When purchasing a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) contract, there are many exciting and important things to consider. A major one is making sure you understand all about the “Use Year.” The Use Year is going to impact a lot of decisions when it comes to your vacation planning so you want to make sure you understand how it works and why it’s important to choose the right one!
Best way to buy! Our best pick when buying a resale DVC contract is through our partner at The DVC Resale Market. With over 1,500 active daily listings, you’re guaranteed to find the best contract out there and with the Use Year, you’re looking for! The DVC Resale Market is the largest resale company around and their expert guides will work with you every step of the way so you don’t have to worry about a thing. The best part? You’ll save tons of money when purchasing through them!
Keep reading our DVC Use Year guide to learn more about this small, but very important, piece of a DVC membership!
In this article:
What is a DVC Use Year?
Let’s start by looking at what exactly a DVC Use Year is. It’s a term you’ll hear a lot during the buying process so it’s important to understand what it entails. If we break it down to its easiest form, a DVC Use Year is the month (not year) in which DVC points are added annually to a DVC contract through the duration of the deed. Currently, Disney has Use Years in February, March, April, June, August, September, October, or December.
For example, let’s say you own a 100-point contract at Disney’s Riviera with a September Use Year. This means that through the duration of the deed, in this case, 2070, you will receive your 100 points in your account every September 1st.
So that’s what a Use Year is in its simplest form. Of course, there are lots more to consider so let’s look into it some more.
Does a DVC Use Year Really Matter?
The short answer as to whether or not a DVC Use Year matters depends on how you plan to vacation. If you’re someone that can pick up and go at various points throughout the year then a Use Year really isn’t all that important. However, if you’re locked into a set vacation schedule, then you will want to pay extra attention to your Use Year.
A teacher, for example, might count on taking a yearly vacation in July to coincide with summer vacations. This means that the Use Year becomes more important. An easy way to see it is that it’s safe to have a Use Year one to two months before the anticipated set vacation time.
The main reason for this is because you’ll need to consider last-minute cancellations!
What’s the Best Use Year to Have?
In short, no Use Year is considered to be the “best” one. Given that it all depends on your vacation preferences, this will vary. What is true, however, is that Use Years are not evenly split among the DVC resorts. This means that some resorts can carry a lot of Use Years from a particular month. We’re not sure exactly why Disney decides to do this, but all it means is that you could end up seeing a lot of similar use years at a particular resort.
Again, this isn’t a big deal, especially if your heart is set on a particular resort. We will always recommend buying where you want to stay!
Last-Minute DVC Cancellations
DVC ownership comes with lots of flexibility, except for cancellations that occur within 30 days of a reservation. Canceling more than 30 days out comes with no problems whatsoever, but if you’re within those 30 days, your options drop significantly.
Any DVC points used to make a reservation that is canceled within 30 days will go into what Disney refers to as a holding account. Points in holding are ‘locked’ and need to be used within the current Use Year. These points can no longer be banked into the following Use Year which means you’ll need to use them soon. If you don’t use the points in holding before the end of your Use Year, you will lose those points altogether (GASP)!
Let’s take our 100-point September Use Year Riviera contract we mentioned earlier and see what this would look like if we have to cancel last minute. We’ll pretend that we love to take an annual trip every August 15th for an anniversary. This is also a great time to visit and explore EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival! For an unexpected reason, you find yourself needing to cancel your August reservation just five days before August 10th. Since you’re canceling less than 30 days before arrival, these points now go into holding and they’ll need to be used by the end of the Use Year, which in this case is September 1st. This means you have from August 10th to September 1st to use the points or they are lost forever!
This is a worst-case scenario, but it demonstrates why a Use Year matters, especially when you have yearly and consistent plans. Cancellations like this aren’t frequent, but when you take the value of DVC points, they are not something you want to lose!
Banking DVC Points
We’ve seen that Use Year determines when you get your annual allotment of DVC points. Another aspect of a DVC membership that is affected by a Use Year is your banking deadline. Let’s explain!
Banking is a flexible option that Disney provides so that if a Disney vacation is not in the plans for a particular year, you won’t lose any points. When you bank your points, you’re simply moving them into the next use year where they’ll be ready for a future vacation.
