This thread is designed to help answer some of the frequently asked questions about the Disney Vacation Club - hopefully it'll be of use to you. What is the Disney Vacation Club?
The Disney Vacation Club (DVC) allows you to purchase an ownership interest in a Disney resort. It’s their version of a timeshare, but that’s where the similarities end, as it’s not like a traditional timeshare. Instead, the DVC operates a points system, where you decide how many points you want to purchase and then you decide how and when to use them, rather than you being committed to going to a certain place at a certain time of the year, every year.
First let’s look at where you can stay with your DVC membership, before we move on to discuss how the points system works: What resorts does the DVC have?
The DVC has ten resorts of its own – three aren’t even at Walt Disney World. Non Walt Disney World resorts:
Vero Beach Resort, Florida
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa (Disneyland, California) Walt Disney World resorts:
Old Key West Resort
The Villas at Wilderness Lodge
Beach Club Villas
Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas
Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort Can you still book stays at other Walt Disney World resort hotels using DVC points?
You can, but other Disney hotels, which are not DVC resorts, will cost you a lot more points. For example, a week in a studio at the Beach Club Villas anytime in October 2010 will cost 105 points. By comparison, a week in a standard room at the Yacht Club at the same time will cost 352 points.
It's also worth noting that the number of points you need to use at DVC resorts during the year rarely fluctuates, whereas for non-DVC resorts, it will increase. The same week at a Yacht Club standard room in October 2004 would have cost 310 points, so that's an increase of 42 points in six years.
However, do remember that you can't book rooms at resorts that neighbour a Disney Vacation Club resort. That means you can't use your points for stays in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boardwalk Inn, the Beach Club, the Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, as each resort has a DVC resort attached to it. DVC points cannot be used to book value resorts either – that is All Stars Sport, Music and Movies or Pop Century. What about other Disney destinations?
You can use your points to pay for hotels at Disney resorts around the world - Disneyland in California, Disneyland Resort Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and the Toyko Disney Resort. Again, you will end up using a lot more points this way. Taking the above example, a week long stay in a standard view room at the Disneyland Hotel in California in October 2010 would cost you 192 points and a week long stay in the Newport Bay Club at Disneyland Resort Paris (very similar in theming to the Beach Club) in late October 2010 would cost you 193 points.
You can also use your points to pay for Disney Cruises. Remember that the cruises are priced in points per person, rather than per night. The number of points per person may seem expensive, but don’t forget that the price does include meals and onboard entertainment, which of course isn’t the case in any other Disney hotel. Can I use my points for vacations other than Disney?
Yes! There are three other collections offered by DVC, where your vacations can be paid using your DVC points.
1) World Passport Collection
This allows you to travel to destinations all over the world. There are literally hundreds of destinations across the States in the World Passport Collection and other worldwide destinations include the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and even Australia and New Zealand.
2) The Concierge Collection
Hotels included in this collection aim to provide an unparalleled vacation experience. Most of the hotels are in the States, although this collection also includes the Royal Garden Hotel in London, England. The Regency in New York, the Fairmont in San Francisco, the Whitehall in Chicago, the Mandarin Oriental in Washington DC, and the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego (which the Grand Floridian was modeled on) are amongst the American hotels featured in this collection.
3) The Adventurer Collection
Although it's technically Disney, the Adventurer Collection features Adventures by Disney, specially arranged guided tours to different parts of America and the world. So there are a lot of places to use my DVC points – how does this points system work then?
The minimum points purchase for anyone buying into DVC through Disney for the first time is 160 points. These points are then available to use each year of your membership of the DVC. You will be allocated a use year when you join, by which time you must have either used, borrowed or banked (explained later) your points, otherwise you will lose them.
Currently, the DVC is only selling ownership interests to new members in Saratoga Springs, Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, Bay Lake Tower and the Grand Californian Villas, although if you purchase your points through re-sale, you will have a wider range of DVC resorts to pick from.
