There you were, trying to decide if you should do Moderate or splurge on Deluxe. Or maybe you were thinking, “I’d like to stay Moderate, but is it worth the cost difference from Value?” And then you heard that you could stay Deluxe for the cost (or less) of Moderate. DVC? And a million questions started flowing through your brain. I’m hoping to answer those!
What is DVC?
DVC is short for Disney Vacation Club. DVC is Disney’s version of a timeshare. Basically, DVC’ers pay a certain amount to “buy-in” to a property and they get a certain number of points to use each year. They also pay dues each year. There is a certain period of time for the points to be used or banked. Owners can borrow from next years points. There should really be a whole other post on DVC, and maybe I’m not the one to write it, because I don’t own DVC. If any DVC owners out there want to write a guest post, I’d be happy to have it! But I do know about renting, so let’s keep moving forward.
What are points?
Points are the tracking system Disney uses for DVC Members to use and keep track of their stake in the property. When the member signed up, they will have purchased a set number of points per year. Maybe they bought 50 or 100 or 576. Any number at all. And they will get that same number of points each year. They also pay dues on that number of points each year.
When a DVC Member is ready to stay at a DVC resort, they can use their points as currency for their stay. They have access to a site that tells them what DVC Resorts are available, and how many points a given stay will cost.
Fictitious DVC Member, Jane, owns 100 DVC Points. She can use those to book her stay at any DVC Resort (with limitations on when she can book, but that’s too detailed for this post.) She’ll need more points for more expensive resorts. She will need more points for more in-demand times. Just like cash in that regard.
What is renting points?
Renting points is when a DVC Member charges someone and in return allows that person to use their points one time. This is different from buying points, which would be purchasing for the rest of the contract. Renting is for this one time only.
Where can you rent points from?
There are two well know points rental brokers. They basically collect a fee for matching up people who want to rent with people who have points to rent. You work directly with the broker though, not the individual. This would be the safest way to rent, as these companies are well know and provide good customer service.
These two companies (in no particular order) are The DVC Rental Store and David’s Vacation Club. I believe that David’s is larger with more points availability, but they are also more expensive and they are harder to work with. They make you pay just to check availability and if there is availability you have to book it or lose your deposit. I’m not a fan of that. I like to play around and see what’s available. But I guess David’s doesn’t want me wasting their time that way.
I do want to say that I have not used either of these companies despite having rented points many times. I rent from individuals, and I’ll explain that below. And like I said, these two companies are widely respected and I would feel good about recommending them.
I have created another post with pertinent information so that you don’t always have to come back to this long-winded explanation to find these resources. All the links to the places I’m talking about are on this post here.
Renting from Individuals
You can skip the middle man and save some money by renting directly from individuals. This is more risky and possibly more work, but I have found it to be a good fit for me. I’m not risk adverse (I did tell you about that time we left our only source of income to move 350 miles away from our family and start a farm, right? With no insurance, 4 months pregnant, and with two kids and two mortgages? God saw me through that and I figure He’ll see me though it if something goes wrong on a DVC Reservation!) I’m also in real estate and have a pretty good understanding of contract law so I feel good about my ability to write-up an enforceable contract, though I hope they never get tested in court!
You basically find an individual through one of the channels on my links page and work out a deal with them. You can offer less than they’re asking and you can ask them to check availability. You work out the terms with them and set up payment. You have little to no recourse in these instances if you were to find yourself working with a scammer (more on that later.) This is 2.0 level DVC Renting and I advise you to know exactly what you’re doing or to stay on level 1.0 (renting from the brokers.)
One of my favorite way to rent points is to rent Confirmed Reservations. This means that a DVC Member has already booked a reservation with their points and now for whatever reason, they can’t or don’t want to use it. There are also enterprising DVC’ers out there who book the most in-demand times and then sell those reservations at a premium. I wouldn’t be their target market since I wouldn’t be willing to overpay for those weeks, but I say more power to them!
