Are you a Disney fan? If so, you have probably seen the advertisements for the Disney Vacation Club (also known simply as DVC) timeshare ownership program. They promise big savings and a chance to actually have real estate ownership in a piece of Disney World.

If you are interested in the Vacation Club, we suggest that you check out the Disney Vacation Club presentation the next time you are on a Disney World vacation – after all, it’s the best way to learn about whether the Club is right for you, and there no easier way to get some free ice cream and FastPasses.

Before we take a look at an alternative method of buying a DVC timeshare, let’s look at who is the best candidate for this Club.

You can buy into the Vacation Club through Disney or via resale.

You can buy into the Vacation Club through Disney or via resale.

You might be a good candidate for Disney Vacation Club ownership if:

  • You can pay the upfront costs, including down payment and processing fees, without borrowing. This will help ensure you are getting a better financial deal.
  • You have a source of funds or income that will allow you to pay the ongoing Club dues and fees.
  • You plan to take a vacation at a Disney Vacation Club property (such as at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Hilton Head, Vero Beach, or Aulani) at least every two years.
  • You will keep your membership in the Club for the foreseeable future so that you can realize the savings offered.
  • You can plan your vacations in advance.

If all these aspects apply to you, you might want to consider purchasing an ownership interest in the Disney Vacation Club. Many people buy their ownership directly from Disney, but buying resale is also an option.

Buying Resale DVC

Aside from the most recently opened DVC properties, such as Bay Lake Tower, ownership at most older resorts is sold out. You can request to be put on the waiting list to be notified when Disney purchases back memberships from current members who need to sell, but the wait can be a long time for certain properties. Alternately, you can usually buy right now from existing Club owners who no longer want to hold on to their membership.

One important thing to keep in mind when buying from an owner rather than through DVC is that Disney has the legal “right of first refusal” in the resale of DVC ownerships. This essentially means that when someone is selling a DVC membership and has found a buyer, Disney must be notified and then has the right to purchase that timeshare for the same price as was offered to the independent buyer. For owners, this is a nice feature because it helps maintain the value of ownership. As a buyer, this means that you will never be able to buy a DVC membership for pennies on the dollar on the resale market (as you can with other timeshare programs).

There are some very valid reasons to consider buying a resale:

  • You can get a slight discount on your membership. Not a fire-sale price, but a better price than you would when buying your ownership directly from Disney. And every dollar counts.
  • As noted above, the older resorts are “sold out”. This means that if you are interested specifically in one of these resorts that you either need to go on Disney’s waiting list or you need to purchase from an existing owner.
  • DVC operates on points – with stays costing more points in larger accommodations or during popular times. When purchasing directly from Disney, you typically have to buy a minimum of 160 points. However, if you purchase at resale, you may be able to purchase in smaller increments – allowing you to build up your personal bank of points in small steps, or to top off your account.

Same Privileges – At Least Those That Count

If you buy DVC at resale, you get the privileges at DVC resorts that those who bought straight from Disney have – you can reserve your room 11 months in advance for your home resort (or 7 months at other DVC resorts) and you get the same park discounts.

Points acquired through resale can no longer be used for certain collections in the Member Getaways Program (including Adventurer, Concierge, or Disney). However, resale points are still eligible for use in the World Passport Collection which lets you exchange your DVC points through RCI, Interval International, and Club Cordial to stay in a bunch of other great resorts around the world.

Exploring All Your Options

Investing in a DVC membership is a big financial commitment. Consider all your options, including both purchasing directly from Disney and buying resale. Then you can be sure you get the best mix of value, convenience, and features.