Joining the Disney Vacation Club is a large, long-term decision that can lead to decades of enjoyable memories. The decision to join DVC has so many factors involved that it typically raises so many questions. There are key questions often asked by people looking into joining DVC. Each question may have many points to consider, even more than can be addressed in this post.
Which Home Resort?
Arguably the most critical decision is to select your home resort, that is, the resort you are purchasing. The home resort can be booked as early as 11 months in advance of the check-in day, while other resorts can only be booked as early as 7 months in advance. This policy creates a key advantage for owners, especially when booking a stay during a busy season and for room types with limited availability. A great piece of advice is to purchase where you want to stay, or at least where you would be happy if you could not stay anywhere else.
Another consideration when choosing a home resort is the nightly/weekly point cost for stays along with the point purchase price. For instance, there are a few things to think about:
- How many trips will you make each year in which you will stay at a DVC resort on points, and when will you take those trips? You will want to have enough points to cover these trips. It is also important to estimate when you will take your trips because point costs vary based on season. In 2020, there are five seasons, while in 2021, there will be seven travel periods. Each season or travel period has different point costs per night/week.
- How many people will be traveling with you for each trip for which you will use your DVC resort? This will help determine the room type you will need.
- What kind of view would you like to have? Each resort has different views. Views may include Standard, Preferred, Lake, Park, and several others. Views each have different point costs per night/week.
Let’s say, for example, that Bay Lake Tower is the desired resort. You’ll take two trips a year, one in January, one in October, with yourself and a guest for three days (Sunday-Tuesday). The lake view is preferred. In this case, looking at the 2020 point chart for a Deluxe Studio, you will need 105 points per year (51+54).
Something to think about is what you will do if you cannot get the desired room type/view combination you would like? For example, if you only have enough points for a Standard View Deluxe Studio, but there are none available for your desired trip, what will you do? Will you be flexible to travel at a different time, or will you book a room/view type that costs more points? If you do that, what will you do for your second trip?
A frequently made recommendation is to purchase more points than you specifically need so that you have a cushion for these kinds of scenarios. It is also possible that the point charts may change. DVC can never change the total points at a resort, but they can shift points around between seasons/travel periods. Having a cushion can help you maintain some flexibility with booking future trips.
A great site for viewing DVC resort information and point charts is The DIS.
Resale versus Direct?
Once you determine the home resort and the number of points you will need, another top question is whether to purchase directly from DVC or purchase via the resale market. Most owners plan to keep their DVC membership for the duration of the contract, but sometimes situations change, and they wish to sell their points. There are some great brokers such as DVCStore.com that help connect owners to buyers, typically for a lower price than purchasing directly from DVC.
There are pros and cons to purchasing direct or resale. Resale purchases generally can save you money because points are sold at a lower cost than directly from DVC. However, resale purchases include restrictions which may or may not affect you:
- Resale points cannot be used to make reservations with the Concierge Collection, Disney Collection, or the Adventurer Collection.
- Resale points purchased after January 19, 2019, cannot be used at new and future resorts beginning with Disney’s Riviera Resort unless they are for that specific resort and then can only be used at that resort.
- Membership Extras such as discounts on dining, annual passholder tickets, events, etc. are not available for resale point purchases.
It is important to note that DVC can change the Membership Extra perks for direct owners at any time. Purchasers must determine how, if at all, the restrictions will impact them. DVC also sets a minimum amount of directly purchased points to qualify for the perks. The minimum increased to 100 points last Fall.
Another consideration may be that there is often more availability for certain resorts on the resale market than directly from DVC. DVC actively markets specific resorts but can sell at any resort. If you’re interested in a resort that is not actively being marketed, ask your guide. Keep in mind that if they do not have any availability, you can be placed on a waitlist for when points at the resort become available.
Which Use Year?
The use year, the month you will receive your points each year, may also affect the purchase. For example, if you have a December use year, you will receive your annual points every December. You do not have to wait until the points are added to be able to book with them. For instance, if you wanted to book a trip for March, you can do so at your 11-month mark using those points. Similarly, if you want to book a trip before your new use year begins, you could borrow from the new year’s points.
To Finance or Not?
Financing is an option for both purchasing direct and resale. If purchasing direct, DVC offers financing. A variety of other financing options exist for resale purchases. Financing rates for DVC purchases tend to have a higher interest rate than other types of loans. There may also be other methods available using credit cards, home equity loans, etc. For more information on financing a resale contract, see the DVCStore.com.
Is it Right for Me?
It is often asked how you determine the value or if DVC is right for you. For some, this is more of a financial comparison looking at the cost for the number of years versus what you would pay for cash stays. For others, it becomes much more subjective because it is about taking vacations and creating lasting memories. In conclusion, the key is to have a good understanding of what Disney Vacation Club is, the costs, benefits, limitations, and be realistic about your future plans, knowing that plans can change.
Let us know in the comments what questions and considerations you had when purchasing DVC, or what questions you are asking now as you consider a future purchase!