How to stay in a deluxe hotel for moderate prices

by Shannon Albert · 30 comments · Like the Facebook page

(Article last updated: July 28, 2014)

How to stay in a deluxe hotel for moderate prices from WDWPrepSchool.comThere 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 7 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)
  • Future plans:there will be a DVC option at The Polynesian as well and construction is underway on that

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.

9/1 9/2 9/3 9/4 9/5 9/6 9/7
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.

How to stay in a deluxe hotel for moderate prices from WDWPrepSchool.com

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

Booking timeframe

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.

**************************

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. However, a trip that only included my mom and me was a great time to rent points at the Beach Club Villas.



How to stay in a deluxe hotel for moderate prices from WDWPrepSchool.comHow to stay in a deluxe hotel for moderate prices from WDWPrepSchool.comHow to stay in a deluxe hotel for moderate prices from WDWPrepSchool.comHow to stay in a deluxe hotel for moderate prices from WDWPrepSchool.com
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{ 30 comments (add yours) }

rebecca October 26, 2014 at 6:54 pm

We can stay at the swan for my mothers points and 340.00 for the week. In the long run for us it going to be cheaper ? after we add all the amenities meal plan. park tickets . Basically what do you see as the pros and cons of this choice versus staying at the Caribbean / french qtr or at AOA ? We have a 6 year old .. and want her first trip to be the best !

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Kristi Humphrey October 23, 2014 at 6:58 am

I am a frequent Disney traveler but have always made my reservations on the Disney site. My husband and I have already made reservations at the Contemporary for an anniversary celebration but now my uncle has offered to let us use his DVC points (free) to stay at Bay Lake Tower instead. If I take him up on this offer does he have to book our dinning at the time he makes the reservation or can we add it later? Also how do we get park tickets? Can I add them the same as dinning or will I have to purchase them separately? I am a complete control freak and hate having to count on others. I need to make a decision quick so we can make the reservation. Thanks

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Jeri April 12, 2014 at 9:50 am

I read on a site somewhere if you rent DVC points for your reservation, that one thing you do not get that DVC members & those that book directly through disney get is wifi access? Do you know if this is true? Just wondering since so much of the planning is done online/my disney experience app. Thanks!

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Tracy June 17, 2014 at 12:48 am

While I’ve never rented points (I’m a DVC member), I can say that I don’t believe you’d have a problem with wifi since all you do is accept their terms… not actually log in using a room number or anything like that. Also, my cousins have met me at the resort for lunch before & they all used the wifi for their children & Facebook.

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Holly Juza March 14, 2014 at 10:45 pm

I just rented points for BLT (1st time on site… So excited!). The DVC Owner I booked through says I can use their perks like; 10% off dining, pool hopping.. Etc. Is this true? It seems to be unclear on the forums. Thanks!

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Rebecca April 9, 2014 at 10:32 am

I’m curious about this too, because I’ve heard you do not get owner perks when renting (just general Disney perks like transportation and Magic Hours). TIA for any answers! Rebecca

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Susan October 14, 2014 at 3:42 pm

I’m a DVC member and I know when we want to use the 10% on dining or shopping, we have to show our DVC membership card. Just thought I would mention that. thanks

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Crystal March 4, 2014 at 10:59 am

Hello!

We are a family of 6 (kids will be 8, 6, 4 & 4) planning our first Disney trip. Because of the size of our family, I’m thinking a DVC villa might be our best option. We’re interested in renting points, but since it’s our first trip I’d really like to go through an authorized travel agent to plan the logistics of the trip for us (dining and extra activities like Bibbidi Bobbidi boutique). Do you know if the agents can still plan these things for you if you rent points? Thanks!!

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Holly March 15, 2014 at 7:19 pm

The owners are not travel agents so you would need to book dining ADR, get your tickets, special experiences.. Etc. The only thing they have to do if you want it, is add the Disney Dining Plan to your hotel room. If you want someone to plan everything for you, Travel Agents the way to go.. But if you do everything yourself, most of time, it can save you money.

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Anna February 27, 2014 at 2:46 am

Hi, I love your site so much! Great GREAT job! I am planning a trip to Disney World in December of this year and am having the hardest time making decisions about hotels! If I booked through DVC (I am looking at DVCrentalstore.com, is it a good place to use do you know?) would this affect my ability to make restaurant reservations 180 days in advance? I am also wanting to have a stroller delivered to the hotel- would that all work the same way? I am just scared of booking through DVC and overlooking something that I will wish I had known. I’m assuming I would still buy my park tickets, dinner reservations etc through the Disney website? Oh and could I still charge things to my room and have items delivered while in the parks? Sorry for such a long question! Thank you!!

