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Thread: Disney Vacation Club FAQ

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    won't let you order a nice scotch texhanddoc's Avatar
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    Disney Vacation Club FAQ

    Disney Vacation Club Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



    Contents:
    Disney Vacation Club Abbreviations
    1. What is Disney Vacation Club?
    2. How does Disney Vacation Club work?
    3. How much does DVC cost?
    4. How many points do I need?
    5. What does “home resort” mean?
    6. What is a “use year”?
    7. What is "banking" and "borrowing" points?
    8. Is DVC right for me and my family?
    9. Should I buy from Disney directly or from the resale market?
    10. What is the difference between “renting” and “buying” points?
    11. When can I book my reservations?
    12. What happens to my points if I have to cancel my reservation?
    13. Are there any perks or discounts for DVC members?
    14. Are there any things I am not eligible for as a DVC member?
    15. What are DVC Fastpasses?
    16. Important Links


    Disney Vacation Club Abbreviations:
    DVC Disney Vacation Club
    HR Home Resort
    UY Use Year
    AKV Animal Kindgom Villas
    BLT Bay Lake Tower Villas
    VWL Villas at Wilderness Lodge
    OKW Old Key West Villas
    SSR Saratoga Springs Resort
    BCV Beach Club Villas
    BWV Boardwalk Villas
    DCL Disney Cruise Line
    GV Grand Villa
    THV Tree House Villa
    ROFR Right of First Refusal


    1. What is Disney Vacation Club?

    Disney Vacation Club is a vacation ownership program owned and operated by Disney. You can think of it in a couple ways. In many respects, it is like a timeshare in that you pay for future vacations up front and pay a maintenance fee yearly or monthly based on your preference. However, where many timeshares are quite rigid in when and where you can use/spend your vacation currency, DVC is quite flexible. Another advantage to DVC over traditional timeshares is that there is actually quite a vibrant market to rent your points if you are afraid they will go unused or actually sell them should you find at a later time that DVC is no longer right for you. Certainly, this is not financially advisable as you are certain to not regain your initial investment. As a member, you do own a real estate interest just like in traditional time shares.


    2. How does Disney Vacation Club work?

    The currency of DVC is your vacation points. You are given a yearly allotment of vacation points based on the size of the real estate interest you purchased upon joining. The larger your real estate interest, the more points you will receive, which in turn affords you larger accommodations at the more recently build DVC resorts. Through DVC, you are able to more easily and affordably access larger accommodations at some of Disney’s best and most luxurious resorts.


    3. How much does DVC cost?

    There are essentially three main costs associated with owning DVC. First, there is the upfront purchase price (financing is available). This price is set by essentially two factors. The first is which resort you are making your “home resort” or which resort you are buying the real estate interest. The second is how many points you are purchasing. The DVC resorts are currently priced anywhere from $80 to $130 per point. This is not taking into account any current promotions. If you are buying directly from Disney, your original purchase must be equal to or exceed 160 points. For ease of calculation, we are going to use $120 per point as our cost (current undiscounted rate at AKV) and we are going to purchase 200 points. Thus, the upfront purchase price in this scenario is $24,000.

    The next cost associated with ownership is the closing costs of the actual initial purchase. This is variable, but in most cases it is somewhere between $2.50 and $3.00 per point. This can be rolled into the financing of your initial purchase if you wish. Using the scenario above, the closing costs would be $500.

    Lastly, you have annual fees or maintenance fees. This is a yearly expense that can be paid monthly. Your annual fee is based on the resort and the number of points you have. Currently, the range is $3.89 to $6.78 per point per year. Currently, AKV is just over $5 per point so we will round down for simplicity’s sake. You can see that your annual dues for AKV will be $1000 or $83.33 per month.



    4. How many points do I need?

    This is a very difficult question to answer. I will preface this by saying most DVC owners end up eventually buying more points. So, first off, if you are trying to decide between point total A or point total B and B is more points, I would lean towards B. I don’t know a single DVC owner that says, “I’m good on points.”

    The best way to decide how many points you will need is to figure out how you plan to use your points. Do you plan on going once a year? Twice? Do you plan to stay for a week? Two weeks? You also need to decide what time of year you plan to use your points. If you travel during a value season, the point cost is less than if you travel during holidays. Also, you need to consider what size villa you would want. Is a studio enough? Do you need a one or two bedroom villa? Grand villa? Lastly, you will need to decide on a home resort. I will go into home resort more in #5.

    DVC publishes how many points it takes to stay at a certain resort, with a specific view during a certain time of season on something called the DVC points chart. Below are links to two of the more commonly used online points charts:

    DIS Points Chart

    DVC News Points Chart

    Now, remember, if its financially feasible, try to get a few more points than you think you need. Secondly, over time, Disney will adjust the points necessary to stay at a certain resort up over time. Now this moves slowly and does not increase nearly as fast as the inflation on “rack” room rates, but it does go up!


