Buying DVC Direct vs Resale: Member Benefits and more!

The debate over buying DVC direct vs Resale always begs the question: what do I lose out on if I buy resale? Well, this DVC direct vs resale article is going to break down the ins and outs of what Disney refers to as ‘member benefits.'

You'll learn exactly what each type of member receives and doesn't receive based on the type of purchase you make. While some may not find the benefits that important, to some it's still a major deciding factor when buying DVC direct vs resale.

DVC offers a long list of member benefits that are constantly changing. In order to take advantage of them all, you'll need to make sure you're constantly checking to see what is available. Some of the member benefits offer unique Disney experiences! Plus, we'll even talk about one way to bypass Disney restrictions and still enjoy member benefits, regardless of your membership status.

Keep reading this article on DVC direct vs resale member benefits to learn more!

DVC Direct vs Resale: What are DVC Member Benefits?

When talking about DVC member benefits, it's important to know what they are and where they come from. In short, DVC member benefits are a list of perks that Disney offers its Vacation Club members throughout the life of a contract. The types of benefits vary, but in short, you're looking at things such as discounts and private member-only events. We'll break them down a little later.

The kicker in all of this is that member benefits vary depending on whether you purchased your DVC contract direct or resale and if you have the required 150 direct points. Meaning, if you purchased your DVC contract through a third-party seller instead of directly from Disney or if you do not own 150 direct points, you will not be able to take advantage of the full list of benefits. This is where the big question of buying direct vs resale comes in as many do want all of the member benefits. For others, however, this is not a dealbreaker.

So, let's dive into the member benefits and explore what they each have to offer!

DVC Direct vs Resale Pool

DVC Direct vs Resale: List of Member Benefits

To make things easier, let's take a look at the overall list of DVC member benefits before we break them down. At the time of writing this DVC direct vs resale member benefits article, the list of benefits includes:

Member Benefit Direct Resale
Dining and Merchandise Discounts YESNO
Member-only Events YESNO
Member-only Lounges YESNO
Special Event DiscountsYESNO
Recreational Activities Discount YESNO
Riviera Resort Stays YESNO
Disney Cruises TransferYESNO
Disney Member Cruises YESNO
Adventures by Disney YESNO
Disney Concierge CollectionYESNO
Disney Resorts Exchange YESNO
Interval International YESYES
Complimentary Resort Parking YESYES
Pool Hopping YESYES
DVD Rentals YESYES
Complimentary Laundry YESYES

As you can see, the list of benefits is long with lots to offer depending on what you're looking for. Admittedly, the list can be even longer as each category entails even more unique offerings, but for the sake of simplicity, we've narrowed them down to these general buckets. What you also can see right away is that direct members can enjoy a lot more benefits than resale members.

If you're curious as to what all of these categories offer, let's take a closer look!

DVC Direct vs Resale: Breaking Down Member Benefits – Direct Members

Now for the fun part, let's take a look and see what benefits are designated for members only.

Dining and Merchandise Discounts

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: No 

Perhaps the most attractive benefit as a DVC member is the long list of discounts offered at restaurants and stores throughout the entire Walt Disney World Resort as well as the Disneyland Resort. The amount of discount varies, but they can range anywhere from 10-20% off. Note that at times, a minimum amount spent is required before the discount can be applied.

Examples of dining discounts include:

Epcot:

10% off at Biergarten Restaurant

10% off La Hacienda de San Angel

10% off lunch only at Teppan Edo

20% off Nine Dragons Restaurant

Magic Kingdom: 

10% off Be Our Guest Restaurant

10% off at Liberty Tree Tavern

10% off the Plaza Restaurant

Disney's Hollywood Studios:

10% off at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

10% off at the Hollywood Brown Derby

10% off at 50's Prime Time Café

Animal Kingdom:

10% off at Tusker House Restaurant

10% off at Yak and Yeti Restaurant

DVC Direct vs Resale Teppan Edo

Teppan Edo Restaurant inside Epcot

This list is not exhaustive and don't forget that discounts are also found at Disney resort restaurants as well as Disney Springs dining locations. So, you can score similar discounts at restaurants such as: Boma – Flavors of Africa, Beaches & Cream, Flying Fish, California Grill, Narcoossee's and Topolino's Terrace.

When it comes to merchandise discounts, the options are again found inside of Disney parks, but also at Disney resorts and throughout Disney Springs. Examples of merchandise discounts include:

20% off at select Walt Disney World merchandise locations

15% off at Basin White at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

10% off at L'Occitane en Provence at Disney Springs

10% off at Pandora at Disney Springs

10% off at Tommy Bahama in Disney Springs

10% off Disney merchandise at the Disneyland Resort in California

When you think about how much you end up spending on food and souvenirs, these discounts can really add up and save you lots of money! Admittedly, this is a huge plus for buying direct. While other discounts can be seen as unnecessary, it's hard to say no to discounts on food and merchandise.