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Shannon Albert February 27, 2014 at 4:59 am

Hi, Anna –
Everything that you mentioned will work fine if you book through DVC. The biggest thing that you can’t do when booking DVC is take advantage of promotions offered by Disney. You could even add the Disney Dining Plan if you’d like. I recommend DVCRequest.com as I’ve used them a couple of times and had good experiences. I wrote about them in the post above and if you click the link in the post, I get a referral fee for sending you their way. Hope that helps!

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Deb February 13, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Love all the help and hard work you’ve put into your site. I am in the early stages of planning for our trip in January 2015. The three previous times I’ve stayed at The Dolphin and would like to be in the same area, but pay much less! I loved the Boardwalk Villas and found info on your website regarding renting from DVC owners. I saw “David’s Vacation Club” as an ad on your site. Do you recommend him? Since he is in Canada, I feel a bit worried about sending $98 to start the process. Also, does BWV have water taxis to Epcot & Disney Studios or do we have to walk. Thanks again for all your help!

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Jim Shultz February 11, 2014 at 7:41 pm

On the question of whether renting points is better than free dining or discounted lodging, the savings in renting points isn’t quite as extreme if you know you would be able to get the accommodations you want under the free dining or discounted room reservation, but it is still a better deal to rent points. In my case, which would be typical for a deluxe accommodation for a family of four, the value of free dining was just a little better than taking the room only 30% discount, but renting points and buying the dining plan would still be cheaper. Also, if you rent points, you don’t have to wonder if they will be offering the free dining or discounted room for when you want to travel. You can secure the reservation 11 months ahead while they still have the exact room type that you want.

For the way we eat, we actually found that it will not be worth buying the dining plan – we took the menus found inline and simulated what we would order for each meal, Quick Service and Table Service, and found that unless we went to the most expensive places and ordered the most expensive thing on the menu it would not be worth buying the dining plan. One other point, for budgeting purposes, remember that you will be responsible for tips whether you have free dining or not.

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Lynne Walton January 23, 2014 at 11:18 am

I am interested in Bay lake studios for a family of four, myself, DH, DD age 10 and DS age 9. i like the location of this resort with access to the monorail. Do you think it will be too small for us? It does offer the balcony which i feel will offer us more space to spread out. I am not comfortable with going on line through Dave’s site without speaking to someone there. But the phone number that is on his website will not go through. i did see you can chat with someone on line so i may opt for that . But wanted your unbiased opinion on this resort. I would consider BCV and WLV. thank you. I feel overwhelmed with this option. I was going to book at POR for October today and then i remembered this post of yours and reread it and it got me thinking of using a DVC instead. thank you in advance. Lynne

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ANGSWIN September 20, 2013 at 9:01 am

We go to Disney often and have stayed at all of the values and moderates. I wanted to try something nicer, but didn’t have the money to pay Disney directly. Therefore, we have rented from DVC members twice in the past. I rented a studio at SSR for our mommy & daughter (7 yo at the time) trip a couple of years ago. It was nice and convenient to have the balcony and kitchenette. Then, last year, we rented a one bedroom at VWL to accommodate all 4 of us. Wow! That was WONDERFUL! WL has always been my “dream resort” that I never thought that I would be able to afford. It didn’t disappoint! I especially liked having a washer and dryer because our littlest tot (16 months old) soaked his sheets and PJs every night. Since I knew that I was going to do laundry everyday anyway, I only packed a couple of outfits for each of us. That made my life easier coming and going. The full kitchen was great. We were on the dining plan, so I didn’t cook any full meals. However, since we were going to be there for an entire week, I did order some groceries from Garden Grocer for breakfasts, snacks for the kids, gallons of milk and even diapers for the little one. The split bathroom was also fantastic! No fighting for sink space and the big kid could take a shower while I gave the tot a bath. I am not sure that I will be able to ever stay in a “normal” Disney room again. I am so spoiled, now!

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Kris August 9, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Hi Shannon,

I am looking at the DVC BC studios for my hubby’s surprise 30th Birthday, even contacted the Gifts of a lifetime pixies to help with a scavanger hunt to let him know on his birthday that we are setting sail on DCL the next day. I know you stayed at the BC, how was the studio? Are they set apart from the normal rooms? Any advise? Thanks.

Oh and also, saw your recommendation for Candy Cane Inn on DL stay, checking it out for our 2 year Anniversary trip. Looks so cute. I don’t normally like hotels with doors out in the open other than Disney property of course, no issues there?

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Kathy June 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm

My daughter turns 8 the end of July. My husband is a reluctant traveler. I may have him on board for a VERY last minute trip to WDW as a birthday surprise for our daughter. We would only be staying 3 or 4 nights. Due to the lack of planning time, it looks like there are no resort discounts for the end of July/beg of August. Are DVC point rentals a good option for last-minute travel? Thanks!

