Looking to save money on your next Disney vacation? One suggestion growing in popularity is to consider renting Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points. However, like any ‘easy’ money-saving solution, there are some aspects of the rental process that you should be aware of before you decide whether this approach is right for you. To help with that, we’re taking a look at some of the pros and cons of renting DVC points.
For those that aren’t familiar with Disney Vacation Club or point rentals, Disney Vacation Club is Disney’s version of a timeshare program. Members purchase a long-term contract for a certain number of points each year. They can then exchange those points for stays at the following Disney resorts:
- Animal Kingdom Villas (Jambo House and Kidani Village)
- Aulani Resort and Spa (Hawaii)
- Bay Lake Tower
- Beach Club Villas
- Boardwalk Villas
- Hilton Head Island (South Carolina)
- Old Key West
- Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
- Saratoga Springs
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian (Disneyland)
- Vero Beach Resort (Florida)
- Wilderness Lodge Villas and Cabins (Boulder Ridge and Copper Creek)
There are all sorts of rules around using the points each year, and it’s possible a member may not be able to use their points before they expire. If that’s the case, they look for someone else to pay to use some or all of their points for that year. That’s where renting DVC points comes into play.
If you’re looking to rent DVC points, you have two options. You can try to find a trustworthy DVC owner who is willing to give up their points and hope that they don’t take your money and run. Or you can go through a point broker, which has added security, but is usually slightly costlier than simply going through an individual owner. Here at TouringPlans, we’ve had great experiences with David’s Disney Vacation Club Point Rentals. All you need to do is submit a reservation request with basic information about your upcoming trip along with an initial deposit, and they pair you up with an owner who has the points you need. And if you’re looking for more information on the ins and outs of the actual process of renting DVC points, we’ve got a comprehensive blog post on that here.
Having simplified that as much as possible, it still sounds fairly complicated compared to booking directly through Disney, right? However, the additional work up front comes with some serious advantages. So, let’s get to the pros and cons of renting points.
- Significant savings – The biggest perk to renting DVC points is to save big on your resort stay. Using David’s rental cost calculator as an example, a standard studio in Boardwalk Villas from May 6-12, 2018 costs $1,392. When booked through Disney directly, the same villa studio totals $3,388 and a standard room at the Boardwalk Inn is $3,368. Even a standard room at Port Orleans Resort French Quarter would cost $1,615 for those dates before any discounts. By renting DVC points, you can essentially book a deluxe resort for the cost of a moderate.
- Deluxe Accommodations – DVC rooms are some of the nicest on Disney property. They’re only available at specific deluxe resorts, and there is a wide selection of room types. Layouts range from studios, one-bedroom units, two-bedroom units, and three-bedroom villas to entirely separate structures (treehouse, cabin, or bungalow). Many of these options include added luxuries like kitchens or kitchenettes, a washer and dryer, more living space, and multiple bathrooms. The accommodations you can book through DVC are the best of the best when it comes to on-site Disney resorts.
- Easy to link to My Disney Experience – Reserving a Disney resort stay through third parties can be quite the hassle sometimes. Many third parties don’t provide the Disney confirmation code necessary to add your hotel reservation directly on My Disney Experience. This is particularly important when it comes to planning certain aspects of your vacation, like FastPass+ or advance dining reservations, where timing depends on whether you’re an on-site guest or not. Linking the reservation is never a problem when renting DVC points. They realize how important that confirmation code is and provide the Disney-specific one as soon as the reservation is confirmed. Once it’s linked online, you’ll have the functionality to make FastPass+ reservations, advanced dining reservations, and online check-in selections.
- Guaranteed discount – Disney offers various discounts throughout the year, but they’re very unpredictable. Details like the release date, discount amount, available resorts, and applicable travel dates vary regularly. And because discounts are usually announced relatively close to the available dates, there is no knowing whether you will snag a discount unless you wait to book or rebook painfully close to your vacation. When you rent DVC points, however, you typically lock in a great discount close to a year in advance. You don’t have to check regularly for the discount announcement or frantically check with Disney to try to make or change your reservation for the discount. With point rentals, it’s all smooth sailing.
- No long-term commitment – Unlike buying in to DVC, you don’t need to commit to any long-term contracts. More than likely you’ll sign a rental contract, but that’s it. You get to enjoy some of the perks of being a DVC member without worrying about buying in up front, paying membership dues, and using points for years to come.
- Limited availability – Because of the savings, vacation club point rentals are highly sought after. Depending on the time of year, many DVC rooms sell out as soon as they become available for reserving, which is 11 months out for those who own points at that particular resort (also known as a home resort). That means you will either need to book early or be flexible in the dates, resort, and room type that you’ll accept. You may even need to consider a split stay between multiple resorts to accommodate your dates, especially during particularly busy times.
- Non-refundable – Because of the strict rules around when and how a DVC member can use their points, most rental agreements won’t allow cancellations for a refund, even for situations beyond your control (like a hurricane). With the money you saved on the booking, you can buy trip insurance though if this is something you’re worried about experiencing.
- Infrequent housekeeping – DVC resorts don’t receive daily housekeeping services like the regular resorts do. For stays less than eight nights, trash and towel service are provided on day four. Longer stays receive a full-service visit on day four and trash and towel service on day eight. If, like me, you almost never require daily housekeeping at a regular resort anyway, this may actually be a positive note for you. But I’m guessing for most people this will be a slight inconvenience.
- Less control – When you rent DVC points, you rely on a DVC owner to make a reservation on your behalf. Because they are the ones who make the reservation, Disney won’t work with you when it comes to modifications to the reservation (like changing/adding guests or the dining plan). And due to the rules around using points, you can’t switch dates or resorts by simply selecting a new one on the website either. As I mentioned above, you also need to trust that they won’t take your money and cancel the reservation. That’s one of the many reasons I feel it’s worth it to go through an official third party like David’s Vacation Rental rather than directly to a DVC owner, unless you know them personally.
- Payment due in full – Typically when you book directly through Disney, you only owe a small portion up front and the rest later. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with DVC rentals. Because of the reservation process, you’ll owe the full payment upon confirmation of the reservation. For anyone pinching pennies before their trip, this could be a deal breaker.
Now that you know the benefits and downsides to renting Disney Vacation Club points, do you think it’s something you’re willing to try? Have you already tried it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!