Disney Vacation Club

Discussion in 'Timeshares' started by WanderLuster, Mar 15, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. WanderLuster
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    WanderLuster Silver Member

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    My best friend and I are seriously considering going in together and buying enough points for about two weeks during low season/one week during high season. Is there anyone with experience with DVC who would be willing to answer a couple of questions?
     
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  2. NYC_Gal
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    NYC_Gal Silver Member

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    Sure, what's your question? I owned DVC. My #1 advise is to buy the minimum points. You can always add more later. Then you book the rooms at your desired resort and see if the points work out for you. It gets harder now to secure a room without calling 10 months out. I think it's because more DVC owners out there.
     
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  3. WilCo
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    WilCo Silver Member

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    We looked at it pretty hard and finally walked away. If I recall right, you can buy any timeshare (including DVC) on the resale market much cheaper than you can get directly. If you decide the DVC is right for you, then look at resale.
     
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  4. WanderLuster
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    WanderLuster Silver Member

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    I have many, many questions. But the big ones:

    1)Did you buy directly from Disney or through a resaler? We are leaning towards the resale market as we want to use the points only at DVC resorts (resale points can no longer be used at non-DVC properties).

    2) What is the availability like within the seven month window (when anyone can book any resort)? We tend to be last minute planners due to our schedules. I see that you say it gets difficult within 10 months - is it possible to cancel a reservation without forfeiting points? That way we could book a week at the 11 month mark and if we couldn't make our schedules align cancel.

    3) In doing financial projections (ie - does this move make monetary sense) - how do you account for the loss of returns on the initial downpayment. Obviously putting 7K (or 20K) down has opportunity costs versus paying for a vacation each year as we take it, but I can't figure out how to fit that into my total cost of ownership vs. total cost of taking a vacation each year comparison.

    4)We haven't had a chance to tour a DVC property - but, we have tentative plans to do that soon. How does the quality of the rooms/suites/resort amenities compare to the Disney Resorts?

    Thanks so much for your responses and insights!
     
  5. Horse
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    Horse Gold Member

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    I'm avoiding joining DVC because I have found the Deluxe Resorts to be nicer than DVC. And as it is, I think Disney needs to improve their Deluxes to catch up with the real world for the rates they charge.

    For large parties, maybe DVC is better. But for one or two people traveling to WDW, I think DVC is a bad move. My brother and his family and I went last month. They stayed in Wilderness Lodge Villas (DVC) and I stayed at the Wilderness Lodge. I found the Villas to be lower quality than the Lodge (which was the worst Deluxe I've stayed at).
     
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  6. NYC_Gal
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    NYC_Gal Silver Member

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    Answering WanderLuster's questions :

    1. We bought from Disney directly. It was an impulse buy. But it worked out ok for us (I'll explain below). You should buy from reseller because it's a lot cheaper. However, I believe you lose certain benefits (I forgot which ones, but I'm sure you can find it online somewhere).

    2. Availablility varies. We tend to book last minute, for a short weekend trip, for 2. That was not that hard if we were to book a studio in Sept. If you want to book high seasons like Feb or Spring break or XMas, then you really need to book 7 months out (and even then the home resort owner may aleady beat you to it cause they can book 10 months out). 1 bedroom tends to go first, studio next. 3 bedroom is very hard to get cause they have very few of them. Also, Old Key West seems to always available because it's the oldest resort. WDL, or AKL are hardest to book. I'm sure Hawaii will be the hardest once opened.

    You should also buy from the resort that you like the most (if available). Then you can book at 10 months mark. No penalty if you cancel 30 days out (I'm quite sure this is the rule, but please check). If you cancel within 30 days, then you must use the points that year. If you cancel the week of (I believe), then you lose the points.

    Points also expire, so you will have to bank them before expiration. You can also borrow points from next year. Hence, you should buy the lowest # of points. E.g., I can bank my 2010 points to 2011. And then borrow points from 2012. So now I have bigger pot of points to use in 2011.