    5. What does “home resort” mean?

    When you purchase DVC points, you must designate your “home resort.” Consider your HR as your default resort. When you are a DVC member, you are able to call for reservations 11 months to the day in advance of the first day of your planned vacation AT YOUR HOME RESORT. You are able to stay at any DVC resort as a DVC member; however, you are not able to make a reservation for a resort other than your HR until 7 months prior to the first day of your planned visit.

    So as an example, lets say my home resort is Bay Lake Tower (which it actually happens to be), but I would like to stay at Beach Club Villas on my next vacation. I would be unable to make that appointment until 7 months prior to the first day. There are some times of year where making a reservation at many of the resorts at 7 months is not an issue. On the other hand, there are many times of year like summer, holidays, October and December that are very difficult to book with much flexibility inside of 7 months.

    In the end, you need to choose the home resort that is your favorite. This is the place that you prefer to stay and if you were stuck staying only that this resort for the rest of your DVC days, it would be fine with you. Disney is only currently selling points (for Disney World resorts) at Bay Lake Towers, Animal Kingdom Villas and Saratoga Springs Resort. If you want to own at any of the other DVC Disney World resorts, you must go through the resale market.


    6. What is a “use year”?

    “Use Year” or UY refers to the 12 months period for which your year’s points can be used. The UY is actually named after a month. It is named after the month in which the first day of that month, you receive your year’s allotment of points. I am an April UY. I will receive my 2011 DVC points on April 1, 2011.

    Not every month is a possible UY month. The UY months are February, March, April, June, August, September, October and November. The UY doesn’t really matter in the end. If you book your travel during the next use year and you will have the points at the time of travel, Disney will make the reservation for you.

    There are a couple of things to consider when deciding on which UY to take. The conventional wisdom is to choose a UY just a couple to a few months before the time you will normally travel. That way, you have plenty of time to “bank” (see the next question) your points before your banking window runs out. For instance, our main DVC travel time is early June. April UY is perfect for us. If we decide to cancel our June vacation, I have until November 30th to bank my current year’s points if we aren’t going to use them.

    Also, if you plan on buying multiple contracts or add contracts later, you will want to make sure that all your contracts have the same UY. Its not essential, its just easier to keep track of your reservations windows, your point allotments and your banking windows.



    7. What is "banking" and "borrowing" points?

    Part of the flexibility of DVC is that it allows you to use points from either the preceeding year or the following year. If you want to visit Disney every other year, that’s ok, you can bank your points to use next year or your can borrow from the following year to go this year. This is a great service that most true timeshares don’t have.

    Borrowing from the next year is easy… you just call member services to make your reservation and if you don’t have the points needed during your current use year, they will automatically take the points from the next year.

    There is a little bit of a trick to banking your current year’s points to the next year. Members have a total of 8 months to bank 100% of their points. After that point no banking will be permitted. So my UY is April. I have until November 30th to bank my current year’s points to next year. After that, I have to book a vacation in the remaining 4 months of my use year or the points are lost.



    8. Is DVC right for me and my family?

    Please see the other sticky article!



    9. Should I buy from Disney directly or from the resale market?

    This is one of the most commonly asked questions regarding DVC. Oftentimes, this comes down to a few things that I will approach as logically as possible. First, Disney is only selling contracts (at Disney World) for Bay Lake Tower, Animal Kingdom Villas and Saratoga Springs. So, if you want your home resort to be any other resort, you MUST go through resale.

    Next, if you believe that you either cant afford, or choose not to pay what it costs for the up front purchase through Disney, go through resale. Remember, if you purchase DVC through Disney, you must purchase a minimum of 160 points. There are many many people that choose not to pay that much money. If you purchase through the resale market, there are no minimum restrictions on points. Now, if you plan on buying at least 160 points at either BLT, AKV or SSR, the difference in prices when you consider all the discounts that Disney usually gives out is normally negligible. So, if you are buying 160+ points at BLT, AKV or SSR, then buy through Disney.

    Another thing to consider is the length of contract. Purchasing a new contract from Disney will expire in 2042, 2054, etc. If you want to maximize the length of the contract, you should purchase through Disney.

    Lastly, there has been a lot of talk about a recent move by Disney to restrict the “benefits” of resale. Beginning March 21, 2011, DVC points purchased through resale will not be eligible for making reservations for the Disney Collection, Concierge Collection and Adventurer Collection. These are basically places other than DVC resorts at Disney parks and properties, a group of high-end hotels that Disney contracts with around the country, and adventures by Disney, respectively. Now, if this is a big deal to you, then you should purchase through Disney. One quick editorial comment about this: this is not as big of a deal as it seems. Very few people use their DVC points for this and in fact, when you crunch the numbers, you are better off monetarily if you use your points for DVC resorts. So my answer to this is, if you plan on using a lot of DVC points for something other than DVC resorts, then DVC is likely not for you.

