By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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The Disney Vacation Club (“DVC”) Resorts at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute


The Disney Vacation Club (“DVC”) Resorts at Walt Disney World are time-share resorts whose rooms can also be reserved by anyone like any other Disney World resort hotel rooms.

Moreover, the rooms at these resorts can also be gained (usually at a huge cost saving) by privately renting “points” from Disney Vacation Club members. See this for how.

The Disney Vacation Club Resorts at Walt Disney World from yourfirstvisit.netFor most first time family visitors, the Disney Vacation Club Resorts are worth considering only under a few circumstances:

  • Large families—especially those aimed at a Deluxe property—who are not willing to bet on actually getting connecting rooms. (You can request connecting rooms at WDW, but getting them is not guaranteed.) See this for more on large families. “Villas” which can sleep 8, 9, 10 and 12 people are available.
  • Families aimed at a deluxe hotel, but who can only pull it off through the cost savings of renting DVC points. See this for more on renting DVC points
  • Families who for one reason or another have targeted a resort with which a DVC property is paired, find it is sold out, but can get into the DVC resort
  • People who already are DVC owners

For other first-time visitors looking for deluxe lodging, the Polynesian remains the best choice.

See this for more on where to stay, this for more on Walt Disney World resorts ranked by kid appeal, and this for Walt Disney World resorts ranked by convenience.


There are currently ten DVC resorts at Walt Disney World.

DVC Resorts include eight paired with regular resorts, and two standalone DVC resorts.

The paired resorts are the  Boulder Ridge and Copper Creek Villas at the Wilderness lodge, Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort, the Jambo House and Kidani Village Villas at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Beach Club Villas, the Boardwalk VillasThe Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, and the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows.

Each is paired with the regular resort of similar name, sharing services, restaurants, pools, transportation, etc., and having (mostly) the same convenience and kid appeal as the regular resort.

The two stand-alone resorts are Disney’s Old Key West Resort, and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. The “Treehouses” are a separate section of Saratoga Springs.

Because the two sets of options at the Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Saratoga Springs are so different, and the Polynesian offering is so distinctive, for review purposes I count a total of twelve resorts, but rank only eleven.

Their overall ranking for first time family visitors is as follows:

  1. Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  2. Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  3. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas–Jambo House
  4. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas–Kidani Village
  5. Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  6. The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
  7. Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  8. Disney’s Boardwalk Villas
  9. Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  10. Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, main resort
  11. Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, Treehouse Villas area

My rankings exclude the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, as it does not offer one or two bedroom villas. If the ranking were based solely on studios, the Polynesian offering would be near the top.

There’s variability within these overall rankings by room type–click the reviews themselves for what’s what.


All DVC resorts except the Polynesian offering have three room types: Studios, One Bedroom Villas, and Two Bedroom Villas.

In addition, most DVC resorts also have a fourth room type, Grand Villas (Boulder Creek Villas at the Wilderness Lodge and the Beach Club Villas do not have Grand Villas).

The Treehouses section at Saratoga Springs offers a unique fifth room type, a three bedroom layout that sleeps 9.

The Polynesian Villas and Bungalows offers Studios and a unique sixth room type, a waterside Bungalow. Bungalow-like Cascade Cabins opened at the Wilderness Lodge in July 2017.

Disney's Beach Club Villas Studio Floor Plan from yourfirstvisit.netStudio rooms sleep 4 (except at the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, where 5 can sleep (either in two queens, or a queen and a couch that folds out into a full size bed; the fifth spot at the Grand Floridian is a murphy bed), or the Studios in the Boulder Creek Villas at the Wilderness Lodge, at the Polynesian, the Beach Club Villas, and the BoardWalk Villas, which sleep two on a queen, two on a fold-out couch, and one on a murphy bed).

They are similar to regular deluxe hotel rooms with the exception of having a microwave, a toaster, and (usually) a little more space.