    3. DVC will NOT save you money IMHO. I look at it as a pre-paid vacation, sort of. You pay for the bigger rooms / kitchens / facilities. Without DVC, I wouldn't be able to treat my families, my inlaws, my nephews...etc to Disney. Could I have pay out of pocket and book 5 different resort rooms for them? Yes, but I would never do it. DVC allows me to do so, book a 2 bedroom and jam everyone in. And I can do it every other year.

    You should not borrow money to buyDVC. It will not make financial sense. Remember that you have to pay an annual fee on top of it.

    4. Varies. I think the earlier DVC are actually of better quality. Boardwalk Villas is slightly better than WDL (too rustic for me). Contemporary is the newest and it's not bad. OKW is the oldest but the rooms are more spacious.

    You should try to rent points from a DVC member and stay there yourself before commiting. Book it last minutes and see if you can get what you want. Then you can decide if this will work for you. Check out Disboards.com forum too.

    IMHO, you can maximize DVC's value if (1) you like to go to Disney a lot (2) go with large groups of friends / families, reunion type vacation (3) have kids (4) able to fly to Florida or CA relatively cheap (5) don't miss the traditional hotel amenities.

    7K can buy you 70 nights in the cheapest Disney hotels. But DVC will give you kitchen and the whole better experience. If I had to do it again, I probably won't buy into DVC. But then I'm glad I did it because I had a couple of really wonderful vacation with friends and families. And I get to be very popular among my friends who have young kids. I have been treating them to Disney and the kids all love me. :)
     
  7. WanderLuster
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    WanderLuster Silver Member

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    Thank you so much!!!! This information is invaluable. We are going to be in Disney for next weekend and are going to do a tour. On our next trip down, we are going to try renting points and seeing how it works out actually staying a property! Thnks again for the time and effort you put into your reply!
     
  8. travelfree
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    travelfree Silver Member

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    NYC_Gal did a great job covering your questions. Just a few other points to consider:

    1. 3/21/11 is the date that the new re-sale rules come into effect. It will be interesting to see the effect on re-sale prices after that date.
    2. Owning DVC has many perks but the one most people find useful is the $100/person discount on regular annual passes and $125/person discount on premium annual passes to WDW. For a large family, that is a substantial savings.
    3. Need to emphasize "Buy where you want to stay", the 11 month home resort booking window is very valuable to book hard to get desirable rooms or during peak times.
    4. Many people rent out their unused annual points to offset part or all of their annual maintenance fees or original capital investments.
    5. Owning at DVC will "force" you to take or share a Disney vacation at least once every 3 years (using banked and borrowed points). For me, this is a great thing.
     
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  9. toomanybooks

    toomanybooks Silver Member

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    My wife and I have been members of DVC for years and have 1395 points.

    A good place to get your questions answered is the Yahoogroup [dvctalk]. disboards.com can be good, but there are some conflicts of interest there, so watch out.

    The big thing is to buy in the resort you most want to stay in. As DVC grows it gets harder to book at 7 months. VGC is almost impossible much of the year already (and is a gorgeous place that otherwise can cost up to $500 a night for a studio).

    The changes that are coming for resale purchases are not too onerous, IMO. Stupid, yes, for DVC to establish 2 types of ownership (timeshare companies usually do this eventually, and it always hurts them in the long run), but I'd never use points for those silly out-of-DVC resorts anyway. My advice is to buy resale unless DVC throws a huge bonus your way, which they do sometimes (during the "financial meltdown," for example, at AKV we got double extra developer points, no first year dues, a big discount, the ability to put the purchase on a miles-earning credit card, and 5-months-same-as-cash). If you spend any time at this, you will see several DVC resale brokers mentioned all the time, 3 in particular. All are trustworthy.

    Rent from someone who is an owner to give it a try. And if you do buy or are going to take the tour, allow a current owner to "recommend" you first, as he/she gets a bonus payment.

    Looking at today's cost to determine whether DVC is a good deal is a flawed way to think about it. You are buying an inflation hedge, just like gold or silver. DVC is a 33-50 year deal; think what a good Disneyworld hotel cost 30-40 years ago. Maybe $40? You are prepaying your vacation years from now with today's dollars.

