Currently living in Rockford, Illinois, this 40 year Princess is a full time mom and runs a busy household of six people and two dogs. Sometimes it seems like complete chaos, but she manages to keep it running like clockwork. It’s the toughest job she’s ever had, and ever loved. Kristen is a third generation Disney fans and credits her love of all things Disney to her Aunt Pat, who took her on several trips a year to Walt Disney World and Disneyland while she was growing up. Sharing the magic is Kristen’s favorite thing to do and she incorporates it into her daily life as much as possible.
The founder of The DVC Mom Blog, Kristen enjoys communicating with other Moms and Disney fans online through social media. You can read about her travel adventures and living a Disney life at http://www.dvcmom.com.
What is Disney Vacation Club?
The Disney Vacation Club is Disney’s answer to a timeshare property. However, when Disney entered into the vacation ownership game twenty years ago, they revolutionized the market. Disney suggested that rather than purchasing one specific week a year, in a particular condo at a single resort, members would be able to purchase a limited real estate interest in a property that would be used as points.
How does DVC work?
The brilliance and flexibility of the Disney Vacation Club comes from its point system. Points, in a manner, can be equated to the currency that you spend on any given Villa. When you purchase a Vacation Club Membership what you have bought is a set amount of points (minimum of 160) that will drop into your DVC use account every year until your contract expires. The best way to think of your DVC membership is that you have pre-paid for your hotel rooms for the length of your 30—50 year contract.
Using your points is easy, especially if you look at them as a sort of currency. There are a total of 5 “Seasons” in which villa rates are categorized as , adventure, choice, dream, magic, and premier. In addition to the seasons, the size of villa that you book also changes the rate.
For an example we’ll look a Villas located Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort at 2011/12 rates.
A Studio has a small kitchenette and sleeps up to 4 people.
During Adventure (Value) Season it costs 13 points per night Sun-Thu, 15 points per night Fri-Sat, or 95 points per week.
During Premier (Holiday) Season it costs 21 points per night Sun-Thu, 27 points per night Fri-Sat, or 159 points per week.
A One Bedroom Villa has a full living room, kitchen, washer/dryer, spa tub and sleeps up to 4 people.
During Adventure (Value) Season it costs 25 points per night Sun-Thu, 29 points per night Fri-Sat, or 183 points per week.
During Premier (Holiday) Season it costs 44 points per night Sun-Thu, 49 points per night Fri-Sat, or 318 points per week.
A Two Bedroom Villa has a full living room, kitchen, washer/dryer, spa tub and sleeps up to 8 people.
During Adventure (Value) Season it costs 34 points per night Sun-Thu, 38 points per night Fri-Sat, or 246 points per week.
During Premier (Holiday) Season it costs 57 points per night Sun-Thu, 66 points per night Fri-Sat, or 417 points per week.
Let’s say your family has purchased 200 points. This allotment of 200 points will drops into your account each year and you are able to spend the points as you like. Using the rates above, you could book two weeks in a studio during adventure season for 190 points. If you feel that you need a little more space in your hotel room, you could instead chose to book for one week during adventure season in a one bedroom villa. If you wanted to take along the extended family, and travel during premier season, you would be able to book at two bedroom villa for three nights. With DVC, your hotel room budget is set, you only need to decide how you will spend it.
In addition to using 200 points each year, you are able to bank your points. Banking moves them forward one year. If you chose not to go on vacation in 2011, by banking those points, you would have 400 points available to spend in 2012, increasing your room night options. You can also borrow points from the next year. If a family bought 200 points, but only vacationed every third year, they would be able to use up to 600 points on that vacation.
Do I only get to go to Disney parks on vacation if I’m a member of DVC? Can I travel to destinations outside the US with DVC?
You don’t have to limit your vacations to Disney destinations, but even if you did, DVC options span the globe. Vacations on the Disney Cruise sail the seven seas and can be easily booked with DVC Points, as can rooms at Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and globe-trotting Adventures by Disney travel excursions.
