DVC Resale Buying Guide
Ever dreamed of joining Disney Vacation Club so that you can make vacation memories as a Disney insider? Did you look into the DVC vacation ownership program and felt overwhelmed by the wealth of available information? Here, we break down the key aspects of Disney Vacation Club, so you can easily discover the options that best suit your lifestyle and vacation needs.
Read on for a review of the important factors you should consider before joining as a member, including the most economical DVC resorts, whether you should buy your DVC contract direct or via resale, ways to use your DVC points, membership benefits, as well as a list of pros and cons for DVC members.
As DVC members ourselves, we want to present an unbiased view of this unique membership program, to better inform the decisions of potential future members. No marketing spiels, only clear, concise information.
What is Disney Vacation Club?
Launched more than 28 years ago by Michael Eisner, then-chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, Disney Vacation Club is an attractive vacation ownership club that is similar to the timeshare concept, which allows you to not only save money on Disney vacations but also reap unique benefits available only to DVC members.
With 15 DVC resorts currently available, and two more in the development process — Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge at Walt Disney World and a new Disneyland Hotel tower in California — this Disney program allows access to a wide variety of themed resorts and world-class vacations at member-only discounted prices.
Changing Policies & Prices
However, as the years go by and Disney starts adding more resorts to DVC, it also introduces updates to its policies and restrictions. Take Disney’s newest resort, Riviera Resort, for example. Not only do its charming rooms and furnishings capture the European elegance that Walt Disney so loved, the resort also has the new Disney Skyliner only a short walk away, which swiftly transports visitors to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in a sky-sailing gondola. Booking a vacation at the Riviera resort, though, is restricted for resale buyers, which may have an impact on the resort’s future value. For now, this is of no concern for those who buy into the other DVC classic resorts.
DVC direct memberships (purchased from Disney) are still increasing in price every year, and sometimes we see multiple price increases each year. Disney Vacation Development, Inc. operates DVC and currently actively markets the Riviera Resort and Aulani in Hawai’i, both of which also saw recent price increases.
Also worth noting is that there are other DVC resorts also available upon inquiry when purchasing direct through DVC, such as the Saratoga Springs Resort and Old Key West, at $160 and $156 per point, respectively, or the Grand Floridian and Polynesian, at $245 and $235 per point, respectively. However, if you do purchase these contracts in the resale market, you’re likely to save 35 to 40 percent.
A DVC contract purchased directly, based on last year’s numbers, has an average price of $30,000. This has definitely contributed to record sales for the company and signifies customers’ confidence in the program. Even during the COVID-19 Pandemic during Disney’s closure, the DVC resale industry was still performing strong.
For more on DVC’s Resale Restrictions, please read:
- DVC 2019 RESALE RESTRICTIONS & HOW IT AFFECTS YOU
- HOW MANY DVC POINTS ARE DISNEY CRUISES? IS IT A GOOD VALUE?
- DVC RESALE RESTRICTIONS – LIMITED MEMBERSHIP EXTRAS FOR NEW DVC RESALE MEMBERS, BUT RESALE IS STILL A BETTER DEAL!
Economic Value of Disney Vacation Club
Your purchase decision has to be based on the DVC’s overall affordability in your personal financial context, your vacation needs, and unique lifestyle wants.
With the ever-increasing prices and restrictions, is DVC still a good idea for your family? Most likely! There are numerous ways you can save money with DVC, but first, you have to consider the size of your party, your preferred resort and room size, and the frequency of your visits to Walt Disney World.
Disney Vacation Development used to claim that members can save up to 70 percent for their annual vacations by booking with DVC points, but it has not been purported in a while. Today they advertise savings up to 50%. This change is due to the increases in DVC direct prices over the years. When you buy resale, you save an additional 35-40%, so when buying DVC resale, you’re saving about 70% vs. paying cash for your stay.
For more on the economics of Disney Vacation Club, read:
- DVC Resale vs. Direct – Financial Savings
- WHAT IS THE TRUE VALUE OF DISNEY VACATION CLUB? HOW MUCH DO I PAY PER NIGHT AS A DVC MEMBER?
Pros & Cons of Disney Vacation Club
Preferred Type of Accommodations
People and families evolve, and your accommodation needs and preferences do too. While it’s difficult to foresee the types of accommodations you’ll need throughout the duration of your Disney Vacation Club contract term, there are some key characteristics of the DVC resorts and a wide range of options that will appeal to almost any family looking for an adventure.
First things first, if your favorite resorts are typically those in the Value and Moderate line-up, then you might not be able to maximise the potential of a DVC contract. Now, if you choose value and moderate resorts due to budget, you can save money with DVC, while now being able to enjoy Deluxe Disney resorts.
