In working with many DVC members, we’ve realized that use year is a tricky concept to many Disney Vacation Club members. We attempt to explain what use year is, the effects of it on planning trips, and common myths about use years.
What is a Use Year?
First, let’s define use year (UY) as it relates to the Disney Vacation Club. Disney created a timeshare that they called Disney Vacation Club. Within that timeshare, they divided up when points would be allocated to different contracts throughout the year. Each DVC (Disney Vacation Club) contract has a UY, and that UY is the month you get more points loaded on your contract.
For example, let’s say I have an Animal Kingdom Lodge contract for 200 points, with a UY of December. Every December 1st I will get 200 more points to use. Another way to look at it is to say that my “year” to book a DVC reservation at Disney starts December 1st and ends Nov 30.
Interestingly, there are only 8 months with a use year: February, March, April, June, August, September, October, and December. The other months: January, May, July, and November are never used as UY with Disney Vacation Club.
What are Important Dates For My Contract?
The most important thing to know is what you need to be doing throughout the year based on your use year. So, we already mentioned that the first day of the month of your UY is when you get your points. This is important because that means it is also the day that all of your points from the year before need to either be used or banked. If you don’t do either, they are lost. They expire.
If we use that same December UY as an example, then December 1 is the date of expiration for all 200 points. We often get the question: Does that mean you have to have the trip booked by the date of expiration? No, that means you have to already have taken the trip by the date of expiration.
Another important date is 4 months prior to your use year. So for the December UY, August 1 is important because you will have needed to bank your points by this date if you are banking them. If you do not bank your points by this day, you have to use them in some way by December 1 or you lose them.
A third important date to know is January of every year. This is when all annual dues are due to Disney. You have the option to pay these throughout the year, but if they are not paid by January, then you can go delinquent on your contract, and after several months of delinquency, Disney can cancel your reservations. These annual dues vary by resort and are definitely worth looking into before you buy a contract.
Common Myths about Use Years
Below are several common myths DVC members have about use years. And we’ve included the truth about each myth!
Myth #1 – Use year affects availability
Yes and no. So, actual DVC availability is more determined by the 0-7 and 7-11 month time periods. The 7-11 month period refers to when you can book at your home resort. Only those who own at a certain resort can book at that resort 7-11 months out (from any given day – not related to use year). After you get 0-7 months out from a booking, anyone in DVC can book at any resort. This availability is specific to 7 months out and it counts BY THE DAY. So if you are wanting to make a reservation at Bay Lake Tower, but you own at Grand Floridian, and it isn’t allowing you to make the reservation, good chances are you don’t have the ability to book it yet. You may be a day or two off from 7 months from today.
However, if you always go to Disney at a specific time of year, then use year is important and can affect availability. The next myth explains this in detail.
Myth #2 – The use year of my contract doesn’t matter
False. The use year can give you an advantage depending on when you want to spend the most time at Disney. For example, if your UY is December, you will be able to book through November 1 of the next year even before you have your points! This is the UY you want if you like Food and Wine. Why? Remember you get to book 7-11 months out at your home resort. October can also be a good UY for an early Food & Wine reservation.
Would you rather be at Disney during the holidays? Then you want December or February UY so you can make sure to claim December – January availability at 7-11 months out! If you head to Disney over Spring Break, April and March are your go to UY. And if you prefer time at Disney during the summer, then August and September are more important.
Myth #3 – I need to buy my second DVC contract with the same use year as my first DVC contract
Maybe…maybe not. It all depends on what your goal is. Do you want to be able to book at different times of the year? Then you may want to have two different use years to increase availability. Do you want to get all of your points at the same time and not have to worry about multiple dates throughout the year (i.e. when to bank, etc), then you may want to stick to the same use year for both contracts.
Myth #4 – I have to use all my points each year
False. You have options and can bank, borrow, rent, or use your points each year.
Banking your points means you send your points from the current or past year into the next year. You would want to do this if you are not heading to Disney this year. You may also use this method if you are saving up points to use every other year. Borrowing points borrows points from the next year into this year. You would want to do this if you are short on points this year.
Renting points allows you to let someone else enjoy your points this year. Sometimes members rent if they are short on cash, some rent to pay their annual dues, and some rent because they aren’t going to Disney this year and would rather use the money they receive from renting their points to go on a vacation elsewhere! Find out how much you can make by renting your DVC points through DVC Rental Store!
We hope you have found this blog helpful in understanding use year. If you have any questions related to UY or would like help to understand your DVC contract and points, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to help you understand what you have with Disney Vacation Club membership and how to maximize it to the fullest!
For more information on the different themes of DVC Resorts, visit Each Walt Disney World DVC Resort In A Word. If you are looking to buy into Disney Vacation Club, we recommend you read Why Your DVC Home Resort Matters [For Your Wallet & Experience]. Have a magical day!