For next year’s summer vacation, I decided to hit the “easy button”. Instead of a complicated international trip, my family is heading to Disney World. This time, instead of staying off-site or in a moderate resort, we decided that renting DVC points is our best option.
What Are DVC Points, and Why is Renting DVC Points a Good Idea?
Disney Vacation Club, or DVC, is like Disney’s version of timeshare vacation ownership. Members purchase points that can be used toward stays in a home DVC property (reserved up to 11 months in advance) or any other DVC property (reserved up to 7 months in advance).
The DVC properties are equivalent to Deluxe Resorts at Disney World, as many DVC villas are on the same property as a Deluxe Resort or right next to a Deluxe Resort.
Renting DVC points is cheaper than staying in a regular hotel room at a Deluxe Resort. For example, here is a price comparison for a Saturday night next June:
Hotel room at Disney’s Beach Club Resort (Deluxe Resort): $588.38 with tax
Hotel room at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (Moderate Resort): $310.50 with tax
DVC Rental for a studio villa at Disney’s Beach Club Villas (DVC rental @$17pp): $374
By renting DVC points, you can stay at a Deluxe Resort in a studio for closer to the price of a Moderate Resort. Depending on the resort and time of year, the savings can be substantial.
DVC Resorts also have 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom villas with separate living room and in-room washer/dryer sets that allow larger families room to spread out.
Options for Renting DVC Points
With brokers, DVC owners sell points to the brokers who in turn charge you a higher price (usually $17-$19 per point) for the rental. Brokers coordinate the reservation process so that you don’t have to negotiate or communicate with individual DVC owners.
The process to rent varies by broker. Some brokers require a fee just to check availability. You can calculate the cost of your desired stay online and then request to rent. If the points you need are available in the broker’s network of owners, you sign a contract and pay for the rental. (Note: most DVC brokers code as “travel” on your credit card statements, so you can erase charges from your statement with points from a card like the Capital One Venture Rewards card).
The other option is to rent through an individual DVC owner you either know in person or you met on a board like disboards.com or mouseowners.com. The price varies by owner depending on the resort and the expiration date of their points. Most owners make you sign a contract and require all or half of the money upfront.
Pros of Renting DVC Points
Cost: Cheaper cost is the biggest advantage of renting DVC points. While paying over $300 for a room still isn’t necessarily “cheap”, it’s still cheaper than spending $400-$800 on the same-sized room in the same resort.
Space: For larger families, renting DVC points opens up options to 3-bedroom villas with room to spread out. These are the only condo-style accommodations that have all of the on-site Disney benefits.
Amenities: DVC Resorts have upgraded amenities compared to Moderate and Value resorts including zero-entry pools, water slides and restaurants. The 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units also come with kitchens and washer/dryer units (studios have free access to laundry on the property).
Confirmation Number: Just like having a “regular” room reservation at Disney, you receive a confirmation number when you rent DVC points. You can link that number to My Disney Experience to reserve FastPass+ at 60 days out.
Try Before you Buy: Renting DVC points is also a great way to experience different DVC resorts without having to commit to DVC ownership.
Cons of Renting DVC Points
Cancellation Policy: The biggest con to renting DVC points is the lack of flexibility once you book. Most brokers and owners have a no-cancellation policy, so you have to be very certain about the dates you book.
Upfront Payment: Most of the time, you have to pay for your entire reservation up front. Unlike reserving a regular room at a Disney resort, you don’t have the option to put down a one-night deposit or pay by installments.
Resort Availability: For some resorts and time frames, you have to book at 11 months in advance to get the resort you want. Popular resorts and dates sell out quickly, so if you have your heart set on a specific resort you must be ready to book early.
Housekeeping: DVC rooms do not have daily housekeeping service like other hotel rooms. After the fourth day, housekeeping will empty trash and refresh towels. Full cleanings only happen for reservations that are eight days or longer.
Lack of Reservation Control: When you rent DVC points, you can’t move or control your reservation yourself. This means that an owner could cancel your reservation at the last minute and you would be stuck without a room.
My Past Experience Renting DVC Points
Way back when we were just a family of three, we rented DVC points at Saratoga Springs for my oldest son’s first trip to Disney World. My mother-in-law joined us, and the 2-bedroom villa worked out perfectly. It was nice for my husband and I to get some decent sleep with a master bedroom all to ourselves.
A few years ago, I rented DVC points at Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Villas. It was just two of us for a girl’s trip, so a studio with a savannah view was perfect.
For both trips, I rented points from individual owners I found on disboards.com. I had no issues.
My Rental Transaction for Next Summer
Earlier this summer, at 11 months prior to our desired trip dates next year, I started the DVC rental process. I contacted David’s Vacation Club Rentals, requested a resort and paid the deposit. I figured that going through a broker this time would save me time and provide security in case the owner bailed at the last minute.
Much to my shock, David’s Vacation Club Rentals could not do the rental for me because they didn’t have enough points at my desired resort. This was surprising because they are the largest broker. I could wait with David’s and see if an owner from my desired resort sold to them within the next few weeks/months, or wait until 7 months prior to my trip when any owner’s points would work. The risk in waiting is that my resort could fill up for our week, which was likely.
I decided to hit the message boards and find a DVC owner with the right points. Within a day, I found an owner on Mouseowners.com. I looked at her references and signed a contract. Upon booking, I had to pay 50% upfront, and the rest is due in the spring. I can already see our reservation on My Disney Experience.
Renting DVC points isn’t for everyone. There is some risk involved, and it’s not as flexible. Still, you can find great value and amenities by going through this process.
Have you rented DVC points? Would you consider it for a future Disney World vacation?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.