PROS / As a member, you get several discounts on a variety of services and products.
CONS / You are essentially leasing the timeshare you purchase because it has an expiration date.
VERDICT / The Disney Vacation Club is a great choice for your family if you want to be sure you take your vacation every year and want a guaranteed spot to stay, but be aware that the annual club dues will increase every year.
If you and your family are eager to visit Disney theme parks every year, you could benefit from buying a timeshare through the Disney Vacation Club. In addition to being able to choose any Disney-owned resort for your vacation, you can use the RCI exchange group to trade your week for a week in another resort almost anywhere in the world. Disney Vacation Club utilizes a point system, so you can spend your points to upgrade to a bigger room in another resort, for example. As with the best timeshare resorts, Disney Vacation Club offers you the opportunity to bank and borrow your points, so you can save some for next year’s vacation, if you would like.
Disney’s overall fees are generally lower than other vacation clubs, and especially its club dues, which includes maintenance. However, the timeshare company indicates that the cost of member dues typically increase 3 to 6 percent each year, so it’s something to keep in mind when you budget your vacation expenses. Although your purchase of a timeshare is considered a deeded purchase, and therefore a real estate purchase, the deed expires after 45 to 50 years, depending on the resort you choose. So, you can hand the timeshare down to your loved ones, but once it expires, the portion of property, or right-to-use, will be void.
You get the most bang for your buck as a member of the Disney Vacation Club because of the added rewards. For example, you can get discounts on annual passes to some Disney theme parks, merchandise, various recreation activities and dining within the resorts.
The best vacation clubs provide information on buying a timeshare without putting on the pressure, and we found that this travel club does a great job in this regard. In our own experience (and in anecdotal evidence), Disney staff did not use high-pressured sales tactics to get potential new members to buy, whether the sales pitch was in person, by phone, via email or online. Although we found a few disgruntled customers, Disney has put forth effort to fix any issue that arises.
Disney Vacation Club came close to being named the best timeshare company on our list, and it may be the right one for your family. It offers full disclosure about what it is, what it does and what you will pay, but you won’t own your piece of the property you purchase forever, so it falls short of the top three on our list.