Under the agreement a DVC member signs when they join the Disney Vacation Club, Disney retains the right of first refusal over any sales of that contract.
So, let’s say you’re a DVC member and for whatever reason, you’ve decided to sell your membership. When you list your property for sale with a broker (like our official sponsor, The Timeshare Store), your agent will work with you to set a price that is fair to you, and also in line with what the market will bear.
Once someone makes an offer on that property, the deal is sent to Disney for the right of first refusal. Much has been said and speculated about how/why/when Disney exercises this right. The truth is, only Disney knows for sure. Certainly, if Disney feels the agreed upon price for the contract is too low, they will buy it back in order to preserve the market value of their product. There are also times when the price may be in line with the current market, but the size of the contract and location is desirable for Disney to purchase back.
When Disney does exercise this right, and they purchase your contract, those points are then available to Disney to resell at the resort in question. So, while properties like the Polynesian and Boardwalk have long since sold out, if points come back to Disney at those properties through the right of first refusal, Disney will sell them to those who have signed up to be on a waiting list.
Disney is first and foremost a business, and if they can make money for themselves by exercising their right of first refusal, they will.
Is RofR common? Yes and no. It’s not unheard of for Disney to exercise the right, but more contracts go through than don’t. Disney typically buys back between 7% and 15% of what is resold on the secondary market.
There’s a frequently updated list of purchases made by DISboards members over the years that shows which contracts have gone through, and which ones have been taken back by Disney. While this list is great, it is by no means a guarantee that your offer will get past Disney. A contract that was waived a month ago could be taken this month — even at the same resort, number of points and price per point. So, you can use this as a guide, but remember — nothing is guaranteed until Disney passes on the contract!