Walt Disney World is “The Happiest Place on Earth”. We couldn’t agree more, but as much as we love Disney, we also love exploring new places and soaking up the local culture. One of our favorite things about being a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Member is the flexibility. With Disney Vacation Club we can head out around the world and see new things – from national parks, to new countries. Best part is, traveling with Disney Vacation Club is really easy to do. Here’s our back to basics guide on how seeing the world works with Disney Vacation Club.
How it’s Possible
There are timeshares all over the world that can be found through various timeshare networks and Disney Vacation Club partners with RCI which is the world’s largest timeshare exchange network. This partnership connects you to timeshare resorts all over the world. When you travel to a non-Disney resort, it is referred to as “trading-off”, as you’re trading in your points to stay at the resort. To better understand how points work, check out our article on Disney Vacation Club Nuts and Bolts.
How it Works
Trading-off from Disney Vacation Club is easy and you have no restrictions on locations or time of year. The only limitations are around resort availability, and how many points you have to use. In our experience, the points needed to trade-off is about 150 for a week. Using your Disney Vacation Points, you’re able to book stays at other timeshares. To book one of the resorts, you would call Member Services and they’ll take it from there. Easy Peasy!
Finding a Resort and Booking
The hardest part of deciding where to go is using the RCI website to explore all the options. The website is easy to access via the Disney Vacation Club Member site. It is set up to auto- login in to the RCI website, no credentials needed. Once logged in you can kick-off your search either using the map or by a geographic list. I highly recommend the map for easy viewing. From there you can drill down into different regions of world to see what timeshares are available to rent. The filters range from length of stay to check-in date.
We love to do this – sit back on a rainy Sunday afternoon and plan out the next great adventure. The other option is to call Member Services, they are super helpful and can do all the refinement for you. Our first time trading-off we went this route, and it definitely made it less intimidating for us.
Passholder Tip – RCI labels resorts based on reviews and the Gold Crown label means it’s a top resort. In our experience, the Gold Crown Resorts are the most similar to the quality of Disney.
Good to Know Stuff
The biggest thing to understand is the RCI network website shows other timeshares. Availability is based on people looking to trade-off their week at to go somewhere else in the world. Unlike the Disney Vacation Club, other timeshares lock people into a certain weeks every year and people have to trade-off their week to go to another resort. Lucky for all of us, Disney doesn’t lock us into any week.
When looking for the next great place to explore, flexibility is a good thing. Whether it is flexibility with travel date or travel location. For us, being flexible on where to go, led to discovering some really outstanding hidden gems. We’ve travelled to some fantastic “off the beaten path” places this way. Vacation spots we’ve never even heard of (Angel’s Camp, CA for example) and LOVED. Just tell the RCI expert what you’re looking for and they’re happy to give you destination tips. You’re going to have a great time!
From our experiences trading-off, you get more than just a room. The majority of the trade-off locations are for a 1-bedroom condo. We love this part, as it means there is a kitchen and the living room serves as a second bedroom. There is nothing more relaxing then waking up and enjoying breakfast without having to get dressed to find food. Plus having a kitchen means you can save money on meals by shopping and prepping at home. It’s a great way to explore and enjoy local markets.
This trade-off feature of Disney Vacation Club is probably one of the most understated perks of being a Member. For us, it was one of the main reasons we ended up purchasing. If you like to travel and you would rather prepay your lodging in advance and lock in a weekly vacation for the next 50 years – take a look. If not – keep on reading our blog anyways!