Which DVC Resorts are Worth the Points?
Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resorts have some of the highest satisfaction ratings of any on-property Walt Disney World spots. But they’re also some of the most expensive. Maybe you’ve got points to spend (or you’re interesting in renting). How do you decide where to look first? I’m going to do a lot of digging into that question over the coming weeks. But for today I’m going to be looking at some very specific numbers. Last week I pulled resort satisfaction vs cost. It assumed that you were paying out of pocket to stay anywhere, and it compared using rack rates. Andy commented and pointed out (pointed? See what I did there?) that the out-of-pocket cost for DVC resorts probably isn’t the best way to compare them. Point made (I did it again), so today I’m looking at DVC resort satisfaction vs point cost. Come for the data, stay for the point puns.
Explain the Math!
Satisfaction ratings are the same as they’ve always been. Each post-visit survey gets a rating for the hotel stay, on a scale of 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied), and I average them all. For this analysis, I pulled surveys from the past 3 years.
Point cost is, once again, where it gets interesting. Thankfully, Disney has very nice point charts that make pulling point cost much easier than out of pocket cost. I used the 2022 point charts and averaged out cost by night and weighted it by room type. But this time I went one step further. I also averaged it out individually by room type. So I have an overall point average, but I also have a studio average, 1 bedroom average, 2 bedroom average, and grand villa average for each resort. That way we can look holistically, but also by individual room type. My family always stays in studios (and we rent points for our stays), so I could look specifically at that graph to try to find the “best value” – aka, highest satisfaction for lowest average points.
DVC Villa Satisfaction vs Points
- In this graph (and all others) the gray and orange lines represent the confidence intervals. So anything within those lines can be considered “average”, or close enough, compared to all other resorts. Anything that falls outside of those lines is weird. Statistically speaking.
- These represent overall averages, and are therefore somewhat “skewed” by overall room mix. If a resort has lots and lots of 2 bedroom villas, it’s going to show up here as more “expensive” then a resort that has an abundance of studios; therefore it may look like a worse value.
- Only two weird dots on this graph. Saratoga Springs bottoms out well outside of the confidence interval. And the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows somewhat surprisingly pop out just on top of the interval. But remember what I said about room mix skewing this graph? DVC Polynesian only has studios and a few of those eye-poppingly-expensive bungalows. So the abundance of studios could be skewing results here.
Studio Villa Satisfaction vs Points
- Keep in mind for all of these graphs, I’m using overall resort satisfaction, not room-specific satisfaction. I haven’t been able to get to that level of detail yet. But if folks keep submitting their room numbers on post-visit surveys, I may be able to!
- In this view, we see that suddenly the Polynesian Villas aren’t looking so hot. It has one of the overall lowest average points per night, but that’s obviously just due to the large portion of rooms that are studios. When we narrow things to just studios, the Polynesian is the most “expensive” resort. Ouch. And it falls below the confidence interval. Which means it’s statistically too expensive for its satisfaction scores. Double ouch. Makes me glad I tried it out for a $10/point rental in January.
- Saratoga Springs again falls well below the line. You’ll start noticing a trend there …
- And now Old Key West is up above the confidence interval. It has the cheapest studio rooms by far, and it scores higher satisfaction ratings than 5 other DVC resorts.
One Bedroom Villa Satisfaction vs Points
- Once again, Old Key West has the cheapest options for one bedroom villas and it shows up above the confidence interval, making it a statistically good value.
- And again we see our buddy Saratoga Springs hanging out at the bottom. Poor Saratoga Springs. I even pulled Saratoga reviews over time to see if there were trends that impacted it in any way. Nope. Pretty steady across all time.
- Interestingly, Riviera studios were the third-most expensive, but it has the most expensive one bedroom villas.
Two Bedroom Villas Satisfaction vs Points
- Did you guess the least expensive two bedroom villas before you saw the graph? Because I did. Once again, villas at OKW are the “best value”.
