Disney’s version of the timeshare, Disney Vacation Club, can be a great way for guests to save money on their Disney vacations while staying in larger accommodations. You don’t have to be a DVC member to take advantage of the benefits. Instead, you can “rent” DVC points from members to reserve Disney villa accommodations. But the process can often seem a bit confusing and overwhelming to the newbie. Learn all about how DVC rentals work so you can decide if one is right for your next Disney vacation.
Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is Disney’s version of the timeshare. Members buy “points” which they can redeem for stays at participating resorts in Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and in several other U.S. locations.
Properties that participate in DVC at Walt Disney World include:
- Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House and Kidani Village)
- Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort Bay Lake Tower
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Beach Club Villas
- Disney’s Boardwalk Villas Resort
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
Disney’s Riviera Resort and Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge are two additional properties currently under construction that will join DVC in 2019/2020.
There are additionally 4 other properties not at Walt Disney World that participate in DVC:
- Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa (Ko Olina, HI)
- Disney’s Grand Californian (Anaheim, CA)
- Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort (Hilton Head, SC)
- Disney’s Vero Beach Resort (Vero Beach, FL)
So if you aren’t a DVC member and aren’t planning on becoming one, why should you care or pay attention to DVC? Many members also rent out their points instead of using some or all of them themselves. This creates an elaborate secondary market for non-members to access a number of DVC villas as rentals.
Benefits of Renting DVC Points
Why should you consider these rentals instead of just booking direct with Disney? The major reason that Disney vacationers should rent DVC points is to save money. Guests can often save 20-30% or more off the cost of the same rooms booking direct from Disney. DVC members (and those renting from members) also get free parking, so you can find additional savings on parking fees.
Another reason that DVC rentals can be enticing is space. DVC accommodations are studios with kitchenettes or 1-3 bedroom villas with full kitchens. They also include living areas and sometimes laundry. These rentals can be ideal for families needing separate spaces to sleep (or just for sanity) on a longer vacation.
Drawbacks of Renting DVC Points
Although there are quite a few benefits to DVC rentals, there are a few drawbacks and potential pitfalls that guests need to be aware of before taking the plunge. The entire process is certainly more complicated and confusing than simply booking a hotel room on Disney’s site or a hotel booking engine. It takes more time to learn and can be a bit intimidating.
DVC rentals also have much stricter cancellation policies than do regular Disney hotel reservations. Once you commit to renting a DVC rental, you are on the hook for it from the service or owner you are renting from, even if the unexpected arises. Travel insurance is a must-have additional cost if you want to protect your investment.
Finally, DVC renters only get housekeeping service every three days, so you’ll also need to work to keep your room a bit tidier when you rent this way.
How to Rent DVC Points
Now that you know the risks and benefits, how do you actually rent a villa using DVC points?
The cheapest ways is usually to rent directly from a owner friend. They will charge you a fixed rate per point they are using to book the room. The friend will then book the room in your name. There’s no need to worry that Disney will treat you as a second class citizen. Renting a room for someone else is perfectly legitimate and there are no differences in privileges.
If you don’t know an owner personally, you can rent from any owner. There are peer-to-peer message boards devoted to this option, like MouseOwners.com (Leslie used this method to rent DVC points for Aulani). Be aware, however, that renting from an unknown owner is the riskiest option. Do what you can to verify the person’s identity and only work with repeat users who have a positive reputation on the boards.
For more security, most guests opt to use one of the two companies that act as middlemen brokers for DVC rentals. Both David’s (DVCRequest.com) and the DVC Rental Store buy up points from owners and assume all the risks you might otherwise have booking directly from an unknown owner. You’ll of course pay a bit of a premium per point for this peace of mind. Hot tip: use the website tools.dvcvacations.com/points-calculator to search for availability before you even contact a broker.
No matter what method you use to rent, it’s important to plan as early as possible to get the reservations you want. At 11 months in advance, DVC owners can make reservations at their “home” resorts. So if you simply must have a particular resort or a popular date, finding an owner with these home resort privileges well in advance is necessary. At 7 months in advance, all DVC resorts are open to every member to book.
Have you heard of DVC rentals before? They are a great way to stay on site at Disney properties and save money in the process, but things can get pretty confusing. We break down what you need to know about renting DVC points for Disney stays and chat about how you can save money doing it. Plus, a must hear Disney do for DVC rentals!
Got any DVC rental tips to share? We’d love to hear your experiences and tips, please share them by e-mailing us at disneydeciphered AT gmail DOT com.
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0:00 – What is DVC and which Disney properties are DVC?
3:44 – What are DVC points?
5:12 – What are the benefits and drawbacks of renting DVC points for your Disney hotels and vacations
9:40 – How to rent DVC points via peer to peer
12:53 – How to rent DVC points using a broker or broker website
15:05 – Important dates to be aware of
19:23 – Disney dos and don’ts