If you are here it’s probably because you were searching for the Best DVC Resort and if that is the case then you are in the right place! The question about what the Best Disney Vacation Club Resort is not always straight forward because it depends on each situation. So in this article I will lay out not only my best DVC hotel pick but also what is the best DVC resort for families, adults and for staycations.
As a Disney Vacation Club member I’ve at almost all the resorts so as a seasoned member I can help you make the best decision for your situation. So no matter if you are a DVC newbie or a DVC pro, there will be something in this article for you!
Best DVC Resort For Families
To kick things off we will discuss the best DVC resorts for Families. So get your stroller ready (if you need one) and below you will find my top 5 pics in this category.
#5 Disney’s Old Key West Resort
As the original Disney Vacation Club resort, Old Key West was designed to be the perfect “home base” for families at Walt Disney World. Since it was the first (and at the time only) DVC property, Disney wasn’t very concerned with maximizing room count. This makes it a perfect resort for families because it is the DVC hotel with some of the largest rooms! Even if your family of four is in a Deluxe Studio, you’ll have two queen beds (the only DVC studio with this feature), a large bathroom, kitchenette, and 390 square feet of space.
From a value standpoint, Old Key West is a steal! Many DVC members choose it as their home resort because the DVC points required per night are among the lowest in the Disney Vacation Club catalog. If you’re not a DVC member, the savings also gets passed onto you because you will not be renting a lot of points from a member to make a reservation here.
Old Key West is also one of those resorts that feels tucked away, but is actually in a great location within Walt Disney World. It is listed as a Disney Springs resort, but is very centrally located so you won’t be spending a lot of your vacation on the buses to and from the parks. For example, Magic Kingdom is only a fifteen-minute bus ride away!
#4 Disney’s Beach Club Villas
The Beach Club Villas are great for families because the Beach Club Resort is perfect for two different types of vacationers. On one hand, it’s the perfect spot for those looking to go to the parks from rope drop to park close, due to its location. The resort is within walking distance to Epcot, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios can be accessed by the Skyliner or a walking path behind Disney’s BoardWalk Inn.
This resort is also the ideal spot for a family that’s looking to have a bit of a slower-paced Disney vacation. And that is entirely due to its awesome swimming pool, Stormalong Bay! This is widely regarded as the best pool on Disney property, featuring a sand bottom, several zero-depth entry points, a water slide that starts on a pirate ship, and a lazy river. Who needs a theme park when your resort has a water park?!
#3 Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
It’s no secret for those that listen to Capture the Magic Podcast that this is a favorite resort of Jamie and Jared, so no surprise that it made this list!
Just like Disney’s Beach Club Villas, the Polynesian offers the best of both worlds for the families that love the theme parks and those looking for more of a resort-focused vacation. Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows is a Magic Kingdom area resort with monorail access, (station under renovation at the time of this writing). Guests can also utilize a walking path to Magic Kingdom that passes Disney’s Grand Floridian. Since this deluxe resort is a bit on the smaller side, getting a bus to the other parks and Disney Springs is pretty hassle-free!
For families hoping to take it slow, the Polynesian has a lot to offer! Captain Cook’s is one of the best quick-service locations on property, and the Polynesian also offers some great table-service restaurants: ‘Ohana and Kona Cafe. Adults looking to enjoy a cocktail can grab great drinks from Tambu Lounge (outside of ‘Ohana) or at the Barefoot Pool Bar (by the Oasis Pool). The Polynesian has two great pools as well! The Lava Pool is the resort’s main pool and features a water slide through volcanic rock, and the Oasis Pool is the leisure pool with a zero-depth entry.
What really sets these DVC villas apart is the configuration of the Deluxe Studios. These rooms have a unique split bathroom feature, which essentially creates two bathrooms. One room has a shower/tub combination, toilet, and vanity, and a separate room has a rainfall shower and vanity. This setup is great for families with multiple kids, as it allows everyone to get ready at once! These rooms are also among the largest of the DVC Deluxe Studios, as they were converted from the Polynesian’s original large hotel rooms.
