While the Disney Vacation Club may not be for everyone, for those that have taken the plunge and invested the money in DVC ownership, the various privileges that come with this timeshare program have made it a good enough value to justify the steep initial investment required to join Disney's timeshare program.
However, Disney tuned heads earlier this week when they announced that, effective immediately, guests who do not purchase an ownership interest directly from Disney Vacation Development Inc. will no longer be able to use Disney's membership extras program for DVC owners, which includes discounts on shopping, dining, and theme park tickets (including annual passes), plus access to special events including after-hours parties, movie screenings and more. Guests who purchase resale DVC will also not be elligible to recieve a DVC ID card.
Obviously, this is quite a controversial change, but it is not an entirely unexpected one, as Disney wants DVC members to feel that they are getting a premium value from the steep prices they pay per point. Couple this with the fact that DVC is one of the only timeshares that retains enough value over time to make selling a profitable (and occasionally lucrative) endeavor, and its a wonder why Disney has taken this long to implement such a program. Obviously, this is a big move for DVC and will certainly have some immediate as well long-lasting effects. However, let's get one big question DVC owners might have out of the way first...
1. If you already have your resale DVC, you can keep your perks
Let’s note right off the bat that even though this new policy goes into effect immediately for new Disney Vacation Club owners who purchase resale, if you already own points that were bought via resale and use these perks, there will be no change. You can still attend DVC events, and your discounts will still apply to merchandise, food, etc. This change only applies to those who purchased resale on or after April 5th, 2016. Additionally, if you purchased initially directly through Disney, but are looking to add points via resale at a later date, this change will not affect you either. So now that we’ve gotten the obvious out of the way, let’s look at some broader implications of this decision…
2. This is just the latest move to crack down on resales
Just like with any timeshare, Disney Vacation Club points can legally be sold on the resale market. But just like a car dealership doesn’t have to offer an extended warranty to someone you sell your vehicle to, Disney doesn’t have to provide benefits to those who are purchasing their points this way. And while the removal of discounts and special event access are certainly the most dramatic change of policy when it comes to resale DVC, it certainly isn’t the first.
In fact, while direct Disney Vacation club point purchasers have enjoyed a great deal of freedom when it comes to spending their points, it wasn’t all that long ago that Disney barred resale owners from using their points to reserve Disney Cruise Line trips, book Adventures by Disney packages or stay at participating third-party hotels.
3. Resale could become a lot cheaper
Though this all sounds like a bunch of bad news, there is a bit of a silver lining here. If DVC has always been outside of your price range, this newest development may put a points purchase within your reach. While it may take some time for the market to respond, this most recent development will almost certainly have a dealuing effect on resale DVC points over time, which means if you are simply looking to purchase points to stay on Disney property (and don’t care about discounts, events, etc.), you may be able to get some very good deals in the near future.
It is also worth noting that there is no minimum number of direct purchase points required in order to be eligible to use DVC perks, and an initial Disney Vacation Club contract size of just 25 points is enough for guests to qualify. After this initial investment, guests can then go to the resale market for any add-on point purchase they'd like, while still having access to their perks. Though this minimum contract size could change at any moment, right now the 25 point minimum is low enough that guests who are thinking seriously about buying resale but also want to have access to DVC perks could just make that initial purchase through Disney and then buy their (hopefully less expensive) resale points at a later date.
4. Renting could become more lucrative
As we’ve noted before, a great alternative to buying resale for those who want all the perks of DVC without the upfront costs of ownership is DVC rental. And with this new policy in place, it could become far more lucrative for current DVC owners to rent their points out rather than sell them, as this newest move could possibly depress and devalue the resale market.
Again, like the lower prices on the resale market, this change won’t happen overnight, but we wouldn’t be surprised if by this time next year there is increased availability for those looking to rent point as owners who aren’t using their memberships look to recoup some of the cost by renting instead of selling.
5. Resale still isn’t going away
Just like with any timeshare group, a Disney Vacation Club resale market will always exist. Though Disney is trying to make purchasing DVC from anyone other than themselves less lucrative, there will always be some resale inventory (especially foreclosures) for those seriously looking into resale (despite some of the drawbacks). While these new changes may alter exactly how much inventory is available (and perhaps more critically, how much it is worth), resale DVC will always be a part of the equation and is in no danger of going away because of any changes made by Disney.
How do you feel about all of these DVC changes? Do you think Disney will crack down further on DVC resale, or will this be the final cut made to this program? Let us know what you think below!