How to Save Big on Your Disney Hotel

It’s been a cold winter here in the mountains of North Carolina so I’ve been keeping warm by dreaming of Florida and planning our upcoming Disney trips.

The biggest part of vacation planning is coming up with a trip budget. One of the biggest expenses of any vacation is lodging. A Disney vacation is no different. Besides tickets, the hotel will be the biggest item to budget for. Don’t despair, because I’ll share some tips for making your hotel stay more affordable.

There are a few options for families on a budget looking for accomodations at Disney. Disney runs several room discounts throughout the year. Right now, for example,you can save up to 30%, staying for as low as $104 for a value resort through the end of September. Value resort hotels are a great option for many families, as the theming is really fun, there are plenty of pools to swim and relax in and they’re pretty reasonably-priced. You may prefer the amenities and convenience of the deluxe Disney resorts, but assume they’re out of reach for a family on a budget. Using this tip that the Disney pros swear by, you too may be able to stay at deluxe hotels for moderate hotel prices!

By renting Disney timeshare points from a DVC member, you are paying a fraction of what you would pay when booking a deluxe hotel room directly through Disney. This is not a well-known method to save but all those “in know” do it. Disney Vacation Club members, who own points that they get every year to use for booking stays at Disney’s deluxe DVC resorts, have the option of renting their points to non-members when the member would rather have the cash to use on a cruise or non-Disney vacation. By visiting a site such as David’s DVC Rental or DVC Rental Store you can rent points knowing that it is a safe and secure transaction. DVC rooms are not standard hotel rooms with 2 beds, but studios, with a bed and a fold out couch or pull down bed. 1, 2, and 3 bedroom villas are available to rent as well. In the studios, you get a kitchenette. In 1 bedroom and above, there is a full kitchen.

We have rented points a couple of times and it couldn’t be any easier. The first step is to use a reputable rental site. We use DVC Rental Store. We used the points calculator to determine how many points we would need for our stay. The points will vary for each resort and room type. For example for the same 5 nights in March, a standard studio at Animal Kingdom Villas is 80 points and a Lakeview studio at the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows is 135. It also fluctuates according to time of year, points being higher for holidays and school breaks generally. The price per point varies, but will run between $14.00-$18.00. You put in a request for a resort and the days you want to stay. The company will then try to match your request with a member who has points available and can book the stay for you. Most of the time this won’t take more than 48 hours, unless you are trying to book less than 6 months ahead for a really popular time, say, Christmas or New Year’s. If the rental site can’t fulfill your request, they try to find an acceptable alternative. If that can’t be done, you get any deposit made back.

The points calculator (like this one here will tell you the total price for the stay as well. The prices for the two stays I listed above are $1360 (AKV) which turns out to be $272 per night vs. $514 rack rate through Disney, and $2295 (PVB)-$459 per night vs. $885 rack rate. So by renting DVC points you save almost half of Disney’s rack rate and the savings don’t end there! Because a DVC member is reserving a room for you on their points, parking at your resort is free. That’s another $24 per night that you’re saving. Although it seems to good to be true, it’s not. There are a few things to consider though.

The first thing to think about before renting points is that once you book a room and pay a deposit, it’s a done deal. The member is using his or her points to book a vacation for you. Because of this, you will be unable to change your vacation dates and resort, or cancel without forfeiting everything you’ve paid. Another reason why renting might not be for you is you are required to pay all or most of your balance right away. If you like the option of paying a deposit and having time to pay off the rest of your vacation, booking direct might be a better idea. Finally, the last thing that might turn you off of renting is that you won’t get daily housekeeping. It’s a DVC thing and I’m not really sure why this is, but you get daily trash removal and a full room cleaning every 4 days when doing a DVC stay. So if daily housekeeping is a must, think twice about renting.

So although renting DVC points is a major money saver, there are a few cons that might make it not work for you. It’s been great for us to try the deluxe resorts while we were considering buying into DVC. We’re still renting this year even though we’re DVC members (our contract is smaller than our vacation plans!) Have you rented DVC points to save money on deluxe Disney accommodations? Did you go through an agency? We’d love to hear your experiences or any questions you might have in the comments!

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