VACATION CLUB (DVC):
This is a Timeshare program operated by The Walt Disney Corporation. The program currently operates a DVC Resort at Disneyland Resort in California, as well as several at The Walt Disney World Resorts.
California has one DVC resort at present, it is at the Disneyland Resort
Grand Californian...Villas at the Grand Californian.
Florida has seven DVC resorts. All of which are around Walt Disney World. 1) Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas, 2) Disney's Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, 3) Disney's Beach Club Villas, 4) Disney's BoardWalk Villas, 5) Disney's Old Key West Resort, 6) Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, and 7) The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. DVC Resorts have even expanded to Vero Beach, Florida, Hilton Head, South Carolina, and in August 2011, a new DVC Resort, will open in Oahu, Hawaii.
The DVC is a time share that operates on a points system. Members are
allowed to use their points to reserve rooms at any of the DVC Resorts, as well any Disney
Resort Hotel regardless where it is located. These points can even
be used to book on the Disney Cruise Lines, and Disney Vacation
Destinations like Disneyland Resort Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, Hong Kong
Disney even allows you to use your points outside of Disney through
their Concierge, Adventurer, and World Passport Collections, but in reality
we have found that
it is more cost-effective to primarily use DVC points within the DVC
Resorts. That is, if you are looking to get the "biggest bang for your buck".
I have a DVC membership, and highly recommend it to anyone planning to
stay at DVC Resorts
at least once a year or more. I save between 50% to 70% of what I
used to pay at the Resort Hotels, and it is just as easy to get around,
since almost all of the DVC Resorts are located right next to, or a part
of, Disney's Resort Hotels. I think the amenities are much nicer than the hotel
rooms within the Disney Resorts.
If are thinking of getting a Vacation Club membership, call Annmarie El
Haj at 1-800-516-3958 and tell her Russ and Nancy Rodrigue
recommended you. She is super helpful.
Studios are similar in size to a Disney Deluxe Hotel room,
but that's where the similarities end... These Studio units sleep 4
(usually a queen and a double sleeper sofa);
TV; kitchenette with a mini-fridge, microwave, coffee maker, and a wet
bar; and a private porch or balcony.
One- Bedroom Vacation Homes really depart from the Disney
Hotel Rooms, these are very luxurious units. The One Bedroom units sleep 4
(5 at Animal Kingdom Villas, Bay Lake Tower, and Grand
Californian Villas) and the bedrooms each have a king bed in the
bedroom with a private bath (whirlpool
tub in the master);
a queen sleeper sofa
in the front room; 2 TV's; DVD;
(with all the basic cooking utensils, pots,
pans and dishes supplied);
washer/dryer; and a private porch or balcony.
to 8 (9 at Animal Kingdom Villas, Bay Lake Tower, and Grand Californian
and have all the amenities
the One Bedroom units have.
A few DVC resorts even have Three- Bedroom Grand Villas,
for the ultimate in luxury and accommodations, these sleep up to
DVC members receive other benefits too, these include discounts at
Disney Restaurants, Disney Shops; discounts on Annual Passes; and free
high-speed Internet at most DVC Resorts.
Join vs. Not Join
Any time you are thinking about purchasing a timeshare, even a DVC membership, it's a good idea to
consider the pros and cons, the benefits vs: the expenses. This way you
can be sure you're making the most cost effective decision for your family.
Some just want to have better control of their annual vacation at
Disney with family and friends, regardless of whether it's a good deal
or not. Ultimately many DVC members have joined because they found the
membership emotionally satisfying. How do you
evaluate the pros and cons of that?
The initial cost of joining DVC is on average $17,000
(less possible incentives and/or promotions)
for the minimum of 160 points. The annual
dues/maintenance fees average between $600 to $800 per year for 160
points, depending on the Home DVC Resort you buy into.
One has to understand that your purchase is for a
deeded and transferable interest in a time share, not a deed to real estate
property. It is simply a prepaid vacation plan. Also, you
get points every year, and they are good for around 50 years
(depending on the Resort), and
transferable, but these points totally expire after that 50 year period.
I put a spreadsheet together and compared what I currently spent on my vacation habits,
as compared to the overall cost of the DVC membership. To me it was
a no brainer, DVC won hands down. If you can
afford the initial buy-in cost and the yearly costs involved with
the maintenance of your Home Resort, you will probably come to the same
conclusion as I did.