    Since DVC expires, the math calculations are exactly the same as a house amortization, except you are "selling" back to DVC instead of buying. If you do the math, with reasonable assumptions for dues and interest rates, you should find that you are paying around half of what you'd pay for a Deluxe (as low as 25% sometimes). "Breakeven" is not 5 years as DVC sometimes says, but more like 8-9. It's a good deal, not an incredible one.

    It is 11 months for home resort reservation, not 10. Also $125 off for Premium Annual Pass.

    My first Milepoint post!
     
  10. WanderLuster
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    WanderLuster Silver Member

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    Thanks to Travelfree and Toomanybooks (and congratulations on your first MP post!). I'm thrilled that there are MPers who have thought this through.

    We really love the Disney Boardwalk (and the ability to walk to Epcot) -- so I think that we'd be looking at staying at BWV. I'm REALLY glad I posted here, because we were leaning towards buying the cheapest points regardless of what the home resort was. It sounds like that decision requires some further thought.

    Thanks Again! I am constantly amazed by the combined wisdom and experience of MP.
     
  11. travelfree
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    travelfree Silver Member

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    Boardwalk Villas would be a great choice. Not only can you walk to EPCOT but you get access to a private entrance into EPCOT and the World showcase.

    There are many good to great restaurants on the Boardwalk or across the way at the Swan and Dolphin or at the Beach and Yacht Club. The free entertainers on the Boardwalk are usually pretty good.

    Hollywood Studios is a little longer walk or the Friendship boats are a nice leisurely way to get there as well.

    Good Luck.
     
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  12. SuzanneSLO
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    SuzanneSLO Silver Member

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    My husband and I own at Boardwalk Villas. We bought in 2005 from Disney, but only after comparing prices with resale (they were not significanlty different for the "sold out" resorts at that time, which is no longer ture). We love the conveneince to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

    We tend to stay for about 10 nights on each trip, so we find last minute availability is tough. Also, popular times for DVC members are not necessairly the same as popular times for WDW. For example, I have tried to book a standard view studio 11 months in advance of a early December check in and they were sold out within 4 hours of reservations opening. Low points, low crowds and holiday decorations means lots of DVC members want to book in early December. At BWV, 1 BR pool/garden (Premium) view are the easiest to book. Standard view is the hardest (cheapest point per night for a view that is fine and may be better than some Premium views) and Boardwalk view is the next most difficult (great water view, with some boardwalk level noise).

    No timeshare, including DVC, is great for those who cannot make and more or less keep plans in advance. We booked 11 months out for an October 2010 trip to BWV, but then had to cancel due to work. We ended up rebooking that vacation using cash with an AP discount and are using the points for a stay at Grand Californian Villas at DL in June.

    If you book last minute, the most availability is usually at Saratoga Springs Resot, follwed by Old Key West and Animal Kingdon Lodge (excluding the handful of conceirge level rooms).

    Cancellation 30 days in advance carries no obvious penalty, but you will need to use the returned points at another time. When they need to be used by depends on your Use Year (i.e. month in which you points are replenished each year). If you might cancel you vacation, your Use Year is very improatant, as it is what really deremines your ability to cancel and re-use your points at another time. For example, with our August Use Year, we had until the end of July to use the points from last year's cancelled October vacation.

    Best message board for intelligent discussion about DVC is Mouseowners.com. TUG also has a DVC board if you are already up to speed on timeshares in general.

    Good luck inyour decision-- Suzanne
     
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  13. Halo
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    Halo Silver Member

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    For an international perspective, I wrote a guide to DVC on a UK Disney Board here, which might be of interest to some of you. DVC works for us - but that said we are staying at Marriott Harbour Lake this Easter, and have rented out our DVC points to others. :)
     
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  14. I'm not sure what you have decided to do and hope you had a good time at Boardwalk. I have been a Boardwalk timeshare owner since 1996. I have thought about selling at times due to various reasons, grandchildren getting too big etc., but I found selling on the secondary market is hard as Disney has first right to refusal. If it is a good deal they will by them back so I don't understand how someone buying on the secondary market can get a good deal. We have the minimum and they have come in quite handy for big group and Boardwalk is the only way to go. We have stayed at the others from time to time if Boardwalk was full and given the choice Boardwalk would always be hands down the favorite for everyone as there is so much to do right there.
     
