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The DVC Buying Guide Disney Doesn't Want You to Read

You get discounts that counteract some of the expenses

Image: Disney

In 2016, Disney >modified the DVC program in a way that was more beneficial to people who purchase directly from the company. Potential buyers who choose the option in the next section won’t enjoy these benefits, so please keep this in mind. It’s only for those who buy straight from Disney.

The benefits offered to DVC members are generally discounts on various products, services, and meals. For example, many Disney restaurants offer savings of 10-20 percent off a meal to a person who presents their DVC membership card. The same is true at several Disney retailers, even including DisneyStore.com. They also provide percentage discounts on park tours. While the savings aren’t huge, every little bit adds up at Disney. I like to think of the DVC 20 percent meal discount as paying for the tip of my server. And the store discounts mean that my wife can buy 20 percent more stuff for the same price. I’m sure some people would see it as getting the current amount of stuff for 20 percent less, but she doesn’t think that way.

Note that Disney’s Membership Benefits exist beyond discounts. They also host member events, a special tour of Soarin’ Around the World, and the DVC Lounge. The last benefit is my current favorite.  At the DVC Lounge, you can escape the hustle and bustle of a crowded day at Epcot, sneaking off to an air-conditioned area. Disney provides free beverages and USB chargers. So, you can cool off while recharging your smart device. All of these benefits are great. The question is how much they’re worth to you. And that’s because…

Savvy shoppers can save money

Image: Disney

What’s changed about DVC membership over the last couple of years is the price. Critics of Disney, even those who otherwise love the company, note that the cost of everything is increasing at a near-constant pace. Something that was affordable only a couple of years ago may exceed a person’s budget today.

The same is true of DVC. When I first discussed membership, you could purchase a direct contract for $110 per point at a theme park resort. That price is still available, but it’s only for offsite properties at Vero Beach, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina. Both of these resorts are susceptible to higher maintenance fees due to hurricane issues. To buy DVC ownership at a Walt Disney World property, you’ll have to pay at least $140 per point. The resort that they’re pushing at the moment, Poly, is $176 per point. At Disneyland, the base price is $180 per point.  That’s…a lot.

Image: Disney

The DVC resales marketplace works differently. While you won’t receive any Membership Extras by signing up this way, you’ll get a lot more for your money in terms of points. And points are what matters most about DVC membership. 100 points at $140 is an investment of $14,000. For that amount, you can purchase 200 (!) points via DVC resales.

This option may sound too good to be true. It circles back to the earlier fear that you can’t afford DVC membership. Here’s what you need to know. Disney has to honor certain state and federal guidelines with regards to selling an ownership interest in their resorts. The housing market includes stipulations that an owner has the right to give/sell their stake to someone else. So, Disney cannot stop the resales market, and that’s an opportunity for the savvy shopper.

Several sites offer DVC deeds for sale. They operate as a kind of secondary market no different to a real estate agent who only shows you existing homes rather than new ones. A couple of these resellers have even participated in DVC Roundtables here at Theme Park Tourist. They’re experts in their field, and they have full awareness of the current market value of a DVC ownership interest. By using one of them, something my family has done in buying a pair of contracts, you’ll get a lot more for your money than if you go through Disney.

Image: Disney

Having said that, there is a trade-off today that didn’t exist when my family joined. When Disney altered the rules of DVC ownership, they took away all membership benefits for people who buy through the used DVC contract marketplace. You’ll want to study the list carefully to decide if any of them matter enough to you that you’re willing to pay more.

I also suggest a slightly different tactic to friends. I point out that they can purchase via resale for cheap. Then, they can turn around and buy 25 points directly from Disney. The minimum points purchase requirement is lower for existing members. So, a clever buyer can get most of their points for less on the resale market and then gain the Membership Extras via a modest direct points purchase.

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There are 7 comments.

I looked into the DVC many times and took a tour of the Polynesian to see the new building. There are some shady ways that they don't tell you the entire cost and they make it seem like you will be saving money a lot faster than you really are. It's takes about 8 years of consecutive trips until you start to save money on your stay. If you know you will be going to Disney every year for many years to come, it's a great value. I've almost pulled the trigger a couple of times but the biggest downfall for me is how far you need to book in advance if you want to guarantee the hotel that you want. At least a year in advance doesn't really work for me.

One thing to note is that you can finance the cost. Sure 17k seems expensive up front. But with a modest downtime the you can pay less than 200 per month.

We just got into DVC and cut wait to use it. My buddy was bugging me saying that I'm locked into a disney vacation. Yeah but I want a disney vacation and will plan my savings around that.

David
We are currently looking to purchase DVC at our next trip, this coming March / April. If I am getting your article correctly I can buy the minimum from Disney direct and the add to this number of points from buying resale, and still maintain DVC benefits.
1) Is that correct
2) would I be able to add these points to my direct purchase home resort
Buying direct first adding resale later
Please let me know your thoughts and possible hidden downsides
Thanks

Hi, did you ever receive a response? I have the same question

Janet I did not get a sufficent answer. I did further research and we did purchase into the Wilderness lodge. We still feel good about this purchase and have 2 vacations already scheduled. If you have any questions I will answer the best that I can

Thank you for the response and congrats on your purchase. Did you purchase directly from DVC or was it resale?

Hi David, great article, thank you. We are in the UK and currently looking into DVC trying to keep a balanced view and not get caught up in the Disney Bubble! I would be interested to know your thoughts on pros/cons of a Uk buyer if you have any. Thanks

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