If you have visited the Disney World resort in the past few years, you have undoubtedly run across some of Disney’s sales pitches for the Disney Vacation Club (DVC): statements like how it’s “Disney’s best kept secret” and how you can save “70% on your vacations.” These signs are everyone, accompanied by friendly Cast Members who are there to answer questions and get you scheduled into a sales presentation.
What Is The Disney Vacation Club?
If you approach one of the DVC’s sales representatives, known as a DVC Guide, they will explain the basic premise. It’s not a time share per se, but instead a process where you pre-pay for your vacation lodging. You get about 50 years of vacations (or a few less depending on the DVC location and how many years it has been open). You get points that you can use to stay at your “home” resort, or trade in to stay at other Disney or non-Disney resort. The points you pay for a room vary on the location (more deluxe resorts cost more point) when you stay (weekends cost more points than weekdays, and high-season times like Christmas cost more than low-season times like early November), and other factors like the view the room has.
The points can be borrowed to lent to a next year, and you can give a vacation stay as a gift. You can also pass the ownership of the points to your children.
How The DVC Sales Process Works
You schedule a time to visit the sales office, which for Disney World is located at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. You can request a particular DVC Guide, or one will be assigned to you. The Guide will show you the rooms and share the costs with you. They will also help you in the future if you have issues that the Customer Service group can’t resolve.
Everything I have read says that the sales process is not what you would expect of a typical time sales pitch – it is not high-pressure, it is not full of misinformation, and it is not generally unpleasant – as most other timeshare sales pitches are. Instead, the DVC Guide presents the information, answers questions, and processes the paperwork if you say yes. The legal contract is said to be two simple pages with no fine print, which seems to be a feat of magic unto itself.
Is It Worth it?
Let’s take a look at this question in two ways.
First, is it worth it to listen to the Disney Vacation Club sales pitch? For many people, even those not really interested in making a purchase, the answer is probably a surprising “yes”. Normally you get Fast Passes just for attending – whether you decide to purchase or not. Typically you can get just one of these magical Fast Pass tickets at time, which allow you to get onto an attraction with little or no wait. But if you attend the sales pitch, you get enough Fast Passes for the rest of your day. This means that time you would have spent waiting in attraction lines can be saved – actually making the one hour pitch a time saver. Plus you get to sit in air conditioned comfort, and you get a free ice cream sundae at the end of the presentation. How often does Disney give away free ice cream?
But the bigger question is whether it makes sense for you to invest in the Disney Vacation Club. The price depends on the number of points you purchase, but generally costs start at around $20,000 and go up from there. Many people quote that you break even in anywhere from 5 to 9 stays – in other words, you stay 5 – 9 times and you have recovered your cost and subsequent vacations are “free”. While that might be a bit optimistic, most calculations I have seen suggest that you will generally save money over time vs. what you would spend on full price luxury accommodations.
Of course, you need to understand the costs as they relate to your personal situation. But given the nature of the deal and the sales process, it just might make sense for you to check out the Disney Vacation Club the next time you are at Disney World.