But I am interested in the Confirmed Reservations that are not over-priced. Sometimes points are about to expire and the Member can’t use them, but they book a reservation and then offer it at a discount because if it doesn’t get rented they’ll lose it. This creates a very motivated DVC Member. My favorite kind. This is how I stayed at the Treehouses for $158/night.
You can find several Confirmed Reservation Links on my DVC Link Post here.
How much does it cost to rent points?
This depends on where you rent them from. David’s is on the high-end at $15 with an addition $1 per point charge for bookings between 7 and 11 months in advance.
I have rented from individuals for under $5 a point, but I had to go that same week and I was also taking my chances as discussed above.
What’s probably more interesting to you is:
How does the price of renting compare to Disney’s resort prices?
This is also an “it depends” answer (which I hate, but it just is), since packages can be booked with different discounts so it’s hard to compare. I will give an example below to show you some real numbers, but I’ll also say that the general consensus is that renting points is a good way to get a Deluxe at the price of a Moderate (see the differences in resort classes here). I have even been able to rent points and stay Deluxe at a cost lower than I would have been able to book a Value.
Let’s look at a random week and pretend like we’re planning our vacation.
I’ve selected July 23-29, 2017.
Prices from Disney:
- All Stars $138 per night,
- Moderates between $205-$230 per night,
- Deluxes between $325 and $595
Renting Points for a Deluxe through David’s (the most expensive vendor):
- $200 per night for the cheapest (AKL Studio)
- $417.50 per night for the most expensive (Bay Lake Tower Magic View)
So you can see, you’ll still pay more than a Value, but may be able to book a Deluxe for the cost of a Moderate, quite easily.
How does the reservation differ from normal?
Well, as the renter, you don’t truly “own” the reservation until you check in. The DVC Member still owns it and he or she is the only one who can make changes to it if needed. This is a tiny bit frustrating and is what makes renting risky.
The frustrating part: I frequently change my mind about who is coming with me. It might be one kid or two or a friend. Or I might plan to take the whole family and then Mike can’t go because of something on the farm. I have to three-way call with the DVC Member to change anything. And if I want to add the Dining Plan or Magical Express, the DVC Member has to do it.
The risky part: The owner could potentially take the reservation back from you. I have heard legends of horror stories (though I’ve never heard of it actually happening to anyone) where someone arrives in Orlando and goes to check in and the DVC Owner has taken back the reservation and they have little to no recourse. If you had a contract in writing you’d have more recourse, but who wants to go to court over a vacation?
I believe that the rental companies have guarantees in place, but I’m not completely sure. If anyone knows for sure send me an email and I’ll update this post.
You also have to give your payment information to the DVR Member if you want to add the Dining Plan. This also presents an element of risk. I like to three-way call in with them to Disney and pay directly and I use a gift card with just the right amount on it (or I grab the rest off quickly) to limit the risk, but I’ve never had an issue.
How does the resort differ?
DVC Resorts are off to the side, or behind or otherwise tucked near the parent resort, except in the case of Old Key West (stand alone) and Treehouse Villas (waaaaaay off to the side.) This means you may walk a little further to the lobby or main pool, but it’s not far enough to be upsetting. The amenities more than make up for this. DVC Resorts usually have their own quiet pool. Laundry services are free in DVC Resorts. And Boulder Ridge has an AMAZING workout room and lobby area that I took full advantage of when I was there. It went like this, “Babe, watch the kids, I’m going to go sit in front of the fireplace and write.”
The vibe of DVC Resorts is different and suites me better. The hustle and bustle is gone. The resorts are quiet. People enjoy their surroundings. People are relaxed. I put it down to the fact that these people come to Disney often and they have seen and done a lot and just want to enjoy their trip in their own way. It’s not a mad dash to choke down a bagel and get to rope drop. I see people playing board games with their families in the lobbies. And I’ve had long chats with people who have nowhere to be and all day to get there. Just my speed if I’m being honest.
