Arrival Day at Disney World

The Disney Vacation Club’s old logo

On Facebook the other day, I posed the question “Are you a Disney Vacation Club owner?” and received a myriad of answers.  Most of the people that answered were DVC members already, but one told me that she had been thinking about it, but that she wasn’t sure what it was all about, and hadn’t had time to take the tour.  So Jennifer, this post is written especially for you and those like you that are not entirely sure what the Disney Vacation Club is all about.  I hope that I can help explain what “The Best Kept Secret” is, and how you too can have your own slice of Disney! Disney Vacation Club Resorts The Disney Vacation Club, or DVC for short, started with the opening of the Old Key West Resort on December 20, 1991.  During the years, DVC has opened several other “DVC Resorts”. Here is the complete list:

  1. Old Key West
  2. Vero Beach Resort
  3. Hilton Head Island
  4. Boardwalk Villas
  5. Villas at the Wilderness Lodge
  6. Beach Club Villas
  7. Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  8. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas
  9. The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian® Resort & Spa
  10. Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  11. Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, Ko Olina, Hawaii
  12. Grand Floridian Villas

How Does the DVC work? The concept behind the Disney Vacation Club is quite simple; you, the owner, purchase an allocation of points.  For our family, we purchased 220 points.  The points can be used to stay at any of the DVC Resorts listed above, and each resort has Studio, One-Bedroom, Two-Bedroom, and sometimes Three-Bedroom suites available to reserve.  Of course, the number of points you need for each resort will vary based on location, room size, and time of year that you are staying.  Of course, the resorts are marketed such that a resort like Bay Lake Tower will require more points for the same type room than at Animal Kingdom Villas. What makes DVC different from a standard timeshare is that you are able to use your points at any of the resorts, and if you purchase your points directly from Disney, you can also transfer your points to use at other types of locations, which are listed below:

  • The Disney Collection
    • This collection is comprised of traditional Disney resort rooms, for example, a room at Port Orleans French Quarter
  • The World Passport Collection
    • This collection is made up of resort locations that are available in an exchange with RCI or Buena Vista Trading Company.  There are something like 400 resorts available all over the world, and if you elect this route, the cost for you is a $95 transfer fee.
  • The Concierge Collection
    • This collection offers a select choice of fine hotel choices in various locations, with fine dining packages and other amenities.
  • The Adventure Collection
    • People who select this collection will be able to examine the Adventures by Disney selections, and can use their points for these destinations!

The first thing to do if you are considering purchasing DVC is to either take a tour when you are visiting one of the parks, order the Disney Vacation Club DVD, or call the phone number on the image below.  If you tell them that I referred you, I believe that we will both get a special reward!  However, I’ve never referred anyone, so I could be wrong on the reward.

Call or visit (click to enlarge)

Special Incentives Upon occasion, the sales folks at DVC will offer incentives to people that are buying ownership in DVC. When we purchased, we were looking at purchasing as our home resort (more on that later) either Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort or Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas.  However, we ultimately decided to purchase our points through The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian® Resort & Spa.  There were a couple of reasons, which I’ll elaborate on next.

  • One thing I didn’t mention is that when you purchase an interest, your ownership interest is for fifty years minus the length of time that the resort has been open.  For example, if we had purchased at Old Key West, which opened in 1991, we would have been able to have our ownership interest until the year 2042, which is about 50 years after OKW opened for business.  So, for us, we would have been able to stay there for 32 years since we purchased in 2010.  However, since the Grand Californian opened in September, 2009, the DVC end date is January 31, 2060, so we’ll have our interest for a full 50 years.
  • When we purchased, GC was about to sell out — so the sales folks were all about finishing up that resort.  Because of that, when we purchased our points, we were also given the current years points as a free add on, so for 2011 we had 440 points available for use.
  • We also got a discount on the cost of the points by purchasing at Grand Californian, so our purchase price was less than at other resorts.

