It's a classic debate in the DVC community: do you buy direct from Disney or save money and buy from the resale market? We recruited three died in the wool, blue-card-carrying, buy direct from Disney evangelists to share the top 5 reasons why people should consider buying directly from Disney.
Season 4 of the My DVC Points Podcast was made possible through financial support from the DVC Dream Team:
- DVC Resale Market – Industry Leader in DVC Resales
- DVC Rental Store – DVC Point Rental and Swap Partner
- Incredible Vacation Homes – Luxury Vacation Homes for Family Gatherings
- Be Our Guest Vacations – Travel Agent for DVC Point Swap Programs
- Monera Financial – Exclusively Financing DVC Contracts
- Patreon supporters in the My DVC Points VIP Producer Club.
Editorial Note – At My DVC Points, our mission statement and core values involve hosting open, authentic, and respectful conversations in the DVC member community so that listeners can make informed, educated and empowered decisions about the best course of action for their families. We're passionate and engaged consumers of Disney vacations. We're not associated, affiliated, or compensated in any shape, form, or fashion by Disney or their subsidiaries. We're huge fans of buying direct and buying resale.
New Member Series:
Why buy Disney Vacation Club Points Direct from Disney?
Robyn has a theory about the lack of information on the official Disney Vacation Club website. They only present their side of the story. It's a marketers perspective to tell the narrative that they want to be told. You won't find compare and contrast data on Disney's site. You won't find information about resale or rental markets. You have to go to DVC businesses or DVC community-based resources to get an authentic member perspective. Here at My DVC Points, we specialize in sharing authentic member experiences and opinions so that you can make an informed and educated decision about DVC. Granted, we love the product and are generally positive in our disposition; however, we're also consumers of the product and have high expectations.
What's the difference between a “Blue Card” and a “White Card”?
When you purchase enough points directly from Disney, you become eligible to receive a physical membership card from DVC that is actually blue in color – hence the term, Blue Card. Members with this card can “unlock” Membership Extras, which vary from year to year, but can encompass perks such as discounts on annual passes, Dining, events, and shopping, as well as free events hosted just for members.
Members who purchased their points through Resale only or don't have enough points to unlock the blue card; only get access to a digital JPEG file for a membership card that has a white background.
Hence DVC Members often refer to this as Blue Card versus White Card.
Currently, to qualify for a Blue Card, you must purchase a minimum of 125 points directly from Disney. Historically, this threshold has increased over time as more and more members join and buy just enough for benefits, as these benefits are costly for DVC. Also, a Blue Cardholder must have a photo ID with them to use the card, proving that they are indeed the Blue Card owner.
Why do people really want a Blue DVC Card?
It's Disney's way to offer premium advantages to those members buying direct and gives cardholders access to membership extras and exchanges for other trip and accommodation types. Blue Card Members also have NO RESTRICTIONS for where they can use their points within the DVC network.!
There's also an emotional piece of mind that says you're a full member. You're legit. – That New Car Scent may not be there, but the emotional aspect of buying from the manufacturer/developer is there. Let's dive into more of the details:
#1 If you buy the newest resorts, you get the Longest possible term on the DVC contract.
One of the main features that make Disney Vacation Club different from other timeshares is the DVC finite, 50-year term contracts. And with only a finite number of years to use your membership when you purchase, this allows you to maximize the length of the term when buying your “piece” of Disney magic. New resorts will have developer Credits built into the pricing and often developer points for your first trip.
When buying Direct at older resorts, you are sacrificing years of the contract. Some of these older resorts are higher in their pricing than the newest resort, and some are lower. It depends on the supply and demand of the “sold out” properties.
For Example: A member could buy 175 points Riviera today direct with incentives for about $192/pt doing a quick analysis. Divide that by 49 years = 3.92, Boardwalk at about $125/pt Resale right now, dive by 21 years = 5.96
One of the best parts of buying Direct, though, is that it feels like you are leaving a legacy – those points will always have full status for whomever in your family will take over the contract in the future.
#2 The Purchase Process is Super Fast & Super Easy!
When buying directly from Disney, your account can be set up with points in the account in less than 24 hours! Make a credit card down payment, and DVC sets up your account and starts the paperwork… Even better, existing members can have their points available the same day with a credit card deposit by phone!
