The Disney Vacation Club has announced they would no longer be offering Membership Extras to those members who purchased their ownership points through the resale market. This topic was discussed on the Dis Unplugged weekly show on April 12, 2016 and got me thinking about how this will affect the resale market. So, I broke open the abacus and did some calculations to see where the best value would be.
First we need to discuss what membership extras offer. The biggest extra, in my opinion, is the discounted annual pass. You also receive 10 to 15 % off at various shops and restaurants throughout Walt Disney World. These discounts for food and shopping are very similar to the Annual Pass discount or Disney Visa discounts so we will ignore them for this analysis. The savings for an annual Platinum Pass for 2016 is $100. You can save an additional $100 if you move to a Gold Pass but that pass has some blackout dates.
For this analysis, we will need to make some assumptions up front. We will assume you are looking for a contract of 150 points for each resort discussed and you have a typical family size of four (two adults and two children). We will also assume you are going to use your points at your home resort.
If you were to purchase through Disney direct and buy points at their newest property, Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, you will be paying $168 per point. That is a total purchase price of $25,200. Since you will have use of those points for fifty years, the annual cost per point is $3.36. Add in the annual dues for 2016 of $6.09 per point and you are looking at a yearly usage cost of $9.45 per point or $1,417.50 for the entire 150 points. Those 150 points will get you at least five nights most times of the year in a studio. If you were to book a DVC studio at the Polynesian directly through Disney for July 10 to 16, that non-discounted stay would be $3,267. Seems like a very good deal. You are saving over half the rack rate by using your vacation points instead of paying cash directly through Disney.
The lobby of the Polynesian Village Resort
Now, to further illustrate whether the resale market makes sense, let’s look at two different resorts and do the same analysis. While I did not complete a full analysis, the average resale for the Boardwalk Villas is around $98 per point on the various sites from which you can purchase. Your total purchase for points would be $14,700. This sure is a significant savings over the Poly but the contract end year for the Boardwalk is 2042 (this means after 2042, your contract is null and void and you no longer have those points). Based on 26 years of usage, the yearly cost per point would be $3.77. If we add the annual dues per point of $6.18, the total usage cost per point for 2016 is $9.95. Based on this total yearly cost, the Boardwalk is actually more than the Poly. You would be looking at $1,492 for your 150 points. To book a studio for the same time period at the Boardwalk would be $2,815 through Disney. Again, we are seeing significant savings. Also, you would only be using 89 points for the same time period stay, so you are really only paying $885.55 based on the $9.95 cost per point. You will still have 61 points to use for another stay or to extend your stay by several days.
View on the Boardwalk
Lastly, we will look at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. The average resale contract is around $86 per point. That means your total contract purchase would be $12,900. This is the cheapest yet. Let’s continue with the same analysis. The contract end year for Saratoga is 2054 so that means you will have 38 years of point usage left on the contract. The yearly cost per point would be $2.26. Annual dues for 2016 are $5.44 per point so the total annual cost per point for 2016 would be $7.70. That is by far our cheapest per point! The stay of six nights that I mentioned earlier would be 100 points or $770 worth of points. Disney’s rack rate for a studio would be $2,423.
Room at Saratoga Springs
So, after all those numbers and analysis, what is the best deal? As it seems with everything at Walt Disney World, it depends. Would I make a decision based on receiving a discounted annual pass? No. DVC clearly states that these benefits can be removed at any time. When Disney Vacation Club first started, membership included a free annual pass. We can see how that has changed. There may come a time when Disney removes that benefit from members that even purchase directly from Disney. If having the contract for the longest period of time is most important, then the Polynesian is for you.
My biggest piece of advice would be to purchase where you want to stay. DVC booking procedure allows you to book eleven months out at your home resort and seven months out at all other resorts. Why is this important? My wife and I always travel down to WDW for a week for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival. We currently own points at Saratoga Springs. When we went to book a studio at the Boardwalk when our seven month window opened, there were no rooms to be had. Had we owned at Boardwalk, we would have most likely been able to find a room at the eleven month mark. Even though from my analysis, the Boardwalk had the highest point usage cost, the added cost doesn’t make up for being able to walk through the International Gateway of Epcot and be at World Showcase within ten minutes of leaving my room.