Beyond the benefit of saving money on accommodations offered by Disney Vacation Club, there are valuable perks at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and beyond. This list ranks the 10 best DVC Membership Extras, and how they might save you more money or time, or enhance your vacation. (Updated February 1, 2024.)
Disney Vacation Club calls these its “Membership Extras,” which are usually discounts, special events, or other (honestly) random things. When looking at Disney Vacation Club’s official site, it’s difficult to tell which of these benefits are truly beneficial, and which are thinly-veiled marketing.
As of 2024, there are currently 301 Membership Extras according to DVC. But peruse the list and you’ll immediately spot stuff that either isn’t valuable or even real, such as 10% off at 1900 Park Fare (a restaurant that has been closed for 4 years), 10% off Big River River (a permanently closed restaurant), or access to 2024 Disney Cruise Line Member Cruises in Europe (okay, some people like that last one, but we don’t really view it as a value-add).
Before we get going, we should offer a caveat. To be eligible for Membership Extras, you must be a “blue card” Disney Vacation Club member, meaning that you purchased directly from Disney or bought before the resale restrictions were implemented back in April 2016. It’s all-digital now, so “blue card” member is a misnomer, but that’s what most DVC members still call it.
Point being, if you have a member card (or accompanying digital status), you’re good. This also means that anyone renting Disney Vacation Club points to save money is not eligible for Membership Extras. (Technically, a couple of entries on this list are not Membership Extras and are instead perks attached to the reservation.)
Disney spins it as a way for Members who purchase directly to “receive a premium advantage — in addition to all the magic that Disney has to offer.” In reality, it’s one of their efforts to ‘encourage’ prospective buyers to purchase directly instead of via the resale market. The end result is that this effectively changes the math of buying DVC via resale vs. buying directly. Fortunately, there are ways to circumvent this restriction, which we cover in that post.
We would strongly discourage anyone from buying Disney Vacation Club on the basis of Membership Extras. As Disney itself warns: “Membership Extras…are incidental benefits. These incidental benefits are subject to change or termination without notice, may require the payment of a fee and cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions. Membership Extras are also subject to availability and block-out dates may apply, including high periods of demand such as Christmas and New Year’s Day.”
This is not just a boilerplate CYA legal disclaimer. Several of our favorite Membership Extras are now extinct, and we’ve included them on this list as something of a ‘cautionary tale’ about getting too attached to these perks. In fact, this list has been almost entirely rewritten because there have been so many changes to both the substance of Membership Extras and access to them.
The biggest one has been Annual Passes, which went from having deep discounts for DVC members to not being available at all for a few years. Point being, Membership Extras can and do change. For other things to consider before purchasing DVC, we suggest reading our comprehensive Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best Disney Vacation Club Membership Extras, so you can better understand whether buying into ‘da club’ is right for you!
T10. “Free” Laundry
Every Disney Vacation Club resort has a dedicated laundry facility, and the use of the washers and dryers is no charge for Members. In my experience, these laundry rooms are fairly nice and have sufficient capacity (I’ve never had to wait to wash or dry my stuff). Even better, 1-bedroom villas and larger-sized rooms have washers and dryers inside the rooms.
I’m not a fan of cooking or cleaning while on vacation, but I’ve taken advantage of the free laundry a few times. My socks are basically a biohazard after a long day in the parks, and having access to the laundry facilities means I was everything on our last morning before heading home so I don’t have to quarantine my suitcase or throw the socks in a hazmat bag. It’s also nice for longer trips, as it means packing less.
Air quotes around free because you’d better believe your annual dues are funding this. So you’re paying for it one way or another, you’re just not being charged at the time of use. Pretty similar story with the next entry on the list…
T10. “Free” Parking
This perk is not nearly as valuable as it was for a few years when Walt Disney World was charging for parking on the hotel side, as it meant that those staying on DVC points (not just members–rentals counted, too) were not subject to the overnight parking fees at resorts.
Nevertheless, one valuable perk of Disney Vacation Club is not having to pay for overnight parking at other resorts where it is currently charged (basically everywhere but Walt Disney World). In fairness, that’s because members are already paying for it–indirectly–via the portion of their dues that covers parking upkeep and so forth. Still, I’d rather pay pennies for that as opposed to $40+ per night.