Existing DVC members can now submit details of how many additional points they would like to purchase at other DVC resorts and for a $500 downpayment, Disney will do their best to come up with what is required. However, there is no guarantee of how long the process will take and sales are at the market price.
Let’s talk about buying through the DVC first. Points at Saratoga Springs, Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas and the Grand Californian currently cost $112 a point, with points at Bay Lake Tower costing $120 a point, although special offers or incentives may be available. DVC offers financing or you can choose your own method of financing or pay in cash.
Saratoga Springs points are good until 2054, with Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas points good until 2057 and Bay Lake Tower and Grand Californian points good until 2059. At all other DVC resorts, your ownership interest expires in 2042.
This is part of the reason why you’ll find other DVC resorts, available through re-sale, are usually available at a cheaper price. However, bear in mind that if you go through re-sale, you’ll also have to pay your closing costs on the deal, whereas if you purchase directly through DVC, then you won’t have any closing costs to pay.
Whichever method of purchasing you choose, the resort where you purchase your ownership interest will become your “home resort” – this is a useful term to know, as it makes a difference when it comes to actually making your reservation! How many points will I need?
The number of points you will use to book your vacation depend principally on three things:
1) Whether you’re booking a DVC resort or a non-DVC Disney resort.
See the earlier examples for the difference between paying for DVC resorts and other Disney resorts.
2) What days of the week you’re planning to stay.
Friday and Saturday nights are always more expensive than Sunday through to Thursday night stays at DVC resorts. A weekly price is offered for all DVC resorts.
3) What time of the year you want to travel.
Generally, the busier the time of the year, the more points your vacation will cost. For DVC resorts, there are five seasons of the year:
is the cheapest and generally covers January, September and the first two weeks of December.
is the second cheapest and generally covers October, most of November (except Thanksgiving weekend) and the third week of December.
is the next season and generally covers the first two weeks in February, all of May and early June, along with the last two weeks in August.
is the second most expensive season and covers the final two weeks in February, March and April (excluding the two weeks around Easter), mid June to mid August and Thanksgiving weekend.
is the most expensive season and covers the two weeks around Easter and from Christmas Eve through until New Year’s Eve.
If you’re not sure how many points you’d use each year, then you can post your question in this forum with details of your usual vacations and we should be able to tell you how many points you’d need. Can the points change in the future?
The beauty of the DVC is that points are pretty much set in stone for future years. If one week of the year goes up by ten points, then another week of the year has to be reduced by ten points, so during the course of a year, the number of points will always remain the same. Generally any fluctuations from one time of the year to the following year will be minimal. This does help with vacation planning.
Remember though that this only
applies to the DVC resorts and not to any other Disney resort, park or the Concierge, World Passport or Adventurer Collections.
An example is the re-alignment of points for 2010, when Friday and Saturday night stays were reduced in point value, with the points required for stays from Sundays through to Thursdays increasing correspondingly. What happens if I don’t have enough points in one year or I want to store them up for a big vacation?
This is where you can bank or borrow your points. If you plan far enough ahead, you can decide to bank your whole year’s points for the following year and the same applies to borrowing points from the following year - meaning you could have three year's worth of points to spend on just one vacation!
The key to banking and borrowing is planning. The closer you get to the end of your use year, the lower the percentage of points you’ll be able to bank, with no points available to bank in the last four months of any Use Year. Remember also that you need to be sure before you bank or borrow points, as once they’ve been moved to another use year, they cannot be returned to where they came from! You can only bank and borrow points if you’re up to date with your annual dues and monthly loan payments, if you’re being financed through DVC. How do I make reservations?
You can make reservations for your home resort 11 months ahead of your check-out date, whereas for all other DVC resorts, you can only book 7 months before your check-out date.
Disney hotels at Walt Disney World, Disneyland or Disneyland Resort Paris or reservations for the Disney Cruise Line, the Adventurer Collection and the Concierge Collection can be booked 11 months ahead. Hotels at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort or Tokyo Disney Resort can be booked six months in advance.