However, if you prefer a little less pixie dust now and again, there are over 500 resort vacation destinations around the world available to DVC Members to use their points at. RCI, Resort Condominiums International, is the largest vacation exchange network in the world, and the main provider for Disney Vacation Club’s World Passport Collection of exchanges.
Why did you join DVC?
Being raised as a giant Disney fan, I had wanted to become a DVC member since they first started selling 20 years ago. I grew up staying on property with my parents when my resort options were limited to Fort Wilderness, Contemporary, and Polynesian. I was spoiled forever by the high quality of customer service and attention to detail that Walt Disney World lavished on its guests. As a young adult, I knew that I had no interest in staying anywhere else and that if we had the money to vacation frequently, Disney is where we would go. However there was always some reason that I figured it wouldn’t work out. It just made sense that, if I planned on spending a lifetime vacationing at Disney, my best option would be to join the Disney Vacation Club. I spent years– 17 years –wishing and waiting until “the right time,” when I thought that we could afford to buy.
One day my husband and I stopped into the Doorway To Dreams sales center in Schaumburg, IL and all the stars aligned. We hadn’t left the house planning to make the dream come true, but with the promotion they were running, we had the down payment in our pocket, our credit was approved, and the monthly payments were in our price range. So we just did it. DVC is the best purchase we’ve ever made. The only regret I have is that I wish I could have bought more points.
What do you like the most about DVC?
The convenience of the Disney Vacation Club is one of my favorite things. Though there is a bit of a re-learning curve, DVC makes it very easy to take care of all your travel plans. I call one number to make my reservations, add the dining plan, make ADRs, or even book at non-Disney locations. Just about anything I need is taken care of by calling the special magic DVC number. I also never have to worry about coming up with a down payment for the hotel or how I’ll budget for it.
My family had been going through a very long vacation “dry spell”. I would plan and save for a vacation every year, but then we would need the money for something else. Sort of like Carl and Ellie from “Up”, Disney had become our Paradise Falls. We bought a house, had a baby, got a new car, had to repair the roof of the house, had to fix the car, and so on and so on. Every year, that vacation fund would get raided and we never seemed to get to go. All that stopped when we bought our Vacation Club Membership, and it removed all of our excuses of why we couldn’t travel.
Now, because the hotel (such a huge portion of vacation cost) is already paid for, we can always find a way to go, even when we hit a bump in the road. I don’t like the thought of not using our points, so getting away has become more of a priority, and this has really improved our quality of life.
If you could change one thing about DVC, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about the DVC experience, it would be that daily maid service was still included in your stay. Years ago members voted to have a lighter “mousekeeping” service at the villas in order to help keep dues costs down. The maid service included in a regular DVC reservation is trash and towel service on your 4th day. If you are staying 8 or more days, you will have full service on the 4th day, trash and towel service of the 8th day and so forth. Luckily, DVC Members are able to request daily full maid service during any stay, at an additional cost.
How do you become a DVC member?
Disney Vacation Club has kiosks throughout the Parks and Resorts, as well as four main sales centers in the United States (located in Florida, California, New York & Illinois). The first step to membership is to talk to a DVC Guide. A DVC Guide is your main point of contact and sale representative for purchasing a Vacation Club membership. It may seem on the surface like any guide will do, but I believe that you need to have a good relationship with your Guide. A good Guide needs to understand you, your travel style, the hopes you have for future vacations and how your family can best take advantage of all that the Disney Vacation Club has to offer. Not just a sales person, your guide should be there to help you get started as a member, and continue to stay in touch with you throughout your membership to see if changes in your points would be a benefit. My guide has become a dear and valued friend.
I believe I have the best DVC Guide anyone could hope for, and several of my friends have switched over to her because of her integrity and personalized service. When working with a DVC Guide it’s important to find one that understands your situation and wants to make your DVC purchase the best possible option for your family, not just meet their quota. If you would like to contact my Guide, Laurie, to talk to her about DVC feel free to give her a call.
Call Laurie Bailey at
When talking to any Disney Vacation Club Guide (especially if you ring Laurie) please let hem know you were referred by Kristen Kirk of Rockford, IL!