#2 Disney’s Riviera Resort
Disney’s Riviera Resort is the new kid on the block, but DVC clearly used some of the things they learned from the other resorts to optimize it for families. The Deluxe Studio sleeps five, which is great for families with multiple kids or those just wanting a bit more space. These rooms also feature the split bathroom set up, similar to the Polynesian. The shower and toilet are separated from the shower/tub and vanity area by a pocket door, and both sides are accessible from the entryway through their own pocket doors. Perfect for families getting ready for a day at the parks!
The swimming pools were created with kids and adults in mind! Kids can splash around at S’il Vous Play, the resort’s feature pool. This pool features a Fantasia themed water play area and the Tower Water Slide. It starts off slow, but it’s got some zip at the end! Adults looking for a more tranquil pool experience can relax by Beau Soleil, the resort’s leisure pool. While this pool is only steps from the feature pool, it is insulated by tall hedges that keep most of the ambient noise out.
What sets the Riviera apart from other Disney Vacation Club resorts is the Disney Skyliner! This unique transportation option connects Riviera to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. It’s also easy to use the Skyliner to connect to the BoardWalk area, Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation, and Pop Century. While it was built primarily as transportation, the Skyliner is basically an attraction. Kids will love gliding over the water and other resorts, (this writer spent an hour on the Skyliner for fun in June)!
With all of the amazing features and amenities available at Riviera, it’s easy to see why its becoming a favorite DVC hotel among members and non-members.
#1 Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House & Kidani Village
The best DVC resort for families is Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge! This resort features two DVC areas – Jambo House (in the main building) and Kidani Village (a building entirely made up of DVC rooms). Both sides offer multiple Animal Kingdom villas with many sizes and views to choose from, but we highly recommend you book a savanna view! Imagine how awesome it would be for the kids to walk out on the balcony each morning and see giraffes! (If you can’t make a savanna view work for your budget, no worries! There are multiple viewing areas in the lobby, so everyone can enjoy the savanna.)
Animal Kingdom villas offers a lot of unique activities, led by cultural representatives from Africa. These Cast Members bring the theming to life, with stories from their homeland and activities that are meant to share that cultural richness with guests. You can also find some of them serving as animal experts, pointing out the various inhabitants of the savanna. Staying here allows your family to be totally immersed in cultures that most of us never get to experience outside of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park!
Similarly to Old Key West, the villas at Animal Kingdom Lodge are a great value for those looking to rent DVC points. Many members choose this as their home resort for the low point cost per night, and those looking to rent will not have to pay for a lot of points in order to make a reservation.
The Best DVC Resorts For Adults
This may seem odd or controversial for some but Disney isn’t just for kids! There are tons of things for adults and couples to do on a Disney World Vacation and there is a DVC resort that can fit the unique needs for adults on a Disney World vacation. Below I will break down our top 5!
#5 Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
When it was opened in 1971, Disney’s Contemporary Resort was marketed as the ideal resort for guests looking to enjoy modern, deluxe amenities during their vacation. Bay Lake Tower, the DVC portion of the Contemporary, stays true to that aesthetic. Inside the villas, guests will find spaces decorated with sleek, modern furniture and décor that honors the mid-century modern vibe of the Contemporary. It’s Disney, but very grown-up!
Guests who enjoy fine dining will enjoy the close proximity to two of Walt Disney World’s best restaurants: The Wave and California Grill. The Wave, a hidden gem in the Disney foodie community, offers guests unique American cuisine, in a chic restaurant and lounge just off the main lobby. California Grill has been long regarded as one of the must-do dining experiences at Walt Disney World, offering rotating seasonal menus and stunning views of the Magic Kingdom. This resort is also a bit of a foodie paradise because dining at the other Magic Kingdom resorts is just a Monorail or boat ride away!
For DVC guests looking to spend a lot of time in the Disney parks, Bay Lake Tower is one of those perfectly-situated resorts. Guests can catch a bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Disney’s Animal Kingdom, enjoy a ride on the “Highway in the Sky” to Epcot, or walk to Magic Kingdom. The footpath to Magic Kingdom is perhaps this resort’s most cherished quality, as guests can go from their resort to Main Street, U.S.A. in approximately ten minutes!
