How to stay in a deluxe hotel for moderate prices
(Article last updated: June 13, 2015)
There are lots of destinations you can visit where renting a timeshare can be an affordable option.
Disney World has a version of timeshares called Disney Vacation Club where you can rent from the owner and pay less than if you booked the room through Disney.
Here's how it works.
Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is Disney's point-based timeshare system. Owners pay thousands of dollars to buy points which allow them to stay in Deluxe accommodations for the life of their contract.
DVC owners don't always use their points so they are willing to rent them to people like you and me.
There are 9 DVC locations at Walt Disney World, most of them being located adjacent or in the same building as a Deluxe Resort.
The current DVC locations are:
- Beach Club Villas (located in the same building as the Beach Club)
- Boardwalk Villas (located in the same building as the Boardwalk Inn)
- Bay Lake Tower (separate building located at The Contemporary Resort)
- Animal Kingdom Villas (some located in same building as Animal Kingdom lodge, some in a separate building)
- Villas at Wilderness Lodge (adjacent to Wilderness Lodge)
- Old Key West Resort (DVC resort, not connected with a Deluxe Resort)
- Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa (DVC resort, not connected with a Deluxe Resort)
- Grand Floridian Villas (located next to The Grand Floridian)
- Polynesian Village Resort (located at The Polynesian)
How Point Rental works
Let's say that you've been thinking about staying at The Contemporary Resort, but wanted to check into Bay Lake Tower to see if is a better option.
Step 1: See how many points you'll need for your stay. You would need to consult a DVC point calculator to help you figure it out
If you were looking at points for the first week of September for a standard view Deluxe Studio in Bay Lake Tower, your points would look like this.
|16 pts||14 pts||14 pts||14 pts||14 pts||14 pts||16 pts|
Total: 102 points
Step 2: Find a DVC owner with points to rent. There are DVC owners posting on message boards to let renters know what they have available. MouseOwners.com, for example, has a large community of renters and owners. To find a DVC owner with points available, go to their Points Available for Rent forum.
Be sure to read the information there about how to find points. Some owners have points with expiration dates that might take place before your trip. Some owners have points tied to specific resorts. Look for an owner that has the number of points you need for your dates and contact them through their message board post to see if they still have them available.
You could also simplify the process and rent from a company that coordinates with the owners. You'll pay a little more than working with an owner directly, but it'll be easier and more predictable. I recommend DVCRequest.com.
Step 3: Pay for your point rental. Once you find an owner who has the points you need, you'll need to pay for them. You can expect to pay around $12-14/point, although the price varies by owner. In our example, we needed 102 points so the reservation would cost $1,224-1,428.
A standard room at The Contemporary Resort during these dates would cost around $2000 (price includes tax and the 20% discount available during these dates).
So why wouldn't everyone rent DVC points if it saves so much money?
Wellllll, you may have thought this sounded too good to be true. It isn't too good to be true, but there are always pros and cons with everything.
Here are the cons.
Your agreement is with the DVC owner, not Disney
When you rent points, you are entering an agreement with the owner. That means you are paying the owner and they are responsible for making your reservation. Although the financial agreements of each transaction can differ, your best bet is to pay partial payment up front and then require a reservation confirmation before making your final payment.
You can get references on the owner, see if they've had previous dealings on the message board you're using and/or speak to them on the phone to help you feel more comfortable.
Less frequent visits from Mousekeeping
Disney resorts receive daily Mousekeeping visits but DVC accommodations only receive a visit once or twice during your stay.
For visits that are 7 or fewer night, you will get Mousekeeping trash and towel service on day 4. This includes:
- Emptying the trash and getting new liners in the wastebaskets
- Fresh bathroom towels
- Replacing shampoo, facial soap and bath soap
- Replenishing facial tissues, paper towels and toilet paper
- Replenishing coffee, sugar and cream
- Replenishing diswashing liquid, dishwasher detergent, sponges and laundry detergent as applicable
For stays that include 8 or more nights, you will get a full cleaning from Mousekeeping on day 4 and trash and towel service on day 8. Full cleaning includes:
- Changing the bed linens
- Vacuuming and dusting
- Bathroom cleaning
- Cleaning the kitchen/ette and washing the dishes
The standard DVC rooms are smaller (but have a kitchenette)
While there are a few different room sizes to choose from, we are comparing the standard rooms in this example. Standard rooms in the hotel resorts include two beds and often include a day bed, comfortably fitting 5 people. The studio DVC rooms include a bed and a pull-out couch, making it more difficult to comfortably fit.
Using our example, the studio rooms at Bay Lake Tower are about 300 square feet. A standard room at The Contemporary is 422 square feet.
The DVC rooms do have a kitchenette which is something the Deluxe Resort rooms don't include.
What is not a problem
Many people looking into renting DVC points worry that their benefits as on on-site guest will go away. This is not the case.
You can still:
- Enjoy all on-site benefits including Extra Magic Hours and on-site transportation
- Add a Disney Dining Plan to your reservation
- Use MagicBands
When DVC owners buy into their contract, they specify which resort will be their home resort. They are allowed to book at this resort up to 11 months in advance. That means you can also book up to 11 months in advance if that owner wants to rent their points. During popular times to visit, this can work to your advantage as you secure your room well ahead of time.
This chart from DVCRequest.com can help you see when to book each resort.
Our family of 4 rented points when the kids were younger which was great for saving money. Now that we need more space (and the larger DVC spaces are out of our price range), we will opt to stay in a Deluxe hotel room for most trip. However, a trip that only included my mom and me was a great time to rent points at the Beach Club Villas.