When trying to determine whether to purchase a Disney Vacation Club membership directly from Disney, or via a resale broker (like our official sponsor, The Timeshare Store), there are several factors to consider.
Prior to March 2011, there was no difference between purchasing resale or direct. You received the same DVC member benefits regardless. There have since been a few policy changes to purchasing Disney Vacation Club via resale. Now, only those who purchase directly from Disney can take advantage of special members-only benefits; I’ll outline them below.
On the other hand, the price difference when buying resale can be substantial.
Purchasing directly from Disney at Boulder Ridge, for example, will cost $176 per point (and you’ll be waitlisted for it). On average, that same resort on the resale market will cost you between $95 and $105 per point – a savings of at least $71 per point. Let’s say you buy 150 points direct from Disney — that’s $26,400. At $105 per point resale, that’s $15,750 or a savings of over $10k.
Of course, you have to decide if member benefits will be worth it to you over the long haul. Without that direct membership, there is no discount on annual passes, no merchandise or dining discounts, no access to member cruises or special member events at the parks. There are also 3 outside exchange options that resale buyers cannot take advantage of — Adventures by Disney, the Concierge Collection, and the Disney Collection. For some, that’s enough to warrant the extra cost. It should be noted, however, that most DVC owners consider using points for things like Adventures by Disney, Disney Cruise Line, and other exchanges are not a good value when using Disney Vacation Club points. For some, the option to have those outside exchanges along with the other perks that come from purchasing directly through Disney are worth the additional cost.
It should be noted that you also get many of the same merchandise discounts with your annual pass (in fact, in many cases, the AP discount is larger than the DVC discount). Also, if you join Tables in Wonderland you get a much better discount on dining (20% off including alcohol). The biggest perk for most DVC members is the annual pass discount.
What some have done (myself included) is to purchase the minimum point buy-in for a DVC resort direct from Disney, then add on through resale. This way, you have the perks of direct membership and you can build up your points at a far more reasonable price. For many, however, the perks of membership really don’t add the value they are looking for, so purchasing a resale contract is the way to go. It all depends on what you want out of your Disney Vacation Club experience.