Member-only Events

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: No 

A popular benefit for direct members are the member-only events that Disney hosts. The most famous of them all is Moonlight Magic. Moonlight Magic is a unique opportunity for Vacation Club members to visit one of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks, and even the waterparks, after hours for a night of low crowds and special entertainment offerings. These events are incredibly popular among members. Disney even sells exclusive Moonlight Magic merchandise at these events. Dates for these events are spread out throughout the year and sell out very quickly so be sure to register early if you're interested!

DVC Direct vs Resale MM

Moonlight Magic Dance Party

Member-only Lounges

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: No 

After a long day at the park, this member benefit is perfect for some relaxation. The Walt Disney World resort offers two Vacation Club member-only lounge spaces. The first is located inside of Epcot. This lounge space offers air conditioning, comfy seats, complimentary wifi and light refreshments. The second lounge is the newly-reimagined Top of the World Lounge – A Villain's Lair at Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort. This villain-inspired lounge sits atop of the resort and offers a private viewing deck perfect for the Magic Kingdom's firework show. Inside, a full bar is available as well as a selection of food options.

The Top of the World Lounge used to be available to all Vacation Club members, but as of its reopening it is only available to direct members and you must hold an active reservation at an eligible resort to enter.

Just recently announced, Vacation Club members will now be able to enjoy a Star Wars themed lounge at Disneyland in California. Be sure to check out all the details we have so far here.

DVC Direct vs Resale DL Lounge

Rendering of the new Vacation Club Member Lounge at Disneyland

Special Event Discounts

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: No 

During the holiday season, Disney hosts Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party as well as Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom. While these two popular events are open to the general public, DVC members benefit from discounted tickets. This is a nice benefit as these are both separately ticketed events not valid with general theme park admission. Both of these events take place in the evening after regular park hours and also offer exclusive entertainment and merchandise. Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is famous for featuring rare character meet and greets not typically seen at Disney parks.

Recreational Activities

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: No 

While staying at the Walt Disney World Resort, DVC members benefit from discounts at various recreational activities throughout the resort. These unique experiences offer a different side of Disney and are great to do on non-park days. Experiences include:

Disney Vacation Club Fishing Excursion

Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course discounts

Marina Rentals

Miniature Golf

Surrey Bike Rentals at Disney's Boardwalk Inn

The offers and discounts vary, but again, these are unique experiences that will enhance any Disney vacation and make for new memories.

DVC Direct vs Resale Kayak

Kayak Adventure at Disney's Fort Wilderness is another great experience where members can enjoy discounts

Riviera Resort Stays

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: No 

A new benefit that was created with the opening of Disney's Riviera Resort is that only direct members are able to book stays at this resort. This means that if you did not purchase directly from Disney, you will not be able to stay here.

Disney Cruises Transfer

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: No

If you're looking for something different, as a direct member you'll be able to transfer your Vacation Club points to the Disney Cruise Line and enjoy one of their sailings. Admittedly, this is not a great use of your points. Booking a Disney cruise with vacation points requires a lot more than a vacation at a Disney resort does. However, for some, this is a neat opportunity, especially if a park vacation is not what you're looking for.

Disney Member Cruises

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: No

Similarly to our last benefit, Disney hosts Disney Vacation Club member cruises (click to read our full review of a recent DVC cruise) where all passengers are Vacation Club members. These cruises are pretty popular and, once again, include some exclusive merchandise not found anywhere else. Looking ahead to next year, the itinerary includes a 4-night cruise to the Bahamas and is selling out quickly!

Adventures by Disney

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: No

For completely new destinations, Adventures by Disney is another way that direct members can utilize their points. With Adventures by Disney, members can travel to destinations around the world led by an exclusive Disney guide. These vacations are wonderful opportunities and allow you to make use of your points in a totally new way. At the time of writing this DVC direct vs resale member benefits article, destinations include:

  • New England
  • Sicily
  • The British Isles
  • Australia Private Adventure
  • Galápagos Islands Expedition Cruise
  • Seine River Cruise
  • Antarctica
  • China

The list is only a small preview as destinations can be found on all continents. Adventures by Disney has a great reputation, but it is on the more expensive side.

DVC Direct vs Resale Peru

Adventures by Disney in Peru

Disney Concierge Collection

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: No

If you're open to traveling the world without needing a guided experience, direct members can also use their points at hotel stays throughout the world. These resorts are hotels that are open to the general public and can be found all over the world. Be sure to check reservation windows as they vary depending on your desired location.

Disney Resort Hotel Exchange

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: No

The last direct member benefit is the ability to book Disney hotel rooms around the world with points. This is, again, not a great use of your points, but does allow you to, for example, book a hotel room at Hong Kong Disneyland with points.