    There are a couple of good websites for buying resale:

    http://www.resalesdvc.com/
    http://www.dvc-resales.com/

    If you decide to buy resale, you need to be familiar with Disney’s right of first refusal or ROFR. Disney has the option to purchase any contract on the resale market first. So if person A sells a contract to, lets say, BCV to person B for a price that Disney believes is too low and runs the risk of devaluing its property, Disney will buy that contract. You can go to those sites and get a feel for how expensive certain resorts are. This is the same method that Disney uses to make sure that the prices for BLT, SSR and AKV don’t differ too much from the resale vs. direct from Disney with discounts.


    10. What is the difference between “renting” and “buying” points?

    Normally, buying points refers to actually buying a contract off of a current DVC member. The points and the contract are thus yours from that point on. Renting points (which is a misnomer because you never really give them back) refers to anyone (usually non-DVC members) purchasing points from a current DVC member for the purpose of a single vacation. The contract and points remain the sellers. This is a nice way for non-DVC members to stay at DVC resorts and not have to pay the room rates of a DVC resort through Disney. There is usually quite a bit of savings when you rent points. This is also a nice way for DVC members to unload points that they feel they may not use.



    11. When can I book my reservations?

    If you are booking at your home resort, your reservation window opens up 11 months to the day prior to the first day of your stay. If you are trying to make a reservation at a resort other than your home resort, that window opens up at 7 months. Depending on the time of year and the resort you are requesting, you may find it difficult to find space at some DVC resorts at 7 months. Something to consider in these cases is to make a reservation for your home resort for the vacation days you want and then when the 7-month window comes around, call Member Services and see if you can switch resorts. In addition, you can always get on the waiting list if that resort isn’t immediately available.


    12. What happens to my points if I have to cancel my reservation?

    Unfortunately, this wont happen, but as life is unpredictable, we should be prepared. If you have to cancel your DVC reservation 31 days or more in advance of your check-in date, then you are given the points back and can be used as normal. If you have to cancel between 1 and 30 days in advance of your trip, all of the points are placed in a holding account in the appropriate use year. I will discuss what a holding account is in the next paragraph. If you cancel your trip on your check-in date, all points used to make the reservation are forfeited.

    If your points are placed in a holding account, there are a couple restrictions. First, you can use those points at a DVC resort, Disney Collection, Concierge Collection, Adventurer Collection and World Passport Collection as long as the reservation is booked within 60 days of the new check-in date. So, you cannot book a DVC resort more than 2 months in advance. Second, these points cannot be banked or borrowed, thus meaning that they will expire at the end of your current use year.


    13. Are there any perks or discounts for DVC members?

    There are a number of perks available to DVC members. I will list a few of the more exciting discounts. First, DVC members get a 25% discount off of “rack” rate of any DVC resort when paying cash. Pool hopping is allowed if you are a DVC member with a couple caveats. You cannot pool hop to Stormalong Bay, Animal Kingdom Lodge/Villas or Bay Lake Tower at any time. In addition, there are certain blackout dates for pool hopping that normally center around holidays. Last, but not least, DVC members are privy to a rather substantial discount to Annual Passes and the Tables in Wonderland dining discount card. Currently, the annual pass discount is about $107 ($531.44 vs. $424.94).

    For more specific information on discounts plase click on “Just For Members” at www.DVCMember.com or see the discount comparison at the Allears.net discount page


    14. Are there any things I am not eligible for as a DVC member?

    Yes, unfortunately, if you are a DVC member staying at any Disney resort on points, you are not eligible for any current room discounts or free dining discounts. This includes the “kids stay and play free” discount.


    15. What are DVC Fastpasses?

    You may have noticed some people sporting white cards with the DVC logo on them. These can actually be inserted into fastpass machines where you will get fastpasses in return. Each card will allow you two immediate use fastpasses. These cards are normally given as a benefit to people who visit the DVC sales area or attend a DVC sales seminar. Again, these are immediate use, so you can take them to Toy Story Mania or any other fastpass ride at any time of the day, regardless of whether the fastpasses are gone for the day, and print out fastpasses that can be used immediately.


    16. Important Links

    DVC News

    Mouseowners

    DVCMember.com
    Last edited by texhanddoc; 03-02-2013 at 12:48 AM.
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  2. #2
    won't let you order a nice scotch texhanddoc's Avatar
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  3. #3
    won't let you order a nice scotch texhanddoc's Avatar
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