  15. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP, tulip.
     
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  16. Kaanapali
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    Kaanapali Gold Member

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    First...welcome to MP!
    Second...as a timeshare owner myself (albeit not with DVC), how exactly does the right to first refusal work with DVC? Do you need an otherwise completed contract with the buyer? Or just your offer to sell? My wife and I are curious about buying with DVC and selling one of our timeshares elsewhere (OGG).
     
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  17. NYC_Gal
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    NYC_Gal Silver Member

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    I've not done this. But I think it's just the offer of selling. I remember our sales said DVC has the first offer to your selling. E.g., if I choose to sell my DVC for $1, then Disney will buy it from you so you can't sell to anyone. This will keep the resale value somewhat on par with what Disney wants.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong...
     
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  18. SuzanneSLO
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    SuzanneSLO Silver Member

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    One an agreement for the purchase and sale of a DVC contact is executed, it is submitted to DIsney and Disney has 30 days to exercise its ROFR. If it is exercised, the Buyer is out of luck, but the Seller sells on the stated terms.

    Even transfers among family members must go to Disney for an acknowledgement that there is no compensation and that the ROFR does not apply. That confirmation by Disney must be recorded with the new Deed. We had to do this when we transferred our interest into a family trust. -- Suzanne
     
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  19. EnJoy

    EnJoy Active Member

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    I'm a DVC owner. Having spending tons of $$ staying at Disney resort, we decided to buy DVC as we plan to visit Disney resort at least once a year.

    If you monitor the "market" price close enough, you can guess the price range when Disney will exercise ROFR. Having said that, there are specific DVC resale website and forum which provide DVC listing and recent price pass through ROFR for each individual DVC property.
     
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  20. mtlfire

    mtlfire Gold Member

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    I'll add my two cents. I own 227 points at Saratoga Springs.

    1. Bought directly from Disney before the rules change, and added on 25 points directly from Disney after the rules change. I only plan to use my points at Disney, so I'd seriously recommend you explore the resale market. I only added on directly from Disney as it was a small contract, they still paid the closing costs, and I could easily stick it on my charge card. (I'm in Quebec, Canada, buying DVC from here isn't allowed). I purchased at SSR simply as it was the cheapest of the resorts they were selling. I don't buy into that buy where you want to stay mantra -- thats only good if you are actually booking 11 months out. I don't do that.

    When I bought I didn't know about resale. If I did I would have bought resale. The only thing that makes me nervous about NOW is the recent rule change. Not that I have any interest in using my points elsewhere, but more than what you sign gives you very little rights -- Disney could still remove a lot more 'perks' from resale if they wanted. Under your contract, technically if they want, you only legally have the right to book at your home resort. As long as any future changes aren't retroactive, it shouldn't matter; but it did give me something to think about.

    2. I'm only a last minute planner. I've never booked DVC anywhere longer than 3-4 months out. I've never had a problem getting a studio, recently 30 days out in January I had to wait list a room but it came through. I however don't travel during the holidays or spring break. Largely in the months of January, May, September. I did book one vacation for a 2 bedroom at Vero beach at about the 6-7 month mark, but only to be safe.

    Other than trying a week in the Treehouse Villas, I've never stayed where I own. I like AKV, although its a little farther, its quiet and offers the best value for the points and I try to milk DVC for all its worth.

    3. To be quite honest, the value proposition of DVC can be calculated a ton of ways. I think its a largely personal opinion on how you want to figure out the actual "value". If you look at a Disney specific forum, such as Disboards you'll find a ton of opinions on this as well as a few links to excel spreadsheets where you can do some calculations.