For first time family visitors, Studios are without merit except under three circumstances:

  • As a backup means of getting into a resort whose normal rooms are sold out, or
  • For getting a major price break compared to the regular rooms at that resort by successfully renting points from a DVC member to pay for the room, or
  • For getting a five person space at the Wilderness Lodge

Disney's BoardWalk Villas One-Bedroom Floor Plan from yourfirstvisit.netOne Bedroom Villas also mostly sleep 4.

However, most One Bedrooms at the Villas at the Animal Kingdom Lodge,  Old Key WestThe Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and Bay Lake Tower  sleep 5.

All these One Bedroom Villas have a private bedroom with a king bed, one bathroom (most 5 person AK and all 5 person Bay Lake Villas have two bathrooms), a washer and dryer, and a combined full kitchen/dining/living room.

The couch in the living room folds out into a bed for two more, and in the 5 person villas, in most, a chair in the living room unfolds into a bed for another person. At The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian, the fifth spot is a Murphy Bed.

For first time visitors the value of the kitchen and extra space is small, as you will be spending little time in your room, and eating few meals other than breakfasts there.

Moreover, in all the villas except for those at Old Key West, and the 5 person villas at Bay Lake Tower, the Animal Kingdom Villas, and the Grand Floridian, the living room area is so small that it becomes essentially unusable when the chairs are turned into beds.

The combined living/kitchen/dining space in the One and Two Bedroom Villas at Old Key West are remarkably large—great value for the money—and do not have this problem.

Disney's Kidani Village Two-Bedroom Villa floor plan from yourfirstvisit.netTwo Bedroom Villas either combine the floor plan and features of both of a Studio and a One Bedroom Villa, or have a dedicated second bedroom with two queens, and typically sleep 8 (most at the Villas at the Animal Kingdom Lodge,  and all at Old Key West, and Bay Lake Tower sleep 9; Some two bedrooms at the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian can be booked for ten).

These two bedroom spaces are very well suited to large families, except that in all but Old Key West and the Treehouses (see below) not all eight or nine can comfortably fit into the living room or at the dining table.

The Treehouses at Saratoga Springs provide a different floor plan option.

They sleep up to 9 in square footage comparable to two bedroom villas, but in three bedrooms and a living room, rather than two bedrooms and a living room, and have two baths.

Disney's Treehouse Villas floor plan from yourfirstvisit.netTwo bedrooms have a queen in each, one bedroom has bunk beds sleeping two shorter than 6′ tall, and the living room has a couch that folds out into a full sized bed and a chair that folds out into a twin.

The extreme distance of the treehouse Villas from the main pool and services, and separate bus service that requires a transfer to get to the parks, makes them very inconvenient for first-time visitors. However, they provide an interesting option for families or groups looking for more privacy and sleeping options than the two bedroom options can give.

For even larger families, Grand Villas, available at all Disney World DVC Resorts except for Boulder Ridge Villas at the Wilderness Lodge, the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, and the Beach Club Villas, sleep 12 and are spectacular—and spectacularly expensive.

However, they are often not much more expensive than 3 deluxe regular rooms—which is what you would need to reserve to find space for more than 10 people—while providing a single space for your entire family and around twice the square footage.

If you can rent points, they are less money than three regular rooms at most of the deluxes.

Disney's Jambo House Grand Villa floor plan from yourfirstvisit.netA Grand Villa sleeps 12.

It has three distinct bedrooms—two sleeping 4 in (typically) two queens, and one sleeping two in a king. Two more sleeping spaces are available in sofa-beds in the common rooms.

Grand Villas are remarkable. If you think (as hotel designers do) of a standard room as being one “bay,” then the DVC Studios are one bay, the One Bedroom Villas are two bays, and the Two Bedrooms Villas are three bays.

(Old Key West is an exception. Because its architecture yields such a large kitchen/dining/living room, a one bedroom is 2.5ish bays, and a two bedroom is 3.5ish bays.)

