What’s your favorite Disney Vacation Club resort? 15


That’s the question posed this week on the Owning The Magic forums on the PassPorter message boards,  and wow, what a great question!

Hilton Head is one of those I'm not including, although you can in your replies, if it's your favorite!

It’s one that’s certainly got people thinking, and many are discovering it’s not that easy to give an answer. Of course, with Disney theming, you’d expect it to be tough to make a choice between which resort is your favorite. I’ll say here that Vero Beach, Hilton Head, Aulani, and the Grand Californian at Disneyland, wonderful as they all are, are out of the running here. The criteria is going to apply to Walt Disney World, and I think that’s probably only fair. After all, how can you compete with having four Disney theme parks on your doorstep?!

I’ll say straight off that Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs don’t appeal that much, simply down to location, although I noticed from the response to the original question that Old Key West was mentioned a number of times. It’s certainly got its fans, and I can’t deny that it has a lovely, laid back atmosphere, perfect especially if you’re planning that much park time, and the huge rooms are a definite bonus.

Now that's what you call a great location! Bay Lake Tower, as seen from the Magic Kingdom monorail station

Let’s look next at the Magic Kingdom resorts. Of those, we prefer Bay Lake Tower for its location – nothing beats being able to walk back to your home for the night from the park or walk to one of our favorite restaurants, the California Grill, and the views are quite something, especially if you can snag a theme park view. However, the rooms are on the small side, and there are problems with the wear and tear on the furnishings in some of the rooms, although thankfully we’ve never experienced that ourselves.

The Villas at Wilderness Lodge get a lot of fans, because of the rustic theme to them, and I enjoy that, but our stay there was marred by being located in the furthest possible room from the main building. Not a great introduction to the place!

Another Disney Vacation Club resort with a real feeling of nature are the Villas at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Now how can you compete with having a savannah right outside your room? Well, in fairness, you can, because location wise, understandably, they’re pretty much on the edge of Disney property, which can be a pain, something which was pointed out in answer to the original question.

The lovely lobby of the BoardWalk

So it’s over to the Epcot resorts finally, home to the BoardWalk Villas, and Beach Club Villas. Location wise, you can’t really beat them, within walking distance to both Epcot, and the Studios. The difference really comes down to the theme of each, with the Beach Club Villas perhaps being slightly quieter, and a little bit further away from the evening action on the BoardWalk. We enjoyed our stay at the BoardWalk, although I’d really hate to be in one of the end villas, as a bit like the Wilderness Lodge, they’re so far from the action.

Not a problem you’ll encounter at the Beach Club Villas, where even the end villas are either close to the parking lot or the walkways to Epcot. Ah, now this is home to us! Why? Well, location, location, location first off – as someone said on the message boards, you can dine out every night on World Showcase. What finer endorsement can there be? But, perhaps more than that, this is the place that always feels like home to us, and isn’t that what we’re all looking for from a Disney Vacation Club resort?

Of course, the final thought to leave you with is one response to the original question, which is probably also a key consideration. Your favorite can change, depending on what your plans are for your trip. Want to spend time away from the parks? Saratoga, Old Key West or Animal Kingdom Lodge all may suit… If your focus is Epcot, perhaps during the Food and Wine or Flower and Garden Festival, then your attention will turn naturally to the BoardWalk and Beach Club Villas. Got young kids who want to spend all their time in the Magic Kingdom? Then perhaps Bay Lake Tower or Wilderness Lodge will work better…

So, how about you? What’s your favorite Disney Vacation Club resort, and why?

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15 thoughts on “What’s your favorite Disney Vacation Club resort?

  • Kurt

    I agree that it depends on what you want with your time at WDW. Being in the quiet areas or close to the parks. We just stayed at BLT and did love being close to MK and the monorail system,but even though it is our home resort we had problems with it and will probably not stay there again. We find ourselves always going back to OKW. We would like to stay at all the other DVC resorts But since we only go once a year that will take us some time to do

  • julie

    We loved okw but this year decided to do a split stay at vwl and ssr so that we can try all the different resorts as we only go once
    a year also.