DVC Direct vs Resale Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel

DVC Direct vs Resale: Breaking Down Member Benefits – Direct and Resale Members

You're probably wondering what perks are left for resale members! While the list is not as long as the one we just took a look at, resale members do enjoy some great benefits. Please note that the following benefits are also extended to direct members.

Interval International

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: Yes 

If you're looking for Villa accommodations at a non-Disney vacation around the world, then Interval International is one way that all Vacation Club members can use their points. These accommodations mirror those found at Disney resorts and are available for a variety of vacation lengths. Similar to other transfers, this option does not give you the best value for your points.

Complimentary Resort Parking

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: Yes 

We're always excited about ways to save money and this is a great member benefit. When staying at a Disney Vacation Club resort, you'll enjoy complimentary resort parking. What's more, this benefit extends to the theme parks! So, if you're staying at Disney Vacation Club resort and drive to a theme park, you won't pay for parking there either. The savings can really add up and it's nice to know that this is one less cost you have to worry about.

Pool Hopping

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: Yes 

If pools are your thing, then you'll be glad to know that Vacation Club members are offered the chance to swim at many of the other Vacation Club resort pools. This is a fun benefit, especially if you have a lot of down time. So, if you're staying at the Bay Lake Tower, but want to experience the Polynesian pool, just hop on the monorail, show your MagicBand and dive in!

DVC Direct vs Resale Poly Pool

The pool at Disney's Polynesian Village

DVD Rentals

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: Yes 

Once you're back in your villa, members can take advantage of complimentary DVD rentals of all your favorite Disney movies. While this can seem a little outdated, it's a great benefit to enjoy for those cozy nights in with the family.

Complimentary Laundry

Direct Member Benefit: Yes 

Resale Member Benefit: Yes 

I know, who wants to do laundry while on vacation? However, part of being a Vacation Club member is being able to enjoy longer stays and not having to pack too many clothes. Guests in 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms have access to in-room laundry, but for those staying in studio villas, they can use the complimentary laundry services located in each of the resorts. You can't beat fresh and clean clothes upon returning home after an amazing Disney vacation!

DVC Direct vs Resale: Are Member Benefits Guaranteed?

While all of these member benefits are wonderful perks to being a Vacation Club member, it's important to know that most of these benefits can disappear at any time. This is because most of these benefits are not included in a Vacation Club contract and are offered at Disney's discretion. So, if you're debating whether to buy direct or resale, you should never base your decision simply on these benefits as they can change at any time. Disney also has the right to determine whether or not a benefit is open only to direct buyers or direct and resale. This was most recently seen when access to the Top of the World Lounge was taken away from non-direct buyers.

DVC Direct vs Resale: Other Ways To Save Money

Alright, here's an amazing Disney secret that can save you money even if you're not a direct Vacation Club member. At the time of writing this article, anyone who has the Chase Disney Debit or Credit card can take advantage of many of the discounts we talked about! This means that if you're a non-direct member, you can still enjoy discounts for food, merchandise, cruises and even exclusive character meet and greets. While the Chase Disney credit card offers typical cardholder points, the debit card alone is worth having if you're looking to score some easy Disney discounts. For the debit card you will need to bank with Chase, but the credit card is open to all.

DVC Direct vs Resale Shopping

DVC Direct vs Resale: Once a Member, Always a Member

This DVC direct vs resale member benefit article focused a lot on what some do and don't get. However, it's important to remember that regardless of how you buy your DVC membership, you are nonetheless a full-fledged member. Aside from having to say no when asked if you qualify for any discount at shopping destinations, your experience as a Vacation Club member is the same and you still benefit from amazing Disney vacations at a fraction of the price. So, don't let these benefits sway you either way. Unless there's a benefit that you can't live without, simply use this as a guide when thinking about purchasing a vacation club membership. Remember, the benefits can, and likely will, change, but your membership and the memories you create is always yours to keep.

Plan Your Vacation to Walt Disney World!

All this talk about Disney may have you excited about your next Disney trip. If you're ready to start planning your next Disney vacation, let us help! We can find the best options for your trip and make sure that you're not missing out on exclusive discounts. Plus, if you’re not yet subscribed to our FREE newsletter, you’re missing out on even more Disney savings! Be sure to check out our other articles to help you plan your next Disney getaway:

Disclosure: We have used all the products recommended on Mickey Visit. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products featured.

About Eduardo Silva

Eduardo is High School Vice Principal who loves to share all things Disney and is also an experienced translator with voiceover work in Spanish and French. Originally from Southern California, he grew up visiting the Disneyland Resort and it's there that his passion for Disney was born. Today, Eduardo is a Disney Vacation Club member and enjoys sharing his experiences as a member writing for Mickey Visit and Disney Dose.

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