How do the rooms differ?
You are probably familiar with standard Disney hotel rooms. Even in the Deluxe Resorts, they are the same. Two Queen beds, very common layout.
The DVC equivalent of a Standard Room would be a Studio. These are the least expensive DVC Rooms available. Everything in these rooms is more home-y than the standard hotel rooms. You will find a kitchenette in these rooms. It will have a small fridge, sink, microwave, coffee maker; along with dishes and common items. The other big difference is the second bed. In a DVC room, there will be one queen bed and a pull-out couch. This is fine for us; our kids will sleep anywhere. But it may not be desirable for everyone.
Other Room Sizes
Studios book up the fastest, since they are the least expensive, so you may need to consider a 1 or 2 bedroom. There are even larger rooms at some of the resorts. Grandvillas sleep 12 and Treehouses at Saratoga Springs sleep 9.
We stayed in a One Bedroom not long ago and it will be very hard to go back to a Studio. I’m hoping we win the lottery or something because seriously… it was amazing by comparison. The room was set up so that there was a full kitchen, a living room, a balcony, a bathroom with two separate sink areas and both a shower and separate whirlpool tub, and the master bedroom. There was a small stacked washer and dryer in a closet. The bed was a King which felt very luxurious for us (we had plenty of real estate for us and our co-sleeper baby.) The three big kids slept in a dog pile on the pull-out couch which works for now, but won’t as they get older. I enjoyed that One Bedroom and honestly, we could have moved in and been happy with the space.
Most Studios and One Bedrooms sleep 4, but there are some that sleep five (Check out the Link Page for the link to an easy to understand list. However, all of the Studios and One Bedrooms are allowed to sleep five if the fifth person brings their own linens (and maybe a blowup mattress) towels, and pillows. You may read conflicting accounts about this rule, but when I’ve asked Disney they did confirm. You can also bring 1 child under 2.
2 Bedrooms Sleep 8 or 9 (check here)
What resorts have DVC?
Here are the DVC Resort names and which resort they’re located in/next to/near.
Bay Lake Tower-Contemporary Resort
Animal Kingdom Villas- Animal Kingdom Lodge
Beach Club Villas- Beach Club
Boardwalk Villas- Boardwalk Resort
Polynesian Villas & Bungalows- Polynesian Village Resort
Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
The Villas at Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Old Key West Resort (stand alone)
Things You Should Know
Ok, a couple more little things that are worth noting:
You cannot pay to rent points with gift cards or the Disney Vacation Account since you aren’t paying Disney directly. (Side note, if you were a DVC Owner you COULD pay your dues with the Disney Vacation Account.)
Mousekeeping is completely different with DVC. They don’t come everyday. They come after four nights and do a “Trash and Towel” which is exactly what it sounds like (empty the trash and leave new towels.) And they do a full cleaning on night eight. You can also pay for a cleaning if you’d like more help. I believe it was around $40 for the one bedroom. They do leave cleaning supplies so you can do what you need to yourself.
Why wouldn’t you rent points?
I’ve mentioned these throughout, but in case you have no attention span at all (my dear sister of the heart) here they are summed up:
- It’s somewhat risky, although you can take steps to alleviate that risk.
- The rooms may not be comfortable to your family since they have a Queen and Pull-out couch.
- You don’t get Mousekeeping every day.
- You can’t use Disney Gift Cards to pay.
- The DVC Resort may be a few steps further away from the lobby/transportation.
- Confirmed Reservations may not work with your schedule.
- It is a tiny bit harder to compare pricing and get quotes/see availability.
I love renting DVC. It’s so awesome that unless we do win the lottery, we probably will never become DVC Members.
Y’all know that I’ve been trying to do every resort and that I go to Disney World every month. And I’m not independently wealthy. I know that comes as a shock to you since I’m such a baller, but it’s true. This is one affordable way for me to experience all the different resorts.
I’m a fan. Give it a try.
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