For over 50 years the Disney Vacation Club has been the ‘Best Kept Disney Secret’. DVC is a timeshare program operated by Disney. The DVCs are an affordable way for families to enjoy Disney quality vacations around the world, year after year. This is a purchase of real estate in a Disney Vacation Club Resort that is deeded to you and is transferable to your loved ones. It is a truly unique investment that gives you rewards the minute you purchase. Not only will you be staying at one of the fine Disney Resorts, but you will also enjoy great savings, superior Disney service, and a piece of home.
Disney Vacation Club operates on a points system that is very flexible. The real estate that you purchase will be at a ‘Home’ Resort, but you are free to stay at any of the 500 DVC Resorts at Disney World and throughout the world. One of their mottos is, “If you can dream it, you can do it”. You are basically buying a prepaid vacation for the next 45 to 50 years. You can use the points for Disney Cruising, Disney Adventure Vacations, any Disney Resort in California, Florida, France, Hong Kong, Japan and other vacation resorts that are handpicked by Disney.
Interested in becoming a Disney Vacation Club Member? Want to learn more? Disney World has numerous kiosks set up throughout the four parks, Downtown Disney and any Disney World Resorts. Visit any one of them and the cast members will help you out with any questions that you have about DVCs and set up an appointment with a Vacation Club Guide if you want to learn more. To set up an appointment all you have to do is tell the cast member where you will be at the time you prefer and they will send a Disney Vacation Club van to pick you up and whisk you away to Saratoga Springs where the presentations are held.
The DVC van will drop you right off at the resort where you will be greeted and the door will be opened for you. As you walk in, you will be greeted again with a warm, “Welcome Home!” They all want you to feel as welcome as possible so they will lead you into a room that has complimentary snacks and drinks which do vary as to what time of day you are there. Once you grab a couple of snacks you will be introduced to your very own Vacation Club Guide. Your family will have one on one attention with the guide throughout the presentation. The Guide will seat you at a small yet homey table and chairs where they will ask you questions to gauge what your needs and expectations are with purchasing a DVC. The Guides get to know what you want, without any pressure sales, we can’t stress that enough. There are NO pressure sales.
Once the Guide has determined what your needs are, you will be lead into a small room outfitted with a TV monitor, desk, chairs and sofa. The Guide will turn on an informative program and leave the room while you view what a DVC has to offer you. Once that is over, the Guide will come back in and answer any more questions that you have and explain thoroughly how the DVC point system works, what other member getaways are available and answer any other questions that have come up.
From there you will be lead on a tour where you can view room layouts of the current DVC Resorts that are available for purchase. Currently points are being sold to Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas and Saratoga Springs. You can view the studio and one bedroom layouts that are constructed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. You will get a sense of the theming, how large the rooms are and what each room has for amenities. The rooms are gorgeous and are as close to home as you can get while on vacation.
Once the tour of the Animal Kingdom Lodge rooms is finished, the Guide will take you on a short walk to show you Saratoga Springs and their room layouts. All room layouts for DVCs are practically the same, but the theming is different. You will be able to see what the theming, amenities and size of the rooms are at Saratoga Springs. They will also show you the 3 bedroom Grand Villa which is spectacular. It is over 2,100 square feet, two floors, two beautiful bathrooms, gorgeous dining and living area, lots of storage and can sleep up to 12 people very comfortably. This can be an option that fits the amount of points that you purchase very easily.
Once the tour is over, the Guide will take you back to the room that you were in and discuss finances and how many points you are interested in purchasing. Again, there is no pressure to buy while you are there. If you want to think this purchase over, the Guide will give you all the information you need to send you on your way so you can think this investment over. When finished, they will escort you to the ice cream parlour where you will get a free bowl of ice cream if you would like. Once finished, a DVC van will be waiting to take you back to where you were picked up from or any other place you want to be dropped off at.
The presentation time should only take approximately 1 hour, but if you are interested in purchasing and really finding out all the information you can, prepare to spend about an hour to two hours at Saratoga Springs. Since this is a no pressure sale, you will not regret just checking the presentation out and it is recommended even if you just want to feel at home for part of your trip.
To Join or Not to Join
Like all large purchases this is an investment that you need to think about seriously. Consider all the costs, benefits, pros and cons before purchasing a DVC. If you have to borrow lots of money to finance the purchasing of a DVC, this may not be the best investment for you. Not only will be you paying back the money you borrowed, but also interest, closing costs and annual dues. Also consider the costs will add up for each vacation for airfare, annual passes if you are vacationing at Disney, souvenirs and meals. If you book your DVC at one of the other Vacation Resorts throughout the world, you will also be subject to a fee of approximately $100.
