DVC – Miscellaneous Resort Info – Room counts, contract expirations, etc.
Miscellaneous Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Home Resort? Why do I have a Home Resort? I thought I could book at any DVC resort?
You can book any resort, subject to availability, 7 months before your check-in date. However, your points are tied to a “home resort”, where you can reserve as much as 11 months in advance. ONLY owners with that home resort can book within the 11-7 month window. This can be an important advantage at some of the smaller, more popular resorts like Disney’s Boardwalk Villas and Disney’s Beach Club Villas, especially at popular times such as events at Epcot like the Food and Wine Festival.
What if I have points at more than one resort?
That gets very complex. You can only use the points that belong to that resort during the 11-7 month window. Within 7 months, you can use points from any resort.
So, if you have 50 points available at Beach Club Villas, and 100 points at Villas at Wilderness Lodge, you can only use the 50 points to book a room at the Beach Club Villas in the 11-7 month window. At the 7 month window, you can use points from any resort to book the room. You can then call Member Services to use you Wilderness Lodge points in place of some of the Beach Club points, but only if there is another room still available – this prevents a member from skirting the home resort booking window rules by using points at a particular resort (say, a hard to get one like Beach Club) to book at the 11 month window and then just substituting another resort’s points at 7 months.
Remember that through Banking and Borrowing you could have more points at a particular resort than you might think, if you handle them correctly.
A favorite tactic among DVC members is to book a “split stay”, where you book BOTH resorts at the 11 month window, where you would switch resorts part way through your stay, and be put on a “wait list” for the remaining days as the resort of choice once the 7 month window opens (assuming it is not available to begin with). If you don’t get it, oh well – you still have another room booked for the inconvenience of switching part way through your stay.
Just how many points can you have?
Something most of us can only dream of…
The current limits are 4000 points at any one resort, and 8000 total points.
That’s probably enough for one night in Cinderella’s Castle, but point charts for that haven’t been published yet.
Could you stay an entire year at a DVC resort?
Yes, it is actually possible. Back in 2008 I calculated it out, based on the 2008 points chart, and the cheapest room type available – an Animal Kingdom Villas Value Studio. Here are the points per month and the total:
Since the total cap on points is 5000, you can see that this is possible. However, you’d have to be able to book at the 7 month window as you can’t have more than 4000 points at a single resort, so you’d have to have points at at least 1 other resort and are subject to the 7 month window. You’d also have to stay, at least mostly, at a Value Studio, and they can be hard to get.
And if you were staying for the year, you might want a kitchen – but the points will roughly double for a 1 Bedroom with a kitchen…
How often do I get housekeeping when staying in a DVC room/villa?
If you are staying on a points reservation – whether you are the DVC member yourself or are renting a reservation from a member – you do not get daily housekeeping. To keep costs down, you will get some level of service every 4 days by default. If you are staying 7 or less days, you will get “trash and towel” service on the fourth day only. On that day they will take out the trash, replace the bags, and replace all the dirty towels.
If you are staying 8 days or longer, you get full housekeeping service on Day 4, and trash and towel service on Day 8. This then repeats (full service Day 12, etc.) for as long as you are staying.
You can optionally purchase additional housekeeping for a fee. Check with the front desk for pricing and scheduling.
If you are staying in a DVC room on a cash reservation, you will get standard daily housekeeping.
What is the “Rule of Four”?
Direct from the Member Web Site:
You cannot book and travel on The Disney Collection (excluding Disneyland® Resort Hotels in California and Tokyo Disney Resort®), Concierge Collection and Adventurer Collection vacations within the last 4 months of your Use Year. However, you can travel in the last 4 months of your Use Year as long as you’ve booked your stay more than 4 months before the end of your Use Year.
What that says is that if you want to “trade-out” your points for to book something from one of the collections named above that will occur during the last four months of your Use Year, you must book it within the first 8 months of your Use Year – or before your banking deadline, which is the same. This allows sufficient time for DVC to convert your points into a cash reservation to offset the cost of your trade-out.
When I tried to book a room on points, it told me there was no availability – but when I check the WDW site it says there are rooms available for cash…why?
This happens all the time. To put it simply – there are rooms at all the DVC resorts that are NOT part of the “points inventory” – they cannot be rented out on points. Why? There are several reasons…for the sake of the following discussion, “rooms” don’t necessarily mean specific rooms, like “Room 1234” is only ever available for cash, but rooms in a more virtual sense.
First, DVC is required by Florida timeshare laws (as explained to me – I am not a lawyer) to retain a portion of the inventory for renting to non members. I do not know what percentage they need to retain – I’ve heard numbers between 20-50%. I suspect its on the lower end of that range.
Second, rooms get moved from the points inventory to the cash inventory whenever a member “trades out” their points for a non-DVC destination – even if that is a regular resort room at WDW. DVC and all the other destinations are different business units. If you want to take a cruise, for instance, DVC pays a pre-agreed-upon price for that reservation on your behalf, then takes your points and converts that into and equivalent number of room nights that now get turned over for a cash reservation, managed by Disney’s Central Reservations Office (CRO), so it can now show up on the online reservation system. The money made from renting the room out for cash is what offsets the cost DVC paid for your cruise. If they didn’t do this, either your fees would be many times higher than they are now, or you wouldn’t be able to use points to book the cruise.
Lastly, there is what is called “breakage”. Within 60 days of a given date, any unreserved rooms in the points inventory (less any anticipated late bookings) can be turned over to CRO for cash bookings, to hopefully bring in additional income when possible. More cash income == lower fees! It is my understanding that if necessary, these rooms can be reclaimed for points use if needed. However, there generally aren’t many of these rooms available to begin with.