#4 Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Opened in 2017, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins are some of the newest DVC resort accommodations at Walt Disney World. The villas located inside the main building of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge are designed to evoke the ruggedness of the Pacific Northwest, but with modern touches. The cabins are nestled along the shores of Bay Lake, offering stunning views of the beauty of Central Florida. These cabins are two-bedroom, standalone structures that sleep eight and have their own hot tubs.
Aside from the high-end design of the villas and cabins, Copper Creek DVC villas also offer the perfect atmosphere for an adults-only getaway. Guests can enjoy a signature cocktail and bison burger at Geyser Point Bar & Grill, a low-key dining location that has quickly become a fan favorite. While kids enjoy the excitement of the water slide at the main pool, adults can enjoy a more tranquil pool and hot tub experience at Boulder Ridge Pool.
Finally, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge occupies a very unique location compared to the other resorts on Bay Lake. It is considered a Magic Kingdom resort, but is not part of the Monorail Loop. It is nestled in a wooded area just beyond the hustle and bustle of the Monorail resorts, offering guests the feel of a quiet, luxury log cabin. However it is close enough to Magic Kingdom that those Disney adults looking to rope drop don’t have to travel very far!
#3 Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
If your dream is to escape to a tropical hideaway with luxurious amenities, the DVC villas and DVC bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are perfect for you! The deluxe studios are some of the largest of the DVC resorts, offering a unique split bathroom layout with two vanities, a rainfall shower, and a shower/tub combination. Along the beaches, you can view the over-the-water Bora Bora Bungalows.
These bungalows sleep eight adults, offer stunning views of the Grand Floridian and Magic Kingdom, and feature their own plunge pools on each balcony. It’s a tropical paradise in the continental United States!
DVC Guests looking to immerse themselves in the magic of the Disney parks will also appreciate the proximity of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to the Magic Kingdom. While the Monorail Station is under refurbishment as of this writing, guest are able to access the Monorail at the nearby Transportation & Ticket Center or walk to the Magic Kingdom via the walkway by the Grand Floridian.
#2 Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
Disney’s BoardWalk Villas evoke the romance and splendor of towns along the Jersey Shore at the turn of the century, making them very attractive to adult-only travelers to Walt Disney World! The sophisticated aesthetic of the lobby area is carried through into the Disney Vacation Club villas, which are housed in their own wing of the resort and surround the resort’s Luna Park feature pool.
Another thing that sets this resort apart from other DVC resorts is the BoardWalk itself, which offers great dining and entertainment! Guests can enjoy an Italian feast at Trattoria al Forno, or sample refreshing microbrews from Big River Grille. BoardWalk Bakery is perfect for your morning cup of coffee or a treat, and the newly-opened BoardWalk Ice Cream shop has sundaes for kids at heart to enjoy. Adults will also love rocking out to covers of their favorite songs at Jellyrolls, a dueling piano bar, (currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions).
Perhaps the quality of Disney’s BoardWalk Villas that adult guests will enjoy the most is its proximity to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, two parks that cater to more mature visitors. Walk into the International Gateway and start your journey around the world at one of Epcot’s many festivals! Take the Skyliner, boat, or walk pathway to Hollywood Studios to immerse yourself in Galaxy’s Edge or enjoy a brew at Baseline Taphouse!
#1 Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Here it is, our number one choice for the best DVC resort for adults-only vacations: Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa!
This resort is perfect for adults looking to relax at a resort that feels a bit tucked away, but not too far from the action. The resort’s large size means it can accommodate a lot of guests, but it’s quite spread out so it maintains a certain level of tranquility. It features the usual Disney Vacation Club villa choices of deluxe studios, as well as one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas. It also has a group of unique, standalone two-bedroom units called the Treehouses. It’s like summer camp in Walt Disney World!
Guests who choose this resort have a wide array of amenities to enjoy. Saratoga Springs Resort has several pools with amazing pool bars, so it’s the perfect environment to catch some rays with a delicious drink in your hand. The resort is home to one of two Senses Spas at Walt Disney World for those looking to pamper themselves with luxurious spa treatments. (Currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.) For those looking to improve their golf game, Saratoga Springs is also home to the Buena Vista Golf Course!
