Simply put, buying "direct" means buying points directly from Disney Vacation Club itself. The actual purchase can be executed while visiting one of the DVC sales centers or from home if the buyer lives in an eligible U.S. state or country (some restrictions exist for at-home purchases due to local timeshare laws.)
The purpose of the kiosks is to get folks to sign up for a sales presentation.
Disney Vacation Club maintains numerous sales centers--Preview Centers--near most of its properties. At Walt Disney World the preview center is located at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. Disneyland currently has an office at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel. There is also a location at the Aulani resort in Hawaii and Tokyo Disneyland.
Cast Members working at the booths will discuss some basics of the DVC program and have literature to pass out. But their primary goal is to schedule a tours for interested prospective owners.
The typical sales presentation lasts approximately 2 hours.
If the sales center is somewhat remote--like the one at Saratoga Springs--Disney will provide round-trip transportation to and from any point on its property.
Complimentary refreshments are provided along with supervised child care to keep the kids occupied.
During the tour Disney sales representative or "Guide" will provide an overview of the Disney Vacation Club program. There are typically video presentations, a review of printed materials and a tour of available model rooms. As of 2022 the Saratoga Springs Preview Center features models of Disney's Riviera Resort as well as Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas. Tokyo Disneyland and Aulani only have models of the Aulani villa rooms.
The exact tour experience will obviously vary from one rep to another but Disney is known for applying very little pressure to interested buyers. This is not the stereotypical high pressure sales presentation.
Interested buyers are welcome to leave without making a commitment. Timeshare sales laws vary from one municipality to another but most prospective buyers can continue to discuss a possible purchase with their sales Guide after returning home.
At the conclusion of the tour some modest "thank you" gift may be offered. Frequent giveaways include lithographs and pins.
Disney Vacation Club will not sell fewer than 150 points to a new member. Current members can purchase add-on contracts starting at just 25 points. Add-ons must be for 50 points or more to finance through DVC.
Disney Vacation Club will focus its sales and marketing efforts on the 2-3 newest resorts. Each location only has a finite number of points available to sell and the newer properties are where Disney has its greatest inventory.
That said, if pressured they will typically offer to sell buyers points in older resorts. Resorts like Disney's Beach Club Villas and Disney's BoardWalk Villas are considered "sold out", however DVC will occasionally recapture some points which it can re-sell to new owners. But be warned that older resorts are exempt from most incentives and price reductions, and the purchase prices are not particularly appealing when compared to the newer locations.
Disney will accept a check or credit card for point purchases. Disney Vacation Club will typically agree to spread the purchase over 2 or 3 monthly credit card charges if requested by the buyer. The Chase Disney Visa card typically offers special financing offers for Disney Vacation Club point purchases (e.g. 6 months same as cash.)
Disney will also finance most buyers who cannot afford to pay the full cost at the time of purchase. Loans are typically written for a period of 10 years at a rate of around 12-15%. The best rates are granted to those with good credit who arrange to have monthly payments debited from a U.S. bank account. There is no penalty for early payoffs. Additional loan payments can be made via the DVC members-only website.
A minimum add-on contract of 50 points is typically required in order to finance.
Loans for DVC point purchases are written as a mortgage. Many U.S. residents are eligible to deduct the interest from their taxes. Consult a tax professional for additional details.
One of the advantages of buying direct from Disney is the ability to make a reservation immediately after agreeing to buy.
When a verbal commitment is given, Disney requests a down payment of 10-20% which is placed on the buyer's credit card. The buyer can then proceed to make their first reservation almost immediately after making the verbal commitment.
In about a week the buyer will receive the formal paperwork which must be completed and notarized. Final payment or financing application must be included with the paperwork.
Once the documents have been completed a state-mandated waiting period of 7-14 days must be completed. At any time before the end of this waiting period the buyer can cancel the deal and receive a 100% refund.
At the conclusion of the waiting period the formal closing will proceed.
For all intents and purposes, the buyer is recognized as a Disney Vacation Club member as soon as the downpayment is given--provided he/she does not later opt to cancel the agreement.
Disney has gone to great lengths to streamline the purchase process for direct buyers. Tours are very friendly and low-pressure. Attractive printed materials are provided which highlight all aspects of the program. Those who agree to buy can schedule their first stay almost immediately.
Buyers can choose the exact number of points (subject to certain minimums) they wish to own. They can even chose a specific Use Year if they so desire.
Disney tends to be very liberal with financing approvals. Those with a questionably credit history may have more success buying direct through Disney rather than attempting to obtain a loan elsewhere.
As of March 2011 only points purchased direct from Disney are eligible to be used for destinations in The Adventurer Collection, The Concierge Collection and The Disney Collection. Included in these groupings are Disney Cruise Line voyages, Adventures by Disney and many non-DVC resorts such as Disney's Paradise Pier in California, Disney's Yacht Club Resort and all resorts at Disney's international theme parks.
As of 2021, members must own at least 150 points purchased directly from DVC (or have been previously grandfathered at a lower level) in order to be eligible for the "Membership Extras" perks. Included in these perks are the Annual Pass and other park ticket discounts, dining discounts, shopping discounts, attendance at special events and more.
Lastly, only points purchase direct from DVC are eligible to be used at all DVC resorts. Most resale points cannot be used toward stays at Disney's Riviera Resort and the expectation is that resale points will also be blocked from Villas at Disneyland Hotel when it opens in 2023.
The main drawback is price. Even with incentives, Disney's own pricing can be dramatically higher than a resale contract for the same resort.
The resale purchase process has its own set of pros and cons (see our resale FAQ for details) but buyers will often save considerable dollars over Disney's direct prices.