If you have to borrow the money, Disney will loan it to you, but you
had better factor in the interest for the 5 or 10 years they finance you
If you ran the numbers, and came to the same conclusion I did, then you
may want to call Annmarie El Haj at 1-800-516-3958 with any other
questions you may have. Remember to tell her Russ and Nancy
Rodrigue recommended you, this way she will give you our nice referral
bonus. Annmarie is very helpful, and will definitely answer all your
questions and help you get the best deal.
DVC vs. Regular Resort Reservations
Just for an example of the savings you'd
see, let's assume you were to purchase 160 points, and let's say it was at
Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa as your Home resort... your 160 points would
allow you to vacation in
a Saratoga Springs Studio unit: a 6-night stay (including one weekend
night) in Magic Season and a 5-night stay (including one weekend night) in
Your dues for 160 points in the Saratoga Springs Resort
would cost around $680.00 for your 1 years maintenance fees.
(This is not counting the initial buy-in cost of $17,000)
If you rented points from a DVC
member to stay in the same Saratoga Springs
Resort Studio unit for the same dates at $12 a point (which
is the average cost to rent points), your stay would cost you
Now, let's assume you booked a stay at the least expensive Disney
Deluxe Hotel, and they gave you a modest discount
on the room. For instance, if you stay at Wilderness Lodge in Regular Season
and get a 25% discount, those same 11 nights would run you around $2,550.00
including taxes and resort fees (Disney
Resort stays are subject to sales
tax and resort fees, but DVC dues aren't subject to sales tax or resort
Or, if you wanted to stay at
Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, in a Studio unit, for the same 11 nights,
you'd be paying a little over $3,900.00 for the same stay (again,
this would be subject to sales
tax and resort fees, but DVC dues aren't subject to sales tax or resort
Note: Resort rate Discounts (discounts
of 25% or more), such as Annual
Passholder rates, etc., are sometimes available, but you will most likely
only get the conservative discount, like the AAA member
discount of 10% off the standard rate, since these discounts are given at
almost all major hotels for many years. There are no discounts that apply
using points for a DVC stay.
Another factor to consider before buying into DVC is the "opportunity
cost" -- what you are losing by tying up your money with Disney, instead
of using it for another purpose.
Let's say you put the same amount you would have used to buy a DVC
membership into investments paying 7% annual interest. Each each year you
add the same amount of money you would have paid in DVC fees. Then you pay
cash for your vacation each year out of this investment account.
When you compare such an investment against a DVC purchase, the results
will depend on a number of factors, including your vacation habits
(how much time will you be spending at Disney World in the next 35-50
years? what kind of lodgings do you prefer?), the initial buy-in
cost, the annual dues (be sure to account for annual dues
increases), and any interest you would be paying if you finance
Every family can generate a different scenario. I've done some
calculations based on certain assumptions, and the results are listed
below. The assumptions include NOT financing the purchase. I also
assumed there would be equivalent annual increases in dues, resort
rates and cost to rent points. Most importantly, I assumed you didn't get any
buy-in. If you were able to buy your points at a reduced "incentive" price,
a DVC purchase would be even more attractive than described below.
In the following scenarios, DVC purchase beats investing the
money (buy-in amount plus annual fees) and paying cash for your
You vacation for 10 nights every year in a Deluxe resort or DVC
Studio unit at full "rack rates." In this scenario, you'll start saving
money after 8 years or less of DVC ownership. In fact, if this is your
vacation style, DVC is still a good deal even if you would only stay 10
nights in a DVC Studio every other year and throw away 50% of
your points (though it will take longer to break even -- about 21
You stay 10 nights at a Deluxe resort each year, with a 25% discount
(approx. 13 years to break even).
You stay 7 nights at a Deluxe resort each year at full "rack rates"
(approx. 13 years to break even).
You vacation for 10 nights each year at a Moderate resort, paying
full "rack rates" (approx. 20 years to break even).
160 points from a DVC owner each year, starting at $11 a point, for at
least the next 24 years.
You vacation for 10 nights each year at a Moderate resort, with a
20% discount (approx. 42 years to break even).
DVC purchase is not cost-effective in the following
You vacation 7 nights per year at a Moderate resort, paying full
160 points every other year from a DVC owner, starting at $11 a
The break-even amount in 2008 dollars seems to be around $1500. If you
would normally average less than that per year for your accommodations,
DVC is probably not going to save you money. If you spend more than that
per year, on average, and you can afford to write a check for the buy-in
amount, it's worth considering a DVC purchase.
