So you’re thinking about purchasing Disney Vacation Club? That’s terrific! It really is amazing if you’re a serious Disney fan, and you want to secure your Disney vacations for many years to come.
And I have been where you are…excited and eager to buy-in. You want to be able to own a little part of the dream. You want to be the one that hears “welcome home” every time you arrive at Disney World. You want to know that your Disney vacations are a sure thing for the foreseeable future, and that you are definitely going to Disney World, this year and every year. All of those things are wonderful. But there are some hard truths about Disney Vacation Club that are not a part of the sales pitch you will get from the DVC sales team. Truths that you need to know in order to be sure that your Disney Vacation Club Membership is a source of joy for you and your loved ones, and not something that you end up regretting.
So here are a few things I’ve learned over my years of being a Disney Vacation Club member.
It’s Not a Financial Investment
This is something I hear frequently from people considering buying DVC, “I just can’t get this to make sense as a financial investment.”
You’re right. Because it’s not.
That’s the first thing you need to accept when you are thinking of purchasing. Disney Vacation Club is not a financial investment. It is not a place to put your money if you want to earn more money with it.
DVC isn’t any more of a financial investment than any other vacation you take. If you spend a week in Paris, that’s not a financial investment either. It’s an emotional investment, but that’s a topic for later.
Now, are most DVC owners able to sell their DVC contracts on the resale market after keeping them for several years and make a profit? Yes. In fact, I could make $15.00 more per point over what I paid for my Old Key West contract if I were to sell it today. But that’s a happy accident, not an investment.
Don’t go into DVC with the attitude that it’s a great place to put your money. It’s not. It’s a timeshare.
Dues are Forever
The second thing that a lot of potential members gloss over in the excitement of purchasing DVC is the annual dues.
Most people focus more on the contract’s purchase price and forget to check out what the dues are for their home resort. This is a huge mistake because you will pay dues for the entire length of your contract – as much as fifty years!
This can be a bigger problem when people buy resale because they are often tempted by the lower price per point contracts like Vero Beach and Hilton Head. While those resorts are amazing, and I love them, I wouldn’t purchase there unless I was planning on using my points there because those resorts have the highest dues of all the DVC properties. For 2021, the dues at Vero Beach (for contracts purchased after 1996) are $11.23 per point. By contrast, the dues at the Grand Floridian for 2021 are only $6.81 per point.
So while you may be tempted to buy a contract that has a lower initial purchase price, do the math to make sure it actually saves you money over the entire life of the contract when dues are figured in.
Another factor to consider – dues go up every year. The only question is by how much. What you really need to decide before you purchase is if you can afford the yearly maintenance fees. Disney can bill you monthly for these, and there are lots of tips on DISboards to mitigate the financial hit, but dues are a certainty with any DVC contract, and you need to consider this cost very seriously before you buy.
There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Research
I am constantly amazed at how many people purchase DVC on a whim after one meeting with a sales representative at Disney World.
I get it. I really do. I knew I wanted it before we met with the DVC rep. Touring the model of Bay Lake Tower only made me want it more.
But it’s a huge decision, not to mention a lot of money. Please take all the time you need to think it over. Disney Vacation Club isn’t going anywhere.
At our first DVC tour, I wasn’t aware of the resale market, and how much money that could save me. I had no idea what a use year was. I wasn’t certain how dues worked. The seven and eleven-month booking window thing was confusing. What exactly did “home resort” mean? How many points would we really need for our family? What time of year were we going to travel, and how would that affect my use year?
Seriously, I had more questions than answers.
So I began doing research. I scoured the internet, tracking down every possible shred of information I could find on DVC. I haunted the DISboards and read all the posts on purchasing. I learned about the resale market. I learned the alphabet soup of acronyms for every DVC term you could imagine. I made spreadsheets. I socked away money. I studied until I knew exactly what I wanted in a DVC contract. And then I waited for the perfect contract to be made available on the resale market.
I knew it the day I saw it. We purchased a three hundred point contract (with 300 banked points), with an April use year for $88 per point. It was the easiest real estate transaction of my life. And I knew that every minute I’d spent researching had paid off. I got exactly what I wanted, and I was thrilled.
