Hello everyone! This post is coming to you while I’m in Walt Disney World! I thought I would talk this week about our experience booking this trip, as we tried something new! As I mentioned last week in the announcement video, there are 9 of us on this trip! That is a lot of people, so we needed a lot of space. Today I’m sharing our Disney Vacation Club story. This post may be a little long, so feel free to skip down to the bottom to watch the video where I do a better job of explaining it! Okay, with all that said, let’s jump in.
Let’s rewind back to February (about 8 months out from our trip date). My family had been looking into Disney Vacation Club for a while, so we looked into renting points for our trip, because it’s a great way to test our Disney Vacation Club accomodations. I’ll get more into the Disney Vacation Club side of things in a bit, but we were looking into rooms that accommodated up to 9 people.
There are a few websites that act as brokers, and communicate with Disney Vacation Club members to rent out their points so you can stay at Deluxe level resorts much cheaper than going through the actual Walt Disney World Website. Technically you could find anyone on the internet and rent their points, but the websites or brokers are generally safer although they can be a little more expensive.
Anyways, long story short, we decided to go through one of the websites (I’m not going to specify who) and book 1 2-Bedroom villa (for my family, and a worker for my sister) and a studio for Ethan and I. The 2 bedroom villa has 2 different rooms, so my parents would have one room, and my sister and her worker would have the other, and Ethan and I would have a separate room. We were also requesting for the villa to be wheelchair accessible with a roll in shower.
At this point we were talking with Ethan’s parents, hoping to get confirmation if they were going with us or not, so there were only 6 of us going. They decided to come, so we changed our request to 2 2-bedroom villas at Animal Kingdom Lodge (value level view which is the cheapest).
When putting your reservation request in you also put in our second, third, and fourth choices, so we put in Boardwalk, Old Key West and Saratoga Springs. The only thing available was Saratoga Springs, and after talking we decided we didn’t want to stay there. So we put in different requests, this time using two different views at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and our third choice was Wilderness Lodge.
The broker came back with a great price, so we jumped at it. It turned out they misquoted us, which sucked. So we re-evaluated for the third time in about a week.
We again changed our choices to all levels of views at Animal Kingdom Lodge for the villas, and our last choice was Wilderness Lodge. They had availability for 1 savannah view 2 bedroom villa, and 1 standard view 2 bedroom accessible villa. So, we thought we were good to go. There was only one problem. Availability didn’t mean we could book yet. They didn’t have enough points at Animal Kingdom lodge to book our rooms, so we went on a wait list. It then turned out that one night wasn’t available for the accessible room, so the reservation had to be split, and my parents would potentially have to move rooms halfway through the trip. So we had to submit another form and go on another waitlist.
At this point we were on a wait list for everything, and were waiting for a few weeks. My mom decided to call Disney Vacation Club to see if there was actually hope of us getting what we wanted, and to double check about who can reserve accessible rooms. While she was talking to them, they mentioned a promotion they had going, selling points at the Polynesian Resort in Walt Disney World and Aulani in Hawaii. The promotion included a discount on points, plus getting 2015 points with the contract. So we started talking about potentially buying into Disney Vacation Club (and when I say we I mean my parents).
Because renting the points would be so expensive, and we could potentially buy into DVC after testing it out, it would make sense to put the money we would be spending to rent points towards the purchase price of DVC. This way we would be in control, and could book right away. The next day, we bought into DVC!
A Little About Disney Vacation Club
So I’ve talked a lot about Disney Vacation Club, but what’s the deal?
You are essentially buying real estate interest in a Disney Resort, which is called your home resort. When you buy in, you purchase a certain number of points, which you are given each year. You can bank and borrow points to use multiple years worth of points for one trip. Where you purchase, you have an advantage to book (at your home resort) if you are booking 11 months in advance. To book at that time you need to own there. At 7 months, all points become equal, and you can book at any Disney Vacation Club Resort.
So it’s a timeshare, but not in a set room for a set time. Again, You purchase a number of points that you are given each year, and you can use those points how you wish for accommodations. Certain times of year cost more points per night, and certain resorts and room views require more points. The only yearly cost are maintenance fees, which also vary by resort. For more information on Disney Vacation Club, visit the website here. I’ve also written a more detailed post about DVC here.
Our contract is for 49 years, so it will be something that my family will enjoy now, and will be passed on for a long time! One of the main reasons my family looking into DVC is because Disney is so great at accommodating those with disabilities (my sister). This way we know that when my parents are gone she can go on a vacation she will enjoy, and that means a lot! We have the peace of mind knowing out accommodations are taken care of 🙂
Because we bought directly through DVC and not via the resale market, we can use our points for Disney Cruises, and Adventures by Disney which are guided tours at different destinations around the world. DVC has also partnered with RCI, so we don’t just have to stay at Disney Resorts, we can stay at others resorts anywhere! Will we go every year? Probably not, especially with all of the other places we can go.
Back to the rental story…
Obviously because we bought into DVC we no longer needed to rent, so we cancelled all of our waitlists. But, we learned a lot from this experience. If we had tried to book the trip closer to 11 months we may have gotten the reservation, or if we waited for the 7 month window to open up. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait because we booked at the Polynesian as soon as the contract was signed! This trip is using all of our 2015 points, 2016 points and some from 2017. The point “cost” is high because of the room configuration, which is up to 5 people in a room (like a regular hotel room with a pull out couch).
So, we need 4 rooms. One for my parents, one for my sister and her worker, one for Ethan and I, and one for Ethan’s family. The good news is, the Polynesian studios are the biggest DVC studios! Alternatively we could have looked at another Disney Vacation Club resort when the 7 month window opened, or at the bungalows at the Polynesian but they can only sleep 8 and the point cost is SUPER high, so the studios are working for us! I’m so excited to stay at out home resort, and especially because I never thought I would be able to stay at a resort so close to Magic Kingdom! This is our first stay at a Deluxe resort, so I can’t wait!
Because this post is going up while I’m away, let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see at the Polynesian Resort! As I revealed a few weeks ago we are eating at both O’hana and Kona Café, so does it make a little more sense as to why now that we’re staying there? If you want to see something you can let me know in the comments here or in the video 🙂
Thoughts about the process
It was a rollercoaster! The process was stressful, and disappointing at times. This could have been a combination of things, but if I were to recommend renting points to anyone, be aware that it might not be simple. It could have been frustrating because of the company we were dealing with, because it was our first time, because we needed large rooms, because we needed an accessible room, because we were booking less than 11 months in advance but before 7 months… any combination of things.
If you think renting might be a good option for you, knowing when you are going well in advance will definitely help. That would be my #1 tip!
If this isn’t quite making sense (I’m doing my best to explain it all in text), I’ve explained it all in the video below! I filmed it a while ago to have the freshest information possible, but it should help clear things up!
I know this post is ridiculously long, but if you made it this far thank you so much for reading! Let me know if there is anything you want to see while I’m in Walt Disney World, or if you have any questions in the comments below!