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Disney Vacation Club Point System
by: Tom Sprucebank
I will attempt to explain the DVC points system as best I can. Any omissions or mistakes are mine and I apologize for them.
Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is the Walt Disney Corporation’s timeshare operation. Originally centered on Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla, it has recently announced plans to expand by opening new non-theme park resorts elsewhere in the US and indeed internationally, which will probably be similar to its two existing non-theme park resorts at Hilton Head, S.C., and Vero Beach, Fla. For the forseeable future its resorts within Walt Disney World will be the center of its operations. These resorts are:
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort (SSR)
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas (AKV)
Further development within Walt Disney World is anticipated, with the creation of a new resort complex adjoining Disney’s Contemporary Resort likely to be the next. There has been speculation concerning Disney’s Villas at Contemporary Resort for some time.
In order to become a member of DVC you need to buy points at one of the above resorts. The current minimum is 160 points and points currently are $106.00 each, although seasonal marketing discounts might reduce this. Yearly maintenance fees range from about $4-$6 per point depending upon the resort, although this figure is liable to increase over time. Generally speaking resorts which are presently for sale have artificially low maintenance fees, as they are subsidised by Disney. OKW tends to have the lowest fees of the WDW resorts which are not presently on sale, largely because it has fewer elevators than the other resorts and elevators require annual maintenance and are relatively expensive. The non-WDW resorts operate in different labor markets to the relatively cheap market that is WDW Orlando and so maintence fees there can be higher.
Using your points
When you buy your initial allotment of points you purchase a RTU real estate interest in a specific DVC property. Depending on the property or contract purchased this will have an end date ranging from say 2042 to 2056 or beyond. This is your home resort. You are given a use year at this time and what this is, is the Month in which your points are replenished each year. My use year is December, each December 1 st my yearly allotment of points are placed into my account.
Many people are confused by use years. The principal significance of a use year is that if you need to cancel a planned trip at short notice, if your use year falls shortly thereafter your options as to what you can with your points are limited. So, if say you tend to vacation in November each year, the best use year for you would be an October or September use year, as if you had to cancel your planned November trip at short notice, you would still have 10 or 11 months in which to re-use those points. If, however, your use year was December, you might only have weeks in which to reschedule your trip or you could lose those points.
With these points I can reserve a stay at any DVC resort of my choosing, for as little as one night. The only limitation to this is when you can book. They call it a booking window. The resort that you own at is your "Home" resort. You may book at your home resort 11 months from your check out date. You may book any other resort from 7 months of your check out date. Some people do book 1 day at a time to get the most sought after room accommodations and season. I did this once to secure a 3br Grand Villa at OKW.
Room sizes and seasons
Room sizes and occupancy levels vary between the resorts. Each size room has a different point schedule, and each resort has a different point schedule as well; with smaller rooms costing the least amount of points. Some resorts also afford different points rates to identically sized rooms with different views.
There is another factor that determines point costs, and that is the season in which you travel. There are 5 point seasons with each season costing more points for the different size accommodations. They are; Adventure Season (off-season), Choice Season (still off but not as much), Dream Season (a more preferred time to go), Magic Season (summertime and high demand warm months) and Premier Season (Christmas and Easter). This is a general breakdown of the seasons. This breakdown changes somewhat from resort to resort. You'll need to compare the resort schedules to fully understand the seasons and when they actually are.
Another thing to note is that point costs per night are less from Sunday through Thursday during all seasons and they are more on Friday and Saturday. This was done to discourage people from only using weekend I guess.
Banking and Borrowing points
Many owners adopt a once every 3 year usage strategy – initially at least. This means that you bank/use/borrow to vacation in the middle year of a 3 year cycle. This is explained more below.
I get my points on December 1st in Year 1. I can bank these points for
use in the following use year (Year 2). I can also borrow my Year 3 use
year points into my Year 2 use year. This would allow me the use of 3
years of points in Year 2 (Year 1’s which I have previously banked,
Year 3’s which I have borrowed, and Year 2’s which I am entitled to
Once banked or borrowed, points can not be returned to their original use year. Points can only be banked for 1 year or borrowed from 1 year ahead (e.g. in the above example I could borrow Year 3’s points into Year 2 but not into Year 1). Points can expire if not used or banked by the deadlines. Points cannot be re-banked.
Exchanges and other use of points
The best value of DVC points is to use them to stay at DVC Resorts. Should you have surplus points there is an active market in renting DVC points. Whilst in my opinion exchanging your points as set out below does not represent the best value use of DVC points, it might be the best option for some so you should make your own assessment as it might suit your individual circumstances.
Exchanges: DVC trades through II in a limited way. You are not an II
have been very happy with our purchase of DVC. The best value of your
points is within the DVC resort system. Choosing a home resort is
important to gain the advantage of the 11 month booking window. Buy where
you want to stay is what most
It seems complicated but once you understand the system, it's an easy and fair one for all members to work within.
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