Another massive benefit of buying points direct; is that you can buy any size contract you would like, from ANY Use Year you would like.
For example: Let's say you have three kids. You can buy 375 points and have it broken up into three 125 point contracts – each segment qualifying for a Blue Card. That way, each of your kids would have 125 points to use in the future, and each would have access to a Blue Card when eventually added to the contract deed.
This differs significantly from points purchased Resale that can take 3-4 months to get your points from the time you finalize the deal. The reason for the delay is that you're buying from another individual, and once the offer is accepted, it must go through the process of Right of First Refusal by Disney for those same points! You have estoppel. Disney drags their feet on this process to make buying resale less desirable.
It's an Easy Financing Process
Like most companies, DVC has paved a smooth road for you to finance through them. DVC will finance almost anyone who can place a downpayment. However, rates vary by credit score, and your brand new member rate may not be competitive.
An insider tip on this is that we've helped listeners save thousands of dollars by refinancing their DVC loans at Monera at 9.9% and 8.99% for Addonitis Contracts – That's huge! Most financing companies in the DVC space only do a hard credit check at loan origination through our research. They do not report loans to the bureaus. Check with the lenders, as that may be good or bad in your situation.
#3 The Membership Extras are Great!
As mentioned, Membership Extras can fluctuate and change over time, and at any time, so you should not plan on your Blue Card benefits to stay the same in perpetuity or plan your DVC purchase based on today's “perks.” Don't get us wrong, Blue Card perks are great, and we enjoy taking advantage of them
Just so our new members can get an idea of what those Membership Extras can be, some of our favorites. For the most up-to-date information on Membership Extras being offered when you'll be traveling; it is best to consult: https://disneyvacationclub.disney.go.com/discounts-perks-offers/
Here's our quick list of favorites:
- Annual Pass discounts – Members can have Discounts on platinum passes and can buy passes usually only available to FL residents, such as the GOLD annual pass
- Moonlight Magic Events – This is a DVC member ticketed event, where the entrance has been FREE! To participate, you have to reserve a spot when the booking window opens. Early access is given to members with Disney hotel reservations, and you can only bring a limited number of guests with you.
These events have been held in all the North American parks, including the waterparks. Whichever Park is hosting the event will close early to open for members (similar to after-hours events). Members attending are given Meal vouchers, Free mickey bars & soft drinks/water, and can attend Special character Meet & Greets, as well as special fireworks
- Park Ticket Discounts – This discount is usually offered to purchase tickets during a specific window (usually the beginning of the year for tickets that can be used throughout the year). Often members can also benefit from a significant discount for the waterparks that run throughout the year and needs to be purchased at the ticket booth.
- Merchandise and Dining Discounts at Disney Parks – For a complete list of these discounts, we recommend a visit to MousePerks.com. These discounts can vary greatly but are usually anywhere between 10-30% and are specific to each location. What's fun is that it can come in handy at less common locations such as the Disney Beach Resorts and familiar places like Disney Stores too! Often, they can include discounts at non -Disney owned establishments in Disney Springs and Downtown Disney as well.
- Room Rack Rate Discounts – These Member discounts are usually around 25% OFF DVC properties, and we've seen them go up to 40% at times! Usually, these discounts become available around the 7-month mark or sometimes even earlier. The 40% may happen at the 60-day mark. DVC owns 2% of every resort for cash stays; DVC gets points on cruise exchanges and has to rent them out to buy your cruise, Adventures by Disney, or Disney hotel.
Why can this be handy? It can help Members extend their stay at a DVC resort and can be useful to get friends or family their rooms while you use your points. It can also be handy to get into a brand new resort when very few rooms are available for cash.
- Tour and event discounts – Your Blue Card can get you discounts to After Hours Party Events such as Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, and the Villains Events! Members usually have earlier entry to these events, often entering the Park at 2 pm when the other party guests can only enter at 4 pm. Discounts are also available for Theme Park Tours like Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom and Behind the Seeds at Epcot usually have around a 15% discount, and there are often Member-only tours as well. Members can also benefit from Flat-rate discounts on some shows (like Cirque du Soleil) and enjoy weekly Member events like bowling at Splitsville.
