This question gets asked a lot.
Membership in the Disney Vacation Club is not for everyone. DVC can make sense financially -- assuming you would always stay in a deluxe resort. If you always stay in a value resort, then it won't -- but that's not an apples-to-apples comparison. The DVC resorts offer deluxe amenities and room size.
DVC membership might make sense if you meet most or all of these criteria:
- The cost of membership and dues does not appear to present a financial hardship.
- You vacation at Walt Disney World frequently: ideally at least once every two years.
- You plan to continue vacationing at Disney World far enough into the future to make the membership at least break even.
- You prefer to stay in Deluxe or DVC accommodations and/or you stay a long time (10 days or more per year). If you always stay at a Value resort, or always stay off-site, or you really spend the entire day at the parks away from your hotel, and you don't spend time at the resort itself (other than crashing at the end of the day), then DVC may not be for you.
- You are able to plan your vacations well in advance -- ideally 7 to 11 months out. If you aren't a planner, don't even look at becoming a DVC member. If you can't plan and book your vacations 11 months in advance, and staying at a particular DVC resort is important, then don't join DVC. If you really don't care which DVC resort you end up with, then it's not an issue.
- You stay more on weekdays and can limit Friday and Saturday night stays.
- You can do without daily mousekeeping and room service (of course, you can pay extra and get mousekeeping as a DVC member).
- You desire more space than a typical resort room (such as a 2 bedroom villa, with full kitchen, living room, 2 bathrooms and jacuzzi suite, and even a washer/dryer).
- Youre not looking at DVC as an investment or a way to make money (its not). It is a decision to prepay, at today's rates, the next several decades of Disney trips.
If the only consideration is whether it makes financial sense, then maybe you should be staying offsite and only eating offsite as well, since that beats staying onsite. Beyond just the financial considerations, DVC membership is emotionally satisfying (you own a piece of the magic), and it gives you a reason to take a vacation at WDW.
Buying a DVC membership is a rational, financially viable option for some people: namely people who plan to stay in the higher-end accommodations at Walt Disney World on a regular basis.
Buying into DVC is almost a lifestyle choice. A DVC purchase is a way of committing to an annual Disney vacation with family and friends. For some people, that may outweigh any financial considerations. DVC will pay dividends beyond mere dollars and cents your return on investment will be the joyous times, the family gatherings, and the experiences of a lifetime.
Only you can determine if DVC membership makes sense for your situation, based upon your lifestyle and financial capabilities.