And since dues cover parking lot or structure maintenance (etc.), that means that free parking is essentially locked-in for those using points, no matter what future changes Disney decides to make to its fee structure for regular resort guests.
Here are the DVC resorts where members will not be charged for standard overnight self-parking—regardless of whether they use Disney Vacation Points or another form of payment:
Disney Vacation Club Deluxe Villas at Walt Disney World Resort
Disney Vacation Club Deluxe Villas at Disneyland Resort
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai‘i
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort
Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort
Disney Vacation Club Members who wish to shop, dine or enjoy activities for the day at a Disney Resort hotel are not subject to self-parking fees. (Good luck actually taking advantage of this day-use perk. Security at many/most resorts–especially those near or with non-bus transportation to parks at Walt Disney World–will turn you away.) Charges for valet parking will still apply.
9. Pool Hopping
One perk that Disney Vacation Club members can enjoy regardless of how they purchased is pool hopping. This concept has long been a point of contention among all Walt Disney World guests, but it’s officially sanctioned for members per Disney Vacation Club rules.
Basically, this means DVC members can use whatever pool they want, regardless of the resort at which they’re staying. There are a few exemptions, though: Bay Cove Pool at Bay Lake Tower, Uzima Pool and Samawati Springs Pool at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Stormalong Bay at Yacht & Beach Club, the leisure pool at Disney’s Beach Club Villas, Lava pool and the leisure pool at Polynesian Village, Copper Creek Springs Pool at Wilderness Lodge, and all pools at Art of Animation. Other than those, capacity restrictions still apply, and blockouts will be implemented during busier times.
8. Tour Discounts
This is a pretty broad category, but Disney Vacation Club members receive a 15% discount on theme park tours–like the Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom, Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom or the exceptional Behind the Seeds at Epcot tour.
Members also received flat-rate discounts on some upcharge shows and activities (stuff at Disney Springs), as well as rentals and excursions at Aulani. There are also a couple of morning ‘mindfulness’ offerings at Disneyland Resort that are held in the park; these used to be free for members, but now charge a small (by Disney standards) fee to DVC members.
This also extends to a bunch of other stuff, including upcharge events during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (those haven’t been offered for several years, but here’s hoping for 2024 given the debut of CommuniCore Hall!), among other things. It’s best to check the DVC website before booking anything, as this changes.
7. Top of the World Lounge – Villain’s Lair
This used to be one of our absolute favorite Membership Extras, but has become more of a hassle over time. Nevertheless, if you’re staying at Bay Lake Tower or another monorail resort, or you want an evening escape from Magic Kingdom, Top of the World Lounge can be a great option.
Most importantly (yes, even more important than cake!), Top of the World also offers sweeping views of Walt Disney World comparable to those of California Grill. This means great views of the fireworks, including those shows during special events and seasonal shows. Avoiding those crowds and seeing “free” fireworks? Now that is pure Disney magic!
6. Special Ticket Discounts
Discounts on standard park tickets are less common with DVC, but they are offered from time to time, usually as a way of spiking park attendance. Several years ago, there were some really good offers. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been anything since–the good deals have all been reserved for Florida residents.
Currently, there are discount tickets on hard ticket parties and special events, such as After Hours at Magic Kingdom or After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The reason these tickets are offered is to incentivize DVC members, who are more likely to be Annual Passholders, to purchase tickets.
Likewise, there are typically DVC discounts for select non-peak dates of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This has been scaled back over the years, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it vanishes completely if the Halloween and Christmas parties keep selling out every single day every single year. DVC only offers this to incentivize people to purchase tickets…if no such incentive is needed to sell out the event…why offer the discount?
5. Restaurant & Shopping Discounts
Disney Vacation Club members save 10% to 20% off dining and shopping throughout the Walt Disney World theme parks, resorts, and Disney Springs. While these discounts are always offered, sometimes they are bumped to as much as 30% off when dining is slow.
We would not be shocked to see these higher discounts return. Now that pent-up demand has largely been exhausted, there’s a lot more ADR availability and certain restaurants are struggling more to fill tables. That’s precisely why Walt Disney World has done V.I.Passholder Days.
