The Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is Disney’s timeshare division. As with other timeshares, you become a member by purchasing a real estate interest. Your purchase is based on your chosen allotment of Vacation Points that will be used to make resort reservations. Each resort has a points per night value so members know how many points they will need for their reservations. DVC resorts are located at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Hilton Head, Vero Beach and Aulani.
Many DVC members enjoy their membership and the value it provides for the way they travel. But it certainly doesn’t fit the way all Disney fans travel. Are you interested in the space that a Disney Villa can provide but don’t want to pay Disney’s hotel rates for these rooms? One option is renting DVC points directly from a member. Let’s follow the Lightyear family as they explore this process with help from DisBoards.com.
CASE STUDY: The Lightyear Family
Check in: Wednesday June 1, 2016
Check out: Sunday June 5, 2016
Desired Resort: Beach Club Villas
Room Type: One-bedroom Villa
Step #1: Understand The Risk
Many DVC members rent out the points that they won’t be able to use that year. The points have an expiration date so they need to use them or lose them each year. The Lightyear family must understand and be comfortable with the fact that their reservation is likely non-refundable. In case of an emergency, the member may be able to reschedule the trip for a later date for the Lightyears, but they will be at the mercy of availability, the expiration date of the points, and the member’s willingness or ability to spend the time to do it.
Step #2: Know What Is Included
The Lightyear family will receive all the same benefits of staying at a Disney resort as if they made the reservation directly with Disney on their own. This includes Magical Express, a 60 day window for booking Fastpass+, and Extra Magic Hours. It does not include daily housekeeping. This would be an additional charge and they would make these arrangements with the member, if interested. They also will not have access to DVC member-only perks.
Step #3: Calculate The Points
The Point Chart for the Beach Club for their dates indicates that a one-bedroom villa will cost 35 points per night Sunday-Thursday and 40 points per night on Friday and Saturday. Therefore, the points needed would be as follows:
Wednesday June 1 = 35 points
Thursday June 2 = 35 points
Friday June 3 = 40 points
Saturday June 4 = 40 points
TOTAL POINTS NEEDED = 150 POINTS
Step #4: Calculate The Potential Cost
The current rate for renting from a member averages $12 to $14 per point, which includes taxes. For 150 points, the Lightyear’s would spend $1,950 to $2,100 total for their 4 night stay. Being smart travelers, they compare the price of the same room on the Walt Disney World website, including any discounts offered.
Step #5: Find A DVC Member
The Lightyear family has done their homework and is comfortable proceeding with the rental process. They will now search for a DVC Member on the Rent/Trade Forum of DISboards.com. The best chance they have of getting their desired location is to start searching 11 months in advance for someone whose “home resort” is the Beach Club. The reason for this is that DVC members purchase points for a particular resort. That resort becomes their home resort and they can book it 11 months in advance. They can use those same points to book any other DVC resort but not until 7 months in advance.
Step #6: Research The Member
The Lightyear family found a poster on the Rent/Trade Forum that has 150 Beach Club Villa points to rent. They will want to respond quickly since these exchanges often happen rapidly. Once they do that, they will research the poster to verify their legitimacy and obtain a comfort level with this person. They can start by reviewing the poster’s messages on DISboards and searching the person online after obtaining their name. At the very least, they should check the Orange County Comptroller’s Office to verify that this person actually owns the DVC membership. It is a simple process of entering the name and seeing if there is a deed with Disney Vacation Development. A wonderful resource is the “How to Use This Board” thread on DISboards.com for additional tips.
Step #7: Seal The Deal
The Lightyears have vetted the member to the point that they are now comfortable proceeding with the arrangement. The member provided a written agreement clearly outlining the terms, including specific payment arrangements. The member will add Magical Express to the reservation once the Lightyears make their flight reservations. The member will also forward the email from Disney verifying the resort reservation. This will allow the Lightyears to view the reservation online any time they wish. They can link the reservation with their My Disney Experience account and tickets.
Hopefully the Lightyear’s experience will help you decide if renting DVC points directly from a member is the right choice for your vacation. Every traveler is different which makes all the booking options worth exploring. Whether you choose to book directly with Disney, a travel agent, a DVC member or a vacation rental service, doing a little research can have a big impact on your vacation!
Follow Liz Mroz on Twitter >@BuildingDisney