May be you've been to the four theme parks at Walt Disney World and you've seen the kiosks at the different parks advertising Disney Vacation Club (DVC). Or, just may be, you've stayed at a Walt Disney World resort that has a cast member staffing a desk and you've asked yourself, what is Disney Vacation Club?
In a nutshell, it's a Disney timeshare where you buy points to own real estate. The real estate you are buying is a Disney resort property. You are purchasing a deed that has an end date. Most deed terms are 50 years but if you are purchasing a property that's been open for some time, on a resale, for example, your ownership will end sooner.
A purchase into Disney's Old Key West, for example, if the resale is available, will have a shorter contract end time than at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, which is slated to open its doors on October 23, 2013. That's because Disney's Old Key West was DVC''s original resort. Maintenance dues paid by owners finance the upgrades and refurbishments at all the DVC resorts, including Old Key West.
If your family is planning on returning to Disney (whether it be in Florida or California) every year, then purchasing a Disney Vacation Club property is something you should consider depending, of course, on your family budget and expectations. Frankly, there are less expensive alternatives outside of the Disney resort property, but for many, staying on Disney property is both convenient, adds a sense of security, and allows the family to immerse itself in the Disney experience.
There's a common saying, or slogan about the "Disney Difference." The Walt Disney Company and affiliated companies that are under its umbrella strive to provide excellent service to guests, and cast members alike by focusing on delivering brand quality and loyalty and as an owner of DVC you get to own, in some way, a piece of that Disney magic.
DVC is unlike other timeshares because the focus is on the Disney brand. Through DVC you could sail on a Disney Cruise or take part on a tailored trip with the family outside of Disney through Adventures by Disney.
However, any DVC sales representatives, or "guides"as they are called will tell you that using your DVC points for a Disney Cruise or a trip through Adventures by Disney is not the most cost efficient or best use of your points.
To really understand the DVC product, you can easily call the toll free number, 1-(800) 500-3990, contact them by email or visit a regional sales office in Hawaii, Japan, Disneyland, or at Walt Disney World. At Walt Disney World, if you want to know more on a one-to-one basis, all you have to do is arrange for a pick-up to go to the Preview Center, currently located at Disney's Saratoga Springs.
Before considering a purchase, though, it's good to take a look at the different properties they have, what sales incentives they can give you, and if you have a family member who is an employee of the Company, to see if there are any discount incentives.
Take a look around at their current DVC properties and see if what they offer is something you want to purchase. Although the preview center will show you models, or mock-ups of what new properties are currently on sale, take a look at existing properties to see if Disney maintains them well, observe the check-in process. Not all DVC resorts are equal.
DVC ownership is not for everyone. If you're turned off by the word "timeshare"and what goes with that term, you may want to just walk away. However, touring a DVC preview center is low-key, and there are no sales tactics to make you stay. Currently, the preview center in Japan for instance is by reservation only. However, many of the sales centers accommodate last minute visits.
Although DVC is currently partnered with an exchange company, RCI, you should realize that the bang for your buck in using DVC is staying at the Disney properties.
Before you buy a piece of the magic, definitely ask a lot of questions. Research online, talk to current DVC owners if you see them around the parks (you might see them with DVC merchandise shirts, mugs, or bags). Disney does provide financing with some restrictions or limitations.
Each DVC resort has character, and ownership into DVC allows you the flexibility to enjoy vacations at Disney-owned properties. Whether you should buy one or not, if spending the money to purchase one is not a turn off, is a matter really of style and/or choice. After your kids have graduated high school or college, is this something you can use? Will your grandchildren benefit from use? Do you only want to be tied to Disney properties?
For example, you may enjoy returning to the same home resort you purchase. However, you may be intrigued by staying at different resorts on Disney properties. For example, at Disney's Boardwalk Villas, you are immersed with an early 1900s feel of a turn-of-the-century boardwalk resort. Its location to Epcot,which is a close walk, and within walking distance to Disney's Hollywood Studios are a draw. You can also access different resorts by the use of FriendShips that ferry between Epcot and the Studios and the resorts in between.
To some, owning DVC is an investment on family, and the future. However, it's a timeshare. Whether you will really enjoy the ownership of DVC property should only be arrived by visiting the properties, talking to a guide, talking to other owners, and determining if, in the long run, ownership is for you and your family.
The author of this article owns timeshares including Disney Vacation Club, which is the focus of this article.