Grand Villas are 6 bays—twice as big as most Two Bedroom Villas. They range from 2044 square feet at Bay Lake Tower to 2800 square feet at the Grand Floridian. (One regular room at the Grand Floridian, sleeping 5, is 440 square feet—so, at maximum capacity, the Grand Villas provide more than twice as much square feet per person)

The 2.5 to 3 extra bays compared to a Two Bedroom include one more bedroom that sleeps 4 more people on two queens, a dedicated dining room with a table for 8 or more (indoor dining space for an additional two to 8 people is also available), a larger kitchen, and either a second or enlarged living room area, a game room, a media room, and/or an open two story space.


In general, Old Key West and Saratoga Springs are the cheapest DVC resorts when reserving through the Disney web site, and also the cheapest when using rented points.

Bay Lake Tower is the most convenient of the DVC resorts for first time visitors, and OKW and Saratoga Springs are by far the least convenient.

The two sets of villas at each of the Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Wilderness Lodge are both stunningly appealing to kids. Both are inconvenient, but less inconvenient than Old Key West and Saratoga Springs.

Saratoga Springs typically has the smallest rooms in all room types. Closet space in its One Bedroom Villas is remarkably thin–less than 4 feet of clothes rod length, less than what you get at a Value.

The One and Two Bedrooms at Old Key West are much larger by far, and more livable when filled to capacity, than any other DVC One or Two bedrooms. For example, they are about 30% larger than the same room types at Saratoga Springs.

Studios are almost always a waste of money unless you can rent points or just need the studio to access its parent resort.

Once you have stayed in one, I imagine you will talk about your Grand Villa for the rest of your life.



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1 John { 08.04.12 at 7:00 pm }

Dave… we are not first timers to Disney, but not frequent visitors either. We are leaning toward the Villas (Beach Club & Old Key West are the favorites so far.). We will probably be getting 3 villas. My family of 3 will room in a two bedroom with my brother in law and his family of 4. (7 of us total – 3 kids ages 15, 11, 9). The second villa would also be a two bedroom for friends who have 6 total in their family (all college age or older). The final villa leads us to my question. It will be for my parents who are 80 and want to go to Disney World “one more time” (mom was just diagnosed with the early stages of cancer). The cancellation policy looks good in case they can’t go. They won’t spend as much time in the parks as we will….they like to just sit outside and take in scenery and fresh air. (but they will go to the parks some…). Which Resort would you reccommend for them? They love the one bedroom units. If we don’t do Villas, then what resort would be best? (all of us in our own rooms of course.). We have stayed in Pop Century, French Quarter and off site. Thanks for any advice.

2 Dave { 08.05.12 at 10:15 am }

John, Villas are a great–though expensive–solution. I’d avoid OKW with the group you describe, though, as only 3 of the buildings there have elevators, which may be an issue for your parents–see

Instead I’d go with savanna view rooms at either Kidani Village or Jambo House villas. This will give the best views to the older ones…see and

Picking a less expensive alternative is messed up by the group of 6, as there aren’t many options for a group that size that creates an affordable alternative for the rest. The best choice I can think of is three regular rooms at Wilderness Lodge for you, your BIL, and your parents, plus a “Deluxe Room” for the family of 6. See this for the Lodge overall and the 4 person rooms, and for the 6-person room see this:

3 John { 08.04.12 at 7:01 pm }

Forgot to mention that your site is one of the best out there with the floor plans of the resorts! This site is not only good for first timers…but returnees too!

4 Dave { 08.05.12 at 10:16 am }

Thanks John! And feel free to tell your 1,000 closest friends about it 🙂

5 Katie { 09.10.12 at 12:05 am }

Awesome website!!! I think I’ve seen just about all of them by now…and this one is by far the most helpful! Our family of four is returning to WDW in January and we usually stay at OKW, mainly for the extra space, kitchen and washer/dryer. My twins are six years old though and you’ve really made me consider Polynesian for the kid appeal and monorail. There are no washer/dryers there though, correct? I’d love to see/hear a little more about your opinions on the villas and how they compare. Thanks!!!