However, If you have children or see yourself having them in the future, and do not want to be sleeping in close quarters with them, going beyond the Moderate resort line-up might then be ideal for you. DVC one-bedroom suites and larger might just be what you need, allowing you a little more space and privacy. So if you’re already typically booking spacious family suites, or booking two or more Value or Moderate rooms each trip, booking through your DVC membership will help you achieve the savings you’re looking for.
Even if you’re a true-blue Value resort traveller, consider staying at a DVC resort during one of your trips, and experience for yourself the enchanting qualities of these DVC properties. You never know whether the DVC experience is meant for you until you give it a try!
Another alternative for dipping your toes into the DVC waters is by renting DVC Vacation Points, a cheaper option before you decide whether you want to go all in. You can also book Deluxe villas directly from Disney, but that is not the most cost-effective way to get a taste of DVC properties.
One final accommodation-related note: DVC members do not get Mousekeeping services everyday, so that might be an issue for some. In a similar vein, if you want to be able to utilize convenient amenities such as a washer and dryer or an in-room kitchen, then the DVC will be good for you.
If you’re a spontaneous traveller, or if the idea of planning more than seven months in advance for your Disney trips sounds more like an inconvenience, or if Disney Vacation Club properties that are typically last to fill up such as the Saratoga Springs Resort and Old Key West Resort are not among your top picks, then you should reconsider your DVC buying decision.
Naturally, the most popular DVC resorts will be booked out the fastest, especially during peak travel periods such as Christmas. This applies to even the less popular properties mentioned above! So if you’re someone who finds joy in the idea of planning your trips way in advance, then DVC is great for you.
A quick cursory search right now on DVC resort availability can also help you picture how far in advance you’ll need to be planning your trips at your preferred DVC resorts. This is also a good way to decide which home resort you would prefer should you purchase a DVC contract.
For more on home resort priority, read:
Frequency of Disney Vacations
The number of Disney vacations you take every year is a huge consideration. To make it worth your while as a Disney Vacation Club member, you should be visiting Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort once every two or three years.
Since many DVC contracts expire in 2054, or 2070 for Disney’s Riviera Resort, it is best to buy these contracts with your heart set on visiting these DVC resorts, to really maximize the thrills of the membership.
Selling your DVC contract in the resale market is an option, though, and you can also rent out your annual allotment of points. What DVC contract owners make from these point rentals can typically pay for accommodations elsewhere too. So there is still that flexibility.
Make Disney Vacation Club Resorts Your Go-To
While you can use your Disney Vacation Points on non-DVC resorts, trade them through RCI, or rent them out to use the cash for Disney Cruises and Adventures by Disney packages, those experiences typically do not give you the same time value of money you would get from staying at DVC properties.
A few years ago, to discourage potential members from buying their DVC contracts on the resale market, Disney stopped allowing those with resale contracts to trade in their Vacation Points for these other experiences, but that shouldn’t matter, because you are shorting yourself by using your Vacation Points on anything but the DVC resorts, depriving yourself of the real value of this membership.
One way Disney attempts to convince its potential buyers to buy direct is by divulging these extra perks of non-DVC-resort experiences that you won’t get with a resale contract, but it’s also not a perk if you don’t use it. And even if you do, you’re not maximizing the savings you would get booking a vacation at a DVC resort.
Disney Vacation Club Benefits
Some of the Disney Vacation Club perks that are often talked about include discounts for Walt Disney World annual passes, member-only DVC pins, signature events, a small magazine created specially for members, free parking at Deluxe Villa resorts, and other all-year-round privileges.
To illustrate the monetary value of some of these perks, let’s look at the free parking at Deluxe Villa resorts. That’s approximately $24/night that a guest who drives saves.
At times, Disney runs changing Membership Magic promotions for members to discover the magic through special events in the parks and discounts on dining, shopping, park admission, special event tickets, and more. If you’re concerned about the discounts, DVC Resale members can also purchase Tables of Wonderland cards, a money-saving card for diners that offers up to 20% off for all food and beverages at almost all table-service restaurants in Walt Disney World.
It’s worth noting that, as stipulated by Disney, it reserves the right to remove or amend these contractual rights at any time, which it has done in recent years. These perks can easily be taken away, whether you buy direct or via resale.
With all that’s said about the benefits of buying Disney Vacation Club contracts directly from Disney, the reality is this: those incidental benefits, which can come and go, rarely equate to their monetary value, because most members do not fully utilize them. Buying through resale makes more sense, given the lower barrier of entry compared to if you were to buy directly from Disney at a higher price.