Purchasing points allows you to lock in an annual family vacation to Disney World or any other DVC vacation resort. You are not obligated to just go to Disney World every year. Disney has set up vacations around the world if you are interested in having a different vacation experience. You don’t even have to go on vacation every year, you can easily bank and borrow points so that you can have one grand vacation one year and not go the next.
Again, this is a large investment. Current minimum cost of 160 points is $16,640 plus the closing costs and an annual due each and every year. The current closing cost of purchasing a DVC is approximately $300. The current annual dues are around $640 (approximately $4 to $6 per point) and can increase up to 15% per year. A portion of the annual dues is allocated to a capital reserve fund for major refurbishments. Dues also take care of maintenance and operating costs at your Home resort. Disney does not sell less than 150 points so if you are interested in only purchasing a few points, you may want to look into DVC resellers. But please be careful as Disney does not endorse these companies and are not liable if you are unsatisfied
If you hear the term Home Resort, it is the Resort in which you purchased your points at. The only difference between staying at your Home Resort and any other DVC resort is how many months in advance you can book a suite. At your Home Resort you can book a suite starting at 12 months from your vacation date. Staying at any other resort, you have the option of reserving a suite 7 months in advance. If you are staying at the busy times of the year, this difference may affect whether you can stay at another resort other than your Home Resort. If you are visiting during the slow periods of the year, the difference between 7 and 12 months is not much at all. In any case, it is likely that you will be able to book the DVC Resort of your choice to stay at with minimal hassle. Also depending on where you choose as your home Resort, your points will expire on January 31 of 2042, 2054 or 2057.
Currently only Saratoga Springs Resort and Animal Kingdom Lodge are available for immediate purchase as your Home Resort. You can ask to be put on a waiting list to purchase other resorts, but they are supposedly ‘sold out’. But just in case you are curious, ask about Old Key West. The Guide may have to divulge information that this property has points for sale.
How the Points Work
Each DVC Resort is assigned points. These points are then broken down into five categories, Adventure, Choice, Dream, Magic and Premier. These categories are broken into times of the month depending on how busy the Resort is on that certain date. Then each day of the week is assigned points per night. Sunday through Thursday is one value, Friday and Saturday another and then there is a weekly amount of points. So if you stay for a week, lets say starting from a Monday to the following Monday, that will be the weekly points, then if you have booked for two more days, you would be using the daily points that are included on the Sunday through Thursday rate. Each type of room is assigned a different amount of points. You don’t have to use as many points to stay in a Studio as you do a one-bedroom vacation home. Same goes with a two-bedroom vacation home or Grand Villa; you will use more of your points reserving those rooms.
You can also bank and borrow points from the year ahead or the year that has past to save up for your dream DVC resort vacation. For example, if you purchased 160 and wanted to stay at Animal Kingdom Villas in a Grand Villa for a week, you could borrow enough points from the next year to add enough to the current year to stay. Then for the following year you would be left with the leftover points. If one year you didn’t use the points, you can bank those points and use them in the following year so you can again, get that dream resort vacation. If you do skip a year, you have the following year to use those points as well as the points for that year. So there is a time limit on how long banked points will last. Same with borrowing, you can only borrowing points from the next year, not two or three years ahead. By banking and borrowing though it is possible to save up enough points that a 160 point purchase will get you just about any vacation you want whether it be a Disney cruise or an Adventure vacation
Each DVC Resort is assigned a specific dollar amount for each point as well. Right now Saratoga Springs is approximately $96 USD. If you purchased 160 now, the math would look something like this:
$96 USD x 160 points = $15,360 USD
This is how much you would be spending on a DVC for Saratoga Springs, but of course don’t forget to account for the approximate $300 for closing costs as well.
Again if you were looking to purchase points at Animal Kingdom Villas for your Home Resort:
$104 USD x 160 points = $16,640 USD
As you can see there is a difference as to what you would pay for Saratoga Springs and Animal Kingdom lodge. The only difference reservation wise is you would be allowed to book 12 months in advance at your Home Resort. If you were only planning on ever vacationing during the Choice times of the year (least busy), then choosing Saratoga Springs as your Home Resort would be more economical.
If you were to buy points today, the amount of points per night, per resort will never increase for the length that you own your Disney Vacation Club. Make sense? If not, please feel free to post questions on our DisneyMagic Community Forum. Here you will have questions answered by other members that own DVCs.
As mentioned before, the minute you buy your DVC membership, you start saving. Special Member Discounts, usually from 10 to 20% are offered on dining, merchandise, spa treatments, recreation, entertainment, tickets for Disney Quest, Pleasure Island, Water Parks and Disney World and Disneyland Annual Passes.
