You may have seen my increasingly frantic posts over the last two months on Facebook regarding DVC and wondered what has my panties all in a bunch this time. Here’s a brief rundown on why I’ve gotten myself sucked into DVC, and why it may interest you, as well.
Let me start by saying that if you consider a trip to Walt Disney World a one-time parental obligation (rather like a polio vaccine), then Disney Vacation Club is not for you. If, however, you truly believe that it’s never too early to start planning your next Disney vacation, then this may be worth a closer look.
Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is a vacation timeshare owned by The Walt Disney Company. It allows buying real estate interest in a DVC resort. To be a DVC member, one must purchase a one-time real estate interest in one of the Disney Resorts, and thereafter pay annual dues. The memberships have an expiration date of approximately 50 years after the initial offering of the property. Properties include locations at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Hilton Head, Hawaii (in 2011) and more. Ownership amount is based on a flexible number of points per year. Is it a good deal? More on that later.
Why have I been stressing about my purchase? After all, you’d think Disney would be more than happy to take my money. In a nutshell, I didn’t buy directly from Disney. You see, Disney requires that you purchase a minimum of 160 points, and are currently charging (insert choking noise here) $120 per point. That means, excluding taxes, maintenance fees, and closing costs, you are looking at a minimum purchase price of $19,200. Having not won the lottery, that option was not in my budget.
There is, however, a thriving resale market. If you no longer wish to continue in your contract, Disney will allow you to sell it. There are several reputable brokers who specialize in the Disney resale market – The Timeshare Store, DVC by Resale, and Resales DVC to name a few. If you purchase a minimum of 25 points, you get all of the benefits of DVC membership (discounts on theme park tickets, dining, merchandise, etc.) at a fraction of the cost. I’ll divulge the terms of my deal to give you an idea.
We purchased 100 points at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. This basically means we can stay there for about one week per year in a studio. We can use our points at other DVC resorts as well, based on availability. We paid $68 per point, so our cost was $6800, as opposed to paying $19,200 through Disney. Why is this better than just staying in a hotel, you ask? Well, Disney rack rates (AKA sucker prices, those you would pay if you just booked on Disney’s website or called 407-W-DISNEY) on the room I described would be, including tax, $2323 for the week. We paid $6800 plus about $400 in closing costs. That means that in less than four trips, we will have completely recouped our initial cost. We will pay yearly maintenance fees of around $400, which means from there on out, I’ll stay at WDW for a week, while only paying for about the first night and a half. Eat that, suckers!
So why have I been so frantic? Well, although Disney allows resales to be purchased, they want to make sure the property values stay high. Therefore, they will swoop in and purchase the property themselves if they think the price is too low. This happened to us first. We had bid $82 on 50 points at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Disney chose to exercise their Right of First Refusal and purchase that property themselves. At that point, we figured that if we just kept eating Ramen Noodles and toasted cheese sandwiches for another year or so, we may be able to bid on a larger contract, so we bit the bullet and went ahead. This time we got it! Saratoga Springs – the Disney resort featuring “Health, Horses, and History” – it’s very Teri, all the way!