Disney Vacation Club: The Ultimate Guide for New Members

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The Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is Disney’s timeshare program that gives members access to deluxe accommodations at Disney resorts. As a DVC member, you purchase real estate interests at a specific Disney resort in the form of annual vacation points. These points can then be used to book stays at your home resort or at other DVC resorts. Joining DVC requires a significant upfront investment, but it can save money over time compared to paying cash rates at Disney resorts. This guide covers everything a new DVC member needs to know, including membership benefits, costs and fees, the resale market, booking details, and member perks.

Membership Benefits

The main benefit of DVC membership is access to spacious deluxe accommodations at Disney resorts for less than standard hotel rates. DVC resorts feature multiple bedrooms, full kitchens, and other amenities perfect for families. As a member, you receive an annual allotment of vacation points that can be used to book stays at your home resort, where you purchase your real estate interest.

You also have access to all 14 DVC resorts at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, as well as over 200 resorts worldwide through the DVC Exchange Program. Another major benefit is significant savings compared to paying regular hotel rates, especially for larger families. Studies show DVC members can save up to 50% on accommodations over 30 years of membership.

Disney Vacation Club Logo with blue globe Mickey ears

Costs and Fees

While DVC membership can save money over time, there are significant upfront and recurring costs to consider:

Purchase Price: The minimum buy-in for DVC membership is 150 vacation points at $207 per point, so $31,050 minimum. The price per point varies by resort.

One-Time Costs: At minimum, you’ll pay a total of $31,679 including closing costs and title fees. Financing is available.

Annual Dues: All members pay annual dues on every vacation point purchased. This covers maintenance and operations of the DVC resorts. Annual dues start at $6.99 per point, so $1,048 per year for 150 points.

Exchange Fee: There is a $95 fee to use points for stays at non-DVC resorts through the Exchange Program.

Resale Purchase: Buying resale saves 20-60% on purchase price, but you lose some membership perks.

Beach Club Hotel pool at night

Resale Market

Purchasing DVC contracts resale saves thousands compared to buying direct from Disney. Resale purchase prices currently range from $100-$160 per point, depending on the resort. While resale buyers lose some membership perks like annual pass discounts, they retain full access to all DVC resorts and exchange program benefits. Resale contracts can be listed and sold on sites like DVC Resale Market.

Booking Details and Availability

As a DVC member, you can book reservations at your home resort 11–7 months in advance and at other DVC resorts 7 months in advance. Availability depends on school vacation schedules and time of year. DVC operates on a flexible points system, where each resort has studios that require fewer points and multi-bedroom villas that require more points per night. Members have the option to save or borrow points to have enough for a future reservation.

Boardwalk at night

Renting DVC Points

Renting DVC points can save you a lot of money on deluxe Disney resorts compared to standard rates. Just be sure to go through a reputable broker site for a smooth process. We highly recommend David’s Vacation Club Rentals, he’s very trustworthy with great customer service!

How It Works

  • DVC owners list their points for rent on these sites. As a renter, you search availability and book stays at discounted rates, similar to reserving a hotel.
  • The DVC owner transfers the reservation into your name. You check in and out like any other guest and get full access to the resort amenities.
  • Savings compared to regular room rates are typically 30-60%, making it very cost-effective.

Sites to Rent Points

Some popular and reputable sites for renting DVC points include:

Policies

  • Most sites offer flexible cancellation policies. For example, DVC Rental Store offers credits for cancellations made by 30 days prior to check-in.
  • Full payment is usually required 30–45 days before check-in. Some sites allow you to reserve with a 20-50% deposit.

Villa Kitchen at hotel

Member Perks

Along with accommodation perks, DVC members receive other discounts and benefits:

  • Merchandise Discounts: 10-20% off merchandise at Disney stores and theme parks
  • Dining Discounts: 10-20% off dining at select Disney restaurants
  • Annual Pass Discounts: Savings on Walt Disney World and Disneyland annual passes
  • Members-Only Events: Exclusive after-hours parties, holiday events, and more

Free Merchandise

Disney Vacation Club members can enjoy several special member-only events throughout the year, such as Moonlight Magic. These exclusive after-hours events offer access to select attractions with little to no wait times. Members also receive complimentary gifts or “swag” at some of these special events. For example, the search results mention guests receiving “one Disney-themed gift” at DVC open house events. Additionally, there is a new member event called “Meet and Treat” happening this fall that will provide members and their guests with a sweet treat. Some of the events and merchandise include:

  • Disney Vacation Club-themed apparel and accessories – This includes t-shirts, hats, bags, etc. featuring DVC logos and designs. For example, the 2023 holiday collection featured a festive DVC snowman t-shirt.
  • Limited edition pins and collectibles – Special event merchandise often includes exclusive pins, ornaments, and other collectibles with unique DVC designs.
  • Artist/character merchandise – Some special shopping events offer merchandise featuring appearances by Disney artists and characters.
  • Food/beverage items – Members sometimes get complimentary treats or snacks during member-only events. For example, the upcoming “Meet and Treat” event offers members a sweet treat.
  • Other events include: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Oogie Boogie Bash. Members receive a “swag bag” at a special location and can do a character meet n greet!

