DVC 101: The Ins, Outs, Ups and Downs of Discovering Disney’s Best Kept Secret

You know the old saying “write what you know” – well I can write about Disney till the cows come home, but there are some things I just know are better left to the experts. I thought it was time to bring in some of those experts and let them share their knowledge on subjects to which I might not otherwise do justice. In this case, I asked a wonderful twitter friend who goes by the handle KidaniKatie {aka Katie Siloac} to give our readers a rundown of DVC 101. I knew Katie was a DVC member (her username may have given that away) and I loved her site TheDVCLife.com so I thought it was a perfect place to start.

I know my family and I have wanted to become Disney Vacation Club members since its inception, way back when Old Key West was simply called Disney’s Vacation Club Resort and was the only option to buy into. It’s just not been in the cards for us to purchase, although we almost took the plunge a few years back when we did the tour and presentation when Kidani Village was being built. We still hope to be members some day soon, especially with our family of five (six when my mom comes with us) it would make perfect sense. But – is it really right for us? Is it right for you? What exactly do all the points and home resorts and…well, I should really just let Katie tell you. Please give her a warm welcome and just maybe she’ll come back and tell us other fun stuff about Disney!!

 

DVC 101: The Ins, Outs, Ups and Downs of Discovering Disney’s Best Kept Secret

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Owning the Disney Vacation Club may be a dream of many Disney fans.  It’s like owning Mickey Mouse, right? Well the truth is, the Disney Vacation Club, albeit magical, is a long term commitment and takes plenty of research. And right here, right now, I want to help you with that. Yes you. Should you buy into DVC? And should you buy resale or through Disney? And how many points? And what should your home resort be? And what is the square root of pi?  We are going to figure this out for you today.

Should I Buy?

First things first: you need to ask yourself a couple of questions. Will you be traveling to Disney at least once every other year? Can you plan trips in advance? Are you okay with giving up bargain hunting for the sake of timeshare ownership? Are you financially able? Answer these honestly and from the heart. And pending you answered “yes”, it is time to figure out just how to buy into the Club.

Resale vs. Disney

So you have decided to buy and now it is time to discover the best price. The first thing you’ll want to consider is if you want to buy via a resale outlet or through Disney. Resale outlets are brokerage firms selling contracts for DVC members who do not want them any longer. In essence, you bid on a contract and then it is submitted to Disney for review. If the bid is too low, Disney will buy the contract themselves and you are back to square one. This is called right of first refusal. Fear not, your real estate agent will coach you through the process. So why purchase resale?  There are a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, Disney is currently only selling and promoting certain resorts. And second of all, you can get a good deal from those sellers who really need to get rid of their contract. Now that you know there are two avenues to purchase DVC let’s take a gander at some of the factors you will consider that will steer you into the direction of where and who you want to purchase from.

Home Resort, Booking Windows, Contract Life and Dues

A DVC member buys into a home resort. They can have multiple home resorts as well. What is a home resort? Well it simply means the resort you have a booking advantage at. A member can book at their home resort 11 months in advance and at 7 months a member can book at any DVC resort with ease. Let’s quickly name the DVC resorts you can own at.

On Walt Disney World Property:

Bay Lake Tower

Animal Kingdom Villas

Beach Club Villas

Boardwalk Villas

Old Key West

Saratoga Springs Resort

Villas at Wilderness Lodge

On Disneyland Property:

Grand Californian Villas

Off Disney Property:

Hilton Head Island Resort

Vero Beach Resort

Aulani Resort and Spa in Hawaii

So do you care about your home resort? You may. For busy times and popular times with DVC members (early December and October), home resort may be pertinent. For example, I recently could not get into Beach Club or Boardwalk Villas at 7 months for October because of the popularity of staying there due to Food and Wine. If Beach Club was a home resort of mine I could have booked it at 11 months. On the other hand, you may not care where you stay or you may tend to always book vacations not that far in advance. You will most likely be placed in a larger resort (Saratoga Springs or Old Key West) and have to waitlist for a room at another resort. If this does not matter to you buying resale may be the way to go as you can get fantastic deals on resorts like Saratoga.

