What is the DVC? Why, it’s the Disney Vacation Club, of course!
by Shontell Crawford, Owner/Broker, DVC By Resale
Disney’s version of what has been known for years as a timeshare is not only a smarter, more flexible version of vacation ownership, but it also has a friendlier name: The Disney Vacation Club. (Can you hear the “ta da!” that goes with it?!)
Not sold by the name alone?
Let’s talk about how it works. When you buy into the Disney Vacation Club, you’re given an annual allocation of points -- let’s assume you have 200 points per year for our discussion. Those points may then be “spent” on your vacation accommodations until they are all used. Each resort has a points chart associated with it that helps you determine how much each room or unit size will “cost” in points as correlated with the time of year you are traveling. Weekends and holidays always require more points per night, while weekdays and the slow season cost sometimes half as many points. Obviously, three bedroom grand villas require significantly more points each day than a studio or a one bedroom. Some of the premium location resorts, such as Disney’s Beach Club, require more points than the flagship resort Old Key West, which has larger rooms, but isn’t within walking distance to Epcot.
Here’s an example: Given 200 points - A family of four, sleeping in a one bedroom unit could spend a week at Disney’s Old Key West in early December, using 160 points. They would have 40 points remaining, which they could use for 4 weeknights at Disney’s Vero Beach in a Deluxe Garden Inn room in July. The beautiful part is they get to look at the charts and decide where, when, and how often they can go based on their annual allocation of points.
A point to ponder: Unlike a traditional timeshare, owners may stay at their DVC homes for as little as one day at a time instead of being locked into a whole week – a feature that has bothered traditional timeshare owners for years.
Need more details? OK, let’s look at two different scenarios, frequently asked about by potential DVC buyers: 1) “What if I’m not traveling one year?” or 2) “What if I need more points than my annual allocation allows?” This is where banking and borrowing come into play. Disney will allow an owner to bank up to one full year’s allocation of points into the next year (you do have some rules to remember) and you may borrow up to 100% of the upcoming year’s allocation as well (again, there are rules and restrictions). Therefore, the most you will ever have available to travel with is three times your annual allocation. That seems pretty easy to remember! Disney also gives us the opportunity each use year to "rent" up to 24 points for a vacation, in case we are a little short on points.
OK, so assuming you are convinced this is the next best thing since sliced bread you’ll probably want to know whch resort you should buy points for and why. Once you decide to become a “Member” – Disney’s coveted term for a DVC Owner – you’ll have to choose which will be your home resort. Money, ownership and reservation privileges are all factors to consider:
Length of ownership – Most DVC resorts have a lease term expiration of 2042, Saratoga Springs expires in 2054, Animal Kingdom expires in 2057, Bay Lake Tower and Grand Californian expire in 2060, the Polynesian Villas expire in 2066. New resorts are being offered a 50 year lease the first year of sales. Some Old Key West owners opted to pay an additional fee to extend their lease thanks to a past DVC promotion. (Sorry, unlike a traditional timeshare no one gets to own a piece of the magic forever.) Only Disney knows what will happen after these terms expire. (Personally, I think they will be marketing them to our kids a few years before expiration so the tradition will live on.) Each time Disney builds a new property the expiration is established at that time.
Reservation ability – Once you decide how many points your family needs, you’ll want to choose which resort you want to buy, or your “home” resort. Disney allows members to make reservations at their home resort up to 11 months in advance, but at all the other “non-home” DVC resorts reservations can only be made up to 7 months in advance. Points are points are points, but the home resort is a much-debated topic so your family's travel habits should be considered.
Purchase price or initial investment – While Disney is charging a whopping $180 per point as I write, resales from DVCbyResale.com can be found for as little as $50 per point at Vero Beach to $115 per point at Bay Lake Tower, with prices for all other resorts somewhere in between.
Annual dues a.k.a. Maintenance Fees and taxes – Each resort charges fees that go toward maintaining the property. The fees vary from resort to resort, but currently average $6 per point. Your home resort determines how much you will pay and how much Disney charges on a per point basis. Dues can vary as much as $2.50 per point between some resorts. If you own 200 points, that's a $500 difference per year. Wow!
So now you’re thinking: I’m convinced! Where do I find these points? My first recommendation is to call Disney directly at 1-800-800-9800 for the information packet -- feel free to give my name as a referral! Then visit our website, www.DVCbyresale.com, for the current DVC Resort point charts, check out the handy points calculator as well as all our resale listings. If you send me an email I will be happy to add you to our update list: firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, just give me a call 1-800-844-4099 and I’ll answer any of your questions about becoming a member. I’ve been one for more than 18 years!