4. Annual Pass Access
Walt Disney World radically overhauled its Annual Pass program a few years ago, and by “radically” we mean introduced massive price increases (pretty much a given), rolled out nonsensical new names, switched up the benefits, and changed purchase eligibility. That last one is the big one, as there’s now only one tier of AP–the top one–that the general public residing outside of Florida is eligible to purchase.
Here are the Walt Disney World Annual Pass options for 2024:
Disney Pixie Dust Pass – This is the lowest tier pass for Florida residents costs $439 plus tax.
Disney Pirate Pass – This is the next tier up for Florida residents only, costing $799 plus tax.
Disney Sorcerer Pass – Available only to Florida residents or eligible Disney Vacation Club members, costing $999 plus tax.
Disney Incredi-Pass – The top tier with no blockout dates, and is the only tier of AP available for anyone to purchase, including non-Floridians and non-DVC members. It costs $1,449 plus tax.
Disney Vacation Club members being able to purchase the Sorcerer Pass is absolutely huge. It essentially amounts to a $450 savings per person if you don’t need or want the AP with no blockout dates. For most members, that should be an easy call–the Sorcerer Pass offers much better value for money.
3. Moonlight Magic Special Events
At one point, these were infrequent events held a couple of times per year at Walt Disney World. Not ‘big’ enough to justify a trip down for them, and not regular enough that they’d coincide with already-planned trips. Unless you were a local or happened to get lucky, the special events were not a selling point of Disney Vacation Club.
That changed starting with Disney Vacation Club’s 25th Anniversary a while back. That year, we attended the Typhoon Lagoon Beach Bash, Safari Spectacular at Animal Kingdom, and Birthday Bash at Disney California Adventure. Moonlight Magic is still scaling back up following the closure, and hasn’t reached the same heights as ~2019, but it remains very good.
While I would not fly out just for one of these parties, I could see tweaking the dates of a trip to make it fall within one of these events. There are usually rare characters, unlimited ice cream and refreshments, special entertainment, or some other selling point. We absolutely love Moonlight Magic, and make a point of attending whenever possible. (Just be warned, registration requires joining a virtual queue, and some members do get shut out.)
We expect DVC to keep these events going for the foreseeable future. These Moonlight Magic events are not just a nice perk—they’re a potential selling point for those who are leaning towards saving significant money on the resale market. Events aside, the only perk that really matters is the Annual Pass discounts, and that doesn’t matter if you’re not buying an Annual Pass.
2. Star View Station Lounge at Disneyland
The newest Disney Vacation Club member lounge is located in the Star Wars Launch Bay building (formerly Innoventions and Carousel of Progress) in Tomorrowland at Disneyland. Inspired by Walt Disney’s vision for the future, Star View Station Lounge features a retro-inspired mid-century modern design.
In addition to that, the space is also decorated with a variety of murals designed by Disney Legends such as Mary Blair, John Hench and Herbert Ryman. Members can also check out historic Disney gems, including the K7 Space Suit worn by the Tomorrowland astronauts from the early years of Disneyland park and the Space Station S-1 Model from the Disneyland television series.
Star View Station Lounge welcomes members to recharge from their park adventures and enjoy some out of this world amenities including, a dedicated Disney Vacation Club Member Services team, comfortable seating, complimentary Wi-Fi, device-charging stations, and complimentary drinks via Coke FreeStyle machines and fancy coffee machines (one of which is perpetually broken, it seems).
From a practical perspective, Star View Station Lounge is our favorite and most-used member perk. We are at Disneyland more than any park, so we get a lot of mileage out of it. Not only that, butthe lounge is massive–especially relative to the smaller DVC population visiting the California parks. We also love that it has outdoor seating (that almost no one knows about) overlooking Tomorrowland. But it gets edged out for #1 for a sentimental favorite that’s also more popular with most members…
1. Imagination Lounge at Epcot
Our absolute favorite Disney Vacation Club perk is the Imagination Member Lounge in EPCOT. It’s located in former upstairs ImageWorks inside the Imagination pavilion, and accessible via the gift shop at the end of the attraction (you can enter through a separate door on the left side of the building…you don’t have to ride the attraction).