Another thing to consider is the lifetime of contracts of each resort and the dues per point of each resort. They differ and you should inquire about them through Disney. Some home resort contracts end in 2042 while some end in 2057. It may matter to you how long your purchase will be in effect. One thing I want to state: many will tell you to buy a cheap resale at Vero Beach or Hilton Head and book a WDW resort at 7 months. This may work, however, I am a DVC blogger who will tell you I would not recommend this.  And again, if you always go to WDW don’t buy Grand Californian Villas. If you always go to WDW at least own a home resort there, regardless of what it is, just in case. Also consider dues. Hilton Head and Vero may both have a cheap contract price but the dues are considerably more than other resorts. And remember for the life of the contract you pay dues per point every single year. This is an important factor.

Currently Disney is selling Bay Lake Tower, Animal Kingdom Villas, Grand Californian Villas and Saratoga Springs Resort. If you are purchasing Bay Lake, Animal Kingdom or Grand Californian it may be best to purchase through Disney. If you are purchasing Saratoga or want another home resort, resale may be your best bet. Also consider that Disney does wonderful and easy financing and with resale it is much harder to finance.

How Many Points? Use Year, Banking & Borrowing

So by now you may have decided if home resort matters to you, what home resort you would like, and if you want to buy through Disney or a resale outlet. We have come pretty far. But now I want to touch base on possibly the most important “point”! How many points do you need? DVC is not a regular timeshare in that you do not buy a week a year, in a certain resort, in a certain room type. You buy an allotment of points and you can use those points at any resort, in any room type, in any way you wish.  So if you know your family goes every year in August and would like to stay in a one bedroom, purchase that amount of points plus a few extra in case of point chart reallocation. If you go at various times, in various room sizes, and at various resorts, you may just want to buy an allotment of points (the minimum is 160 through Disney), and see how you can use them. Every year you will get your allotment of points put into your account on your Use Year date and you can use them the way you would like. Your Use Year is simply your DVC anniversary and it can be any month of the year. For example, every December I get my allotment of 220 points deposited into my account for use.

But what if you go every other year? Or what if one year you want to have a large grand gathering? And goodness, what if one year you can’t go? Don’t fret. Because Disney allows you to bank points you don’t use into the next use year or borrow points from the next year into the current one.  If you go every other year what you would want to do is purchase ½ the points you need for your stay and then bank and borrow your way into your every other year amount you need!

What You Didn’t Want To See: Cost

So what will this cost you? That’s easy, your home and first born. Of course I’m kidding! But I will not sit here and tell you DVC is cheaper than the value menu at McDonald’s. It certainly isn’t and even after your initial purchase you pay dues every year that annually increase about 2-5%.  Your cost will vary on the amount of points you buy and what resort you buy at. It will vary if you buy through Disney or resale. But here is a quick example so you can get a general idea.

160 points at Animal Kingdom Villas through Disney will currently cost you:

160 points X the base price per point of $112 = $17,920. Subtract an incentive discount of $12 per point that is 160 X $12 = $1,920.  $17,920 – $1,920 is  $16,000. If financing, 10% is due. Consider Animal Kingdom Villas has a due of $4.9496 per point. So your annual dues this year will be $791.94, which you can also pay per month.

So there you have it, readers. So much information that you currently need a coffee and a Tylenol. We’ve discussed the general DVC information and believe it or not there is still so much to talk about! Did you know you can book other resorts, places, and even cruises with DVC points? And did you know you could rent your points out for money? But let’s save that for next time.  Oh, I forgot one thing. The square root of pi is 1.77245.



Katie Siloac is a devoted blogger, Disney lover and tech fanatic. After enjoying fan websites and Disney podcasts for years, joining the Disney Vacation Club pushed her into her passion of blogging about anything and everything Disney and DVC. You can find her on http://thedvclife.com, her photo blog http://disneyinmylife.com and on her podcast Betamouse where she joins her other co-hosts in talking about Disney and technology at http://betamouse.net.






  • http://www.studioscentral.com Matt Hochberg

    Very, very thorough write up. Nice job!

