There are some good threads on this board and others, as well as postings from various members that say some great things. I'd like to post this summary of things to consider -- targeted for all those potential renters out there. I'd also like to thank all the folks I've plagiarized in putting this together!
There are two ways you can stay in a “Disney Deluxe Villa Resort” (Disney Vacation Club Villa):
Disney allows the general public to book DVC units at rack rates through its regular resort reservations system, when available. Renting points from a DVC member is a much better deal, as it typically costs much less to rent from a DVC member than to book a DVC resort direct from Disney.
- Call WDW reservations (aka CRO), just like any other resort, and book a villa at a Disney Deluxe Villa Resort
- Rent points from a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) member
If you do decide to rent points from a DVC member, there are a few things you should be aware of so that your experience is nothing less than magical.
While commonly referred to as “renting points”, you are actually paying a DVC member to make a reservation in your name with some of the points they own as DVC members.
Keep in mind that this is a private transaction between two people, and Disney is not involved in any way. If anything goes wrong, you can’t complain to Disney or expect them to resolve any problem. To repeat this very important fact: All transactions are between private individuals as negotiated between themselves. Disney will not get involved in any transaction problems or disputes.
Until you physically check-in, the DVC owner controls the reservation, even when it is in your name. An unscrupulous owner could potentially cancel your reservation and steal your money, and Disney will not get involved. Also, someone could pose as a DVC owner just to get your cash. This risk is what gets you the big discount, and renting is not for everyone. Renting points takes some work ahead of time to protect yourself and minimize the potential risk of these types of transactions.
That said, fraud almost never occurs in DVC rentals, as reported instances of fraud occurring are extremely rare. Thousands of successful rental transactions have been completed throughout the history of the DVC program, and the savings are obvious.
We don't often see problematic DVC rentals, and when we do they are usually due to misunderstandings between the DVC owner and the renter. Unfortunately, a lot of those misunderstandings come from lack of knowledge about how DVC works and how that differs from a traditional hotel reservation -- or a DVC reservation made through Disney CRO, for that matter.
You would think that the DVC owners all have perfect understanding of their accounts, and it's the people renting reservations who don't get it. You'd be dead wrong. Too often, neither party really understands the situation well enough to be able to anticipate problem areas. That’s why it’s important to rent points from a DVC member who has done it before. Take some time yourself to get educated on how DVC works before looking to “rent points”.
Please use due diligence before entering into any agreement and certainly before sending any payment. Renting points requires trust on both sides of the agreement, but even with trust there is a need for you to do some due diligence and common sense checking before sending off your money to a total stranger.
- Ask for references from the DVC member who is renting the points, and check their references. Good references show that a DVC member has had successful rentals in the past, and is knowledgeable about the DVC program. You are more likely to have a miscommunication with a DVC member who is renting their points for the first time.
- Don't rent from any “member” who has only made a few posts on a rental forum. It could be an indicator of a scam. Review past posts for the person you are working with so you can get an idea what type of person they may be.
- Get the owner's full name, home address and home phone number before sending any payment. To the extent possible, confirm that the information is valid.
- Confirm that the person is, in fact, a DVC owner by running a search at the Florida Comptroller's Office web site (this site only reports owners of WDW DVC resorts).
- There should be a written contract or letter of agreement, signed by both of you, spelling out exactly what the rental will cost, when payment is due, dates of the stay, etc.
In summary: never, ever send money to anyone until you have confirmed their true identify and that they are, in fact, a DVC member, and you have a written agreement. If something sounds "off," don't proceed. It's not worth taking the risk. Any DVC deal that seems too good to be true most likely is.
- Never pay a total stranger by using a "cash equivalent" such as Western Union or money order.
Also, please keep in mind the following important points:
- Be aware that the Disney Vacation Club will not speak with renters or give them any information. They won't take a room request from you; they won't confirm you have a reservation; and they won't make Magical Express arrangements for you. Only DVC owners can speak with DVC about reservations. Any changes and any additions like the Dining Plan or Magical Express will have to be made through Member Services by the owner. You will pay for the Disney Dining Plan during check-in at the resort. You can make your own dining reservations through the Disney dining number. Park tickets cannot be purchased through the DVC member. You can purchase your tickets on your own.
- DVC is a timeshare and not a hotel. A DVC reservation is very different from a regular hotel reservation and the limitations / restrictions / penalties on the owner may make cancellation and rescheduling difficult or impossible. Those problems vary from owner to owner, from rental to rental, and you have no way of knowing what kind of restrictions the owner is under. If you get in a position where you have to cancel a rented reservation, the owner may not be able to help you. Many owners have a “no cancellation/no changes/no refunds” policy. Be sure you fully understand what will happen if your plans change. That is critical, and if you are not comfortable with the answer, a DVC rental is probably not for you. DVC rentals do not work well for people whose plans are not firmly set. You'll have much better cancellation policies when booking through Disney’s CRO than renting points.
- You will probably need a much larger deposit and have to pay in full much earlier when renting points than with using Disney CRO. You may need to pay with a cashiers check instead of being able to use your credit card.
- You do not get daily maid service when you rent from a DVC member (while you do get daily maid service if you make the reservation through Disney CRO). You get your trash emptied and new towels on day 4 of a vacation, and if you stay 8 or more nights, on day 4 you get a full cleaning, and day 8 would be the trash & towel service.
- While you will receive all the standard perks of staying onsite (Magical Express, Extra Magic Hours, etc.), please be aware than renters typically do not get to take advantage of DVC member perks such as discounts, free valet parking, etc.
I hope the above information is helpful to everyone considering renting points from a DVC member.
- The DVC system is complex and takes some time to understand, and many rental difficulties or misunderstandings are from good people with good intentions, who misunderstand the subtleties of the system.