Personal Loans

Disney Vacation Club: How It Works, Financing Costs and More

If you’re a Disney fanatic and love to travel, you’ve probably heard about Disney Vacation Club, a timeshare program that allows you to stay at Disney properties around the world. You can use your timeshare points to book vacation accommodations year after year — and get discounts on Disney theme park tickets and merchandise.

However, joining DVC can be expensive. You’ll need to have approximately $20,000 — or obtain financing — to get started, which is a substantial investment for most people. If you want to become a member but need help with DVC financing, here’s what you need to know.

What is the Disney Vacation Club?

If you’re a Disney devotee and like to visit the parks often, joining DVC can be a great way to enjoy regular vacations at Disney properties.

DVC is a vacation ownership or timeshare program. With most timeshares, you buy access to a single property. DVC works differently — when you become a DVC member, you have interest in a particular Disney resort property.

How DVC membership works

You can use your DVC membership and the corresponding points that you get each year to book vacations — not just at your home property, but all over the globe. This includes cruise ship adventures, a visit to Hawaii or even a stay in Europe.

Once you become a DVC member, you purchase a set number of points — starting at 100 — which are allocated to you on a yearly basis. You’ll get the same number of points every year until your contract’s end date; note that contract lengths can vary, so talk to a Disney customer representative to discuss your needs.

The number of points you get each year is dependent on the  level of membership you’ve purchased. You can use your points to book an annual vacation, or move them around from one year to another — that is, you can bank your points and splurge for a future trip, or you can borrow from next year’s allocation if you just need to get away right now. Point values will vary based on the resort, accomodation type and time of year. To find out what a particular property would cost at any given time, you would need to consult with a Disney customer service representative, or book online to view the most recent point values.

Notably, you are able to purchase additional ownership interest, which gives you access to more vacation points. According to DVC, for that additional amount you would need to purchase a minimum of 25 points if paying with cash or 50 if financed.

Disney Vacation Club cost

How much you have to spend is dependent on the property you choose as your home base and how many points you want each year.

Annual dues are used toward resort operating costs and real estate taxes.

If you want a longer stay or more luxurious hotel accommodations, you can choose from different Disney Vacation Club packages to purchase more points. Disney Vacation Club’s website even allows you to see how many points you might need for your vacation of choice.

If you wanted a romantic getaway for two, you could enjoy a four-night summer stay in a deluxe studio at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort for 100 vacation points. For 165 points, you could bring the family out during the winter season, on a trip for four or five nights in a one-bedroom villa at the Riviera Resort.

If you’d like to enjoy a Disney cruise each year, you’ll need at least 275 Vacation Points; at that level, you’re looking at $53,000 or more in upfront costs and nearly $200 per month in dues.

If that price sounds steep, there are Disney vacation financing options available that may make it more affordable.

List of DVC properties worldwide

Disney Vacation Club properties are usually based in the Orlando area near Walt Disney World, with just a few exceptions. As of 2020, the following resorts are DVC properties:

  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel and Spa
  • Aulani (Kapolei, Hawaii)
  • Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort (Hilton Head Island, S.C.)
  • Disney’s Vero Beach Resort (Vero Beach, Fla.)
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa (Anaheim, Calif.)

You can book a stay at DVC-partner resorts all over the world online — just visit the DVC website, and use the “Beyond Disney World Collection” filter.

How to apply to the DVC

If you decide to become a DVC member, you should know that you can’t apply online. Instead, you have to apply to DVC by talking directly with a Disney customer service representative. You can do so in-person on a tour of a DVC property, through a personalized virtual tour led by a cast member or by calling 1-800-500-3990.

Disney’s financing option for DVC membership

If you need help paying for your DVC membership, there is a Disney payment plan for qualified buyers in most locations.

For example, a membership with Disney’s Aulani resort and 100 Vacation Points costs $19,886.06. If you financed it with a 10% down payment and a 10-year loan, your monthly payment would be $249.21, plus $69.42 in monthly dues.

DVC interest rates are dependent on your creditworthiness, down payment and selected loan term. To increase your chances of obtaining Disney Vacation Club financing approval, you should have good to excellent credit and at least a 10% down payment.

DVC timeshare resale

DVC members can resell their memberships, making it a smart way to become a DVC member for less money. Unfortunately, Disney doesn’t facilitate DVC resale transactions; it has to be handled through third-party companies. Sellers have to sell their entire membership, but they can rent out their vacation points if they can’t use them.

If you’re a DVC member who wants to sell their membership or rent out your vacation points, you’ll have to do so through a third-party.

To purchase a Disney timeshare resale, you’ll have to work with a DVC broker or general real estate broker. If you find an opportunity that fits your needs, contact the seller to agree on a price. The seller will need to submit a fully executed contract to the DVC administration for their review at least 30 days before the closing date.

If you’re looking to buy a DVC membership from a current member, here are a few reputable DVC resale companies:

Disney has the first right of refusal on all DVC resale transactions. If it waives its right, the closing can take place. At that time, you’ll have to pay all dues, fees and outstanding loan payments.

The previous owner will be removed from all records, and Disney will update the membership documents with your information once the Disney Vacation Club resale is complete.

Other ways to pay for your DVC membership

Vacation loan

A vacation loan is one way to pay for a Disney Vacation Club membership. With this approach, you take out a personal loan for the amount of the DVC membership. If you have good credit, you may qualify for a low interest rate. Plus, some lenders offer loan terms as long as seven years. A longer loan term will make your payment on Disney Vacation Club memberships more affordable, though you’d pay more in interest charges over time.

Use this personal loan calculator to estimate how much you’d pay each month with a vacation loan.

Credit card

A credit card is another way to finance a Disney Vacation Club membership. With some credit cards, you can get an introductory 0% APR offer for up to 18 months. That offer would give you over a year to pay for your DVC membership without having to pay interest charges.

If you go this route, make sure you can pay off the membership cost before the introductory APR offer expires. Once the promotion ends, the regular APR will apply. If you still have a balance on your credit card, you could end up paying 20% APR or more, costing you hundreds or even thousands in interest fees.

If you’re looking for a new credit card, here are the best credit card offers for 2020 listed on our site.

Cash

While you may love Disney, debt is rarely a good idea. Instead, think about saving the money you need in cash: it may take longer, but you’ll avoid costly interest fees, and you’ll stay out of debt.

Disney Vacation Club financing for bad credit borrowers

If you have bad credit and still want to become a DVC member, proceed with caution — Disney Vacation Club financing for bad credit borrowers is limited. Bad credit personal loans, home equity loans or secured loans often have very high interest rates and can be risky. If you fall behind on your payments, you could lose your property or even your home.

If you need to rebuild your credit, focus on saving cash for a DVC membership instead. If you need your Disney fix in the meantime, you could book a single trip during the off-season to save money. Or, you could get an annual pass, which is discounted if you’re a Florida resident. With this option, you can get Disney tickets and pay monthly fees, rather than an upfront lump sum, and enjoy Disney parks all year long.

 

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