  • http://www.thedailymickey.com/ Tim Weston

    Thanks Katie and Suzanna for sharing this information about DVC. This is the kind of thorough review I’ve been looking for!

    I’d thought about buying a contract, but now I’m convinced that it’s WAY too expensive. Using Katie’s example of buying 160 points at Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, it would cost $16,000 and be good through January 31, 2057. If I purchased a contract on March 31, 2010 I’d be an owner for 46 years and 10 months.

    Assuming dues don’t increase from one year to the next, multiplying the current annual rate of $791.94 by 46 years and 10 months comes out to a whopping $37,089.19 spent on dues over the course of the contract. The total in dues comes out to over two times as much as the purchase price of the contract!!

    $53,089.19 (plus interest on however much was financed) is too much for me over the course of 46 years; it comes out to over $1100 a year. The only way I’d been able to afford it at those prices is if I won it as part of the Year of a Million Dreams promotion.

  • http://www.thedailymickey.com/ Tim Weston

    Thanks Katie and Suzanna for sharing this information about DVC; it's the most thorough summary of DVC I've seen to date.

    I'd thought about buying a contract, but now I'm convinced that it's WAY too expensive. Using Katie's example of buying 160 points at Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, it would cost $16,000 and be good through January 31, 2057. If I purchased a contract on March 31, 2010 I'd be an owner for 46 years and 10 months.

    Assuming dues don't increase from one year to the next, multiplying the current annual rate of $791.94 by 46 years and 10 months comes out to a whopping $37,089.19 spent on dues over the course of the contract. The total in dues comes out to over two times as much as the purchase price of the contract!!

    $53,089.19 (plus interest on however much was financed) is too much for me over the course of 46 years; it comes out to over $1100 a year. The only way I'd been able to afford it at those prices is if I won it as part of the Year of a Million Dreams promotion.

  • http://zannaland.com Zanna

    Tim your math is the part I hate whenever we sign loan papers – you don't want to know what the total cost of our house will be after 30 years. ;P

    I am glad you liked the post though, I agree Katie did a great job!!

  • Laura

    Thank you so much for this write up! This is something my family and I have just begun to consider and the information here will definitely help in our final decision. It's nice to see it broken down in terms that I can easily understand.

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  • http://www.theaffordablemouse.com/ Nancy

    Katie, great job of simply explaining something that can get complex very easily. We purchased DVC in 2005, and purchased Hilton Head via resale, since we wanted the chance to be able to book HH in the summer and knew the only way we could was having the 11 month window….and we knew that no matter when we went to WDW we could get a room “somewhere”… (I will say that our next “add-on” will definitely be Boardwalk or Beach Club, as they are our favorites.) And the resale process was, by the way, VERY easy to do.

    I did want to comment on the cost though, because clearly that is a huge issue. One thing that really helped us decide to do it, was to calculate the cost of accommodations on-site, 1-2 times per year: for us, DVC was a clear savings. For those who won't go as often, it may not be. Gotta do that math!

    Anyway, thanks so much for a great post!

  • http://www.BeyondTheAttractions.com/ Lisa Battista

    I would say, “Consider buying more points than you think you need.”

    I know, it's crazy talk, especially with the price per point. We heard this advice from many people and we thought we were oh, so smart — we would make sure we bought enough points. We carefully thought and planned and thought and planned. We were sure we purchased enough points for our vacationing style. Fast forward a couple of years and we are always borrowing more points from a future year. I wish we had listened to other DVC members and purchased a bit more than we thought we would need.

  • http://wdwnotjustforkids.com/ Hedy

    Great post, Katie.

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  • http://thedvclife.com/ Katie

    All, thank you for the kind words about the post! DVC is so complicated and I hope this was an easy read. For many people DVC doesn't work but if you are an avid Disney traveler who stays deluxe it can totally be a “deal”. I hope to be back with more DVC secrets!

  • http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/ AJ

    Woo! My head hurts, but it's always good to be walked through the breakdown. Awesome job, Katie!! I'm always eyeing those re-sales on the market; it would be lovely to own.