Almost every day someone asks if DVC is “worth it.” While it definitely depends on the person/family and their traveling style/frequency, my response typically is that it is worth it if you buy resale. People can either purchase DVC points directly from Disney, at Disney’s prescribed rates, or purchase points on the resale market, where previous owners sell their contracts based on prices set by the market (supply and demand). These points are nearly identical, with a few limitations imposed on resale points lately (which I will post about in depth).
(I have no personally involvement in the resale market, and am not connected to any resale vendors, so this is just my unbiased, uninfluenced opinion.)
So what exactly does it cost to buy DVC points right now? The table below shows the cost per point if you purchase Direct from Disney vs on the Resale Market. I’ve also included columns showing what these costs per point would add up to if you purchased a 200 point contract, as an example. The costs below are just the upfront purchase costs of DVC.
|DVC Resort||Direct $ |
|Direct Total |
for 200 points
|Resale $ |
|Resale Total |
for 200 Points
|$ Savings||% Savings|
|Animal Kingdom Lodge||$186||$37,200||$118||$23,600||$13,600||36.6%|
|Bay Lake Tower||$245||$49,000||$150||$30,000||$19,000||38.8%|
|Beach Club Villas||$245||$49,000||$146||$29,200||$19,800||40.4%|
|Old Key West||$170||$34,000||$112||$22,400||$11,600||34.1%|
You can see from the table above that this is a significant up front investment. The most interesting thing to note though, is that the points are all the same, regardless of what resort you buy! You can purchase resale points at Vero Beach, and they have the same value and can be used across all resorts (excluding Riviera – Resale pros and cons post to follow) just as though you purchased points Direct at the Grand Californian. The only benefit to purchasing at a specific “home resort” is that you get the “home resort booking window” which means that you can book 11 months in advance to travel, as opposed to 7 months at all other resorts. Repeat: you can use Old Key West points to book at Grand Californian, you just have to wait a few months to book after the Grand Californian owners start booking.
Just to break it down a little more, if you own Boardwalk points, you can use them at every resort listed above (excluding Riviera if they are recently purchased Resale points). However, 11 months prior to your trip, you could book a room at the Boardwalk and there will presumably be a lot of availability. You cannot book at any of the other resorts until 7 months prior to your trip, and by then, availability may be limited. Conversely, non-Boardwalk owners cannot book at the Boardwalk when you can as a Boardwalk owner, they have to give you 4 months of home resort booking privilege where you can snatch up the more desirable rooms before they get to pick through the remains.
There are certain resorts where the home resort booking window is much more necessary than others. As you can see, Disney puts a huge premium on Grand Californian points, because it is nearly impossible to find a room 7 months out. Therefore, if you want to stay at the Grand Californian a lot, it might be worth having Grand Californian points, so that you can nab a room 11 months prior to your travel dates. Similarly, Beach Club is hard to book at 7 months out due to a small inventory of rooms at that resort. Copper Creek is similar as well. With all of that said, I’ve had a 100% success rate getting rooms at any and all resorts at the 7 month booking window, but I am very patient and persistent. If you like to just be able to easily book a room with little to no effort, then home resort advantage should be a priority for you. If you don’t mind hunting down the room you want, or you are flexible about where you stay, do NOT pick your home resort based solely on where you plan to stay. See below for what you SHOULD prioritize.
The crazier thing is that different resorts have different point charts outlining what each room costs per night in points. Some of the resorts listed above with high up front costs per point ALSO require more points per night to book. This is where it boggles my mind that people will pay a premium for more expensive points and then also need to use MORE points per night at those resorts. If you love one of the more expensive resorts, I would personally buy a greater number of cheaper points, so that I can spend more nights at the resort. To simplify, 200 points goes a lot further when booking rooms at Old Key West, Saratoga, Boardwalk, Beach Club, and Boulder Ridge than it does at a monorail resort or Riviera. See point charts linked below.
The other factors to consider when selecting a home resort are annual dues and expiration date. When I selected a home resort at which to purchase my latest contract, the only 3 factors I looked at were: up front cost, annual dues, and expiration date. I did not factor in where I actually wanted to stay, contrary to the advice you see across social media, because I have faith in my ability to use waitlists and stalk availability to secure a room at the resort of my preference (typically Beach Club and Boardwalk).
Below are the 2021 annual dues for each resort, these increase slightly each year, and are similar to any association dues if you own a condo or anything like that. Annual dues are per point.
|Home Resort||Annual Dues (2021)|
|Animal Kingdom Lodge||$8.0728|
|Bay Lake Tower||$6.8998|
|Beach Club Villas||$7.4373|
|Old Key West||$8.3578|
Lastly, here is a table showing all of the contract expiration dates. Unlike many timeshares, DVC contracts do not last forever. Each resort has a set expiration date. Whether you buy direct or resale, now, next year, or 20 years ago, the expiration date is the same for anyone who purchases points at any given home resort. The understanding is that your contract fully expires as of the expiration date. No one is certain exactly what will happen when those dates arrive, but there are theories that the contracts will start all over and existing owners may be offered a discount to repurchase their points. Others say the resorts will be demolished (crazy). This is all just speculation. The earliest expiration date is still 20 years away, so we won’t know for awhile.
|Home Resort||Expiration Date |
(January 31st of the year shown)
|Animal Kingdom Lodge||2057|
|Bay Lake Tower||2060|
|Beach Club Villas||2042|
|Old Key West||2042 or 2057|
So if you look back at the up front prices per point, and compare them to the expiration dates, this is where my issue arises. I personally LOVE Beach Club and Boardwalk. They will eternally be my top choices for where to stay. However, if you look at the price to purchase Beach Club points, as compared to Bay Lake Tower for example…. You are paying the same price for 18 fewer years of vacations. You are paying for a certain number of points per year, lets say 200 for example. If you buy a 200 point contract, you get 200 points to use on vacations every year. I struggle with paying the same price for that 200 point contract and receiving 18 fewer years of points, no matter how much I love Beach Club. The only thing you are paying that premium for is the home resort booking window. I personally am willing to piece together days at Beach Club at the 7 month window, and get to travel for 18 additional years. Especially given that that annual dues at Bay Lake are lower than those at Beach Club. Again, it is all a matter of personal preference. Some people prioritize the ease of booking at the 11 month window over those additional 18 years of travel.
The elephant in the room at this point is: what are the cons to buying points Resale? I will throw together another post on this topic and link to it below, the primary con is that you don’t have access to the Gold Annual Pass that DVC members and Florida Residents typically get access to. That pass offers a huge savings over other annual passes, and is a pretty big loss if you are a fan of annual passes. More on that in my next post.
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