If you’re considering DVC membership, then you’ve probably already realized that the Disney Vacation Club cost structure is less than straightforward. There are a lot of variables and even some not-so-upfront fees. Rather than poring over spreadsheets and digging through your personal finances, consider these two major concerns:
How many DVC points do I need?
Which accommodations are most appropriate for my family?
These two questions go hand in hand, and the answers may determine whether or not DVC membership is a good fit for your family. As with any vacation planning, it can be difficult to rely upon “hard numbers” because so much depends on your personal needs and preferences. However, with the right approach you can arrive at a reasonably accurate cost estimate in less time than it takes to mow the lawn.
How Many DVC Points Should I Buy?
The very first thing to think about is the size of your family and what type of room you desire. A Deluxe Studio sleeps 4 and costs the least amount of points, but lacks privacy. The One Bedroom Villa also sleeps 4 and includes a full kitchen and laundry area. Larger families will probably require the Two Bedroom Villa, which sleeps nine, or the Grand Villa which can accommodate 12 guests. Of course, there’s nothing tying you down to one unit size; you can stay in Studio on one visit and then a One Bedroom next year, but in order to estimate the total cost of DVC membership you’ll want to select the unit you’ll likely use the most.
Families typically purchase somewhere between 150-200 vacation points. A package of that size is usually enough for a 5-6 night stay in a Two Bedroom Villa at most resorts. Remember that the point cost will depend upon the time of year, length of stay, resort, and view. For a better understanding of these cost fluctuations, look at the DVC point chartfor each resort, or try experimenting with the DVC point calculator in order to get a feel for how many points you’ll need.
Keep in mind that it’s better to have a few extra points on hand than to come up short. You can bank the points for a later date, or rent them out.
Consider DVC Annual Dues
Many people don’t realize that the annual dues (maintenance fees) have a much bigger impact on the total cost of DVC than the initial purchase price. Historically, annual dues have generally increased over time, but there are a few rare instances of annual dues decreasing from one year to the next. With that in mind, you can expect a 2%-3% increase in the cost per point of annual dues each year.
Bay Lake Tower usually has the least expensive annual dues, and Vero Beach usually costs the most. If you’re not set on a particular home resort, remember a higher initial purchase price is sometimes justified in the long-term by lower annual dues.
Get the Best Price per Point on DVC Membership
The price per point is going to be determined where you buy and which home resort you choose. If you decide to purchase your DVC membership directly from Disney, you’ll be able to spend your vacation points on hotel stays in addition to DVC resorts, but you’ll also pay a significant premium. That’s why most informed DVC members buy on the resale market. Take a look at Fidelity’s DVC listings and you’ll notice a substantially lower cost per point, which will add up to thousands of dollars saved on the initial purchase. Annual dues will remain the same no matter who you buy from, so there’s no financial downside to buying Disney Vacation Club resale.
Adding Up the Cost of DVC
Once you’ve gone through all of the steps above, you’ll have a pretty good general idea of what the cost will look like, but if you would like to do some price comparisons, make us of this fantastic calculator for estimating the total cost of DVC. Take note of the tremendous difference it makes to the bottom line when you replace the default per point prices with the cost Fidelity’s DVC resale listings.
If you appreciate the DVC cost calculator and DVC point calculator, consider registering at DVCProPlan.com for more free tools. You can also download their apps on Android and iOS.
Get Some of that Money Back! Savings and More…
Disney knows how to treat guests, and they really know how to treat DVC members. You’ll get discounts on select restaurants, events, and even park admission. If you’re planning a family vacation at Disney every year or two, these discounts will really add up.
On those off years when you just can’t make it to Disney, renting your points can help you earn some of that money back. The money that you receive for renting out your DVC points will easily eclipse your annual dues. If you plan on visiting Disney every other year instead of annually, you can deduct the rentals from your cost of ownership.
Become a DVC Expert
You can never be too well informed before a big purchase. Learn everything that you need to know about Disney Vacation Club ownership with Fidelity’s free Family Guide to Disney Vacation Club. Or, if you have completed the steps above and you’re ready to find your ideal point package, join our priority mail list and get our latest DVC listings delivered to your inbox before they're available to the public.