So stalk the DISboards. Ask questions. Read all the DVC articles on here on DVC Fan. Watch The DVC Show. And take as much time as you need to feel completely comfortable with Disney Vacation Club before you purchase. It’s worth it in the end.
You Will Love It More Than You Can Imagine
This was also a truth that I discovered only after I’d made my purchase and we took our first vacation as DVC members. I knew being a DVC owner would bring me joy – I just had no idea how much joy.
I love everything about Disney Vacation Club. Our Disney vacations have leveled up in a major way. The accommodations are beautiful. The cast members are exceptional at the DVC Resorts. Member Services is outstanding. I could go on and on with the superlatives.
I will sum it up by saying that I truly feel like a member of the Disney family now. I love hearing “welcome home” when I arrive (and all during my stay). I can’t express how much fun it is to know I am going to a Disney resort three times a year now. And most of all, I love the memories that I am making, and the happiness owning DVC brings to my family and the friends I am privileged to share it with.
Learn all there is to learn before you purchase, and then sit back and enjoy everything DVC has to offer you.
8 thoughts on “Some Hard Truths About DVC”
We’ve been DVC members since 1994. I never looked at the membership as an investment. I just think of it as a guaranteed vacation to Disney or other parts. I remember when we first joined DVC I was having a discussion with a Disney enthusiast on a message board. He tried to convince me and other’s not to do it. Just three years later he stated he joined DVC. We’re going in January 2022. Looking at the same room it would cost us over $6000 (no tickets included). I doubt we’d be able to afford going to Disney World and staying in a one bedroom suite on Disney’s property every year like we do now. It’s not for everyone, but it works for us. I always say, the best money I spent was on DVC and our lawn sprinkler system.
Exactly!! Have you checked out how much the cash prices are for a stay at the villas in Aulani lately? Holy cow!! There’s no way we’d ever be able to go there without owning DVC. It’s the best money we’ve ever spent as well!
I could not agree more with each point made in this article. Timeshares are not financial investment vehicles, although I do believe DVC is the best value present in that market. We have not regretted our purchase one iota, but we always describe ourselves as “the perfect people to purchase DVC”. It is just two of us, so the studios are the exact right fit for us and we are able go at least four times per year with the number of points that we own.
It is very good advice to carefully consider the annual maintenance fees. This is probably the one consideration that keeps us from acting on “addonitis”. We would make good use of additional points, however the additional fees that would come along with that are not something we are willing to lock ourselves into for several more decades. We know there are ways to offset those fees (rent our points, etc.) but we don’t want our membership to become “work”. This membership is purely for our rest and relaxation.
I think the biggest factors when deciding on a membership are: 1) will you really use it each and every year, 2) can you afford the fees and the other costs associated with multiple trips per year – if you are like us, there are the food expenses (I.DO.NOT.COOK.ON. VACATION!!), merchandise that we just “have to have” (popcorn buckets and sipper cups!!), transportation to get to WDW, pet sitter at home, etc. and, 3) will this be a joyful membership for you and your family or will it create angst thinking about the additional costs and the logistics of being able to make use of your membership?
We can easily answer yes to these three questions and so we are absolutely thrilled with our membership and can’t wait to go back each and every time. If you decide that your answers are indeed YES, then – Welcome to the Disney family and Welcome Home!!
YES!!! I can see we completely agree on everything. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your experience!
What gorgeous photos! It makes this great article even more enjoyable to read.
Thank you so much!!
Good article Diane. We bought into DVC because our autistic son, who is now 23, loves WDW. You’re absolutely right about it not purchasing on a whim. We looked at it and realized as Disney lovers we were staying every 3 or 4 years anyway, may as well stay in great accomodations. We’ve made our 3rd reservation for December, this time at our home resort the Poly, 2 rooms for our family of 5, 250 points. Our last stay was at a 2br Grand Floridian suite, cash value was $8000+ for the week, only 295 points. Really see DVC as a win for a family that loves WDW.
Absolutely!! If you go to Disney resorts frequently, it saves you so much money. I just cash-priced a two bedroom villa at Aulani, and it was $16,000 for a week!! We could never afford that without DVC. We also have five in our party, and sometimes seven. DVC makes all these vacations affordable and amazing! Have fun on your Poly trip! I love it there!!
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