It’s a simple enough question. If you’re a Disney Vacation Club Member, how do you decide where to stay on your next vacation?
It’s a question posed recently in Owning the Magic, the Disney Vacation Club message boards and I was fascinated to see the breadth of responses from Members.
Now, first off, let me say that I’m talking about staying at Walt Disney World, not Hilton Head, Vero Beach, Disneyland or Aulani, as there’s no choice to be made there right now as far as Disney Vacation Club resorts go anyway.
A number of people replied saying that it came down to how many points they have available, and that’s a practical response. Well, if that’s the case, then you’re looking at either the value accommodations at Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, where a studio in the lowest priced Adventure Season costs just nine points, or Old Key West, where a studio at the same time of year will set you back just 10 points. In terms of value for money, you can’t go wrong with either, with the size of the rooms at Old Key West (the studios are massive!), and the amazing atmosphere of Animal Kingdom Lodge, with animals out on the savannah outside.
The next consideration of course is where you can actually book. You should always, in theory anyway, be able to book at your home resort at 11 months out, but then it can be tricky moving your reservation to other resorts, particularly places like the Beach Club Villas or the BoardWalk Villas, which are even more popular than usual during the Food and Wine Festival. We’ve certainly struggled to get into those during that time of the year.
So, assuming you’ve got enough points to pick between the various resorts, and they’re available, then what other considerations are there? For me, one of them is where haven’t we stayed yet? I love being able to sample all the Disney Vacation Club resorts. For starters, it’s useful for research purposes for PassPorter’s Disney Vacation Club for Members and Members-to-Be, but just as importantly, if you don’t stay at all the DVC resorts, how do you know which one’s your favorite?
We always adored the Beach Club Villas, from our very first stay there, but by trying other resorts, we also found out that we loved the Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, and we were staggered to discover how much we enjoyed Bay Lake Tower. We thought it would be sterile, and just between us, we honestly thought we’d hate it, but actually it was great! What a wonderful discovery that was, and there could be similar discoveries waiting for you too, if you try out something new…
Something else to consider is where you’re going to be spending the bulk of your time. For example, if the Magic Kingdom is your top priority, then perhaps Bay Lake Tower or Wilderness Lodge Villas would be good choices for you. And, of course, by the end of 2013, the Grand Floridian Villas may be another option as well….
Equally, if it’s Food and Wine Festival, you may want to be close to Epcot, and stay in the Beach Club Villas, or BoardWalk Villas, although as I’ve already alluded to, you won’t be the only one with that idea. Be prepared for disappointment, or be prepared to book at exactly nine months out to get into those at that time of the year.
For Christmas, perhaps the Villas at Wilderness Lodge are more appropriate, although while it’s got a lovely feel to it, I personally adore the amazing lobby decorations in places like the Beach Club, or BoardWalk.
Space could also be an issue, especially if you’ve got a lot of people staying in your room. If that’s the case, you might want to look at the BoardWalk Villas for studios, or three-bedroom Grand Villas. For one-bedroom or two-bedroom villas, then Old Key West takes the prize for the most space.
And, of course, then there’s your heart. Where does your heart lie when it comes to Disney Vacation Club resorts? It’s impossible for us to drag ourselves away from our beloved Beach Club Villas, and at least part of any trip to Walt Disney World is spent there, with Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas also squeezed in, if that’s possible. Sometimes the heart just rules the heart….
So what about you? When you’re planning your next vacation to Walt Disney World, how do you pick which Disney Vacation Club resort to stay at?