About a year and a half ago – after my family’s first trip to Walt Disney World – I wrote about the pros and cons of becoming Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members. Ultimately, the initial buy-in (at the time, roughly the price of a new, small sedan) proved to be too much, and my husband and I passed.
Now, we’re just a few months away from our second Disney World vacation, and this time, I’ll be taking advantage of most of what the DVC has to offer. “How’s that?” you ask; didn’t I say no to the pricey membership?
I did. But, as it turns out, that doesn’t mean you have to pass on staying at the Florida resort using DVC points.
Renting DVC Points
As I was planning our upcoming trip, I focused on Disney’s moderate and value resorts. Even during the summer travel season, a basic room at one of these hotels is going to run you less than $200/night, which was doable for our budget. Still, I couldn’t help but be jealous every time one of our friends announced that they too were going to visit Mickey and his friends, and shared that they’d be staying at one of Disney’s deluxe properties. Yes, this mom definitely wanted to keep up with the Jones’, but didn’t want to pay the heft price tag, either.
Then one friend filled me in on her secret: renting points from existing DVC members. Here’s how it works:
Say an existing DVC member knows they won’t be going on a vacation this year, or needs some fast cash to cover expenses. Disney allows them to rent their DVC points to you. You purchase the points, they make the reservation in your name with Disney.
Now, I bet you’re wondering: isn’t that a little risky? What’s to say they’re not going to take the money and run, and you get to Orlando with no place to stay?
I had the same concerns, so I started doing a little bit of research on my own. I soon learned that there are several 3rd-party companies – several of which are both BBB and “Mouse-Approved” – that act as a middle man between DVC members and potential guests, like me. After reading dozens (and dozens) of reviews, I narrowed these companies down to my two favorite: DVC Rental Store and David’s Vacation Club Rentals.
Planning Your Trip
Both of these sites have easy to use reservation calendars, that let you check the availability and the cost of your Disney World vacation. For my dates, I received the following quotes*:
- Disney’s Boardwalk: $1560 for 6 nights
- Disney’s Key West Resort: $1220 for 6 nights
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas: $1140 for 6 nights
* Note, I received several quotes for more expensive Disney properties; these were the 3 that were the “best bargains.” *
Now, let’s be clear: when you stay at a Disney property using DVC points, you won’t be staying in a typical room. Rather, you’ll be staying at a villa. Usually, this means you get slightly more square footage in your room, plus what Disney considers a “kitchenette” – a small fridge, microwave, and extra sink, allowing you some versatility in your meal planning.
Out of the above hotels, not only was Animal Kingdom the best deal, it was also the one I knew my young children would enjoy the most. When I compared the quotes from the rental agencies to Disney’s prices for the same dates – which included a 25% discount on the Animal Kingdom Lodge – I learned that I would save roughly $700 using rented points. In fact, the Animal Kingdom quote through the rental companies was $100 less than I’d pay to stay at one of Disney’s moderate resorts for the same dates! What’s more, I could still take advantage of the Disney Dining Plan (I’ll write a review about that after my trip; I’m curious to see if it will be a good value) through the rental companies, as well as all the other advantages of being an “on property” guest of Walt Disney World.
Have you ever rented points to stay at Walt Disney World? Do you think it’s something you’d consider? Why or why not?