The biggest reason we’ve picked Saratoga Springs as the best Disney Vacation Club resort for adults-only vacations is its proximity to Disney Springs. You can actually walk there from the resort! The Springs offers a wide array of dining, entertainment, and shopping to suit the taste of any guest. Dine on delicious Southern comfort foods at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ or more upscale seafood fare at Paddlefish. Sit by the water sipping a frozen drink at Dockside Margaritas or have some brews while you bowl at Splitsville Luxury Lanes. Having all this fun just across the water from your resort is definitely a plus!
The Best Disney Vacation Club Resorts for Staycations
Disney Vacation Club resorts are considered some of the best resorts that the Walt Disney Company has to offer. DVC resorts feature unique and elaborate theming, all the amenities of deluxe resorts, and spacious vacation villas that feel more like home than a standard Disney resort room. With twelve DVC resorts to choose from at Walt Disney World, it’s hard for some guests to decide which is the best resort for their dream vacation. In this series, we’ll break down the best WDW DVC resorts for different types of Disney vacations: families, adults-only, and staycations.
Here’s a controversial statement for some Disney fans: not all vacations need to revolve around theme parks! Sometimes what you need is a little relaxing getaway, a “Disney staycation” if you will. If you’re looking to laze around while still experiencing some Disney magic, here are the perfect resorts for a staycation.
#5 Disney’s Old Key West Resort
The original Disney Vacation Club resort, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, was built to some degree with staycations in mind! Its layout consists of many large “homes,” separated into “neighborhoods.” Each building contains several different villa sizes, from Deluxe Studios to Grand Villas. Since the buildings are three stories or less and spread out, this lends a quiet, laid-back vibe to the entire resort.
DVC members and guests love Old Key West because its tucked away location on property allows for a more tranquil vacation experience. Even though it is just a quick boat ride to Disney Springs, it feels very far removed from the hustle and bustle that usually accompanies a Disney vacation. But don’t let that lead you to believe that a staycation here is boring! Guests looking to add fun activities to their staycation can enjoy a round of golf on the Lake Buena Vista Course (connected to Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort), get a workout in at the Exercise Room or on the jogging trails, or rent surreys and bikes to explore the property. The Conch Flats Community Hall also offers lots of free or low-price activities for kids, like arts &crafts, video games, and foosball.
Old Key West features one feature pool and three leisure pools. The feature pool, The Sandcastle Pool, features a 125-foot-long water slide with a sauna built into its base. It is also close to tennis and basketball courts, shuffleboard, and the resort’s main lobby area, the Hospitality House. The three leisure pools are located in the resort’s “neighborhoods,” and are the perfect quiet spots to catch some rays by the water. They are named Old Turtle Pond, South Point, and Miller’s Road. Only Old Turtle Pond has a quick service location, Turtle Shack Poolside Snacks.
#4 Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
The DVC villas at the Grand Floridian are perfect for a luxurious staycation! Even though it is right next to Magic Kingdom, it is just tucked away enough that guests don’t feel as if they’re in a bustling part of Disney property. Enjoy some quiet time by the resort’s two swimming pools, the Beach Pool (feature) and the Cove Pool (leisure). Or you can really add to your relaxing staycation by booking an appointment at Senses, the resort’s full-service spa.
Another added benefit of staying at the Grand Floridian is the access to the other Monorail Loop resorts, Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. If you’re looking for a change of scenery or additional dining options, you can incorporate spots at the other resorts into your trip plan. Guests can also access Disney’s Wilderness Lodge by taking the boat or Monorail to Magic Kingdom and getting another boat from there.
Grand Floridan also offers several great spots to view the Magic Kingdom fireworks! We highly recommend grabbing a drink and a snack from Gasparilla Grill and enjoying the show from the adjacent Marina Terrace or the dock just beside Narcoossee’s.
