As a Specialist in Disney Travel as well as a Disney Vacation Club member I get a ton of questions about renting Disney Vacation Club points. Mainly how to do so, and whether or not it’s the great deal people have heard it is. Here are my most frequently asked questions and the answers I give in responce.
How do you rent DVC points?
There are two main ways to rent points, from a broker or direct from the owner. Brokers, such as dvcrequest.com, provide a bit more peace of mind and a lot more ease of booking, but they come with a $1-$2 a point premium. If you want to rent directly from an owner, the most reliable way of finding owners who are renting points and are “legit” is on Disboards.com. If renting from an owner I suggest you do your research and ask for references. Ultimately he route you go depends on your comfort level with risk. Personally, I’ve rented from dvcrequest.com and had a lovely experience. (I’m not getting paid to say this)
Is it a good deal?
Compared to what Disney is renting the same villa for, yes. Compared to what Disney is renting a moderate resort room for, no.
How does the Villa compare to a hotel room?
Hotel rooms have either 1 king sized bed or 2 queens (or fulls). Some also have a pull down bed or sofa bed. They have a mini fridge (without freezer) and in Moderate and Deluxe resorts, coffee makers.
Studios – 1 queen sized bed and 1 sleeper sofa (and the occasional pull down twin bed), plus a kitchenette consisting of a microwave, toaster and mini fridge (often with freezer)
1 Bedroom – 1 King sized bed, 2 bathrooms with a huge jacuzzi tub in the master, Queen sized sleeper sofa in the living room and sometimes a twin sized sleeper sofa or pull down bed, plus a full kitchen. Yes a FULL kitchen which is fully equipped, save for food.
2 bedroom lock offs – Combo of a studio and a 1 bedroom
2 Bedroom – A one bedroom plus a second bedroom with two queens and a full bath.
3 Bedrooms – These are outstanding and varied in layout. If Disney were ever on an episode of MTV Cribs, these are what they’d go see. They all have three bedrooms with 4 queen sized beds and 1 king sized bed. Four bathrooms with huge master bedroom baths, featuring Jacuzzi tubs which would make Mariah Carey jealous. They also have unique features like pool tables, two story floor to ceiling windows with views of the Magic Kingdom and Balconies which wrap around the entire suite. They are unique experiences, especially if traveling with a large, multi-generational party.
Ok, so what’s the cost comparison? Will I save money?
It’s hard to do a true cost comparison for this that is general in nature. However, here’s a comparison for the cost of a room/villa for a week in July of 2017.
Note: I’m assuming that points cost $14 on average as that’s right in the middle of what I see out there on the interwebs. Also, please note that all villas have different point costs at different times of year so this is just an approximation. Frankly I’m quoting Animal Kingdom cuz it’s my favorite resort with the best availability. Sure, Bay Lake Tower is nice for convenience to the Contemporary, but it’s hard to find and it doesn’t offer as good a value.
- Points Rental: Standard View Studio at Animal Kingdom: $1,624.00
- Points Rental: Standard View 1 Bedroom at Animal Kingdom: $3,192.00
- Points Rental: Standard View 2 Bedroom at Animal Kingdom: $4,018.00
- Cash: Standard View Guest Room at Animal Kingdom: $2,759.65
- Cash: Standard View Studio at Animal Kingdom: $3,228.75
- Cash: Standard Room Port Orleans French Quarter: $1,764.00
So, if you rent a studio instead of a room at Port Orleans French Quarter, you’re really not saving much. If you rent a studio instead of a room and Animal Kingdom you will save a pretty penny. If you rent the studio with points vs with cash you will save an even prettier penny. Not to mention that with the Studio you have a microwave which offers a lot of options for you regarding food options in your room. That said, renting a one bedroom with points is never gonna be cheaper than a standard room merely from a room cost point of you. Also something to note, the rooms are often more comfortable as they come with either a King bed or two queens vs one queen bed and a sofa bed.
Where the savings really become evident is for larger families, say those who can’t fit into a room but can fit into a villa, or those who enjoy cooking while at Walt Disney World. When you consider how much the food at Walt Disney World is, you could certainly save up enough to make the 1 bedroom a good decision merely from a cost perspective.
The larger 2 and 3 bedrooms really make the most sense as they can be used to replace two or three rooms and yet still keep the family together. Personally, I love them for multigenerational travel
So, what’s the catch?
Well, as I’m sure you can guess, you aren’t gonna get a great deal without making a few sacrifices. There’s always a trade off. So, in all honesty, here they are:
- Must book well in advance for the best chance of getting the room you want. Think 11-9 months in advance. If you want to stay at any of the Monorail resort villas you will have to book at 11 months out to really stand a chance of getting these rooms and even then you are not likely to get your first choice as they are so in demand. Not to mention that these rooms have much higher point values and will therefore be more expensive than what was quoted above.
- Nonrefundable once booked. This is a big one. Because the DVC member is committing points and will lose them if you don’t travel, you must pay up front. This makes sense because the points are committed/locked in when the vacation is booked. Technically they can book travel with these points if you cancel, but only for the use year of your booking. This whole process can be complicated, so most everyone does it as nonrefundable. With a vacation package booked through Disney, you have until a month before and with a room only reservation you have until 5 days before travel to cancel with no penalty. Trip insurance mitigates this risk, but only for certain conditions. You can’t simply change your mind.
- You must pay up front for the vacation. With vacation packages purchased through Disney, you can pay in installments and have up until the month before for a package. If you have a room only reservation you’ll just pay a deposit of one night’s fee and then the rest during your trip. While this seems similar to the point above, I list it separately because it’s a big difference.
- No housekeeping. This may seem like a small thing but when you come home from the theme park exhausted and the bed is not made and the towels you used in the morning are still on the floor it’s not so small a deal.
- Restaurants and amenities are generally further away from your villa than they would be from your hotel room. For example, the walk to the monorail is a lot longer from the Grand Floridian Villas than from rooms at the Grand Floridian, same for restaurants.
- Studios have only one queen sized bed and a pull out sofa vs Rooms which have a king sized bed or two queens. This is no small thing. If you’re traveling with a party of four two of them will have to sleep on not so comfortable sofa beds. I remember growing up we hated sofa beds as kids so this is not something to overlook. Plus, if like us, you co-sleep with your tiny ones, the queen is gonna be awful snug.
Can I still get the dining plan?
Sure, if you decide you don’t want to take advantage of the kitchen for most meals and still want the dining plan you can still get that. You will have to work with the member who is renting their points to you for this.
Can I still use the Disney’s Magical Express?
Sure can! You will have to work with the member who is renting their points to you for this.
Do I get the Discounts and perks DVC members get?
Sadly no. These are reserved for the owner not those who are staying in the Villa.
Let me know if I left out any of your questions and I’ll add them here. Alternately you may message me directly with questions specific to your vacation.