Welcome to the August installment of our monthly Disney Vacation Club preview. This month, we discuss a new Halloween party benefit, update progress on Disney’s Riviera Resort and, in the DVC Explainer, cover everything you need to know about banking, borrowing, and transferring points. Last month, we had news about changes in the DVC member website and a profile of Bay Lake Tower. You can view last month’s preview here.
This month, here are some booking window dates to keep in mind. For your home resort (11-month booking window), in August, you will be able to book for dates in July 2019. For all other DVC resorts (seven-month booking window), this month you will be able to book for dates in March 2019. The seven-month window is approaching many schools’ spring break dates, so be aware of increased demand.
It’s a good time for last-minute trips, whether you’re using your own points or renting points. Saratoga Springs and Old Key West have 1- and 2-bedroom villas available for much of the month. However, as usual, studios are nearly impossible to find at the last minute. (If you rent points through the affiliate link to David’s DVC rentals, TouringPlans receives a commission.) Toward the end of August, as schools get back in session, Boardwalk Villas and Boulder Ridge Villas have limited dates at DVC’s last-minute resort availability page.
Tickets are on sale for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and as usual, DVC members get discounts for select dates (25 of the 34 parties to be exact). New for this year, members will get earlier admission to the Magic Kingdom on event nights. In the past, guests with tickets could enter the Magic Kingdom as early as 4 p.m. In 2018, DVC members can enter as early as 2 p.m. With parties going until midnight, you can enjoy up to 10 hours in the park for the price of your ticket. If you’re wondering about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Disney has not announced an earlier admission for it. If they do, we’ll be sure to let you know.
The next Moonlight Magic event is August 15 in Epcot. During Epcot’s July party, DVC tried out a new meal voucher system. Guests were given paper vouchers that they could use for a quick service meal with non-alcoholic beverage at Yorkshire County Fish Shop, Liberty Inn, and Midnattssol Bakeri in World Showcase and at Sunshine Seasons and Electric Umbrella in Future World. We’ll have to see if this voucher system carries over to future events, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the free Mickey ice cream bars handed out to guests.
Moonlight Magic moves next to Disney’s Hollywood Studios on September 19, September 26, and October 3. Members with Disney Resort hotel reservations during the event can book online beginning 9 a.m. Eastern time on August 30. Registration opens to all members at 9 a.m. September 13. The final Moonlight Magic event of 2018 will be November 15 at Disney’s California Adventure Park with reservations opening at 11 a.m. Eastern on October 4. Wondering about party dates for 2019? We are, too. Disney has yet to announce them.
A year after Disney first announced Disney’s Riviera Resort as their 15th Disney Vacation Club location, DVC has received received a timeshare license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The license lists 17,391 timeshare weeks. If you divide that by 52 weeks in a year, you have around 334 units for the resort. We have no word on when sales will begin for the Riviera or an updated completion date. The original announcement targeted an opening date of fall 2019. The resort will feature a rooftop restaurant with views of the nighttime spectaculars at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It will also be one of the resorts connected to the new Disney Skyliner transportation system.
If you’ve thought about using your points to stay at Hong Kong Disneyland, DVC members can take advantage of a new offer. Through March 29, members can stay three consecutive nights for the price of two nights when using points. Rooms at Hong Kong Disneyland are at a higher point level than your typical DVC room, so this offer would definitely make that use more palatable. Block-out dates for the offer are from December 23, 2018 to January 2, 2019, and February 5-9, 2019.
DVC Explainer – Banking, Borrowing, and Transferring
When I first considered buying a DVC contract, one of the big selling points was the flexibility of their vacation point system.
Unlike other timeshares, which lock you into a particular week at a particular resort, DVC points can be used at any of their resorts during any time of the year for any length of stay.
Not only that, but the ability to move points between years means that annual travel isn’t necessary to make use of your contract. So this month, we will take a closer look at the ways to move points around: specifically, banking, borrowing, and transferring points.
Banking and borrowing points are very simple for a DVC member to do, but there are some restrictions and possible pitfalls to be aware of. Meanwhile, transferring points can be a bit more complicated.
Banking points: This is the process to move unused points from one use year into the following use year. If you’re done with trips for the year and have points leftover, banking is the easiest way to make sure those points don’t go to waste. Members can bank their points either through the website or by calling Member Services at (800) 800-9800.
Members do have to make the decision to bank by a certain date, based on their use year, which you can see in the chart below. Long-time owners might remember that previously, there were multiple banking deadlines based on the percentage of points you wanted to bank. DVC simplified things by providing one deadline for all your points. If you do bank your points, be aware that this is a final transaction and cannot be reversed. Also, one set of points cannot be repeatedly banked year after year. Banked points will expire at the end of the use year they were moved to.
Borrowing points: Borrowing is different from banking in that it happens only when you’re making a reservation. If you don’t have enough points in your current use year for your stay (a common situation for many of us), you will be asked if you want to borrow points to complete the reservation. If you have multiple contracts, you will be asked to choose the contract from which you want to borrow.
Again, like banking, borrowing is a final transaction. If you cancel a reservation that you borrowed points for, you cannot move those points back. They would expire at the end of the use year you moved them to. The one exception is if members purchase an additional contract after borrowing. You can use your new points for the reservation and have your borrowed points moved back to their original use year.
Transferring points: This can come in handy if you want to share your points with friends or family, or if you want to pool your points to reserve a larger villa for a family gathering.
Like banking and borrowing, transferring points is a final transaction. Points cannot be returned to an owner if someone changes their mind. Also, owners are limited to one transfer per membership during a current use year. Both members involved must be current on annual dues and loan payments. Only current use year points can be transferred. Banked or borrowed points may not be transferred.
Here’s where things can get complicated. If the two members involved own at different resorts or have different use years, the points retain the use year and home resort priority of the contract from which they were transferred. Transferred points can be banked, which provides some flexibility. I recommend making sure a transfer will work for your purposes by speaking with Member Services. Transfer requests may be made by phone and must be confirmed in writing, by mail, fax or email, to Member Services.
Finally, despite the offers and requests you may see on message boards, DVC prohibits members from receiving compensation for transferred points. I’m not saying cash arrangements don’t happen, but you should know the official stance. If you end up in a transfer payment dispute, you’re on your own.
That’s all for this month. Is there an aspect of banking, borrowing, and transferring that we missed, or do you have a question? Please respond in the comments.