6 Dave { 09.10.12 at 7:36 am }

Hi Katie and thanks!

Yup, no washer/dryer in the room, but there is a building at Poly with washers and dryers in it for guest use.

You have, in effect, spoiled yourself with the 1BRs, (I’ve done this to my own family!) so Poly, frankly, may be a let down. There’s some one-bedroom villas with great kid appeal at WL and AKL, so those might be a better choice!

Or if it’s the monorail that’s most fun to think about, then go with BLT…though it has little kid appeal… see this:

7 alise19 { 10.15.12 at 11:58 am }

I need some advice. We will be traveling to WDW in 10/13. My family of 5 has always at pop century on previous visits. This time my kids ages will put us over the occupancy limit (no one in a crib). What would be the best option for us? Renting points, or some other option? We may be traveling with my parents and in-laws (they would haves seater rooms). We prefer to stay on property, i have enough to do…

8 Dave { 10.15.12 at 3:06 pm }

Hi, the least expensive option on site is a 5 person room at POR Riverside. Its Alligator Bayou rooms sleep 5, 4 in two queens in the fight in a fold-down bed. For details and other options, see this:

9 Sonny { 02.08.13 at 8:57 pm }

Hi Dave, need some advice. Looking to travel to WDW for first time this summer. Will be taking wife and 3 kids ages 1, 4 and 6. We have the option of staying at a Disney Vacation Club property but not sure if I should go with that option over a Disney Resort like the Polynesian. The convenience for me and my wife is important, but equally as important is ensuring my kids have a great time. What would you recommend? Thanks in advance.

10 Dave { 02.09.13 at 2:11 pm }

Sonny, with kids that age, the only DVC resort with great convenience to MK, which is what you should focus on, is Bay Lake Tower–see Not quite as convenient, but with much better kid appeal, is the DVC Villas at the Wilderness Lodge–see this:

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11 Trish { 05.22.13 at 8:43 am }

Planning our first of hopefully several trips to Disney World Fall of 2014, middle october most likely. We have 5 adults and 3 kids (2 will be 3, 1 will be 6). Not sure what is best/cheaper: get a room that accommodates all of us or book 2 separate reservations in hopes that we can get connecting rooms. Not interested in DVC or renting points. Also, we are used to beach vacationing in condos with fully equipped kitchen and washer/dryer but I guess this is not necessary but would be nice depending on the price. What is your recommendation on where to stay for us?

Also, we would like to visit Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Not interested in going to Epcot or Universal Studios this particular trip due to the kids ages. One of the water parks one day. A day or two to simply spend at the resort on the beach/pool/playground etc. How many days to vacation?


Great site, thanks!

12 Dave { 05.23.13 at 7:09 am }

Hi Trish–I’m not sure why you ruled out DVC, as a two bedroom villa–with a full kitchen, laundry, and sleeping spots for 8 or 9–exactly fits what you are looking for? See this:

Of the DVC resorts, the one most convenient to MK is Bay Lake Tower. See And see also the floor plan…

Given the ages and the park interests, I’d advise four to five park days, one at AK and 3-4 at MK. At mk you want three mornings, an afternoon and an evening, spread out over 4 days if you can.

Hope this helps…

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13 Lou { 06.04.13 at 5:14 pm }

We “won” a deluxe studio” villa at WDW through a church auction. We have a 12 yr old daughter and we’ve all been to disney three times. Stayed at Saratoga Villas, Broadwalk Villas, and Carribean Beach Resort. We have never been able to get in the Beach Club Villas and I last did my research four years ago. Should I still go for Beach Club since we love the beach and pool activities and plan only to go to Epcot, Universal, and Sea World on this visit? I’ve been hearing it is terribly outdated. Your thoughts?