If you’re financially savvy, you’d want to take your pick from the DVC resale market. Before making your purchase, however, do some calculations on your own. Refer to your past vacation patterns and preferences and use previous spending to estimate what your vacations in the next 40 years will look like, such as number of people in your party, type of resorts you’d like to frequent, etc. Here are some important factors to consider during this process:
Purchasing a Disney Vacation Club contract is not just about the one-time price you pay upfront. Look at the maintenance fees for each DVC resort and compare them. Maintenance fees can also cost more over time for all the resorts.
Choosing Your Home Resort
To maximize the economics of your Disney Vacation Club membership, consider choosing either Saratoga Springs or Polynesian as your home resort.
Saratoga Springs often has a lower per-point cost of most of the DVC resorts based in Walt Disney World. On top of that, even when compared to other resorts that may sometimes have a lower per-point cost, Saratoga Springs’ per-point maintenance costs are considerably lower than those resorts, which is often overlooked but shouldn’t be. Over the course of your contract, maintenance costs may even add up to be a higher amount than your initial contract cost. So, choosing a home resort with low maintenance costs is imperative to keep your overall cost low.
That’s not to say that you should steer clear from Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, or Disney’s Vero Beach Resort—exceptional resorts in their own right. However, consider the maintenance fees for any of these properties into your calculations too when considering your DVC home resort.
Another plus for Saratoga Springs is also due to the length of its contract validity, which expires in 2054, 12 years later than some other cheaper DVC contracts.
Perhaps, Saratoga Springs just does not suit your vacation style, and you wouldn’t want to only have priority booking for this resort and not the other DVC properties. Well, with the increasing number of DVC resorts, and more opening in the near future, it is likely that it won’t be as tough as before to book at resorts that are not Saratoga Springs.
Polynesian is also another appealing option for a home resort. Not only is its contract longer—up to 2066!—it also has one of the lowest annual dues in comparison to other DVC properties and it’s also one of the closest resorts in Walt Disney World to Magic Kingdom. Those with children, or are planning for them, can also consider Polynesian, as the close proximity between Magic Kingdom and your room will make midday trips to and fro a lot more convenient.
Anticipating Future Vacation Costs
One of the biggest economical benefits of being a Disney Vacation Club member is that you’re able to lock down future stays at these magical resorts with present-day prices. If you’re booking vacations directly from Disney every time you decide to go on a trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, you are guaranteed to be paying prices that continue to increase time after time.
While the price increase is uncertain, securing a predetermined vacation cost from the beginning, through a DVC contract that lasts for the next 40 years or so, will give you significant savings you cannot ignore. So, when performing calculations, take into account the annual increase in room rates of selected Disney resorts you intend to stay in if you are not a DVC member.
Quality of Life
Now, let’s look at a different kind of value in being a Disney Vacation Club member. We’ve discussed the economical considerations and the financial savings so far, but a very important question to ask yourself, the potential buyer, is whether being a DVC member can improve your quality of life. Will having all this access to Disney resorts and experiences significantly enrich your vacations? The liberty to choose between the many colorful experiences Disney has to offer, the memories you’ll be able to make with your family at “The Most Magical Place On Earth”, and the smiles on the faces of your loved ones…
These are the non-economical considerations that might be the deciding factors that trump the aforementioned price points and incidental benefits. You can’t put a price on happiness, after all.
Try First, Buy Later
Instead of diving straight into the Disney Vacation Club pool of resorts, why not dip your toes in some of them first? You can either book a Deluxe Villa directly from Disney or rent DVC Vacation Points from current DVC members. We highly recommend renting the Vacation Points instead of booking directly from Disney. You’ll be saving more money this way while getting the authentic DVC member experience during your stay.
This method is also a good way to ascertain whether you’d rather just rent Vacation Points instead of buying a DVC contract yourself. Indeed, this could be a more viable option for some, especially for those who do not want to be locked into a contract.
How Do I Buy DVC?
So, you’ve done the math, and you’ve decided that you want to save the most money while buying Disney Vacation Club. What do you do? Buy a Polynesian or Saratoga Springs DVC contract through DVC Resale Experts, of course. However, if you have another resort in mind for your home resort, go for it. This is your vacation, after all.
Your home resort should be the resort you can see yourself staying in most of the time, especially during peak seasons. Most resorts get fully booked by other DVC members at least 7 months in advance, so unless you’re ready to book way ahead of time, you should ensure the home resort you choose, where you’ll always have priority booking, is one that you are happy with for most of your Disney vacations.
At DVC Resale Experts, we can assist with your Disney Vacation Club resale purchase. Browse through the DVC resale listings we have, or better yet, contact us at 844-DVC-FANS (382-3267) or Info@DVCResaleExperts.com to speak to one of our friendly professionals.