- And look at that – Saratoga Springs is well below the confidence interval. Have I made my point yet? Just when you thought the results were getting boring. Bam! A point pun. Keeping you on your toes.
Grand Villa Satisfaction vs Points
- Now, my guess is that if you’re springing for a grand villa, you’re not as worried about cost as a typical WDW visitor. But even if you aren’t, there is a HUGE spread in average cost of grand villas. A grand villa at Old Key West will “only” set you back about 60 points per night (on average), while a grand villas at Copper Creek, Riviera Resort, and Grand Floridian are all more than twice that amount.
- Even at the highest price point, Saratoga Springs can’t keep up with the rest of the pack. Statistically, you’re better off just spending the extra 10-ish points per night and upgrading to Animal Kingdom Lodge or BoardWalk Villas if you’re in the market for 3 bedrooms.
What Does This Mean For You?
- For any individual room type, Old Key West is always the best “value”. It has the largest rooms of any DVC villas, and is also the OG. So between the space and the likely sentimental attachment, satisfaction scores are always relatively high.
- Saratoga Springs … never comes out as a good value. One commenter remarked on a previous article that it may be that people are just disappointed when they have to default to Saratoga Springs because it’s their home resort but they usually stay elsewhere.
- Studios at the Polynesian are the only other room type at any of the DVC resorts, other than Saratoga Springs, that come out as statistically a poor value.
Do you have a favorite DVC resort? Do you choose where to stay based on price or other factors? Are you surprised by any of the results today? Let us know in the comments!
5 thoughts on “Which DVC Resorts are Worth the Points?”
Interesting! Useful comparisons. Makes me curious why Jambo and Kidani are pretty similar, but CC does consistently better than BR (I haven’t stayed at CC or BR and have only toured CC).
I noticed the same thing! We’ve stayed at Kidani and Jambo, and I probably do like both somewhat equally – but for different reasons. Jambo has Boma, Mara, and an awesome pool. But Kidani has Sanaa, and a great kids water play area and I prefer the savanna there.
I’ve visited Wilderness Lodge and it’s on my Disney stay bucket list, but haven’t visited BR or CC. I’m going to be looking through particular facets of satisfaction next – maybe it’ll help us figure out the reason why!
We’ve had the opportunity to stay at both, and I have a feeling BR will trend upwards once its refurbishment takes place. It’s pretty dated as compared to the (gorgeous, imho) newness of CC. It’s also not connected to the main WL lobby by anything but a covered walkway. However, as compared to any other resort, that is completely negligible. We adore CC and prefer it to anything on Disney property, but we really love the quiet, peaceful atmosphere in the small BR lobby area, and enjoy starting our vacations there with a cup of tea and a game of Chinese checkers in front of the fire.
Thanks for the shoutout in the intro! I’ll be sending Len an invoice for my consulting services. 🙂
Very nice analysis, and I love the idea to break it out by room type as well. It’s remarkable how linear the cost/satisfaction slope becomes in the 1BD and larger categories.
Poor Saratoga. As I noted in your hotel post, I presume those satisfaction scores are tainted by people being disappointed that they were staying at Saratoga, not disappointed with the experience they actually had there.
Saratoga is the DVC fallback option. It doesn’t even matter what your home resort is; if you’re looking to book something <6 months in advance, you will often find that Saratoga is the only option with rooms available (because it's the biggest DVC resort and least in-demand). In a touringplans survey, I could see people docking it a star or two just because they were annoyed to be spending their points there and not somewhere more desirable.
Most DVC perks have been eliminated by Disney and have significantly reduced the value of DVC ownership. In addition, there are significant restrictions on using DVC points that also decreases ownership value and increase ownership costs. Unless, you plan on going to WDW three or mor times in a single year, you should not consider purchasing into DVC. One can stay off-site for a third of the cost of DVC ownership and still have the same experience.