Some of the World Passport Collection can be booked two years in advance, while other parts can be booked 10 months in advance. Contact the DVC for more details.
You can make your bookings through Member Services on 800-800-9800 or 407-566-3800 from 9 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday (Thursday until 10.00 p.m.) and on Saturdays 1.00 - 5.00 p.m. Eastern time. You can fax your request through on 407-938-4151 or e-mail it to email@example.com
but allow two business days for a response to faxes and e-mails. You will need your Member number (on your DVC membership card) to make any bookings. What happens if I can’t get the booking I wanted?
Then you can go on the DVC wait list. Your name and request will be kept on the wait list until 31 days before your arrival and a lot of people have been very successful with getting the resort they originally wanted through being wait listed. You can only have two wait lists active at any time. What are the penalties and restrictions on cancellations and changes?
If you need to change a DVC reservation more than 31 days prior to your arrival and you are using fewer points, then the points will be restored to your existing use year. Changes made between 1 – 30 days prior to your arrival, which result in you using fewer points, will lead to those other points being put into a “holding account”. The points then have restrictions on how they can be used, for example, they cannot be banked or borrowed and will expire at the end of the use year, if you don’t use them. If you change your booking on the day you arrive and you’re using less points, then you will forfeit those points.
It’s a pretty similar system for cancellations. If you need to cancel a DVC reservation more than 31 days prior to your arrival, all your points will be restored to your account in your existing use year. Cancellations made 1 – 30 days prior to your arrival will go into the “holding account” and cancellations made on your arrival date mean all your points will be forfeited. Are there any other benefits to being a DVC member?
Lots – once you’re a DVC member, you get what’s called member perks - a range of Disney related discounts, although the DVC makes it clear that these offers aren’t a part of the ownership interest you’ve purchased. Click here
for details of some of the current offers.
Members staying at a DVC resort are permitted to use pools at other Disney resorts on property. It’s called “pool-hopping” and you can use other resorts’ pools, provided they are not full. Certain blackout dates apply at the busiest times of the year (Members are kept advised of these) and Members are not allowed to pool-hop to the pools at the Yacht and Beach Club and Animal Kingdom Lodge at any time of the year, unless they are staying at one of those resorts. Are there any other costs to being a DVC member?
The only other annual cost is your annual dues, which are payable each year by 14 February. Annual dues are usually around $3.80 - $5 per point, depending on your home resort.
The dues per point for 2009 were as follows:
Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas - $4.86
Bay Lake Tower - $3.67
Beach Club Villas - $5.00
Boardwalk Villas - $5.21
Hilton Head - $5.36
Old Key West - $4.73
Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa - $4.34
Vero Beach - $6.41
Villas at Wilderness Lodge - $5.04
If you book hotels from the World Passport Collection, Disney Collection, the Disney Cruise, Concierge Collection or Adventurer Collection, you will be charged a one-off booking payment of $95. What if I want to add on more DVC points?
You can add on a minimum of 25 points for cash purchases and a minimum of 50 points if you need financing through the DVC. Again, you can buy new points at Saratoga Springs, Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, Bay Lake Tower or the Grand Californian or you can apply to go on a wait list through the DVC for your existing home resort (or another DVC resort), but it may take some time for your points to become available and if the price of points goes up in the meantime, you will end up paying the increased price. How do I find out more about the Disney Vacation Club?
You can check out the official website: Disney Vacation Club
or call 1-800-500-3990 for a free video.
If you’re heading to Walt Disney World any time in the near future, then check out the DVC kiosks – they’re at every resort, all the parks and at Downtown Disney. They can offer more advice and arrange a tour for you. The tours aren’t high pressure and are well worth taking, if you really want to find out more before making your mind up. If you’ve got any other questions, then please post away in this forum – it’s the place to chat about all aspects of Owning the Magic : The Disney Vacation Club!
(disneymom9092) and Claudine
(WDWJAMBA) - your co-guides of Owning the Magic : The Disney Vacation Club forum