Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resorts are Disney’s timeshare properties. They’re basically very nice condos attached to Disney deluxe properties and while booking priority is given to DVC owners, non-owners can also enjoy these properties if they book far enough in advance. These one, two and three bedroom properties feature multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, a washer and dryer, and full kitchens. The downside, of course, is the price. But the upside is all the comforts of home.
Of course, not everyone thinks that having to cook on vacation is a great deal, but for those who want to cook or, for those that need to cook due to food allergies, having a kitchen can be a great bonus. So what’s available in these kitchens? Obviously, they’re not as well equipped as your kitchen at home. You’ll find an electric range with a ceramic cooktop, a microwave, full-size refrigerator, toaster, and dishwasher.
Each kitchen also comes with paper towels and dish soap. I didn’t care for the soap they give you for free (it’s kind of wimpy), so you may want to buy some if you’re doing any serious cooking. There are also enough steak knives, flatware, dishes, and glasses that correspond with the maximum number of people in the room. You’ll also find a baking sheet, some basic pans, two baking dishes, and a non-stick skillet. It’s essentially equipped like your first post-college apartment.
Since I like to cook, I usually bring my own cheese grater, a cast iron skillet (I know, it’s heavy!), a couple of extra baking sheets, some silpat liners, heavy duty dish towels, and my favorite knives. I think I may have even brought a citrus zester last time. It seems like a lot, but if you’re driving it’s really no problem to fill up an extra suitcase with your cooking essentials. Keep in mind that the villas don’t come with any spices or even salt and pepper so bring those too if you need them.
As for food, please don’t buy everything you need from your resort gift shop! It’s expensive and the selection is terrible. You’ll save money by going off site yourself to the local Publix, SuperTarget or even a few miles farther to the nearest Whole Foods on Turkey Lake Road. That last option is especially nice if you have food allergies, as the selection is terrific. If you don’t have a car, there are several grocery delivery services. I use Garden Grocer, but there are also services that will go to the store of your choice and shop for you. I’ve found these services to be very useful and reasonably priced.
While I normally eat in Disney restaurants while visiting Walt Disney World, it’s nice to cook now and then while I’m there. I also like that it keeps the kids on a schedule that’s similar to home and that I can give them healthier options than I might not always find in the parks. Having a kitchen gives me a ton of flexibility and I love that.
Have you ever used one of the villa kitchens? What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever packed to use while there? I’d love to hear about it.