Disney Vacation Club (DVC): Disney’s Timeshare Benefits & Costs
Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is a vacation program that operates as a timeshare program with a twist – members purchase “points” when they buy into a DVC property. These points are renewed annually, and can be spent on different Disney resorts and rooms, for different lengths of stay, and at different times of year.
DVC can be a solid investment for guests who travel frequently to Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, or other locales. That said, everyone’s situations vary and individuals should carefully consider how DVC operates, its costs and benefits, and other considerations before purchasing.
For an introduction to DVC, read Disney Vacation Club (DVC): Disney’s Timeshare Program
Disney Vacation Club – Cost Benefits
DVC has two major benefits, the first being the anticipated, long-term savings for frequent Disney guests. The value of DVC points is set at the purchase price, while prices at Disney resorts increase between 5 – 10 % annually.
Depending on their traveling habits, then, Disney guests can save money through DVC. Disney’s website notes the cost of buying into DVC, on average, is equal to approximately seven Disney family on-site vacations go here.
DVC membership includes discounts on the following:
- Annual Passes and Premium Annual Passes
- Walt Disney World water parks, DisneyQuest and Pleasure Island
- Disney restaurants (select restaurants)
- Recreational programs and theme-park tours
- Disney resort room rates for cash (non-DVC) reservations
DVC members enjoy resort perks regular Disney guests don’t that can save money: free high-speed Internet access, free self-service laundry, and no additional charges for more than two adults in a DVC room.
Note: DVC member discount programs are subject to change, although DVC points don’t.
Disney Vacation Club – Vacation Benefits
Another type of DVC benefit involves vacation planning. DVC’s points system offers flexibility. Members needn’t commit to staying at one particular Disney resort on a set schedule. DVC points may also be used at other, non-Disney resorts.
A complete list of other DVC member benefits is given to owners when they check into their DVC resort, but include:
- Early booking privileges, 11 months in advance for a home resort, and 7 months in advance for other locations
- DVC Member Services, for toll-free, vacation-planning assistance
- Pool hopping privileges between Walt Disney World resorts (some exclusions and conditions apply)
- Freedom to purchase the Disney Dining Plan or cook in their unit’s kitchens
Disney Vacation Club – Considerations
In addition to considering their traveling habits and financial obligations, Disney fans should be aware of several considerations.
Perhaps the most important thing to understand is DVC is not a real-estate investment but a prepaid vacation plan. While members do purchase a deeded real-estate interest in DVC, they don’t own their points forever. Points expire in 2042, 2054, 2057, or 2060, depending on a member’s DVC home resort. Ownership may be transferred to other parties in consultation with DVC.
Total initial and ongoing costs for DVC should also be considered. Initial purchase costs are factored as a minimum of 160 points at $112 per point, excluding closing costs, for a total of $17, 920 plus any financing costs and interest. DVC members also pay annual dues, calculated by number of points. Yearly dues increases are roughly equivalent to increases in Disney resort rates, though that rate is not guaranteed.
Disney promotes DVC’s cost effectiveness and convenience. That’s not always the case. While DVC members may stay outside their home resorts, it’s often not cost effective or convenient to do so – especially for non-Disney accommodations. Booking during peak Disney travel periods or for other popular destinations can be difficult. DVC points must be booked or banked within a certain period or they expire.
Other considerations are lifestyle changes. They may be directly tied to finances –loss of income, retirement, educational bills, or medical expenses – or more general – shifting vacationing interests, relocation, or changes in family structures. There’s also the “Disney exhaustion” factor, when a DVC vacation no longer appeals.
Disney Vacation Club – DVC Research
Buying into Disney Vacation Club is a lengthy, sometimes complicated process, especially because members may buy directly from Disney or through DVC resale agents. Initial research can be conducted at the Disney Vacation Club website or by visiting the DISboards DVC forum.
Guests seriously considering DVC should stay at one or more DVC resorts before attending a DVC presentation. Guests may reserve a room directly through Disney or rent points from a DVC member, the latter which helps demonstrate how the DVC points system works.