DVC Resorts

Pool surrounded by buildings and foliage

Walt Disney World

Bay Lake Tower – Contemporary resort theme, walk to Magic Kingdom, modern amenities

Animal Kingdom Villas – Savanna views, African theme, proximity to Animal Kingdom

Beach Club Villas – Beachside location, Stormalong Bay pool, short walk to Epcot

BoardWalk Villas – Early 20th century Atlantic City Theme, walk to Epcot area resorts

Boulder Ridge Villas – Rustic theme, woodsy environs, views into Wildnerness Lodge lobby

Copper Creek Villas – Newest DVC at Wilderness Lodge, modern pioneer theme

Grand Floridian Villas – Victorian theme, monorail access, upscale elegant decor

Old Key West – Laidback pastel resort, largest DVC villas, full kitchens

Polynesian Villas – South Pacific theme, monorail access, some overwater bungalows

Riviera Resort – European grandeur, Skyliner access, rooftop restaurant

Saratoga Springs – Upstate New York Victorian theme, the largest DVC resort

Beyond Walt Disney World

Aulani Villas – Hawaiian culture immersion, pools with waterslides, beach locale

The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa – Craftsman style bungalows, right next to Disneyland Park

The Villas at Disneyland Hotel – The newest DVC addition located at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, short walk to Disneyland Park

Hilton Head Island – Beachfront Carolina lowcountry theme, golf course views

Vero Beach – East coast Florida retreat, beachside locale, watersports galore

DVC Lounges

DVC members have access to exclusive lounges in EPCOT, Bay Lake Tower, and Disneyland that offer complimentary beverages, device charging, and special views along with vacation planning assistance. Hours vary by location. Access to the lounges is promoted as a nice perk for members.

List of Lounges

EPCOT

  • Location: Second floor of the ImageWorks store in the Imagination pavilion
  • Hours: Open daily 11am-6pm

Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary

  • Location: Top floor with views into Magic Kingdom
  • Hours: Open daily 6pm-midnight

Disneyland

  • Location: Tomorrowland in the Star Wars Launch Bay building

Drinks and Snacks

Offerings

The lounges offer:

  • Complimentary soft drinks/beverages
  • Device charging stations
  • Comfortable indoor and outdoor seating
  • Dedicated Cast Members to assist with vacation planning

Lounge Rules

  • Valid DVC membership card and photo ID required for entry. Members must have at least 150 points purchased directly from Disney to obtain a membership card.
  • Members can bring up to 5 guests per membership card, subject to lounge capacity limits. All guests must be accompanied by the member.
  • Members with resort reservations using DVC points or cash can access lounges. Guests staying on that reservation are also eligible.
  • No automatic re-entry is allowed after leaving the lounge.

Moonlight Magic Events

Dates & Locations

  • 8 total Moonlight Magic events scheduled at various Disney World and Disneyland parks in 2024, including EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Typhoon Lagoon, and Disney California Adventure. Specific dates are listed for each location:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Event Dates: February 27, 2024 and April 23, 2024

EPCOT

Event Dates: January 25, 2024 and March 1, 2024

Disney California Adventure Park

Event Date: January 29, 2024

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

Event Dates: June 4, 2024 and July 11, 2024

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Event Date: August 27, 2024

Registration Process

  • Registration occurs in two phases – early registration for members with resort stays booked on the event date, and general registration later. Virtual queue system used.

Event Details

  • Complimentary after-hours admission to the specified theme park
  • Short wait times for attractions
  • Unique character greetings
  • Special entertainment
  • Free snacks and treats

Foyer

Attending a DVC Open House

  1. Visit the Welcome Home Center at the DVC resort where you want to tour. Have a cast member escort you to the model villa for the open house. These are available Monday-Friday from 9am-8pm at most WDW resorts.
  2. No appointments or registration is needed for an open house at a resort where you are staying. If visiting a resort where you are not staying, it’s best to call ahead to ensure availability.
  3. The open house consists of a self-guided, 1-hour tour of model DVC villas at that resort. Light refreshments are offered, and cast members are available to answer questions.
  4. Attendees receive a free gift upon completion of the tour, usually a small merchandise item or print.
  5. Transportation is not provided to or from the open houses. You must arrange your own transportation between your resort and the DVC resort with the open house.

