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Purchasing DVC resale vs. direct: the new math

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For anyone considering a purchase of a Disney Vacation Club contract, a major curveball was thrown when DVC changed the way that contracts bought on the resale market would be treated when it comes to membership perks.

As the email that went out to members read: “Now, effective April 4, 2016, Members who do not
purchase their ownership interest directly from Disney Vacation Club will not have access to other
Membership Extras, such as exclusive Member experiences and discounts. Please know that as a
current Disney Vacation Club Member (regardless of when or where you bought your membership),
your access to Disney Differences and these additional Membership Extras will not be affected by this
policy change.”


What that means is that anyone purchasing a DVC contract on the resale market will not have access to membership extras such as member parties and access to the Top of The World Lounge or the soon-to-be-open members lounge in Epcot’s Imagination Pavilion. It also means new resale members won’t get the dining, merchandise and, most significantly, annual pass discounts current members enjoy.

So when you’re making the decision whether to purchase resale or direct, you’re going to have to factor in these changes. If you don’t plan on purchasing annual passes, the savings in the resale market are significant enough to continue to tilt in the favor of that option.

So how exactly do you run the numbers to determine the option that makes sense for your family?

Start with the contract price and divide that by the total number of points for the duration of the contract to determine your actual price per point.

Polynesian Village Resort

Let’s look first at a Polynesian Villas and Bungalows contract bought direct. The direct price from DVC is $168 per point. Those purchasing a 150-point contract currently receive a $2,000 developer’s credit. Add in about $500 for closing costs and your total contract cost is $23,700. Since the contract goes until 2066, you’re talking about 50 years worth of points, or 7,500 points over the life of your contract. That makes the actual price per point $3.16. Add in the current annual fees of $6.09 per point, and the total amount you’re outlaying per point for this year is $9.25 (yes, fees go up every year but for this exercise, we’ll use current annual fees).

Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa – ©Disney

Now, we’ll look at a 150-point contract on the resale market. If you’re looking for a resale value, Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa is generally the property that people target. I found a 150-point Saratoga Springs contract on sale for $83 a point with $656 closing costs for a total of $12,450. The contract has 6 points coming this year, and all points after that. With it expiring in 2054, that makes a total of 5,556 points for the life of the contract, an actual price per point of $2.24. Add current annual fees of $5.44 per point and you’re at $7.68 per point, or $1.57 per point less than the direct Polynesian contract.

So the operative question is whether the annual pass discount makes up for the price difference in points. The current DVC offer is a Disney Gold Pass for $549, $200 less than the Disney Platinum Pass offered to the general public. Note that the Gold Pass, which is only available to Florida residents and DVC members, doesn’t provide admission during the the two weeks around Christmas and New Year and the two weeks around spring break. If you need to travel during these times, the Platinum Pass is discounted $100 for DVC members.

Annual Passholder Box
Annual Passholder MagicBands – © John Kivus

For our scenario, we’ll assume a family of four that will be able to use the Gold Pass. That family would save $800 by being direct-purchase DVC members. That more than makes up for the $235.50 extra that a year of direct Poly points will cost. Even if we assume this family is using the annual passes over two years of their DVC contract, doubling that additional point cost to $471, they’re still ahead of the game with the Gold Pass. If they had to buy the Platinum Pass, they would then be down $71.

Even if the annual passes haven’t made up the price difference in contracts, the additional extras, like access to member events and lounges, plus owning at a resort you enjoy, are worth enough to make purchasing direct worth the cost. Alternately, you can have your cake and eat it, too, by purchasing a small direct contract, then purchasing the additional points you need resale. That direct contract, which can be as small as 50 points, makes you a full-fledged direct owner.

And if things weren’t complicated enough, we should note the very large caveat that owning Disney Vacation Club only guarantees you access to book resort rooms using your points. There is no guarantee that membership extras and discounts will remain, even for existing members. Now, the outcry that would occur if DVC were to take away a major perk like the annual pass discount makes it fairly certain to remain. But the bottom line is that the equation we’ve outlined here could very well change 10 or 20 years from now.

As far as those considering a purchase today, we’ve explained how those owners who purchase annual passes could save money buying at least a portion of their points direct from Disney.  Those who don’t purchase annual passes are left with a more difficult decision based on what they value. The merchandise and dining discounts, along with access to the member lounges might be worth the additional cost to you. It’s up to you to run the numbers to determine the best fit for your family.

