This year, Disney Vacation Club celebrates its 30th year of delivering exceptional vacations to its members. So, you know it’s never been a fly-by-night operator.
Yet, if you’re toying with the idea of buying into a timeshare scheme, you should never dive in before you’re certain about what’s involved.
Here’s what you need to know about Disney Vacation Club before you Sign Up.
What Is Disney Vacation Club?
Disney Vacation Club is a flexible timeshare option that gives its members the chance to enjoy self-catering vacations in a wide range of Disney Resorts. These villas are close to all the top Disney attractions as well as other popular tourist areas.
These are the current destinations available via Disney Vacation Club:
- Old Key West
- Hawai’i’s Aulani Villas
- Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Boulder Ridge Villas, Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas & Cabins, Wilderness Lodge
- Bay Lake Tower
- BoardWalk Villas
- Animal Kingdom Villas
- Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- Grand Floridian Villas
- Hilton Head Island Resort
- Riviera Resort
- Beach Club Villas
- Grand Californian Villas
- Vero Beach Resort
In this way, members and their guests can enjoy Disney Vacations at a fraction of the cost of hiring accommodation via Disney itself.
DVC shares many similarities with the timeshare we all know, with a few major differences. For starters, a DVC membership offers more flexibility than conventional timeshare thanks to its points system.
How Do Disney Vacation Club Points Work?
Each week in DVC’s portfolio of resorts has a certain point value assigned to it. These points vary according to the size of the accommodation, location, and amenities on offer.
You can only book vacations up to the value of the points you have at that moment. You can save points until the next year and borrow from the following year too.
So, step one in choosing the DVC membership for you is deciding how many points you need for your family’s requirements. You pay an average of $201 per point and you can’t buy fewer than 125 points currently.
Keep your budget firmly in mind while deciding and don’t get carried away by the glossy sales brochures on display. You’ll save a lot of money over the years thanks to your Disney Vacation Club membership, but you’ll still have some large upfront costs.
You’ll need to pay a purchase price for your points, including an upfront deposit and transfer fees. If you opt to take out a loan to pay for this, you should make sure your monthly budget accommodates the repayments.
Another Disney Vacation Club cost to keep in mind is the Annual Dues. This is an amount you pay toward the upkeep of your Home Resort.
What Is a Home Resort?
Before you sign your DVC contract, you must choose a Home Resort. This affects several factors to do with your membership.
Your home resort determines the transfer costs you’ll pay on your membership as well as your Annual Dues.
You also get priority bookings at your Home Resort. This means you get to book 11 months in advance for your vacations, while other members must wait until 7 months ahead of the time.
Unlike other timeshare memberships which endure in perpetuity, DVC memberships have expiry dates. These also depend on your choice of Home Resort.
Choosing Your Use Year
Your Use Year determines the date on which your points expire every year, so it’s another important consideration when you first buy your membership.
Use Year depends on when you sign your contract and defaults to one of the following months:
Your use year affects when your annual points expire, when you may bank your points for the following year, and how you manage your vacations.
If you’re uncertain about any aspect of your DVC membership always ask as your sales consultant. You can also ask on one of the many DVC member forums.
Buying a timeshare is akin to investing in a vacation home, so you should give it serious consideration and resist the urge to buy on impulse.
Disney Vacation Club Resales
As a DVC member, you can choose to sell some or all your points privately if you can’t afford them any longer or don’t want them anymore. You won’t get all your money back, but at least you’ll recoup some of the costs.
Disney Vacation Club resale agents offer much cheaper alternatives to buying DVC points directly. If you’re going for this cheaper option, you should take just as much care selecting the best DVC resale listing for you, based on the same considerations.
Disney Vacation Club Rentals
As a DVC owner, you can also rent out your points or pre-booked week to the public. It’s much cheaper to pay for a vacation at Disney Vacation Club Resorts this way than by booking directly with the property.
So, if you’re considering a DVC membership, it’s a good idea to try a rental vacation first to see if you want to commit to this style of vacation in the long term.
You’ll still enjoy some of the member benefits, like free parking when you choose this option, but you’ll miss out on most of the perks. DVC owners get to enjoy special events, discounted dining, and cheaper park entry fees too.
Enjoy the Vacations You Love
Disney resorts offer a host of unique attributes and benefits for vacation owners and guests alike. You get to enjoy the cost savings of having a kitchen in your villa as well as proximity to area attractions at a much lower price when compared to the hotels.
Many would argue that you’re never too old for the magic of Disney Vacation Club. Yet, if these vacations aren’t your style you’ll find plenty of other options highlighted in our travel section.
Keep browsing for more vacation options.