Maybe you don't vacation at Walt Disney World every year, but when you
do go, you stay in luxurious accommodations (Deluxe resorts or DVC units).
DVC may still be a decent bet. You can bank your annual points, allowing
you to skip a year. In fact, by carefully banking and borrowing points,
it's even possible to skip two years and only use the points every third
year. Or you can rent out excess points.
Interestingly enough, the results are pretty similar whether you pay
full price to Disney for Animal Kingdom Villas (expires 2057) or buy an
Old Key West
private party that expires in 2042. (If you can get a significant purchase
Animal Kingdom Villas, resales that expire
in 2042 are slightly less attractive on a financial basis, but in most
scenarios it still isn't that significant.)
If you want to see how the above scenarios were calculated,
right-click on this
and download an Excel file on MouseSavers.com. Note that calculations were based on
2008 numbers and assume 3.2% annual compounded increases in all figures
One last note on this topic: the scenarios above do not take into
account a major benefit to investing the money instead of spending it
on a DVC membership: your money remains liquid and available in case
of emergency or changes in your financial situation. If you invest the
money and want to stop vacationing at Disney World, you can easily divert
the money to other uses.
Other Expenses and
Remember that the cost of accommodations is actually a small
fraction of the overall cost of a vacation. Walt Disney World annual
passes for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids ages 3-9), with the DVC
discount, cost over $1,400 to $1,500. Meals for a
10-day vacation can easily run another $1,500 for a family. Then you have
to count airfare (or gas to drive there),
souvenirs, bottled water, extra ticketed events, and so on.
DVC members do qualify for some discounts
that may help with these additional vacation expenses. They save on Annual
Passes and get Restaurant and Merchandise Discounts (but
this varies and is always subject to change).
Also, the Villas have full kitchens, (which
helps with costs since meals can be made in the unit).
DVC members and their guests may choose to purchase the
when staying on "points" at a Walt Disney World DVC resort. The Dining
Plan is available to the general public only as part of a vacation
package, so this is a nice benefit for those DVC members who enjoy the
convenience and value of the Dining Plan.
Another DVC benefit: you don't pay extra when more than 2 adults are
staying in one DVC unit. This is true whether you use your own points,
or pay cash. By contrast, the Disney resort hotels charge extra if you
have more than 2 adults (defined as 18 and older) in a room. Depending on
the ages of the people in your group, this may save you a bit.
DVC members who are staying on points at
most Walt Disney Resorts get FREE high-speed Internet access in their
units. This normally costs $10 a day for the general public. They
also get FREE self-service laundry: laundry rooms near Studio
accommodations have the machines rigged so no coins are required; a
washer/dryer and a starter packet of laundry soap is even included in a
1-Bedroom and larger unit.
You may even be able to deduct the property tax portion of your annual
dues on your federal and/or state tax return. Consult your tax advisor for details.
DVC contracts last a long time. Will you still want to go to
a Disney resort every year, 25 years from now? 35 years from now?
If your lifestyle changes, you get tired of Disney vacations, or you
suffer financial reverses, the dues can become a burden. Then you're faced
with selling your membership, or renting out your points to cover the
dues. Realistically, there is a reason why there are always DVC resales
available - people do get in over their heads, or just change their
DVC has retained its value better than most timeshares, mainly because
Disney has aggressively participated in buying back resales under its
"right of first refusal" clause, thus keeping the resale values up.
Currently resellers are getting about 55-75% of full retail price, once
they pay the associated sales costs.
However, as DVC memberships get closer and closer to their expiration
dates, the value drops a little, so resale prices drop in accordance with
that expiration date. If you are contemplating
the purchase of a resale for one of the resorts that expires in 2042, bear
in mind that the resale value should be significantly lower than a DVC Resort that does't expire until
2057 or 2060. Given the success of DVC, there is every reason to expect
that additional resorts will be built, with later and later expiration
Candidates for DVC Membership
DVC memberships make sense if you meet most
You have the cash in hand to pay all of the upfront costs of
membership without borrowing.
The cost of dues does not appear to present a financial hardship
based on your current expectations.
You vacation at Walt Disney World frequently:
Ideally at least once
every two years.
You plan to continue staying at Disney
Resorts, or use the alternate Disney Vacation services, or rent your
points out, far enough into the
future to make the membership at least break even.
You prefer to stay in Deluxe accommodations.
You are able to plan your vacations a
little in advance - ideally several months ahead.
