Who doesn’t love the magic of Disney and Mickey Mouse? The Disney Vacation Club is the timeshare division of the Disney Corporation. It is comprised of some 11 timeshares, 7 of which are in Orlando, Florida in the Disney World complex. There is one at Disney Land in California, one in Hilton Head, South Carolina and one in Vero Beach, Florida. A new resort, Aulani, just opened up in Hawaii.
In the timeshare world, Disney is often at the head of the list for the best timeshares. They are top notch. We have stayed at two and they were outstanding. We have visited or toured at least five others and found all to be top of the line. Their activities and amenities are hard to beat–they are “Disney” all the way. We have written posts on our visits to both the Animal Kingdom Resort and Old Key West, and if you are interested you can read those.
We own 165 points in the system and have found it to be easy to use. We bought our points resale and thought we would discuss the mechanics of buying resale in the Disney Vacation Club.
The Disney Vacation Club sells you the Right to Use (RTU) contract, not a lifetime deed like most timeshare companies do. This means you have a certain number of years to use your points every year, and at the end of that time, they get the contract and points back. The first resort sold was Old Key West, which ends in the year 2042. The current resorts they are selling will end in 2060. The other resorts fall on the same dates or between those two. Regardless of whether you buy from the developer or resale, you get the same RTU year for that resort.
DVC is connected with the RCI trading company, and it is a points-based system. We have found that most people who buy Disney points use them, and if you see any on RCI online, they are usually snatched up very quickly. It takes more points during peak vacation times and for larger units. The newer resorts often require more points than the older resorts.
A major issue when buying resale is that Disney is one of the few timeshare companies that has a right of first refusal in all their contracts. That means with any offer to buy a Disney Vacation Club timeshare, that contract must first go to the Disney Corporation. If they think the amount is too low, they will buy the contract and pay the seller the amount of the offer. You cannot adjust the price once it goes to Disney. The potential buyer gets nothing, but loses no money. Disney can then take those points and sell them through the normal developer channels. This, of course, keeps the value of the Disney timeshare high. This is good for the owners, because if and when they want to sell, they can get a higher price as compared to other timeshares on the resale market.
Another issue is that in March of this year, the Disney Vacation Club put some restrictions on resale purchases. Folks who purchased resale before March were grandfathered in under the present system. We don’t think it is a major problem, but it might impact some people, so you need to be aware of the policy. It states that people who purchase their ownership from any one other than directly from the Disney Vacation Club, will not be able to use those points for reservations or stays through the Incidental Benefits. This includes the Adventurer Collection, Concierge Collection and the Disney Collection.
The Disney Collection allows you to stay at any Walt Disney World Resort hotel as well as sail on the Disney Cruise line. The Adventurer Collection gives members the opportunity to take guided Disney group vacation tours all over the world. The Concierge Collection offers the ability to reserve at select resorts and hotels that are known for their elegant design and fantastic surroundings. So, if you are interested in these options, you need to buy directly from Disney and pay the big bucks.
The maintenance fees for the Disney Vacation Club run from $6.78 per point down to $3.90 per point, varying with each resort. The number of points needed for a full week in a one bedroom runs from around 150 up to 300 points based on the time of the year and the resort. When booking a vacation, we often cut off a couple of weekend days and save a lot of points–you do not have to book a full week. They take more points for Friday and Saturday stays. You also have the option of banking your current year’s points ahead a year. You can also draw points a year ahead. Doing this, you could use three years of points for a big trip in a given year.
We don’t think it is a good idea to buy Disney if you want to just trade your points into RCI. You buy Disney to go to Disney. Trading into RCI takes from 124 to 160 Disney points for a one bedroom for a full week. The points needed vary with the season you wish to trade into. Again, trading into RCI you can often do less than a full week. But the bottom line is, we think, if you are going to buy Disney Vacation Club points, you should use them to stay in a Disney Resort.
One of the major players in the resale market for Disney is “The Timeshare Store”. It is the one we used and we were very happy with all our dealings with them. Another major one is DVC by Resale. You can also do a search in Google for Disney Vacation Club resale and come up with others.
Some of the folks that sell resales also rent out Disney points, so you can try a few days at a Disney Resort to see how you like it. They usually rent for around $12.00 per point. You would need to figure out how many points you need, based on the resort, time of year, size of unit and number of days you would like to vacation. We traded into the Animal Kingdom Resort through RCI to try out the Disney system before buying. We also did a tour to see other units and get current pricing and incentives from the developer.
If you shop carefully with the resale folks, you can often save from $5.00 to $25.00 per point off the developer prices. Buying directly from the Disney Vacation Club will sometimes net you some special offers, such as extra points for the year with no maintenance fees, but do the math using the same number of points at the same resort–buying resale always wins.
In addition to the cost of the timeshare, there will be a closing fee. It is usually based on the number of points, running from $400.00 to $500.00. Most of the resale companies charge a fee for each point you buy, thus more points purchased gives you a larger closing fee.
If you are interested in the top-of-the-line timeshare resorts in the Disney Vacation Club, be sure to read this post carefully and do your homework. There is no question that you are ahead financially if you buy resale. We did, and our family has enjoyed our Disney vacations and we look forward to many more in the years ahead.