Home Resort Pros and Cons When you purchase your points, you purchase them at a certain resort — that resort is known as your home resort.  The advantage of your home resort is that when you want to reserve a room there, you can reserve your room 11 months out from your date of check-in.  For example, if we want to go to the Grand Californian next year and check in December 14, 2012, we will be able to reserve our room on January 14, 2012.  However, if you want to reserve a room at a resort that is not your home resort, like we did at Bay Lake Tower, you can only reserve your resort seven months out.  So in my example, if we wanted to check in on December 14, 2012 at Bay Lake Tower, we would have to wait until  May 14, 2012 to reserve our room, and for that time of the year, there may not be any inventory available at our point level. Banking and Borrowing Points With DVC, you get a certain number of points each year, in our case it is 220 points.  If you don’t use all of your points in one year, you can bank the remaining points to the next year.  As an example, here is what we have done so far with our points:

  • Received 2010 points in June 2010 when we purchased
  • Also received our 2011 points in September, 2010 (which is our use year)
  • In June 2010, we banked our 2010 points to 2011, which gave us a total of 440 for 2011.
  • We reserved a two bedroom suite at BLT in November 2010, which cost us 384 points.
  • This left us with 56 points.  We banked those points from 2011 to 2012 use year.
  • So, for 2012, we now have 276 points.

For 2012, we are looking at staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and since we will have some family and friends with us, we are thinking about getting our two bedroom suite with a Savannah View, if it’s available.  Because of that, the cost for that view in points is 345 points, based on the dates we want to go.  Since we only have 276 points available for 2012, we will borrow some of our points from 2013.  To make this reservation, we will have to borrow 69 points, which will leave us with 151 points for 2013. Summary In essence, a purchase of a membership in the Disney Vacation Club is a purchase for hotel lodgings for the next fifty years.  What makes the Disney Vacation Club different is that you can stay at Disney Resorts near the parks, or you can stay at Hilton Head Island, or Vero Beach, or you can decide to trade your points for other lodgings at destinations across the world!  Also, you can choose to use your points at any time during the year that you want, not for a certain week at a certain resort every year.  All of these things, plus the proximity to Walt Disney World and Disneyland, made the choice for us a really simple one.  Couple that with the realization when we were doing the tour that we could have paid about half of our ownership costs if we had purchased a few years earlier, just really made the cost a smart one for us. One thing that I didn’t cover in my discussion was the maintenance fees.  Every resort has maintenance fees, and for us, we are paying them with a monthly draft.  You can also pay them in one lump sum each year.  Your ownership cost can be paid with cash, credit card, or you can finance them through DVC.  A purchase in DVC is basically a purchase of a second home, so any interest you pay if you finance the purchase is considered real estate interest, and may be deductible on your taxes depending on your circumstances. I hope that I have helped you all to understand the Disney Vacation Club a little better.  I know that there are a lot of details, so if you are at all interested in DVC, I urge you to call them up.  Just tell them that Michael Ellis from Raleigh, NC sent you!  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments!  Welcome Home!



About the Author

Mike Ellis ()

Mike has been a Disney fan since his first trip to the Magic Kingdom in 1979 when he was 11 years old. Since that first trip, he has seen parks open, lands close, and attractions come and go, but one thing remains the same, his love for Disney is as strong as ever. His Disney adventures caused him to start My Dreams of Disney because he wanted to document for his family and friends all of the special Disney Memories he has enjoyed with his family, and since that first post in 2010, Mike's hobby has become his passion! Now a Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations for six years, Mike has helped many of his readers plan and have incredible Disney vacations of their own. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and . Also, connect with us on our Pixie Vacations by Mike Ellis Facebook page to submit a quote request or learn more about all of your possible vacation destinations!


12 Responses to “The Disney Vacation Club — What’s it all about?”

  1. We love our DVC. We own at SSR, but never stay there. We tend to stick to the Boardwalk, Animal Kingdom, and Bay Lake. We also used it in California last year, and have another trip to Disneyland in December…

  2. Thanks for commenting! Have you ever had any issues with the 11 month window vs. 7 month window when you aren't staying at your home resort?

  3. Thanks for commenting, Diane! Since BLT was our first trip under DVC, I don't have a big sample size to work from! I did have to change from a standard to lake view because the standards were all taken, so that was some extra points I needed to spend, and I'm pretty much convinced that I'll need to do that in November when I book for Animal Kingdom Villas, but other than that I haven't had any big issues.


  4. […] my niece Stephanie to see one of her dreams come true, right in front of Cinderella Castle!  The Disney Vacation Club is an expense, there is no doubt of that, but for our family, we have been able to pay our Disney Dreams forward […]