I often hear claims that DVC is somehow “screwing” its members by taking rooms and allowing cash reservations at the expense of members not being able to make points reservations. As you can see, this isn’t true – those rooms were never available for points reservations, period, legally and financially. If you want to blame someone, don’t blame DVC – blame the lawmakers and blame your fellow DVC members for not using their points to stay in a room but instead take a cruise – but keep in mind, if they weren’t allowed to take that cruise, they’d be in that room anyways, and you wouldn’t. 🙂
Why can’t I get the Free Dining offer when staying on points?
You need to understand what the Free Dining offer really is…it is a discount on a resort package. It’s not a lot different than other typical offers like 30% off a room, “Stay 4 nights get 3 free”, and other similar offers. It is offered by the Disney Resorts side of the business – not related to DVC – in order to help fill rooms during a traditionally low occupancy period. It is only offered as part of a “package” – that is, a room (paid for in cash, and at the full price, also known as “rack” rate), tickets (also full price, and at least a two-day base Magic Your Way ticket), and the Dining Plan.
In fact, in certain situations, you might actually save MORE if you instead took a different offer, and paid for the Dining Plan directly.
Why can’t you get it if you are using your DVC vacation points? Because you’re not paying for a room. You paid for that when you purchased your contract. You points are simply a way of reserving the room that you already paid for.
If DVC needed to entice members to stay during times where occupancy is way down, they theoretically could offer something similar. But DVC has to pay Disney Dining (or whichever responsible group it is within Disney Parks and Resorts) the appropriate amount for each person (they aren’t really giving the food away for free), and that money has to come from somewhere – the budget. And that budget gets funded by DVC member fees for the most part. So everyone would have to pay higher fees so that some could get Free Dining. Not very fair. Plus, DVC already has a way of enticing members to stay at light times – by requiring less points.
In a sense, DVC members do receive the Dining Plan at a discount over regular guests – by not requiring the purchase of tickets as well.
I was told that since we own DVC, we are considered Florida Residents and can purchase the same tickets and passes – is that true?
No, it is not true, but it is understandable why there is confusion.
To be considered a Florida Resident by Walt Disney World, you must provide very specific documentation. Your DVC membership provides none of that, nor does it qualify you to obtain something like a Florida driver’s license. While you “own” your membership in DVC with a real estate stake, it is only a long-term lease on a fractional portion of the real estate. You don’t have a permanent address or anything like that you can declare.
However, DVC Members do currently get perks that look a LOT like what Florida Residents get. For instance, DVC Members pay the same price as Florida Residents for Platinum and Platinum Plus passes. In addition, DVC Members can get the DVC Gold Pass, which has the same price, limitations and exclusions as the Florida Resident version. But these passes are specific to DVC Members and will state as such, and the required documentation is different, mainly your Member ID card and photo ID.
There are other passes and ticket offers available to Florida Residents which are NOT available to DVC Members, such as the Silver Pass, Weekday Select Pass, and more.
Resales – What is “Right of First Refusal” (ROFR)?
As a DVC member, you have the right to sell your contract on the open market (referred to as a “resale”), for whatever price you and a potential buyer agree to. However, you cannot actually sell the contract without submitting the sales agreement to DVC, as per the contract they have the right to purchase the contract back from you at that agreed upon price instead. DVC may or may not exercise that right, depending on the sales price and the demand for those points from people looking to purchase direct from DVC. DVC has 30 days to either purchase the contract or waive it, in which case the sale can proceed with the buyer.
Resales – What restrictions are there on contracts purchased on the resale market?
As of now, contracts purchased on the resale market on or after March 21, 2011 have certain restrictions. Points from those contracts cannot be used for The Disney Collection (Non-DVC Disney resorts, cruises, Adventures By Disney), or the Concierge Collection.
You can still use the points at all DVC resorts, as well as for the World Collection destinations via RCI, Club Intrawest, and Club Cordial.
As of April 4th, 2016, DVC has announced that members who have not purchased an ownership interest directly from DVD (Disney Vacation Development) will not have access to Membership Extras – which includes all discounts and special events. This is now distinguished where “full” members have the traditional blue membership IDs, but resale-only members after April 4th, 2016 will have white ones. Members who have both direct and resale contracts will still be full members.
As of January 19th, 2019, members who purchased through resale on or after that date at one of the 14 DVC resorts that existed prior to Disney’s Riviera Resort would not be able to use their points at Disney’s Riviera Resort. Members who purchased direct or resale prior to that date will be able to use their points at the new resort. In addition, those that purchase Disney’s Riviera Resort on the resale market cannot use their points at any other DVC resort.
Keep in mind that the terms on use of resale contracts can change with regards to anything that isn’t stipulated in the contract as originally purchased.
What happens in 20XX when my contract expires?
It expires. You can no longer use your points and will not receive any more points. Neither will anyone else at the resort.
Beyond that, no one knows. Disney is not required to give you any offers. They can choose to give you first shot at a new contract, or they could bulldoze the resort. DVC did offer extensions to Old Key West users to go from 2042 to 2057, but few members took them up on the offer. Anyone getting a direct contract for Old Key West are getting 2054 anyways, but they never offered it to any of the other 2042 resorts (Boardwalk, Beach Club, Wilderness Lodge/Boulder Ridge, Hilton Head and Vero Beach). So we’ll eventually find out…but not until a lot closer to 2042.
Do I get free parking at the parks?
This is getting asked a lot lately. As of January 2022, DVC Members do NOT get free parking at the parks just because they are members. You DO get free parking at the parks if you are staying at a WDW Resort hotel, including the DVC resorts.
DVC Members DO get free overnight self-parking at the resort when staying at a DVC resort, whether on points or cash. DVC Members also get free overnight parking at any WDW resort when using their points as part of the Disney Collection. Members not using their points at a non-DVC resort, and all non-members, will be charged for overnight self-parking.