There are special events that only Disney Vacation Club Members can experience as well. From Member cruises aboard Disney Cruise Line to special celebrations like the Summer Block Party and Merry Member Mixer at the Disney World Resort
DVC members also receive pool-hopping privileges at other Disney World Resorts when pools are not at capacity. Note that the Animal Kingdom Lodge and Stormalong Bay at the Yacht and Beach Club are excluded from the hopping privileges.
Members also receive free valet parking at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, Disney’s Beach Club and the Villas at Wilderness Lodge. Free high-speed internet service has also been introduced recently.
Disney Vacation Club has an entire Member Services team exclusively dedicated in helping owners plan their vacation. Whether reserving accommodations, booking a rental car, choosing a destination, just call up the team at the toll-free number and they will assist you in any way they can.
You will also be never kept out of the loop. Quarterly Member magazine will be sent out with the latest Disney Vacation Club news. You can also have periodic emails updates as well. Each edition of the magazine will be filled with insider information, vacation tips, and behind the scene scoops, just for being a member.
There is also an exclusive DVC Member website that you can visit where you will find membership information and other planning tools. To access this site you must have purchased a DVC and have a club ID.
Disney Vacation Club Resorts
So you want to purchase a Disney Vacation Club Membership. Below are the Resorts that are part of the DVC Resorts at Walt Disney World. As an added bonus you can also use your points to stay at any other Disney World Resort. Caribbean Beach Resort, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans, Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian and Spa, Polynesian Resort and Yacht Club Resort are all broken into the points so members can choose to stay anywhere on Disney World property.
The Disney World DVC Resorts are design with every family in mind. Disney wants you to feel at home while you are vacationing so each DVC offers the amenities of a resort, plus the comforts of home. Spacious Studio suites offers a small kitchenette with microwave, dorm size refrigerator, coffee maker and wet bar. All one bedroom and larger accommodations feature full kitchens, in-unit washer and dryers, DVD players and whirlpool tubs. You may never want to go back home with all these comforts.
Vero Beach Resort and Hilton Head Island, Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier Hotel and Grand Californian Hotel & Spa are also part of the Disney Vacation Club Disney Collection. Another DVC Resort at Disneyland is expected to open in late 2009. You just never know when and where the next DVC Resort may pop up. Add these Resorts to any of the World Passport Collection, Disney Cruise Lines, Concierge Collection or Adventurer Collection your vacations are easily planned for the next 50 years.
The World Passport Collection allows you to explore the hundreds of destinations worldwide, from Hawaiian beaches to the Alpine Ski Slopes. The Concierge Collection includes an array of Resorts, Big-City Hotels and Historic Inns. The Adventurer collection offers a range of getaways and unforgettable experiences in scenic settings. Please note that there is a $90 fee charged when booking through the Member Getaways program (toll-free number), and a fee of $75 is charged when booking the Concierge Collection or a Disney Cruise.
Reselling and Renting
If you are not interested in purchasing your DVC through Disney, you can also purchase any of the resorts from current owners who want to get rid of their memberships, through a resale market. There are plenty of websites that are into reselling DVC points. Beware though as Disney does not endorse these sites. Disney will exercise its “right of first refusal” and buy it out from under you if the offer to the seller is too low. Usually points are a bit less through resale, in turn saving you some money. With purchasing through Disney you must by at least 160 points. It is possible to purchase fewer points through resale and also points from DVC Resorts that aren’t currently for sale directly through Disney. Some owners of DVC properties may then want to purchase smaller amounts of points to complete their vacation needs. Resale may offer smaller point packages that are reasonably priced. Once you purchase points through resale, there is ZERO difference between buying directly from Disney and buying from the resale market. You will be treated the exact same either way and receive the same benefits and discounts.
Renting DVC points may also be another option if you want to stay in a deluxe-level Disney resort for much less money. Sometimes DVC members are unable to use their points before they expire. They may choose to rent them to other vacationers. If you are one of those vacationers, you will be paying the DVC member directly for the use of their points. The transaction requires trust on both sides. Because the point system allows DVC members to stay cheaper per night, this also allows them to rent out their points cheaper than it may be to pay the general public rate at a resort. This is a much better deal than paying the high rates at a resort that you may want to stay at.
If you are renting the points, you will still need to be careful. Ask for references and check the references. Get the owners full name, address and other information before sending them a payment. The safest way to pay the owner is to use a credit card, this way it would give you some protection against potential fraud. You should also get a written contract or letter of agreement signed by both you and the renter stating exactly what the transaction will be and when the payment is due. Make sure the owner send you the confirmation from Disney. The Disney Vacation Club cast member will not speak to you, the renter or give any information.
Only DVC owners can speak to the DVC about reservations. And lastly if something doesn’t sound right, it isn’t worth taking the risk of losing money. Feel free to check out websites that are meant for renting and trading DVC points.