Disney Vacation Club
Disney Vacation Club is a great way to experience all the vacation locations that Disney has to offer. This IS a timeshare program. It does require a buy-in plus yearly dues. These are all based on how many points you want to purchase and at which home resort.
DVC benefits are great
DVC members receive lots of perks and they are pretty great.
- Discount annual passes to Walt Disney World.
- Discount tickets to Walt Disney World.
- Dining and merchandise discounts at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Typically 10% off.
- Behind the scene tours for attractions.
- Member only events including after-hour parties in the parks.
- Special film and attractions previews before they open to the public.
- Member only cruises every year.
- Other hotel and travel discounts.
Home Resorts are important
This is where you technically own your timeshare at. You are purchasing an actual piece of real estate (like 1/100th of a villa) here. At your home resort you can book 11 months out from the time you want to visit. So it's a good idea to buy into a resort that you really like to stay at. More on this below.
So what places can be your home resort? Here is a list of all the resorts:
- Disney's Boardwalk Villas - Florida - Walt Disney World Resort
- Disney's Beach Club Villas - Florida - Walt Disney World Resort
- Old Key West - Florida - Walt Disney World Resort
- The Villa's at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa - California - Disneyland Resort
- Bay Lake Tower - Florida - Walt Disney World Resort
- The Villa's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort - Florida - Walt Disney World Resort
- Disney's Polynesian Resort Villas and Bungalows - Florida - Walt Disney World Resort
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge - Florida - Walt Disney World Resort
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - Florida - Walt Disney World Resort
- Disney's Saratoga Spring Resort & Spa - Florida - Walt Disney World Resort
- Aulani, Disney Vacation Club - Ko' Olina - Hawaii
- Disney's Vero Beach - Florida
- Disney's Hilton Head Island - South Carolina
Not all of these are available to buy into anymore, in fact most aren't. There are only two that are currently being sold by Disney Vacation Club:
- Disney's Polynesian Resort Villas and Bungalows
- Aulani, Disney Vacation Club
Now this doesn't mean you can't stay at any of the other resort. You just have a little less priority there; you can book 9 months in advance of your stay anywhere else.
Also, you can still own at the other resorts but you'll need to take a different purchasing route then directly through Disney. More on this now.
How do the points work?
When you purchase a DVC membership you will also choose how many DVC points you want each year. Of course the more points you want the more expensive it is to buy. You'll want to figure out how many times you plan to travel to Disney per year and when. These are the two most important things in determining how many points you should buy.
Disney breaks down your visits into seasons. During the slower seasons or off seasons you will use less points to book a room. During the busier seasons like summer it will cost more points to book a room.
Once you know the season you want to travel in you'll need to pick a resort. Some resorts cost more then others point wise so you'll need to keep that in mind. Saratoga Springs in Florida is typically the cheapest because it's the only all-DVC resort there. Place's like the Grand Californian Hotel and Grand Floridian Resort are more expensive.
Once you've picked your resort you'll now need to pick your room type. The bigger the room...you guessed it, the more points it costs. Studios are the cheapest and they typically go the quickest. One bedroom villas do too. You'll need to decide what the average room type you'll need when buying your contract. A studio may cut it now but adding one more kid or adult might be too cramped.
Your "use year" is determined when you buy your contract. If you buy your contract in June then that will be your use year. You are allotted your points each year during that month. The use year also determines when you can bank points or borrow points. If you buy 175 points in June then every year you will receive your 175 points in June and have a banking deadline sometime in January.
Banking points is a good way to save up points for bigger vacations. You're basically saying I'm not going to use my 175 points this year but I will next year after I receive my other 175 allotted points for that year. Now you have 350 points to use towards a vacation. You can get a bigger room and bring more people or travel during a busier season. Whatever it is you can do it.
When you borrow points you're saying that you want to take that big vacation this year and not next year. So you'll take your 175 points from this year and borrow 175 from the next year to get 350 points for this year. Next year you won't have any points to spend.
Buying directly with Disney
This is going to be your classic timeshare presentation. You have probably seen DVC reps around the parks standing at little shaded huts with open booklets of DVC resorts and signage saying you can save up to 50% on your vacations. If you're really interested in buying DVC this would be your first stop. Talk to an agent there for some details on how it all works.
When the agent has "done all they can" they will try and schedule you for a tour of some of the resort rooms. If you're in Florida they will take you by van from whatever theme park or resort hotel you're in to Saratoga Springs where their DVC offices are. In California they will do the same but their offices are located next to the Disneyland Hotel.
