Deciding to join the Disney Vacation Club is a big decision. We all went through it, and we had a thousand questions in the process. One of our goals is to try and answer as many questions as possible. The DVC forum on DISboards is also a great source of information.
There are a number of benefits to joining the DVC. First, the value of the points that you purchase will never change. The same value you receive today, will be the same value you receive in 30 years. While the cost of staying at a Disney hotel rises by 5-10% per year, this is a great hedge against inflation. DVC offers discounts at the Disney Water Parks and a variety of WDW restaurants, recreational programs and tours. A complete list is provided to members when they check in at their resort and the DVC Member website.
You also have the benefit of being able to book at your home resort up to 11 months in advance of your check out date. Your home resort is the resort at which you purchased your interest. Current DVC resorts are:
All of the discount programs are subject to change and may be modified at any time, but the DVC resorts and their total points may not be changed.
When you buy into the DVC, you purchase a certain number of points per year. Let's say you purchased 200 points. You would be assigned a "use year" (that is the month of the year in which your points would recycle). For example, my use year is February, and I own 200 points. Every February, 200 points are available for me to use that year. When I decide to book my vacation, I choose the dates I want to visit, and the type of room that I want to stay in. That will determine how many points that visit will cost me. I also have the option of banking my points into the next use year, or borrowing points against next year for this year. Which leads to the next question...
This depends on how often you plan to visit Disney World, what size accommodation you would need, and what times of the year you want to visit. Take a look at the DVC Point Charts and calculate the number of points you might need based on what type of vacation habits you have.
Many ask if Disney Vacation Club will change the point requirement for a stay at a DVC resort. While the total number of points sold at the resort is a fixed number and cannot be changed, point needs for stays can be changed. However, if points needed for some nights (or room types) are raised, other nights (or room types) must be lowered, as the total points required to stay at the resort for the year cannot be changed. This has occurred only once, in 1996 at OKW, and is likely to happen only if necessary to keep resort utilization in balance for the benefit of DVC members. At that time some nights were raised a few points, some were lowered a few points and most were not changed at all.
The DVC is part of RCI (a large, worldwide timeshare organization). Your Disney Vacation Club points can be traded for accommodations at many of the RCI resorts nationwide. You can also use your points to stay at other Disney resorts, as well as the DVC locations at Vero Beach, FL and Hilton Head, SC. and a number of other vacation opportunities such as the Disney Cruise Line and special Adventure programs.
You are free to sell your interest in the DVC just as you would any other real estate property. Many people list their DVC properties with companies such as dvcresalemarket.com
There are a couple of things you should keep in mind when purchasing resale. First, watch out for companies who want to charge you any up front fees. You should never pay anything until a sale is final. Second, make sure that the resale agent you are dealing with is a licensed real estate agency. This lends a great deal of credibility to that agency, and gives you direct recourse (through the state board of realtors) should anything go wrong.
Disney Vacation Club resorts are busy places, there is no question about that. However, if you plan far enough in advance, you should be able to get the dates you want without much of a problem. Remember, at your home resort, you can reserve up to 11 months in advance of your check out date and 7 months in advance at other DVC resorts.
Resale buyers can make reservations at other DVC resorts and RCI exchanges, but cannot use their points for a Disney Cruise, Adventures By Disney vacations, Concierge Collection, or any of the non-DVC Disney resorts.