I have rented from David’s multiple times and had a great experience each time. Very straightforward and easy, although you do take on a risk since there’s no refunds.
I have also rented a dedicated reservation from DVC-Rental and it was smooth as silk (I got it right at the 5-day mark before my trip and was able to cancel my existing reservation hold that I no longer needed).
Renting is a fantastic option. So much cheaper than cash rooms. The only thing that beats it is buying points. But it’s a good test drive to see if buying is right with you without all the risk and huge cash outlay of ownership.
Renter turned owner here. My experience was pre pandemic and great. You really should be dedicated to the trip as there is no turning back. I needed to add a day and ended up having to change rooms. So modifications are hard.
The 2nd best option, if you have to stay offsite, is to stalk the Swan and Dolphin. I book and then check back for discounts then modify my reservation. Deluxe benefits and location at a mod price.
You just have to be okay with the fact that, if something happens, you are most likely out that money. (Happened to me twice.) I understood that going in, though. Those are the breaks. Still would do it again. (Note on Swan and Dolphin - was at the Reserve this week, our backup. It was NOT quite like a Deluxe - we had trouble keeping our reservation properly linked, and that cost me in both early dining reservations and getting Lightning Lanes in the morning. Disney said it was because it was Swan/Dolphin/Reserve, not “really” a Disney resort. Also, the MK bus drops you off at the transportation center, not the park, which is a pain. Might be totally worth it to you - just something to be aware of.)
Very similar, except that with the dedicated reservation, you’re usually close to the time of your trip and so you are subject to the whims of whatever someone had booked at the 7 or 11 month mark (usually they are trying to offload a reservation that is too close to the date for them to cancel), which may or may not be what you want (though there are dozens of listings at any given time, so if you keep your eyes peeled you will likely find something close to what you really want), and also sometimes you can get a discounted price, particularly on expensive room types or long stays.
For renting points, you are usually booking at least 7 months out (11 is better), asking for a specific resort and room type, subject to availability of that room type as well as someone with the points to rent. There are some room types that it is virtually impossible to rent (e.g., Value at AK).
Just as an example, here’s a few listings. If you booked these, you couldn’t change anything about the reservation, you’d just have to accept it as it is. As you can see, the SSR reservation is listed at a reduced price. You’re saving $1,344 off what it would cost you if you just did a regular point rental through David’s. That’s a 21% savings.
Seems like if you’re really trying to plan a trip, renting points is the way to go. But I could definitely see where it would be fun if an attractive reservation popped up to make a last minute trip down!
We’ve rented from David’s multiple times, and I think we used DVC Rental Store once for a last-minute trip. The only other advice I’d give is that depending on the time of year and the resort you want to stay at, you may need to put your request in early (11 months in advance). And given that DVC is filling up more quickly than normal right now, you might need to do that anyway, even if you’re not traveling at a busy time of the year. It’s always possible that you can snag a last-minute dedicated reservation, but you often have to be a bit flexible with your travel dates, resort, and/or room type to use those.