To bank, however, you need to do it no later than 8 months after your Use Year begins. For example, with our same September Use Year contract, the banking deadline would be April 30th. If for some reason you miss this banking deadline, you’d have from May 1st through August 30th to use any remaining points.
Banking DVC Points and Expiration Dates
For reference, here are the DVC Use Years with their respective banking deadlines and expiration dates. We’ve even included the current resale active listing by following the links in case you’re curious!
Banking Deadline – September 30th
Expiration Date – January 31st
Banking Deadline – October 31st
Expiration Date – February 28th
Banking Deadline – November 30th
Expiration Date – March 31st
Banking Deadline – January 31st
Expiration Date – May 31st
Banking Deadline – March 31st
Expiration Date – July 31st
Banking Deadline – April 30th
Expiration Date – August 31st
Banking Deadline – May 31st
Expiration Date – September 30th
Banking Deadline – July 31st
Expiration Date – November 30th
The banking deadline doesn’t really affect short-term cancellations since any points that go into a holding account are not bankable. However, if you travel last minute this could be an area of concern.
For example, if you’re wanting to book a last-minute, and popular, 4th of July vacation in June with a September Use Year you don’t leave a lot of room for error. If it’s June and you still can’t get a reservation for July 4th, you’ve now gone past the April 30th banking deadline and you’ll need to use your points by August 30th or, once again, you lose them!
DVC Use Years and Current DVC Owners
For all current DVC members, let’s assume you’re in the market for another DVC contract. You’ve partnered with The DVC Resale Market and you’re dreaming about that next home resort. Once again, you need to consider what Use Year you want to purchase. We recommend sticking to your current Use Year when buying a new contract. This will make keeping track of your banking and expiration deadlines easier.
However, if you find a great deal that you can’t pass up, you could end up with more than one Use Year. This isn’t too problematic, but certainly not as convenient. You could opt to have one contract be set for a specific trip in mind and a second (or third!) for other vacations. It all depends on what your vacation needs are.
Can I Choose My DVC Use Year?
By now you’re probably wondering if you can just pick your Use Year so that it aligns with your plans. Unfortunately, this is not possible. You cannot choose your DVC Use Year when purchasing a DVC contract. DVC Use Years are tied to specific contracts so if you’re looking for a specific one, you’ll need to be patient when buying resale until the perfect contract comes around.
The only potential exception here is if you buy direct from Disney Vacation Club. While not always consistent, you may be able to choose your Use Year if it’s currently being offered through Disney direct. Again, this isn’t always a guarantee so you’ll want to be mindful of this when deciding to purchase because the savings of a resale contract are much more valuable than picking a Use Year.
DVC Use Year Myth: debunked!
One common misunderstanding when it comes to DVC Use Years is the idea that you always need to wait until the start of a Use Year to book a reservation that falls within that year. That is a misconception and not accurate! The rule of thumb to remember when booking reservations is to ask yourself: how many points will I have upon checking in to my resort? This will guarantee that you can feel free to book your reservations ahead of time without having to worry about Use Year.
As you can see, a DVC Use Year can matter only in particular situations. Do your homework when purchasing your next DVC contract and make sure you take what we’ve said in determining the best contract for you. In the end, you can’t go wrong with a DVC membership, so enjoy the process and get ready to hear “Welcome Home!” the next time you check into your Disney vacation resort!
Plan Your Next Disney Vacation!
We’re ready to help you plan your next Disney vacation! Let us do all of the work while all you do is count down the days until your next magical experience. Our team will prepare for you a custom quote that is tailored to your exact wishes. Best of all, you’ll get all the discounts available so you’ll know you’re getting the best price! It really is that simple and FREE! To learn more about planning your next vacation, check out the following articles:
- The Cheapest Time of the Year to Visit Walt Disney World!
- Walt Disney World Extended Evening Hours- Stay After Park Closing, Deluxe Hotel Perks
- Easter at Disney World 2023 – Egg-stravaganza, Easter Procession, and Easter Bunny Meets!
- Walt Disney World Height Requirements, Single Rider Lines, Rider Switch
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Virtual Queue- Boarding Group Tips