This is where you're going to meet your guide. Your guide is your guide from them on unless they leave DVC. Whether you buy that day or 6 months later, he or she is your guide. They will do an introduction and small chat with you for a bit and then take you on a tour to see some actual DVC villas. This is where they want you to get excited!
After the tour is done they will take you back to a small office and sit you down and tell you why you need to buy into DVC. It's a classic pitch. Just be prepared. You can say yes or no but they will show you on paper why and how financially it makes sense. They will also offer you financing for your loan with only a small amount down. This is where you say yes or no. We said no the first time and we're glad we did. When you're in that room they can put a lot of pressure on you.
If you say no they will leave you with all the DVC information you need and their card and it's off you go into another DVC van that will drop you off anywhere you want.
If you say yes you'll start the contract paperwork and they will get you all completed that day for your new DVC membership! Welcome Home!
Buying through a DVC re-seller
This experience is way different then the first. You'll most likely contact your re-sell agency via website or phone. They keep all their listings up to date on their websites so you know what contracts are available and how much they will cost you. One important thing to keep in mind is that the price per point listed in re-sell listings are not set in stone. You can always make an offer on a re-sell contract. We ALWAYS suggest doing this.
Once you find the one you want call up the agency and start the paperwork. They will remove the listing and start emailing you all the documents that they need to get started on the purchase including a timeline. They will require a deposit of 10% of the total purchase price via check for holding until the purchase is final. You can cancel your purchase, typically 15-25 days from the time you signed your initial purchase agreement, so if anything changes for you let your rep know ASAP.
Both you and the seller will have additional paper work to fill-out including title names. Then you play the waiting game.
On re-sell contracts Disney has what's called Right of First Refusal. It basically gives them the opportunity to buy back the contract if they want to. This rarely happens but if it does it's because the contract price you agreed upon with the seller is too low and they don't want to undervalue the resort. Keep this in mind when negotiating your purchase price.
Assuming Disney passes on purchasing it back you will be notified and asked to send the rest of the purchase price money. When the title and everything has gone through your information will then be sent to Disney who will process it into their system. Welcome Home!
This entire process typically takes 2-3 months from start to finish. Some of it depends on how fast you do your paperwork when needed and same with the seller.
Benefits of buying from Disney/Negatives as well
When you buy directly from Disney you get full access to all their collections to use your points on. This includes the Disney Collection where you can convert your points into booking non-DVC hotels such as Paradise Pier, Disneyland Hotel, All-Star Resorts, etc. You can also use your points for Disney Cruises and other collections. Also when they do special member events only DVC members who have boughten directly with them can sign-up.
The biggest negative to buying directly with Disney: you pay full price for points. This will cost you a lot more then buying re-sell. You're also limited to buying into only two resorts currently which are Aulani and Polynesian Resort. If those two places aren't where you like to stay or visit all the time then your priority booking won't really do you any good.
Benefits of buying re-sell/Negative as well
So going off of the last paragraph you can guess what this benefit is. You will pay a lot less is total when you buy a contact off re-sell. The price per point is typically much less. You'll also be able to pick a home resort that you really like to stay at such at Boardwalk Villas or Beach Club.
The biggest negative is that you won't be able to use your points for anything else but booking DVC resorts. You cannot use your points for the Disney Collection. You also won't get to attend all the DVC member only events held each year.
So you really need to decide what is most important to you. Saving money and getting to choose your home resort or getting access to DVC member only events and being able to book other Disney Collections.
There are a lot of re-sellers out there
You'll want to pick one that is knowledgable and has a good history in selling contracts. ResalesDVC.com is our #1 recommendation. We've purchased several contracts through them and they made each experience personal and smooth. They've been helping clients buy and sell DVC contracts since 1998. That's a lot of experience! Check out their website at ResalesDVC.com
Should I buy into DVC?
If you plan to take a Disney trip every 1-3 years for the next 45+ years then yes, DVC could be a good fit for you. If you aren't planning on doing Disney trips very often then it's not worth it. The commitment is pretty big. A small contract from Disney will cost you $18,000. 150 points is about $24,000. On top of that you have annual dues around $650. That's every year. That's another $26,000. $50,000 all in divided by 45 years average (every contract is a different length) means each year you'll pay about $1,100 to be a DVC member. There's a lot to think about.
Our experience with DVC has been a great and we really enjoy the member only events that include behind the scene's tours, after-hour parties in the parks, and member only cruises. Once you're a DVC member you will also have the opportunity to purchase additional points usually at a lower price than non-DVC members. You can always buy the smallest amount of points then add on at a better price later.