14 Dave { 06.05.13 at 7:09 am }

Lou, I last stayed at the Beach Club villas a year ago and they were just fine! See for my review…

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15 Suzie { 10.02.13 at 1:13 pm }

Hi Dave, we are staying at OKW the week of 10/12 – 10/19. My BIL is a DVC owner, and our stay is a gift. We are waitlisted at Beach Club, but with our wait list expiring on Saturday, I’m losing hope that we’ll be transferred. Our kids are 5 and 3 1/2. I think proximity to the pool and the bus station is most important to us. Based on your review, should I request to be in buildings 11-16 or 23-26? Any other tips on OKW with little ones? Unfortunately, we will not have a rental car. Thanks!!

16 Dave { 10.03.13 at 7:52 am }

Suzie, since everyone targets the same buildings, it’s worth thinking about options. There’s multiple bus stops and multiple pools. Most pools aren’t as fun as the main pool–but I’d bet at those ages the kids won’t care…they just want to play in the pool with their parents! So simply request near a pool and near transportation…

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17 Lil { 01.02.14 at 7:59 pm }

Hi Dave! This website is by far the BEST! Thanks for all your hatd work ! My family is heading to WDW mid Oct . We have 4 adults, a 14 and 3 year old in our party. Only one adult and the 3 year old have never been to disney. We’ve stayed on Disney property as well as off in the past. We will be flying in to Orlando. We are considering renting points to stay at a DVC property. Where do you suggest we stay that would be most economical? Also, does staying at a DVC property give us access to the extra magic hours at the parks? Thanks for your help!

18 Dave { 01.03.14 at 8:16 am }

Hi Lil, and thanks!!!!

First, yes the DVC properties have all the privileges of any other hotel! EMH, etc, etc.

Second, Old Key West and Saratoga Springs are typically easiest to rent points for, and rent for the lowest point levels. I strongly prefer Old Key West to SS. But both are a pain without a car…

19 Michelle { 03.04.14 at 10:24 am }

Hi Dave!
Just returned from disney in february and planning our next trip for either Fall 2015, or spring 2016. It sounds like a long time away but as we all know – time flies! We went last time with our family of 4 and the next trip will be with our in-laws and all the grandkids. that is 7 adults, 8 children. So this is a trip that will need to be planned way ahead and to a T. We are considering staying off property (saw a 5 bedroom condo 2 miles from disney) but i really enjoyed having the disney dining plan and staying on property. Looking into the DVC options now too…. What would you reccommend for such a large group? Can you give any ballpark costs for buying points from a DVC member? we would do 8-9 days in one of the lower crowd weeks (halloween or late feb/early march) I would imagine we would need two rentals… any tips or direction appreciated. thanks.

20 Dave { 03.04.14 at 7:06 pm }

Hi Michelle! On points, see this: If you go the Disney route, check out the treehouses–two of them collectively sleep 8 adults in 4 queen bed bedroom, and 10 kids in a combination of two two-person bunk bed rooms and fold-out chairs in the living rooms. See this:

21 Michelle { 03.05.14 at 10:38 am }

Hi Dave – Thanks, I’ll look into all that. One thing that really stands out is having to take a bus to get to the bus stop – with our brood of young kids, that might be too much. What is the best large family DVC units convenience wise? I think the division would be 3 adults, 4 kids in one unit, and 4 adults and 4 kids in the other unit. Is there anywhere we could plan to be near each other? thanks.

22 Dave { 03.06.14 at 8:19 am }

Yeah, you need a car to stay at the treehouses. Among the others, Bay Lake Tower is most convenient to the Magic Kingdom, and the Beach Club Villas to Epcot. The odds of being close together are best in the small DVC options–Beach Club, Wilderness Lodge, and Grand Floridian.

23 Michelle { 03.05.14 at 11:03 am }

one more question – Can you put more than the reccommended number of people in a tree house or other suite?

We have 2 kids who are very little and wouldn’t use a bed or anything, but sleep in their parents room – how many “cribs” will they allow in a villa? our young kids also usually all sleep on the floor in the living area! so they can be together.. buti imagine disney is strict on number of people in a room? even if its kids?