  • Maureen

    Greetings,

    I agree with the comments about BLT and even as my home resort I will avoid staying there. I have had SOOO many problems mostly around the MOUSEKEEPING!!
    I would like to say something about 2 of the other resorts…I 100% agree that it depends on what your plans are, that might determine what resort will fit best but I would like to give my outlook on Saratoga Springs and Animal Kindgom Lodge. 1st BOTH have the most amazing cast. When it comes to their responsiveness and overall customer service I do find these 2, second to none. Also Saratoga Springs being so close to Downtown Disney is really nice and we always feel that if we are not ready for bed we have one more place to hang out. We also do most of our shopping at Down Town Disney when we stay at Saratoga Springs instead of carring stuff around the parks or getting it shipped back to the hotel (which still requires it to be picked-up at the main building)
    Now as to my new love, the Animal Kingdom Lodge I feel like a giddy teenager about this resort. As I mentioned the customer service is AMAZING, however one of the areas where this resort gets knocked is transportation….Yes it is not that close to the MK but it is VERY close to Animal Kingdom. Also I find when you stay at the MK resorts it takes longer to get to Hollywood studios then when staying at AKL. I also do not think it is so bad going to EPCOT either…We have even taken the bus to Hollywood Studios and since we were going to the World Show Case took the relaxing boat ride over to EPCOT.
    Lastly, YES the ANIMALS are amazing and some of the animals at AKL can only be seen in less then a handful of spots in the USA. The activities are so cool and really give both children and ADULTS a way to really appriciate what we have and what Mother Nature has to offer….Please do not overlook AKL because of its location, you really can get around from there.

    • Pamela Gerdes

      Our home resort is BLT and we have stayed there and at Saratoga Springs, since buying into DVC almost 3 years ago. Our first stay was at SSR and we split our time between a 2-BR with the whole family (adult children) and a studio with just two of us. Loved it there, especially being able to walk to DTD. Beautiful resort! Our second trip was to BLT (just two of us in a MK-view studio) and we loved it there too. We didn’t have any problems and loved the location and transportation. We also like California grill and the lounge at the top of BLT for watching fireworks. We will be back there this October. I also have OKW booked for December and would love to stay at BC or BW during the F & W festival, if I could only get a booking! Favourite? We have yet to decide I guess!

  • Cindy

    I must give a huge “shout out” to Saratoga Springs, my DVC home. I My husband and I, our childen and grandchildren all love Saratoga Springs. I have stayed at several other DVC resorts and find that SS is the most relaxing of all them all. The cast is superb, The Turf Club restaurant is top notch, and the grounds are beautiful, not to mention the 2 pools and the Spa. After spending a few days at the parks, there is nothing so relaxing as getting away from it all at SS. Although we love going to the parks, Saratoga Springs is a vacation unto itself and we love it!! I am now homesick for my “home away from home.” Thank you Saratoga Springs!!!

  • jaki bailey

    We have just come back from an extended trip during which we stayed at 3 DVC resorts in WDW ( as well as 5 days “living the Dream”) so I feel well placed to compare and contrast those. Our home resort is SSR.We bought in here because of its proximity to DTD. With no children and plans which often exclude the parks having all the choices of DTD a ten minute walk away really appeals and we find the whole setting very tranquil and relaxing.SSR location also makes inter resort travel easier as you can walk/boat/bus to DTD quickly and get transportation to any resort.A plus for us as we like to eat and drink around WDW!We also stayed at Beach Club Villas and the Beach Club is my favourite resort primarily down to the theming but it also has Beaches and Cream and the great proximity to Epcot-my husbands favourite park.A new one for us this trip was The Boardwalk and neither of us would choose to return.It was very noisy,the rooms were very tired and seemed small. Also the lack of onsite catering facilities ( excepting room service) was an issue as we stayed there during Tropical Storm Debby and a short walk to the bakery involved getting soaked through even wearing a poncho!

    What we did learn from this trip however is to split our trips between 2 resorts in future as they all have different things to offer. Given we travel from the UK our vacations are typically longer and so we can split without it taking out too much time to pack up and move around.