Resale or Direct
Currently Animal Kingdom Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Saratoga Springs (Walt
Disney World) and Villas at Grand Californian (Disneyland) are available
for immediate purchase directly through Disney. You can ask Disney to put
you on a waiting list to purchase the other resorts, though they are
supposedly "sold out." If Disney exercises its "right of first refusal" on
a resale, it will often sell that contract to the next person on the waiting list.
You can also purchase any of the resorts from current owners who want
to get rid of their memberships, through the resale market. If your offer
is too low, Disney will exercise its "right of first refusal" and buy it
out from under you - which is nice for the seller, but a waste of the
buyer's time. Be sure to research before making your offer, so that you
have a reasonable expectation of actually getting the contract.
Long-term values of DVC memberships are very similar regardless if you are buying a resale, or the newest resort, direct from
Disney (unless Disney is currently offering a significant
incentive on new
sales, which may affect those results slightly).
If purchasing directly from Disney, you must buy at least 160
points. It is possible to purchase less than 160 points through a
resale, but not through Disney. For years the minimum purchase requirement was 150
points, so there are a few 150 point contracts that come up for
resale, but again watch the expiration date vs. value. The closer
the expiration, the lower the value. Some DVC owners purchased "add-ons" of as
little as 25 points,
which they may choose to sell off at some point (of
course 25 points won't buy much of a vacation, but you can always buy more
Once your purchase is completed, there is zero difference
between buying directly from Disney and buying on the resale
market. You will
receive the same benefits and discounts, so really, in my opinion, you may
be a little better off just buying directly from Disney.
If you have come to the same conclusion, then simply pick up the phone and call Annmarie El Haj at 1-800-516-3958.
be sure to tell her Russ and Nancy
Rodrigue recommended you. She will give you a nice referral
bonus. I found Annmarie to be super knowledgeable, as well as very helpful, and
she will definitely get the best deal Disney has to offer.
Disney offers special incentives for new buyers on the
DVC resorts that are currently available for direct sale (Animal Kingdom
Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Saratoga Springs and Villas at Grand Californian).
These offers are subject to change at any time and may not be available
when you make your purchase. A minimum purchase of 160 points is usually
required for new buyers.
A good source for finding the most recent incentives is
Buying a DVC membership is a rational, financially viable option for
some people: namely people with the cost of the initial purchase already
sitting in the bank, who plan to stay in the higher-end accommodations at
Walt Disney World Resort and/or Disneyland Resore in California on a regular basis.
A DVC purchase is a way of committing to an annual Disney vacation with
family and friends. For some people, that may outweigh any financial
considerations. Only you can determine if DVC membership makes sense for
If you only visit Disney World and/or Disneyland occasionally, you may
find that Renting DVC points from an owner is actually a better deal than
buying a DVC membership.
See below for
information on how to Rent Points.
If you feel you are ready to go for it and buy a DVC membership, like I did, then
go ahead and call Annmarie El Haj at 1-800-516-3958. Tell her Russ and Nancy
Rodrigue recommended you, this way she will give you a nice referral
bonus. If you still have lingering questions, Annmarie will definitely answer
them and help you to get the best deal.
Vacation Club Points
Vacation Club (DVC) points is a little-known way to stay in a
deluxe-level Disney resort for much less. DVC members own timeshare
"points" that they can use for stays at the seven DVC resorts at Walt
Disney World: Animal Kingdom Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Beach Club Villas,
BoardWalk Villas, Old Key West, Saratoga Springs and Villas at Wilderness
Lodge; and the one DVC resort at Disneyland (California): Villas at Grand
Californian. Sometimes DVC members are unable to use the points before
they expire, so they will "rent" them to others.
Disney allows the general public to book DVC units at very high rates
through its regular resort reservations system, when available. Renting
points is a much better deal. For instance, a five-night stay (Sunday
through Thursday) in a Villas at Wilderness Lodge studio in May 2010 will
"cost" the DVC member 70 points. At the typical rate of $12 a point, you
could rent his points for $840 and enjoy a stay that would cost over
$2,109 (including tax) if booked directly through Disney at 2010 rack
rates. (For comparison, a standard room at Wilderness Lodge - which would
not include the mini-fridge and microwave you get with a studio - would
cost $1,687 with tax if booked with Disney directly for May 2010.)
Important Things to Know About Renting DVC Points
Renting points means you pay the DVC member directly (often by giving
him a one-night deposit up front and paying the balance 30 days before the
trip, though arrangements vary widely) and he makes a reservation in your
name. The transaction requires trust on both sides.
