As many of you know our family joined the Disney Vacation Club in May of 2009. Our home resort is the Animal Kingdom Villas (AKV) and we bought into the Jambo House phase of the project.
We chose AKV for several reasons when we made our purchase. First, the decor and ambiance felt so much more like “home” to us than the Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort
. The warmth seemed so much more inviting to a young family. We also loved the idea of being able to walk outside and be right in the middle of an African savanna and the African music and culture was great. Finally, we noticed that for the type of vacationing we wanted to do AKV offered us the fewest points per night out of the available resorts. So, when we finally made the plunge last May we bought into Jambo!
Now you might be asking, what’s the distinction of AKV-Jambo? The DVC option at the Animal Kingdom Lodge was built in two phases. During the first phase the much of the fifth and sixth floors of the existing lodge were converted into DVC Villas. This phase became known as Jambo and came onto the market first. The second phase of the project was a brand new building known as Kidani Village
, which is a DVC-only area much like the separate DVC portion of the Wilderness Lodge
. Other than the timing of the contract purchases, there is no difference in owning Jambo over Kidani.
As we learned more about our new DVC “home” we also discovered another bonus to purchasing at AKV– the “value” category. When Jambo was being converted into DVC, the existing space could not accommodate the full size DVC rooms that were designed. So, at the end of each corridor you now have slightly smaller rooms that may have a different shape than the normal DVC rooms. These particular rooms fall into the “Value” category, but provide almost no noticeable difference. Here is a size comparison:
Studio 316 Sq ft 365 Sq ft
1 BDRM 629 Sq ft 710 Sq ft
2 BDRM 945 Sq ft 1075 Sq ft
During our stay in August 2010 we had a 1 bedroom value room. The only noticeable difference to us was that the Master Bedroom is not as wide as a regular room. You also do not get the option of the fifth person sleeper chair.
The points cost
however is considerably different. During our one week stay a 1 bedroom value cost 167 points, but the same 1 Bedroom regular room cost 200 points…
But here is where the real value comes in…
Member Services will not volunteer to you that a large quantity of the available Value rooms actually have a full on savanna view! This category is not determined by the view, but by the size of the room. So, we lucked out and got one of the savanna view value size rooms, which means we paid 167 points to eat breakfast with the giraffes while the room next to us paid 242 points for the exact same view! That 75 points swing can equate to anywhere from $750- $1000 in rental point cost to make up the difference… You can keep the sleeper chair and a few extra feet for that cost.
So there is a little family secret we use in order to maximize our DVC points and our experience. By staying in the Value 1 bedroom over the regular we get left with enough points for a long weekend in a Studio each fall or winter. We also occasionally luck into the savanna view like we did this last trip.
The only bad news on this secret– like many other DVC gems it is nearly impossible to get outside of the home resort booking window, so if you want to take advantage your best shot is to own at AKV!
Contributed by: Rob Whitney (NDD#107) Rob is the DDL Disney Vacation Club Blogger. He is also the creator of Disney Family Man.