Deciding whether you should join the Disney Vacation Club requires a lot of thought. You must determine how often you’ll visit the park, how much you plan to spend on lodgings when you do, and how confined you will feel by staying at a finite number of resorts each time. I have presented the pros and cons of membership in previous articles, and I’ve also listed additional considerations about whether DVC is right for you.
In the wake of these articles, you have posed several great questions that didn’t quite fit into any of the discussion above. Theme Park Tourist always loves reading your comments, and I’ve collated many of them over the past year in anticipation of this article. So, I want to take this opportunity to respond to a few of your ideas, concerns, and suggestions for DVC in hopes of shedding additional light on the subject. Here are a dozen responses to some of my favorite posts.
The Three Wise Men all worry about the initial amount of Myrrh required :
“I love when owners say it only cost them the price of their yearly dues. Oh, and the $25,000 initial purchase price.
“If it wasn't for that initial 25k (the price of a new car btw) I would join in a heartbeat.”
“It’s not an investment but a vacation you buy in advance.”
Gentlemen, I fully understand your issues with that sort of upfront fee. The cost for direct purchase of DVC membership has increased further since you all offered your thoughts. I presume this news makes you even less inclined to consider purchase, and that’s completely understandable.
First of all, the $25,000 purchase price is a bit of exaggeration. Yes, you CAN spend that much but only if you choose to do so. New members can buy directly through Disney for as little as $11,000 for 100 points, and a current promotion at Old Key West and Saratoga Springs is also enticing for new customers who don’t require as many points. Currently, you can buy as few as 25 points at those resorts, which lowers the purchase price to as little as $3,375, effectively the price of one good vacation.
If the combination of dollars per point remains too high in your estimation, I would note that resale membership negates many of these issues. Even with the recent rise in average points cost at the various resale sites, you can still find a 100-point membership for as little as $7,500, which is only $75 a point.
For that money that you can finance to pay over time, you receive a week’s vacation at a Disney resort at the most popular amusement park in the world. I hope that you don’t allow your perception of a significant entry price prevent you from exploring your DVC memberships options if you truly are interested.
Along these lines, Cash Strapped ponders:
“How much do you have to put down to start?”
As you can infer from the above, the down payment is entirely up to you. Disney requires 10 percent of the purchase price on most transactions and then angles to finance the rest. They make more money that way. If you buy 100 points directly through Disney for most DVC resorts right now, you’re looking at somewhere between $1,350 and $1,700.
If you purchase via resale instead, a service such as Prosper or Lending Club would require no immediate down payment. Instead, you would start making monthly payments once you’ve acquired the loan. If you believe that cash is king, the amount of initial payment is the sum total of the number of points you desire. You can calculate this information on your end by looking at current DVC pricing and promotions.
Disney Wife loves her man for his spreadsheets:
“We have gone back and forth and back and forth on this subject. My husband says when he crunches the numbers, it would be cheaper just to save the money you would be paying out and book your own trip. Are there any other "teasers" that are offered that I might could sway him with? We have been and listened through the presentation. We go to Disney once a year at least.”
I think that you and your husband are doing the right thing by putting a great deal of thought into your decision. I know that some people make impulse purchases during their first sales pitch and then experience buyer’s remorse over time. Yes, there are a lot more happy DVC members than unhappy ones, but this is not a choice that you should rush.
My suggestion is a bit different. Rather than providing you a list of the best DVC membership incentives, the subject of a future article, I’ll offer a different solution instead. Why don’t you and your husband rent DVC points for your next annual trip? You should expect to pay about $12-$14 per point, so calculate the number of points you’ll need by looking at a DVC Points Chart. There are several reputable rental point services, and you can also frequent various Disney boards to find current members willing to rent their points for a fee.
While on your trip, you can enjoy many of the benefits of DVC membership such as booking the Disney Dining Plan. In this manner, your next vacation will operate as a trial run for DVC. If you have a great time, you and your husband will probably join. If you don’t, you’ll have dodged a bullet. Either way, the cost of renting points is roughly the same cost as staying in a moderate resort while paying cash. So, you get an upgraded resort experience for the same money.