Almost immediately inside the door, there’s a podium with a kiosk where a Disney Vacation Club rep will ask to see your membership card and photo ID, and then allow the member (plus up to 5 guests) upstairs. The lounge is open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., and offers free Coke Freestyle, coffee, and snacks. There are also charging stations.
We love the Imagination Lounge, and visit once per day while in EPCOT. First of all, unlimited free caffeine and snacks. That’s a nice plus. Second and more importantly, I have fond memories of the upstairs ImageWorks from when I was a kid, and revisiting that is always nice. The atmosphere is wonderful up there, and it’s a nice respite from the crowds and humidity.
Extinct DVC Member Perks
Annual Pass Discounts – The key Membership Extra used to be the Annual Pass discount at Walt Disney World. In the past, Disney Vacation Club members could save $100 per person on the two highest tiers of Annual Passes. At Disneyland, a discount was also offered, but it was much more modest.
This discount on Walt Disney World APs was available for everyone in the same household. For a family of 4, it amounted to a savings of $400 per year just on Annual Passes. That was a pretty significant discount–for some families, that alone justified joining Disney Vacation Club.
This is gone, quite simply, because Walt Disney World doesn’t need more Annual Passholders. Central Florida has seen its population explode, so there’s plenty of demand. Aside from that, attendance via regular guests is going strong.
Deeper Deals on APs – On occasion, there have been even better temporary discounts on Annual Passes. We once took advantage of a deal on the highest tier of Annual Pass, making it $595 after tax. A couple of years before that, there was an even better discount offering more than just a year. Both of those offers now feel like ancient history, especially when looking back at our receipts for APs then versus now.
Disney offered this to incentivize DVC members to visit more frequently–it’s a way to increase park attendance. This was last offered during a brief economic downturn and fears of a recession, and has not been seen since. Perhaps when Universal’s Epic Universe opens in 2025 and pulls people away from Walt Disney World–including DVC members who use their Disney resort as accommodations but visit Universal’s theme parks–we’ll see something like this or regular ticket deals again. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though.
Early Entry to Parties – Disney Vacation Club members used to be able to enter Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at 2 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. with the general public. This has not been offered in several years, largely due to the explosion in popularity of MNSSHP and MVMCP.
Expect this perk to return only if Walt Disney World starts having trouble selling out these parties. Right now, that isn’t even remotely the case. A lot of locals (presumably many of whom are ex-Annual Passholders who have been priced out) and DVC members (also presumably ex-APs) are buying party tickets as an alternative to regular admission. That’s behavior Walt Disney World does not want to incentivize. Before this returns, we’d expect to see a return of regular ticket deals or even AP offers.
Room Discounts – DVC Members used to receive a 25% discount off the regular rack rate at Deluxe Villa Resorts. This vanishing isn’t really a huge loss; if you are in a position to need this discount, there’s a good chance you’re eligible for a better deal as an Annual Passholder, Disney+ subscriber, or Disney Visa cardholder. We have used our allotment of points well before we were “done” visiting for a given year, and have always found the AP or other room-only discounts to be better for us.
This might seem counter-intuitive since the whole point of Disney Vacation Club is using your points on rooms to save money. However, if you’re particularly Disney-obsessed and burn through all of your points for the next two use years in the first three months of having them (not that we know anyone who has ever done that…), this is an option.
Overall, there are a lot of Membership Extras for Disney Vacation Club members that actually will save you money or enhance your vacation experience–and we’d file all of these under one of those categories or the other. In adding up the money we save or the value we receive from special events, we find that the “benefits” of membership outside of savings on accommodations regularly amount to over $1,000 per year for us.
That’s more than we pay for DVC dues each year. Obviously, this savings is going to differ for everyone–for some people, it might not be much at all. It’s just another variable worth considering when debating whether or not Disney Vacation Club is right for you.
What are your thoughts about the Membership Extras that DVC offers? If you’re a member, which benefits are your favorites, and which do you take advantage of regularly? Which are not worth it for you? Any questions about DVC perks and discounts? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!