4. Other theme park costs must be factored in

Shiny Happy People

The topic above and this one blend together. I just mentioned the profit margin for the rest of a tourist’s visit to a Walt Disney theme park. It is large enough that the company can swallow the lack of revenue for the hotel stay. That statement is telling with regards to how much money you will have to spend beyond the cost of the hotel room.

A basic four-day ticket to Walt Disney World costs roughly $300 for adults. That total does not include meals, which can cost as little as $10 or as high as $75 per person (and even more for wine connoisseurs). These numbers do not include merchandise or snacks, either. Everyone reading this site understands just how expensive a theme park visit can be, even if the hotel room is free. So, DVC membership only goes so far in mitigating the cost of a trip to a Walt Disney theme park.

5. Spontaneity is the enemy of DVC membership

Chef Mickey's, the writer's favorite WDW restaurant

I am planning a return trip to Walt Disney World next May. As I write this in October, several of the nights I want at the most desirable locations are already listing as booked. Now, the magic of the waitlist protects me in that I know from past experience that I will probably wind up getting the room I want by the time May comes around. Still, I have to think about the precise details of my vacation seven months before it happens. And it gets worse from there.

Because Walt Disney World restaurants are so popular and in demand, I also have to spend time considering where I want to eat each day I’m there. My wife and I rarely have dinner plans for a given evening yet I already know I will be eating at Chef Mickey’s on a random Tuesday next May.

A few months from now, 60 days before my trip, I will also have to select my FastPass+ rides for each day of my visit. As I recounted in a previous column, I found the process immensely unsatisfying last time. In order to avoid history repeating itself, I will spend quite a few hours trying to figure out the best ways to utilize the system to maximize my enjoyment next May.

Simply stated, planning a trip to a Disney theme park requires a lot of forethought. As a huge fan of Cedar Point, I fall into the old school theme park crowd, which means I prefer to be impulsive. With regards to my DVC membership, this behavior is impractical bordering on impossible. If you join the club, you need to realize that you will have to know when you want to visit over half a year before you arrive. You would also be well served to make dinner reservations and FastPass selections six/two months ahead of time. Spontaneity goes out the window when you join DVC.

If you can get past the costs and the planning, DVC has nothing but positives. Over my next few columns, I will take you through the purchase process, discuss resale ownership versus buying direct from Disney, and evaluate Tables in Wonderland vs. the Disney Dining Plan as meal options. I also read the comments, so if there is a specific topic you would like to see addressed, please let me know!


In reply to by Tammie Black (not verified)

Tables in Wonderland is a card you can buy for $99-125 depending on who you are(DVD, annual membership, Florida residence) that gets you 20% off food and alcohol at DisneyWorld restaurants.

There was no mention of the option to trade out with other timeshare companies to travel literally all over the world!! Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Passport Collection.... There are so many options besides just visiting the Parks, Vero or Hilton Head!!

In reply to by Liz Sanders (not verified)

This article was strictly about the negativity of DC ownership, not the positives. There have been several articles about the positives already. Being able to trade for other destinations would be a positive.

Thank you for these informative columns. I am looking forward to the dining ones. Tables in wonderland always confuses me. Great job!

we're seasonal passholders and drive up several times a year. We looked into DVC once, basing it on the weekends we would go, and couldn't seem to make it work financially. However, we're still going and usually stay at value or moderate resorts. We may look again.

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