I have rented points on four occasions and in each case had no problems
at all. In fact, for years I had never heard of anyone being ripped off in
a DVC rental situation, but in 2006 I heard of some instances in which
renters were the victims of fraud.
If you are renting, be very careful!
Ask for references and check the references.
Get the owner's full name, address and phone number before sending
any payment. To the extent possible, confirm that the information is
valid. (For instance, call and talk with the owner. Also, consider going
Google and typing
in the person's name and contact info to see if you find any mentions
that will help you confirm the owner's identity.)
NEVER pay a total stranger by using a "cash equivalent" such as
Western Union or money order. I also don't recommend paying by check
(especially cashier's check). The safest way to pay is to use a credit
card. (That isn't difficult. Members of the public can pay and receive
payments by credit card through
PayPal.) Personally, credit card payment is the only
method I would ever agree to use, because it is the only method that
provides you with some protection against fraud.
There should be a written contract or letter of agreement, signed by
both of you, spelling out exactly what the rental will cost, when
payment is due, dates of the stay, etc.
Make sure the owner sends you the confirmation from Disney. Be aware
that Disney Vacation Club will not speak with renters or give them any
information. Only DVC owners can speak with DVC about reservations. Once
you have the confirmation, you can usually verify it at
If something sounds "off," don't proceed. It's not worth taking the
DVC reservations are not as "forgiving" as hotel reservations.
Cancellation must take place 30 days or more in advance, so you have
to be very sure about your dates. Also, once the owner makes a reservation
with points, they are subject to complex rules and may not be easily
re-deposited in the owner's account. That's the risk the owner is taking
If you're considering a rental, you'll need to do some research to
learn how the point system works. The points needed for a stay vary
tremendously depending on the season. Weekend nights "cost" more points
than weekdays, so sometimes it's better to book Friday and Saturday nights
directly with Disney and rent points for Sunday through Thursday only. (Do
the calculations both ways -- this varies.) To figure out how many points
your stay would require, you can consult the
DVC Points Charts on
DVC rentals offer less-frequent maid service than paying cash
directly to Disney for the same unit. When renting from a DVC member, you
get the usual DVC maid service, which includes a "trash and towels"
service (no cleaning) on the fourth day of your stay and a "full service"
cleaning on the eighth day. You can opt to pay extra for more frequent
How to Rent Points or Buy DVC Vacations From Owners
Bear in mind that there is no guarantee that the dates and/or resorts
you want will be available. You'll have to find a DVC member who is
interested in renting points and willing to check your dates. A member can
reserve a unit in his "home" resort up to 11 months in advance and at any
other DVC resort up to 7 months in advance.
DIS Boards DVC rent/trade board. Be sure to read the
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) post on that board before trying a
rental. I recommend renting only from people who have participated on the
DIS Boards for over a year and who have made a significant number of posts
about general subjects (not just offers to rent).
Redweek.com is a major site listing all sorts of
timeshare rentals. You can look at general lists of available rentals
without charge, but to see any specifics or learn how to contact the
owners, you'll have to pay $14.99 for a 1-year site membership.
I personally would not rent DVC points from eBay or Craigslist.
I'm sure there are some legitimate owners offering rentals there, but
unfortunately in my experience, both sites are too questionable to take
MouseOwners.com has a
Rent/Trade/Transfer board where you may find a DVC
member willing to rent out points. This is part of a very
friendly discussion forum associated with an excellent site for DVC
DVCNews.com is an excellent
source of information on Disney Vacation Club. The main focus is
reporting news that is of interest to DVC members, but the site also
offers room descriptions and floorplans, DVC points charts
(including charts for destinations like Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland
Paris, etc.), details on current DVC purchase prices and promotional
offers, and so on.
DVC members who are regular
visitors to Walt Disney World should look into a service called
Owner’s Locker allows you to
store your vacation gear between visits, which
means less packing, less hassles, less hauling and less
Owner's Locker provides you
with a container to store personal items that you
regularly use at Walt Disney World, such as toiletries, an air
bed, a water filter, your favorite liquor -- just about anything
that makes your stay more pleasant.
Owner's Locker picks the container up from your
resort when you check out and stores it in a
climate-controlled warehouse until you return.
Here's the great part:
Locker will have your container waiting for you at
your resort’s bell stand when you come back!
This site is NOT affiliated with the Walt Disney Company