Due to its smaller inventory, this DVC resort is one of the most difficult for DVC members to book. If you’re a DVC member who doesn’t own at Grand Floridian, make sure you try to book it right at the opening of your seven-month window. If you’re renting DVC points, make sure you put in your request to the member or rental company you’re utilizing before the eleven-month booking window, (eleven months before your planned check-in date).
#3 Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Disney’s Beach Club Villas might be walking distance from Epcot, but it maintains the perfect chill vibe for a DVC staycation. The resort sits on Crescent Lake, the large lagoon that takes up the center of Disney’s BoardWalk area. Guests can enjoy quiet mornings walking around the lake and snapping pictures of the other resorts that share the space – Disney’s Yacht Club, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, and the Swan & Dolphin. If a morning workout is more your speed, many guests use the roughly 1.5 mile boardwalk as their jogging path.
This Disney Vacation Club resort is a great spot for foodies that may want to skip the craziness of festivals at Epcot. Hop on the Disney Skyliner and head over to Disney’s Riviera Resort for a drink at Bar Riva, or go a bit further to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort for lunch at Sebastian’s. Two great dining locations that don’t require a park ticket!
The feature of the Beach Club that makes it a coveted reservation for Disney Vacation Club members is Stormalong Bay. This massive feature pool includes a pirate themed water slide, tanning deck, and lazy river. It also has its own pool bar, Hurricane Hannah’s, which serves up refreshing cocktails and great food. Why would anyone need to go into a park when there’s a water park at their resort?! If you’re seeking a more relaxed pool experience than Stormalong Bay offers, you can enjoy the waters of the Cove Pool beside the Disney Vacation Club villas.
#2 Bay Lake Tower
Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is a great spot for a staycation, even though most guests stay here due to its proximity to a park. While Magic Kingdom is only a five to ten minute walk from the DVC villas, you don’t need to be a “rope drop to park close” guest to enjoy it!
Bay Lake Tower is on this list for the same reasons as the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian. This DVC resort offers three great pools, access to great dining in the main tower and on the Monorail Loop, and amazing views of the nighttime fireworks. What sets Bay Lake Tower apart from the Grand are the sheer number of villas available for booking. Due to its large size, it is often easy to book at seven months for DVC members who do not own here. This means that non-members looking to rent will have an easier time too, even if they don’t request the resort a year ahead of time.
This DVC resort is also unique in that it is the one resort with an exclusive lounge, just for DVC members and their guests, Top of the World Lounge. Guests can enjoy a signature cocktail or snack from the eclectic menu, while enjoying the views of the Magic Kingdom and its surrounding resorts. If you’re ever there for fireworks, the lounge dims the lights and pipes in the music, so guests can enjoy the show from their seats or head out for a great view on the balcony.
#1 Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
The best DVC resort for a staycation is Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort! It’s a short bus ride from Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, but since it sits on the back of the park’s savanna, the resort is tranquil and tucked away. The Animal Kingdom villas are located in both the Kidani Village and Jambo House sides of the resort, (but the majority of DVC rooms are on the Kidani Village side). If you’re splurging for this resort for a staycation, we highly recommend booking a savanna view. What could be more relaxing than drinking your coffee on your villa’s balcony, watching the giraffes walk by?
Compared to other Disney resorts, Animal Kingdom villas offers the most unique activities, led by cultural representatives from Africa. You can find some of these Cast Members serve as animal experts, pointing out the various inhabitants of the savanna. Others may be leading activities such as “Wild About Painting,” an art workshop that takes place on one of the savanna overlook areas at Jambo House.
Similarly to Old Key West, the villas at Animal Kingdom Lodge are a great value for those looking to rent DVC points. Many DVC members choose this as their home resort for the low point cost per night, and those looking to rent will not have to pay for a lot of points in order to make a reservation.
My hope is that this article helped answer any questions you may have as a DVC member or a perspective DVC member and which is the best DVC resort is going to be best for your situation. No matter if you are a family, adults only trip, solo trip or looking for a staycation, there are plenty of DVC resorts to choose from that will leave you loving your vacation. If you have any questions about this article or questions about what resort to pick for your upcoming vacation feel free to comment below and also be sure to check out some of the other articles on the site like our Pop Century Resort Review.
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