Disney Vacation Club 101 – What to Know Before You Buy

Disney Vacation Club

Since 1991, guests have had the opportunity to own the piece of the magic by investing in Disney Vacation Club. Most guests have probably seen one of the DVC kiosks around the resort and most usually walk by without finding out more about it. There is much to consider before purchasing an interest with Disney Vacation Club, but here is what you need to know before you buy!

9. Purchasing Points – guests who choose to buy into DVC are purchasing points that can be used to reserve rooms at various Disney Vacation Club resorts. By purchasing points, guests can figure out the right number for their family – there is no specific amount guests have to buy and if your vacation needs change further down the line, guests can add additional points contracts. Depending on the resort you choose as your “home resort,” the cost per point varies.

8. Different Seasons of the Year – once guests have their points in hand, they must determine what time of year they want to visit. Depending on how busy the resort is at that time of year, each night at the resort “costs” a different number of points. If you are looking to go right after the holidays or right after school starts, you may only need 7 or 8 points for a night at your resort, where if you want to visit on a holiday, it may take three times as many points. DVC refers to the various times of the year as seasons. Even within a specific season, weekends are going to require more points than a stay during the week.

7. DVC Perks – DVC members receive a variety of perks due to their ownership in the Disney Vacation Clubs. Members receive heavily discounted annual passes, as well as member-only events both on and off-property. Recently, Disney Vacation Club has added a members-only lounge in the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot, in addition to the Top of the World Lounge at Bay Lake Tower. The rules on who receives the perks has recently changed – only guests purchasing their DVC points directly from Disney are eligible for those perks. Guests who purchase from the large resale market will not receive this additional benefits.

6. Home Sweet Home? – guests face a dilemma before coming official Disney Vacation Club members in having to choose their home resort. Selecting a home resort does not limit guests to only that resort, but it impacts how far in advance club members can book a stay using their DVC points. Currently, guests buying into DVC at Disney World can choose from the following resorts: Beach Club Villas, Boardwalk Villas, Wilderness Lodge Villas, Grand Floridian Villas, Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, Bay Lake Tower, Saratoga Springs Spa and Resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Old Key West Resort. Guests can also make DVC selections for Disney’s resorts at Disneyland (Grand Californian), as well as non-theme park resorts at Aulani, Hilton Head, or Vero Beach.

Guests staying in DVC rooms only receive room service every three days – if you want maid service every day, there is an additional cost.

5. Annual Dues – every year members are assessed an annual fee based on the number of points members own. These fee helps maintain the resort, as well as pay for improvements around the resort. There are many worksheets available on-line that delineate the current maintenance fee per point – somewhere between $5.50 and $8.00 per point. Once you have paid off your initial investment, these are the only fees you will be responsible for.

4. Finance v. Purchase – depending on the number of points you choose to purchase, you will have to make a decision as to whether you want to purchase your contract outright or if you want to finance your purchase. Disney allows guests the ability to spread payments over several years to minimize the financial outlay. Current contacts at the Polynesian are selling for roughly $170/point (through Disney), so a family looking to purchase 100 points would need to pay $17,000, so financing can be an attractive option for larger contracts.

3. Booking Window – the home resort selection impacts your booking window. Guests are allowed to make reservations using points at their home resort 11 months in advance. Guests wishing to use their points at another DVC resort can only begin making those reservations 7 months in advance, so the home resort selection is important for guests looking to stay at a specific resort during busier times of the year.

2. Resale Market – guests do not have to purchase their contracts through Disney. There are myriad resale sites on-line that allow guests to look at contacts that other guests are trying to sell. Disney has the right of first refusal in resale situations, so they could opt to buy the contract back to sell through them, but a lot of guests may want to consider this option because you can usually purchase a contract for almost half of what it is available for through Disney and you can purchase a smaller point contract that may not be available through Disney, but keep in mind that if you purchase resale, you won’t be eligible for the DVC perks!

Bonus Tip!

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1. Rent Before You Buy – much like resale sites, many sites exist that allow current owners to rent points they may not be using. Guests can usually rent points for about $10-$13/point which can often score guests a great deal for a room at a deluxe resort!

There is a lot that goes into making a decision to purchase Disney Vacation Club, so be sure to do your research and consider these important tips before you buy!

BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!

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About Tyler

Tyler is a lawyer living in South Florida who visits Disney World at least once a month. He enjoys re-living classic Disney experiences and discovering new things about the parks when he visits. Friends and family always ask him to plan their trip for maximum Disney magic!

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