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11 thoughts on “Purchasing DVC resale vs. direct: the new math

  • You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.
    And timeshares are still timeshares, even at Disney. They just use much nicer lipstick.

  • This new policy has just made it more difficult for all current DVC owners to sell their contracts if they choose to or have to based on life changes. If I were a current DVC owner I would not be happy, your investment is now worth less and will be harder to sell if you decide to. Dear Disney Vacation Club, you can now cross me off the prospective DVC owner list. Thank you for making this decision so easy as I was about to unload my bank account to join.

  • How much is Saratoga direct from Disney and how much would the price per point come out then? You compared a resort with a longer contract length to one with a shorter length. Thus, it skewed the results in favor of buying direct from Disney. I think the comparison should between purchasing at a resort directly from Disney and purchasing at the same resort via resale.

    • The current cost of Saratoga direct from Disney is $140 per point, 50 point minimum.

    • Actually it is not skewed the way they did it. Look at it this way: By calculating the TOTAL POINTS FOR LIFE OF CONTRACT with the purchase price amortized over the life of the contract and the (current) dues, it does compare accurately. Further, by taking the cheapest (Orlando) DVC resale, they are showing the biggest difference between direct and resale. I just looked up the same resort (Poly) on resale with the same points (150). It is listed at $156/pt. Let’s even assume you negotiate down to a MUCH better rate of only $145/pt.

      Doing the math… purchase price would be $22,250 (estimating same $500 closing and no $2,000 benefit as Disney is giving as developer’s credit). Divide that by the 7500 lifetime points and add the $6.09 dues per point gives you an effective value per point of $9.06 (resale). Multiply this by the 150 points per year gives you an effective annual cost of $1358.50 (vs. $1387.50 direct), a difference of only $29 per year. Even just 1 annual pass of ANY variety makes this look enticing.

      Now, all that being said, both my contracts were purchased via resale! The big understanding is that people often look at the initial buy in cost, which is indeed very substantially different. You also need to take into consideration these “value estimations” are based upon keeping the contract for yourself until expiration.

      It’s still a personal decision… but one that takes some extra thinking before simply stating that the HUGE difference in initial buy-in always means you will save money long term vs. buying direct. Trust me, when I did my contract purchases, I had a very extensive, detailed spreadsheet taking MANY additional factors into consideration for calculating final valuation.

      • Actually, if you look at resale closing costs, you will see that it will be closer to $900 to close on that contract.

        I am not sure why Disney closing costs are so much less, but they are.

    • Using the Saratoga Springs info that Leslie just stated, that gives a point difference valuation even less… at only $1.53 per point difference by buying resale, giving an annual valuation savings of $229.50.

      $140 per point * 150 points = $21,000 + $500 closing = $21,500 purchase

      $21,500 / 5700 lifetime points = $3.77 per point + $5.44 annual dues = $9.21 per point value (vs. $7.68 resale for $1.53 difference).

      Always fun to play with numbers, eh? I know, I’m weird…just ask my wife!

  • Last I heard, Disney only lets you purchase contracts starting at quantities of 160 points. Is that requirement waived if you already own some points, even if you buy them secondhand? Otherwise it’s impossible to buy a ‘small’ contract direct.

    • the official lowest qty is 100, though i’ve heard of many people being able to buy 50 as their initial buy in. once you’re a member, you can buy a 25pt addon.

      • Actually you can purchase as few as 50 points, depending upon the resort you are looking at purchasing through. The older resorts, like OKW and SSR, you can do 50 points at. The newer resorts are going to want you to do at least 100-150 points.

        Also, for a better comparison, you should compare a direct purchase of SSR to a resale of SSR. I believe SSR is going for about $135/pp right now direct and with the bigger point purchase maybe for about $130. You will get all current use year and future use year points.

        So, you would end up purchasing 5710 points, with closing costs, for $20750, which comes to $3.63 per point. About $1.39 per point more for direct. But, you have to take into consideration, that unless you want to barrow points from the next use year, you will have to come up with an additional 144 points, which run about $13/per point, or $1872. Which would bring you up to about $2.50 per point resale, for a difference of about $1.13 per point per year. Or $6452. Over the course of 38 years, apx. $170 per year more, which is less than the cost of the difference in one Gold AP for DVC Members and a Non DVC Plat. Pass.

  • I think TOWL will still be included, I have heard.


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