, Minnie and Goofy, then courtesy of the awful rain, Snow White was also meeting by the exit to Character Spot, rather than her usual place in Germany, so we saw her, then dashed to China to meet Mulan inside the Great Temple.

After meeting Mulan, we practically waded back to Spaceship Earth. NB: drainage in Epcot sucks after bad rain! We had Spaceship Earth fastpasses, then headed over to The Seas with Nemo and Friends, then did Turtle Talk with Crush, which was hilarious as usual cos some kids say the stupidest things..


I always have to say hi to the manatees of The Seas when I visit Epcot, so we did that, then wandered across to Journey into the Imagination with Figment, which we walked straight onto, then dashed quickly into the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival to avoid the rain which had started yet again, and that got us both feeling pretty sleepy, so we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel for the rest of the evening!

Today:

– Total characters: 12

– Total steps: 12,574

– Total distance: 5.25 miles

Tomorrow we’re gonna hit the RunDisney expo first thing so I can collect all my race gear, then we’ve got another busy day so stay tuned!

The My Disney Experience Mobile App*

It’s magic at your fingertips! Plan, capture, and share your Walt Disney World vacation using this official app from Disney!

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If you like visiting Disney as much as I do, this will definitely come in handy. Let’s take a closer look at My Disney Experience’s features:

Explore the resort with ease

The My Disney Experience Mobile App allows users to explore the Walt Disney World Resort using the interactive, GPS-enabled map. The map isn’t just a plain one that points users from point A to B; it’s fun to use as it’s filled with cute designs that shows guests where they can find certain attractions and restaurants.

In addition to its awesome directional features, the interactive map allows users to find Disney characters’ greeting locations and times. It also shows the time for fireworks and parades. How awesome is that?

Plan your vacation

The app allows users to buy theme park tickets with ease. Bought tickets are stored in the My Plans section where information can be shared with friends and family. An alert will go off when your trip to Disney is getting close.

Make your trip memorable

This is where the app truly shines. Users of My Disney Experience can preview, purchase, and share Disney PhotoPass photos and videos. To the uninitiated, PhotoPass is a tool that allows guests to view and purchase photos taken by Disney photographers online and at theme parks. Whenever visitors have their photos taken, they’re issued a PhotoPass, which has the web address and a 16-digit ID number printed on it.

Apart from PhotoPass, users will be able to shop for authentic Disney merchandise with quick links to the all-new Shop Disney Parks app.

Thanks to technology, Disney is able to reach out to more people. With this app, first-time guests of Walt Disney World will have a convenient and magical stay.  

Apart from making apps, Disney seems to be quite active in the creation of new games as well.  Aside from its Disney Channel that has integrated games, Disney also partnered up with Yepi and the Club Penguin page — sites where the latest Disney games are now hosted. In the past, Marvel, which is now owned by Disney, used to have games hosted on the Pocketfruity site but that came to a halt when Disney decided to adhere to its family-friendly policies and pull all games from gaming sites. All of Disney’s games are now suitable for players of all-ages both online and offline.

Give the app a go by downloading it either on iTunes or the Google Play Store!

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*This post contains guest content.

Favourite Photo’s from.. Festival of Fantasy Parade

This is really just a glowing tribute to my absolute favourite and, in my opinion, the best parade Disney World have ever created. I could honestly sit and watch it all day, every day, burning heat or pouring rain. I’m actually writing this while listening to the soundtrack on Youtube, just to keep the magic going.

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If you only spend one day in the Magic Kingdom, do not let yourself miss out on this truly beautiful display of Disney magic!

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Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort

It’s been 3 months since Dad and I began our journey home from our incredible RunDisney trip, and I think its about time I told you what I thought of our stay at the resort!

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Location:

POFQ is right across the road from Epcot, which puts it pretty central to the whole WDW area. Because all of the RunDisney races start at Epcot, this turned out to be ideal for us, meaning we could afford another half an hour or so in bed!

As well as being able to get to Epcot and Hollywood Studios fairly quickly, the bus trip to Magic Kingdom was fairly short too, and you’ve got the added bonus of being able to catch the water taxi straight from the resort to Disney Springs! Its also only a short walk to Port Orleans Riverside on the river path if you fancy a bit of an explore!

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Layout:

I really loved how seemingly compact this resort is. The reception, concierge, shops and restaurants are all located in one central building, with the bus stops just outside, which is probably no more than a 5 minute walk from any given point in the resort, and the pool and laundry services are right in the middle too!

Set out like the streets of New Orleans, the room buildings are laid out around squares of pristine grass and cobblestone roads, each of which has a cute name like Rue de Baga!

Having stayed at Caribbean Beach back in 2014, where everything seemed like quite a walk away, this was such a nice, close-knit place to be.

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Rooms:

I’ve generally found that rooms in moderate resorts tend to be set up fairly similarly, but its the little touches that magic each resort unique! The mardi gras theme of POFQ is continued in the rooms with purple and gold accents, and classic little Disney details.

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Dining:

The main food court, Sassagoula Floatworks has a range of counters serving different quick service offerings, as well as takeaway pizza, ice cream and famous beignets!

There’s also Scat Cat’s Club by the reception area, a bar with live music, and Mardi Grogs by the pool.

Activities:

The pool at POFQ is quite something; its got this huge alligator slide and all sorts of poolside water activities for the little ones, as well as a hot tub for the grown ups. There’s also evening movies on the grass squares between the room buildings, and an arcade near the pool.

You can also use the river path to Port Orleans Riverside resort as a running track.

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Overall Pros:

  • Nicely compact, so you don’t need to worry about having to drag tired little ones back to your room late at night
  • Great proximity to pretty much everywhere
  • All amenities are central and easy to get to
  • Walking distance from Port Orleans Riverside
  • The whole theme is so much fun, and the cast members love going the extra mile to keep the mardi gras spirit alive!
  • Great pool for kids
  • Water taxi to Disney Springs
  • An ideal location for RunDisney race participants

Overall Cons:

  • During quieter times, park buses share a route with Riverside, so you may have a slightly longer ride than expected – this is generally only during the day, after park close there are normally separate buses

I think that pro/con list reflects pretty well on how I feel about this resort – we really liked it! I definitely think its my favourite moderate resort (so far!) and would happily stay here again!

Have you stayed at French Quarter?

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