Bahamas Port

Disney Cruise Line Benefits

DVC members can receive a number of benefits and discounts when booking a Disney Cruise!

Discounts and Perks

  • Eligible DVC members can save up to 35% on select Disney Cruise Line sailings. Discounts vary.
  • DVC members are recognized on all DCL sailings and receive perks like exclusive member events, daily gifts, and member mixers.

Exclusive Member Cruises

  • Nearly annual member-only charter cruises with special events, gifts, and entertainment.
  • Upcoming member cruises announced for May 2024 in Europe on the Disney Dream and June 2024 at Lighthouse Point on the Disney Magic.

Booking with Points

  • DVC members can book DCL cruises with a mix of cash and vacation points. There’s a minimum point requirement for some member cruises.

Resale Restrictions

  • Members who bought DVC resale can book and receive on-board member perks but lose some other membership extras.

Cruise Swap Program

  • Renters like David’s Vacation Club Rentals facilitate cruise swaps allowing owners to use points for DCL cruises. Has benefits over booking direct.

Characters in Flight

Adventures by Disney

DVC membership unlocks intro pricing and point swap options that can save considerable money on Adventures by Disney vacations worldwide. Substantial discounts and better point value make it very worthwhile for members.

Discounts & Savings

  • DVC members receive introductory pricing on all Adventures by Disney itineraries, which is the lowest price offered. This can add up to major savings even for last minute bookings.
  • Members can save hundreds to thousands of points by “renting out” points then using the cash to book Adventures by Disney trips instead of booking direct. David’s Vacation Club Rentals facilitates this process.

Booking with Points

  • DVC members have the option to use vacation points towards Adventures by Disney vacations. A set number of points is required based on party size, trip length, etc.
  • Doing a “points swap” through a site like David’s gets you better point value for Adventures bookings instead of booking direct through DVC.

Benefits of Using Points

  • Introductory pricing – DVC members receive the lowest intro prices offered on all Adventures by Disney itineraries, which can add up to major savings even for last minute bookings.
  • Point swapping – Members can “rent out” DVC points then use the cash to book Adventures trips and save hundreds to thousands of points compared to booking direct. Sites like David’s Vacation Club Rentals facilitate this.
  • Flexibility – Using a point swap program allows more flexibility compared to booking direct with points, as you can cancel or change plans based on Adventures by Disney’s policies instead of DVC rules.
  • No booking fees – Third party point swap services don’t charge any booking fees for facilitating Adventures reservations using rented DVC points.

Disney+ Benefits

Members can recieve special benefits for Disney+ subscriptions! The main benefits are earning rewards points through linked accounts, potential future subscription discounts, and access to Disney+ subscriber perks open to DVC members.

  • Monthly Disney Movie Rewards Points – DVC members can link their Disney Movie Insiders and Disney+ accounts to earn 50 points per month as long as both accounts stay active.
  • Occasional Disney+ Subscription Discounts – The search results indicate DVC members were eligible for a discounted $2.99/month Disney+ offer in the past. So discounts may be offered periodically.
  • Access to Exclusive Disney+ Subscriber Perks – DVC membership provides access to special perks offered to Disney+ subscribers, like free dining plans with Walt Disney World packages.

Conclusion

Disney Vacation Club is Disney’s exclusive timeshare program that gives members lasting access to deluxe accommodations and special perks. While the required buy-in is substantial, membership pays for itself over time and saves families up to 50% on rooms compared to standard rates. DVC resorts feature spacious villas perfect for groups, with the comforts of home.

Members can book stays at their home resort as early as 11 months out, plus exchange points within the network of over a dozen DVC properties worldwide. Resale contracts offer the same core benefits at discounted buy-in pricing. Along with accommodation perks, membership includes discounts on dining, merchandise, and attractions. Members can also enjoy exclusive events, lounges, gifts, and more.

DVC also unlocks deals on Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, and other vacation options.Overall, DVC membership requires careful consideration of the costs and commitment involved. But for die-hard Disney fans who vacation frequently at Disney resorts, the program provides lasting vacation savings and magical perks that make membership worthwhile.