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Shannon Albert June 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Only if you are willing to stay at Saratoga Springs Resort. DVC properties book up even earlier than the other hotels. There might be some discounts you can still use. I suggest the travel agent who is listed in the sidebar on the right side of the site. She’s very helpful and can search for good rates for you.

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Linda May 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Hi.We’ll be going to WDW for the first time in middle August for 14 nights.Would the DVC points be the best option for a family of five(2 adults&3 kids)?Since there will be deals and discounts in some of the hotels.Please help !Am overwhelmed.

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Shannon Albert May 20, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Probably not because the rooms are smaller than standard hotel rooms, unless you upgrade which is really expensive. With 5 people, your list of possible resorts is narrowed down. See my other page w/more hotel info, including a list which tells you which rooms allow 5 people. http://wdwprepschool.com/how-to-plan-a-disney-world-trip-in-6-steps/step-2-choose-where-to-stay/

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Emily May 2, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Question not related to DVC points, but the free dining mentioned in one of the comments above. We are planning on going in late August, and I haven’t seen anything regarding free dining. Am I missing it? We have already purchased a package, but wanted to make sure I’m not paying for something I don’t have to. Thanks a billion, and sorry to get off subject.

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Kylie Kallio April 26, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Hi Shannon,

I just found your site, and I think you’ve put together an amazing resource for Disney World travelers!

I’m sharing some of your posts with our audience at redweek.com – the Disney World properties are consistently part of our top 25 most popular resorts worldwide. We have many DVC owners who have posted their own weeks for rent or resale on the site… but not nearly enough. It seems to me that DVC owners are some of the happiest timeshare owners out there, because they like to use their weeks!

Anyway, thanks for the great resource. I’ll be pointing our Disney travelers your way :)

Kylie

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Carol March 17, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Thanks so much for this very informative post! I’d never really considered purchasing DVC points before but it seems like a great option and opportunity to try some of the deluxe resorts we wouldn’t be able to otherwise. I’ve always been intrigued by OKW, but am wondering if it’s too far off the beaten path? Can you still use the Magical Express service if you do this?

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Rebecca February 28, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Thanks for such a quick response. We have 5 in our family, our youngest will be 4. We have no problem with sleeping arrangements, but it is wise to have space to spread out. I’ll be sure to check uot your 6 steps!

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Rebecca February 28, 2013 at 5:42 pm

WOW! I am feeling totally overwhelmed with choices and how best to plan our first trip ever this fall. Is it best to just get a hotel, free dining and tickets, or is a DVC the way to go? We want to be able to swim, maybe go back to the room if necessary. It also scares me to think of losing money if someone is not honest. What are the abbreviations you used above, Melissa?

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Shannon Albert February 28, 2013 at 5:47 pm

How many people are in your family? I wouldn’t recommend DVC for most people since the studio rooms are so much smaller than a typical Deluxe hotel room.

Be sure to go through my 6 step planning process which you can see in the upper left part of the site (“How to plan a WDW trip”) and you can work through each step to make it less overwhelming.

Here’s what Melissa’s abbreviations mean:

  • YC – Yacht Club
  • AK – Animal Kingdom
  • OKW – Old Key West
  • BWV – Boardwalk Villas

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melissa January 26, 2013 at 10:13 am

We love to rent DVC for 1 to 2 nights before our week long stay at YC. Gives us a chance to try out a new resort VERY CHEAPLY. We have stayed at AK, OKW and BWV. My favorite by far is OKW. In fact the rate is so reasonable there in the summer I opted to stay there 3 nights for roughly the same price as one night at YC. So my trip includes more OKW this time. Something really nice about OKW is they are HUGE. Rooms! And recently refurbished and the only DVC studio with 2 queen beds. The rest have as Shannon said 1 queen and a pull out.

My only gripe about DVC is the renovations are few and far between. Style and decor are really important to me. I hate shabby rooms. So I waited for OKW to go thru a refurb before booking again for this summer. I really recommend renting points. We have done great with it!

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Angela O June 14, 2013 at 11:57 pm

As Melissa pointed out, the OKW studios have two queens – not a queen and a pull-out sofa. The one bedrooms there are my favorite bang for the buck. At over 900 sq ft, that does have a twin pull-out chair and a pull-out sofa in the living room, along with a king bed in the master.

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Brenda January 25, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Love your page and youtube videos! I have a question for you. If I were to rent a DVC room in August during the “free dining” promotion, could I apply that to one of these rooms? Thank you! ~Brenda

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Shannon Albert January 26, 2013 at 10:38 am

Hi, Brenda –
Free Dining is a promotion that only applies to people who book packages that include hotel and tickets, but doesn’t apply to DVC bookings. You can add the dining plan to your DVC booking but you won’t qualify for free dining.

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