- Exclusive DVC Member Lounges – Members currently have exclusive access to the EPCOT Members' Lounge in the Imagination Pavillon, which offers FREE refreshments, a cool place to sit, and even recharge devices on a hot park day. This Lounge offers guests stunning views of Spaceship Earth, and you'll need a Blue Card to access. Top of the World Lounge is situated on the top floor of Bay Lake Tower and is open to all members. However, to access certain special member events here, you'll need a Blue Card. Reunion Station at Disney's Wilderness Lodge also often hosts member events.
- Points Stay Exchanges – Did you know you can use your DVC Direct points for exchanges to stay at other select locations? As the parameters surrounding these exchanges can change at any time, we'd invite you to follow these links to learn more
- Among other fun perks is early registration for run Disney events. Preferential booking Windows for ahead of other guests by a day for Cruises and Adventures by Disney. Currently on hold, Tables in Wonderland cards are another benefit where Members can purchase a Discount Card, allowing them 20% off Dining, at most WDW restaurants. Then, there are the various Member Only Events, like Painting with a View, Wine Tastings, Soarin' Tours, Fitness in the Parks. The list goes on-and-on.
BE AWARE – MEMBERSHIP EXTRAS ARE CONSTANTLY EVOLVING AND CHANGING. They can go away at any time. They can even exclude you from current benefits after three years of purchase. We lost most of these during COVID. No moonlight events. No extra events. No AP discounts. All Gone.
#4 Unrestricted Points: You can stay anywhere in the DVC Network.
Up until January of 2019, the perks and benefits were all granted to the member. A point was a point was a point was a point. All points were equal at 7-months. In 2019 that changed with the new restrictions. Now restrictions are enforced on the points and what you can do with the points.
So then, how many points do you need Direct? Many members will tell you that you should buy whatever the minimum requirement of points is at the time that will allow you to have a Blue Card.
However, you might want to consider going ABOVE the current minimum amount of 125 points. Here's why. The incentives get better. The new Riviera and new resorts moving forward restrictions have us thinking that buying at least 40% of the points you need for your ideal stay direct. This way, you can bank and borrow to have access to blue card points to book the rooms, even if you eventually decide to buy a second contract Resale.
#5 There's an Emotional Comfort Factor to Buying Direct
International buyers especially cite the peace of mind knowing that you've bought from Disney direct. There's comfort in knowing that, whatever they change next, you're grandfathered in and won't be affected by new Direct point minimums. There's no feeling like you're waiting for the other shoe to drop – you won't be restricted in where you want to stay or how you can exchange your points.
Final Thoughts: Why were these perks awesome?
Some will save you money, but mostly it's because it makes you feel like you are part of the magic. For example, Moonlight Magic is a fantastic event where you know you are surrounded by “your people.” Everyone there owns a piece of the magic with you – they get it.
It's nice to feel “real” when enjoying the lounges and enjoyed the DVC only events, taking full advantage of APs that are cheaper, as well as the ease of financing, and benefitting from gaining “developer points” to use the first year of your contract – starting your DVC experience with “double points.”
Pro Tips on Buying Direct.
Incentives Change Regularly. You may want to wait until the last few days of the incentive to buy. The reason is that you get ten days to back out of the deal. Lock in at today's discounts. If the incentives get better within ten days, cancel and re-issue the paperwork with better incentives.
Another tip is that your ten days do not start until the date you put on the papers you sign. If you buy by mail, it's possible to drag your feet on signing the documents for months. You may want to lock in a deal, and don't date the papers if you want more time to think about this. DVC works all the legal angles to their advantage; you may want to consider doing the same thing.
History of Resale Restrictions (for reference)
- History of the Minimum Points
- March 2011 – DVC Removes access to Adventurer Collection, Concierge Collection, or The Disney Collection. No cruise swaps. No Disney Hotel Swaps. No bartered high-end hotel swaps.
- April 2016 – Required Members to Have Purchased Direct. The community response was to buy their points resale and add-on the smallest amount of points possible from a direct contract, 25 points at the time.
- Feb 2018 – Moved to 75 Points Minimum
- Sept 2019 – Moved to 100 Points Minimum
- Oct 2020 – Moved to 125 Points Minimum
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