It all started in 1995 when I was visiting Walt Disney World in Florida while attending a friend’s wedding. Now, I have always been a huge fan of Disney, ever since the original Wonderful World of Disney show was Sunday night TV viewing as a family to the first time I made it to the Walt Disney World Resort and theme park when I was 14 years old. I have loved all the Disney animated films and even as an adult have been building up my DVD collection via the Disney Movie Club so that I can watch them whenever I like, even after they go back in the Disney Vault. But time to return to my timeshare story.
To quote the party line, the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is “a vacation ownership program that’s not only flexible and affordable, it’s a convenient and cost-effective way for you and your family to see the world.”
As we were walking around the theme parks I kept noticing desks promoting something called the Disney Vacation Club. I love Disney, I love vacations, so finally my curiosity overcame me and I had to ask the person at the desk what this was all about. To quote the party line, the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is “a vacation ownership program that’s not only flexible and affordable, it’s a convenient and cost-effective way for you and your family to see the world.” Okay, so what does that really mean? Well, as with all timeshares, they do want to break you off from the herd to extol the virtues of the purchase. So I made an appointment to go to the DVC model and sales center. The model units showed the various sizes of the units – from a studio (sleeps 2 plus a baby) all the way up to a Grand Villa (sleeps 12). You buy a DVC membership that allocates you a number of vacation points per year, and then you use them up by booking DVC stays in various size units for various amounts of time. High season costs more points per night, so if you have the flexibility to travel off peak periods, you can stretch your stay over more nights. Your approach to using your points can be entirely different every single year.
There are other options with the DVC membership besides staying in a DVC property at Disney World. You can also stay at Disney hotels – I took advantage of this option in both Disneyland California and Disneyland Paris. DVC has since added Disneyland Hong Kong and Disneyland Tokyo to their DVC offerings. You can also use your points for the Disney Cruise – which I did a couple times. I would just like to mention here that having cruised on several different cruise lines, the Disney cruise is by far my favourite.
DVC also offers Adventures by Disney “guided family tours to destinations all over the world, ranging in length from 6 to 12 days.” I never tried one of these, since I generally didn’t have the time or the accumulation of points to do so, but they sound amazing.
And finally, if you decide you would like to do something completely non-Disney related for your vacation (although why would you, lol?), there are additional options available by using your DVC points. For example, using your points at what is named the Concierge Collection allows you to stay at some of the most upscale accommodations around the world. As an example, I once stayed at the Royal Garden Hotel in London, overlooking Kensington Palace using my DVC points. Believe me, that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience you are unlikely to get with many other timeshares! Another equally unforgettable trade using my DVC points was for a stay at the White Swan Inn in San Francisco. Afternoon tea with wine and hors d’oeuvres anyone?
When I owned the Disney Vacation Club timeshare it was affiliated with a timeshare trade system known as Interval International (II). Using that trading capability, I was able to trade out for a one-week stay at the Marriott Marbella Beach Resort on the Sun Coast of Spain. Since I sold my DVC timeshare, however, they have dropped the Interval International affiliation in favour of Resort Condominiums International (RCI). Suffice to say, regardless of which timeshare trading system the DVC belongs to, there is always enough interest in people trading in to the DVC to ensure owners wanting to trade out will be able to do so. I never had a problem finding availability.