  • Sharon

    We stay at the Beach Club. We love it there, especially with the convenient access to Epcot. It also happens to be our home resort. We also own a smaller share at Saratoga, but we do not enjoy it as much as BC. It is out of the way, but the three bedroom grand villa came in handy when we had a large party. We usually have our stuff shipped home, so it doesn’t matter where we stay as far as having to lug stuff, but Saratoga just isn’t my favorite place.

  • PJ Pettigrew

    Since adding on points at BLT, we have not stayed anywhere else for our extended stays. With a 6 yr old daughter, access to the MK plus the castle views and the 2nd bathroom in a 1BR sold us from our first stay. Before BLT, our favorite was BCV for the proximity to Epcot and the short boat ride to the Studios, but mainly for Stormalong Bay. We’ve stayed in AKV for a night or two here and there, but usually when not in town to go to the parks because it’s so far removed from everything else.

  • Deborah

    I have stayed at BV, VWL and BLT. I have to say all have their pluses and some minuses. I simply loved the Boardwalk villas. The staff there was absolutely wonderful and the location was perfect! I spent most of my time at EPCOT and it was very convenient. I did like the Villas at the Wildernes Lodge for the location to Magic Kingdom and the rustic feel. I always feel I’m “Home” when I arrive at the Wilderness Lodge. One of my home resorts is Bay Lake Tower and I stayed there with my daughter in a Studio and it was a BIG disappointment! We liked being able to walk to Magic Kingdom. BUT, the studio was very small and was barely big enough for the two of us. I can’t imagine having four people in it?? It also showed wear in the carpet in spots it was down to the bare threads and had quite a number of stains in it. Also, someone had left meat in the refrigerator and it stunk the high heavens. Mousekeeping did change the refrigerator for us. But I won’t be staying at my home resort of BLT all too soon.
    I will stay at my other home resort of Animal Kingdom! It is awesome and the staff members are wonderful!

  • GEORGE MCNEIL

    We travel to WDW 2-3 times a year. We stay at least 7 days each time but most stays are 10 days and longer. We love all the DVC resorts for different reasons. This November we will stay at BLT for 4 nights, AKL for 4 nights and BWV for 3 nights. Disney makes moving very easy. Get up in the morning of check out, have Disney pick up your luggage and transfer it to your new resort. My wife and I are off to the Parks and when we get to our next resort, our stuff is there. Moving can be a lot of fun and if you have the dining plan, you get a refillable mug at each resort.

  • J Murphy

    we’ve always stayed at OKW and have many wonderful memories there,the tropical feel, the lush grounds,it’s AWESOME! But after having also stayed at BC, I’m torn….we love it too! It’s so pretty,and close the to Epcot and Studios….still undecided which is my fave….for rooms alone,I’d choose OKW (love the pool /rec area) but for location,it’s BC….

  • Carl Pennington

    Prior to becoming a DVC member, we stayed at OKW and the Yacht Club. OKW was our favorite and we stayed there a second time before becoming a DVC member. Since we couldn’t buy OKW points, we purchased SSR. We also own points at AK and BLT. I’d have to say that OKW is still our favorite but SSR is a very close second. AK is great for its theme but we stay at BLT only to be close to Magic Kingdom.

  • Harold Myers

    Port Orleans Riverside. We have our 19th trip booked to WDW for Nov. 2012. For all of those trips except 3 we have stayed and Port Orleans Riverside Alligator Bayou. Nice rooms, east access to transportation. and the staff are great people. Long ways from Calif. but we manage to go every other year.

  • Harold Myers

    We have booked our 19th. trip to WDW for Nov. of this year. For all of those trips except 3 we have stayed at Port Orleanes River, used to be (Dixie Landings). Port Orleans Riverside Alligator Bayou is our choice because, rooms are nice, easy access to transportation and the staff there are really great. We started our trips in 1987 and continue to go at least every other year. Long way from California where we live but we Love Disney world.

  • disneydream

    My first trip in 96 was the Wilderness Lodge & Fell in Love with the resort! We stayed at All-stars resort in july 2010 & it was nice. But this July 2013 we stayed @ Wilderness Lodge with our boys for 2 nights then went on the Disney Dream Cruise! Which WON ME OVER! yes they r staterooms. But it was PERFECT! although just booked another trip Oct 2013 & yes we r staying at Wilderness Lodge! My Boys fell in LOVE with the place!