24 Dave { 03.06.14 at 8:20 am }

Michelle, one kid per villa younger than three at time of check-in doesn’t count towards the capacity limits. Otherwise Disney is pretty strict…

25 WALT DISNEY WORLD LINKS | Grandpax2's Disney Links { 05.21.14 at 4:13 pm }

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26 DISNEY WORLD LINKS | Grandpax2's Disney Links { 05.25.14 at 2:24 pm }

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27 Micah { 06.05.14 at 9:18 pm }

I have checked your site out a few times in the past for the the Crowd Calendars, but lately I have been enjoying reading a lot of your other content, especially the info (and layout pictures!) for all of the DVC resorts. Thanks.

A few small corrections for you:
– The Wilderness Lodge Studios have recently added a Murphy bed, and now sleep 5 people. (Oddly enough, not the 1BRs there)
– It might be worth noting that the only DVC Studio with 2 Queen beds is OKW.
– The Grand Floridian 2BR Villas can actually be booked for 10 people as long as it is a Lock-Off 2BR, (with 2 Murphy Beds). The Dedicated 2BRs actually only have 1 Murphy bed, and therefore can only be booked for 9.

28 Dave { 06.06.14 at 8:12 am }

Micah, thanks a million! I had heard about the murphy bed at WL, but hadn’t noticed that the renovation was complete. And thanks for the other two points as well!

29 Cyndi { 07.02.14 at 3:01 pm }

Hi Dave !! Thanks for all the great info. I was reading through your old posts and noticed that you listed OKW and SSR as having the cheapest points. We are looking to rent at AKL villas and they appear to be cheaper than both. Any ideas why that has changed? Thanks

30 Dave { 07.02.14 at 3:21 pm }

Cyndi, here’s the deal–at AK, you want a standard sized-space and Savanna view, and those are more points than the SS and OKW rooms. If you are willing to not see the animals from your room, or to get a “value” smaller room, then indeed those options are fewer points than OKW and SS!

31 Cyndi { 07.02.14 at 4:03 pm }

Thanks for clarifying that ! My mistake ????

32 Dave { 07.03.14 at 9:39 am }

Cyndi you are rightnot your mistake. It’s just that I don’t recommend the room types at AKL that cost fewer points, so for simplicity I simply ignore them!!

33 Kevin { 10.09.15 at 12:19 pm }

We are about 10 years into our DVC membership and at least once a year I threaten to sell it. We bought enough points at SS for our family of 8 (now 9) to stay in a 2 BR villa for a week. It’s almost impossible for a family of 9 to plan 6 months in advance as they suggest, so we always have great difficulty getting rooms. And wants to change rooms and or resorts mid-vacation? As DVC continues to sell and sell and add more events to attract more people, availability decreases. It is very frustrating. We started in September to book a trip in January….no luck. The only thing certain about this deal is that I will get that $1,300 invoice for dues every February.

34 Dave { 10.10.15 at 10:02 am }

Ouch, Kevin…

35 Lana { 08.10.16 at 3:56 pm }

Help! We are trying to book a vacation for December 28-January 3, 6 nights for 6 adults. What is your best suggestion on resorts for this crew? We have never stayed at a Disney Vacation Club resort so I am unsure about how to book if that is our best option. Over the years, we have stayed at value and moderate resorts. I don’t particularly want to stay at a value resort with 2 rooms that probably will not have connecting room internal doors. Thank you for your help!

36 Dave { 08.10.16 at 4:29 pm }

Lana, there’s two ways to book DVC–online just like any other WDW hotel room, or by renting points. You may be late for renting points, since that is such a wildly popular time.

Disney has new on-line check in forms, and a new option in most is labeled “Connecting Rooms (guaranteed).”

37 Walt Disney World Helpful Planning Links – Grandpax's Walt Disney World Helpful Information { 11.27.16 at 12:37 pm }

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