Everyone loves to save money on their Walt Disney World resort stays. But with Disney cutting back on the frequency and depth of its own resort discounts, guests are looking for other ways to save. One discount that’s gaining popularity is renting Disney Vacation Club points. It can be a great way to save money while staying at a DVC resort, but there are lots you need to know before you rent points. Let’s start with the basics:
What is it?
“Renting DVC points” is a bit of a misnomer. You aren’t exactly renting points, you’re actually renting a reservation from someone who owns DVC contracts.
How does it work?
There are two ways to rent DVC points: 1) Use a DVC rental broker (the two most-frequently used brokers are DVC Rental Store and David’s DVC Rentals). The brokers act as a middle man in the transaction, pairing a renter with a DVC owner and communicating between them. The broker will be the one to collect your money and take all additional info from you (for Magical Express reservations, room requests, etc.). Using a broker provides a bit of a safety net for renters. If something were to go awry with your reservation, you would get a refund from the broker.
2) Rent directly from a DVC owner. If you’re not lucky enough to have a friend or family member who owns DVC, you can find owners willing to rent their points on the Disboards (you must be signed into the Dis for this board to show up) or Mouseowners.
There are nine DVC resorts at Walt Disney World:
- Animal Kingdom Villas (Jambo House and Kidani)
- Bay Lake Tower
- Beach Club Villas
- Boardwalk Villas
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge
- Villas at Grand Floridian
- Old Key West
- Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
- Saratoga Springs Resort
There is one DVC resort at Disneyland:
- Villas at Grand Californian
And three DVC resorts at non-park locations:
- Aulani Resort
- Hilton Head Resort
- Vero Beach Resort
There are four villa sizes — studio, one bedroom, two bedroom and grand villa. Depending on the resort, studios and one-bedroom villas sleep up to four or five. Two bedrooms sleep eight to 10, and grand villas sleep 12.
Studios are similar to regular resort rooms, with a queen bed and a pullout couch (Old Key West studios have two queen beds). They also have kitchenettes with a fridge, microwave and toaster.
One-bedroom, two-bedroom and grand villas have full kitchens and a washer and dryer in the villa.
How much will my trip cost?
That is more complicated than you’d think. It depends on how you rent points, your dates and your resort/villa size/villa view.
There are point charts that will show you how many points per night your trip will require.
Here’s Boardwalk’s 2017 point chart, for example:
Don’t want to do the math? Here’s a great DVC point calculator (it’s also a great way to compare what different resorts and villa sizes will cost for your dates).
Depending on where you rent from, it will cost anywhere from $12 to $20 per point.
When do I need to book?
The short answer? As soon as possible.
The long answer? DVC owners can book their home resorts at 11 months out from arrival day. To be sure you get the resort, villa size and view you want, booking at 11 months out is key. The busiest time periods for DVC resorts don’t always correspond with the busiest times in the park. Late September through mid-January is the busiest time of year for DVC resorts, booking at 11 months out is especially important during this period — especially for close-to-park resorts.
Some booking categories (BWV standard view, BLT standard view, VGF studios, AKV value or club-level villas, etc.) can be tough to get, even at 11 months out. Always have a backup plan for your rental in case your first choice isn’t available.
DVC owners can use their points to book any DVC resort at seven months out from arrival day. And “last-minute” reservations are booked much farther out than when you book directly with Disney (a few months out vs. a few weeks out).
One of the biggest hurdles to renting DVC points can be finding an owner who is renting points at the resort at which you want to stay. Without that, you have to wait until the seven-month window opens to book and you could run into availability issues.
How are rented DVC reservations different from cash reservations?
One of the biggest differences between a cash reservation and a rented DVC reservation is with DVC, you don’t get daily housekeeping.
- For stays of seven nights or fewer, you will get a trash and towel visit from housekeeping on Day 4 of your visit.
- For stays of eight nights or more, you’ll get a full cleaning on Day 4 and trash and towels on Day 8.
Renters should have their trip dates locked in because there are often no changes, cancellations or refunds when renting points. DVC Rental Store offers a “cancel for any reason” insurance at an additional cost.
If you’re someone who changes their mind about a resort or changes dates multiple times leading up to a trip, then renting points may not be the best choice for you.
Another thing to keep in mind when renting points is the DVC owner “owns” your reservation until the day you check in. You’ll get a confirmation number you can link to your My Disney Experience account, but any Magical Express reservations, room requests or changes to the reservation (i.e. adding the dining plan) must be made by the owner.
You often have to pay for rented DVC reservations up front. Some owners and brokers may have different payment schedules, but it’s almost universally earlier than guests have to pay for a Disney room-only or package reservation.
Can I still make my ADRs, FP+ reservations and use Magical Express?
Yes, absolutely. A rented DVC reservation makes you a Disney resort guest. You can make your entire trip’s worth of dining reservations at 180 days out from arrival day, your FP+ reservations at 60 days out from arrival day and you’re eligible to use DME to and from Orlando International airport.
Is there a catch?
If there were absolutely no risk in renting DVC points, almost no one would ever book directly through Disney ever again. Renters are at the mercy of the owner from whom they are renting. If anything goes awry, Disney does not get involved. As mentioned, the brokers act as a safety net for renters — if something happens to the reservation, the broker refunds the renter’s money. It’s worth noting that in cases such as that, the renter would need to scramble to find a replacement reservation. And if you rent directly from an owner and something goes wrong, you would have to attempt to get a refund from the owner.
Renting DVC points is a great option for some Disney guests — it can save you real money — but it isn’t for everyone.Share this post: