Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Disney post! Since one of my most popular videos so far is all about our Disney Vacation Club Story, I thought I would do a post all about DVC! More informative than a story of how we became members, and if you have any questions you can comment below! I’m am writing everything I can think of when it comes to Disney Vacation Club, so this post is a bit of a long one. Okay, let’s get started!
post updated April 2020
What is Disney Vacation Club?
Disney Vacation Club is Disney’s timeshare program. By purchasing points, you are purchasing real estate interest in one of their hotels, not just in Walt Disney World, but all over with locations in California, North Carolina, and of course Florida. By purchasing a certain number of points, you recieve that allotment each year. You get a “use year” which is the month you recieve your points for the year. For example, ours is October.
Disney Vacation Club is available at the following Resorts:
- Aulani (Hawaii)
- Bay Lake Tower
- Bolder Ridge Villas and Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge
- Jambo House and Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Beach Club
- Hilton Head (South Carolina)
- Old Key West
- Saratoga Springs
- Vero Beach
- Grand Californian (California)
- Grand Floridian
- Riviera Resort
Prices vary by resort, but currently through Disney points are in the $170 range. It’s definitely an investment!
How Does it work?
DVC is a bit different than a “normal” timeshare, because you are NOT limited to a specific time of year or resort. You purchase a number of points, and different resorts, room sizes, and different times of year cost different numbers of points. Each year you receive your certain number of points, and the month you receive them is known as your use year. Ours is October. If you purchase multiple contracts, they can have different use years. It makes it a little bit more confusing, but can definitely be done.
You are purchasing a contact that has an expiry date, some of them are 50 years. You can pay up front or finance the purchase, and the yearly cost is maintenance fees or “annual dues”, which are paid per point. Dues can be around $11 per point, but are slowly increasing and vary by resort. Different resorts are more expensive and less expensive, and the ending year of the contract will play into that. Generally buying directly from Disney is more expensive than buying through the resale market, which I speak of below.
What is a home resort?
A home resort is the resort on your contract. You can book vacations at this resort 11 months in advance. For example, ours is Disney’s Polynesian Village. If I were to book a trip right now, I could book a trip starting 11 months from today, at the Polynesian. If I wanted to book at a different resort, I could only book a trip starting 7 months from today. For popular resorts, accommodations might not be available. This is where it becomes important to like you home resort, because in very busy times of the year, you may only be able to stay there.
What type of rooms are available?
DVC rooms are generally referred to as Villas, and are a little bit different than the “normal” rooms at Walt Disney World. You can book to stay in a studio, deluxe studio, 1 bedroom villa, 2 bedroom villa, and 3 bedroom grand villas that sleep up to 12 people. Deluxe studios include a kitchenette, and 1 bedrooms and up have a full kitchen and laundry.
- Tower Studio (sleeps 2)
- Deluxe Studio (sleeps up to 5 people)
- 1 Bedroom Villa (sleeps up to 5 people)
- 2 Bedroom Villa (sleeps up to 9 people)
- 3 Bedroom Villa (sleeps up to 12 people)
Where do I buy?
I speak a little more about this below, but I think you should buy at a resort you would like to stay at. The nice thing is you don’t have to stay there all the time!
Disney is only selling a few resorts directly, and others you may have to go on a waitlist for. Otherwise, you can purchase through the resale market. Because there are only a certain number of rooms at each resort that are DVC specific, resorts sell out.
Buying direct vs. buying resale
There are benefits for buying directly from Disney (which we did), but there is also a resale market that is cheaper. The minimum for buying direct is 100 points currently, and I’ve laid out some of the benefits below. There are a lot of people who buy the minimum number of points directly, and buy larger contracts through resale. I think if we ever added another contract, it would be via the resale market.
benefits of being a member
There are quite a few benefits of being a Disney Vacation Club member. In addition to merchandise and Halloween and Christmas party discounts, there are special Moonlight Magic events at the parks only for members, plus member cruises, as well as the member lounge in the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot! To get the extras, you need to buy direct because you receive a membership card when buying from Disney, not through the resale market. These bonuses could be taken away at any point, but there are some advantages to buying directly through Disney.
The “buy where you want to stay vs. buying where’s cheapest” debate
There’s a bit of a debate within the DVC community, encouraging people to buy where is cheapest, or buy where you want to stay. I see points on each side, and sort of sit in the middle. It’s great to buy where is cheapest because you can really stay at any resort, but I think you should buy where you’d be okay staying, because during busy times of years it may be your only option. You can always add up to 2 waitlist for other resorts, but those might not always come through.In my experience, I’ve had a waitlist come through fairly quickly. I would recommend putting in a waitlist, because you never know and you have nothing to lose by putting one in!
is it worth it?
In my opninon, yes. But you have to use it for it to be worth it. If you generally stay at deluxe resorts, you will save money. If you require larger accommodations, you will save money. If you aren’t going to use it for 10 years or more- rent instead of buying. (more on that below). It is a large investment, and you should do lots of research before buying. I’ve linked some helpful websites at the bottom of the post. 🙂 I will do another post about my thoughts now that we’ve been members for a few years, and how COVID-19 is effecting Disney Vacation Club.
Banking & Borrowing Points
You can bank points for one year, and borrow one year ahead. You have to banked your points by a certain date to avoid losing them. In our case, we had x number of 2017 points left from our last trip (where we borrowed some points). We had to bank those points by May or use them. We banked them. When booking a vacation outside of the use year for example in November, I had to bank the 2017 points before I could select them to use, otherwise it defaulted to using the 2018 points (which we haven’t technically received yet because we get our allotment in October).
For our last trip (which we had 9 people in 4 rooms) we used all of our 2015 points from the current use year, used our 2016 points that we would receive before our trip in November (because our use year is October), and borrowed points from 2017.
A Note on RCI & Cruises.
Disney has partnered with RCI, meaning you can stay in locations around the World, and you can also use points for Disney cruises. But it’s not a very wise use of points- you would be better off getting money for your points through renting, and paying cash for the vacation. But in current situations (COVID-19), you can put the points in RCI to avoid losing them, only if you purchased directly through Disney.
Try before you buy
By renting points through a company. You still get rooms cheaper than booking through Disney, and can get a feel for the accommodations! We intended to do this but failed. I would suggest using a company like David’s Vacation Club Rentals (linked at the bottom of the post) or another broker, instead of finding someone on the internet. You are essentially paying someone to use their points, and they make the reservation for you. A broker helps to protect you!
Booking online is easy!
I may have booked a trip using points recently, (although it may not be to where you are thinking), and it was easy! Just like booking a hotel, it just took a little bit to make sure I was booking using the correct points. You can also call to make reservations, but you obviously have to be a member to do so. We booked our first trip over the phone.
If you’d rather listen to me talk than read all of the information above, check out the video below!
There are also booths in the parks and resorts for more information. If you book a tour while at Walt Disney World, you may get free FastPasses or other incentives!
If you have any questions about Disney Vacation Club, comment below and I will do my best to answer them!
Thank you for reading!