It’s basically a flexible timeshare program.
DVC launched in 1991 with a points-based system (instead of the traditional "you get this week, in this space, every year" approach), and today it has more than 220,000 member families from about 100 countries. What's cool is that you're never locked into a specific resort, length of stay, accommodation type, or time of year, so you can always work your trip around your budget — and life.
So how much does it cost? The starting price to become a DVC member is $18,200. That's not an annual cost — it's a one-time fee for your "timeshare," and it entitles you to up to 50 years of DVC membership. (For context, the average sales price for a one-week timeshare in the US is $20,040, according to the American Resort Development Association.) With Disney, the fee gets you 100 flexible points per year to use for vacations, although some people opt for bigger point packages. You can pay this as a lump sum or in monthly payments — like a mortgage on your own little slice of Disney.