    My calculation was very simple. I had spent the previous three years at Disney for about 13 days a year on average. I was staying in Deluxe resorts (Yacht & Beach and Animal Kingdom Lodge). I was an annual passholder which at the time allowed for about a 30% discount of the going rack rate. I was spending about $3,400 a year in lodging at Disney. I simply look at it if I was going to continue to spend $3,400 a year, assuming a 2% inflation, how many years would it take to break even? I came out to 6-9 years. (In the past three years I had already spent 48% of the cost of my DVC contract). I didn't bother looking at the opportunity cost, cost of interest etc.

    Some key questions:

    Were you going to be going to Disney anyways?
    Do you always stay in Deluxe hotels?

    If you weren't going to be spending the money at Disney anyways (or at least for the number of years it would take to break even) there is a huge opportunity cost for what else you could do with that money. If you tend to stay offsite, or in moderates, then your cost savings is a lot less -- but you do get a nicer room, closer to Disney. Just that it won't be saving you anything.

    As a Canadian I also included in my view that I was buying when our dollar was at par, and unlikely to remain there. So if our dollar ever dropped back to 60-70% US I would suddenly see a 30% increase in value. If you buy resale you'll break even sooner as well.

    4. The rooms are nice. It really depends what you compare to. A studio is essentially a nice hotel room with a small kitchen area. Think clean and modern Hilton Garden Inn. The newer DVC's are fancier, granite counters etc. Most are in the process of being renovated.

    If you step up to a 1 bedroom or more, there are extremely nice. But with a corresponding increase in points to get them.

    By no means expect the Waldorf Astoria in a DVC. I recently stayed in a one bedroom at the Waldorf at Bonnet Creek at it put a Disney Deluxe Hotel to shame. For cheaper rack rates than what you would pay at a Disney resort to add insult to the injury.

    In conclusion, anyone that bought DVC will tell you this. Count on spending more, either more vacations, longer vacations, bringing family etc. Or once you try the one bedroom you don't want to go back to the studio curse. I have no kids, so a studio is fine, but every few years I do get a 2 bedroom and take family. 2012 will be 2 bedroom at Aulani. Thats something I would have never done if paying cash, and something that eats into my break even analysis.

    I don't regret it at all though. But its my Disney vacation. I don't use it for cruises, I don't trade out and I try to maximize the value as much as possible.
     
  21. mtlfire

    mtlfire Gold Member

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    About the only resort DVC is buying back is Beach Club. Its been like this for quite sometime now, the rest of the resorts are passing ROFR even at ridiculously low rates. Outside of Beach Club, if you can get a seller to agree to your price you have an excellent chance of passing ROFR.
     
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  22. Horse
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    Horse Gold Member

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    And besides the DVC's, don't expect the Disney Deluxes to be as nice either. I just can't justify staying at them any longer with the rates being so high, the AP discounts lower than last year, and the condition of the rooms not as good as they should be. I just stayed at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, and it too put the Disney Deluxes to shame for 1/4 of the cost.

    According to several Disney blogs and forums, the newest DVC will be at the Grand Floridian and construction is underway. I was at WDW last week and the construction walls are up. I hope Disney takes this opportunity to build something that should stand well above the others.
    http://www.epcyclopedia.com/2011/07...ion-moves-forward-with-more-details-revealed/

    According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Grand Floridian Spa will be closed for 18 months during the construction phase.
    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/the-...loridian-spa-closing-20110805,0,2209855.story
     
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  23. mtlfire

    mtlfire Gold Member

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    Even then, with Bay Lake Towers going for $140 points its hard to see the value in it. Especially given the point charts for BLT as well. Its a far cry for the $96 a point I paid at SSR. I would take this to imagine that if it is a GF DVC that the points will start somewhere around $150 each with an even richer point chart than BLT. At that cost, I don't think I would have bought into DVC.

    As a Dimond Hilton Honors, I get much better upgrades and nicer rooms at Bonnet Creek that I could never justify more than I paid for SSR (which I almost exclusively use at AKV anyways).
     
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  24. EnJoy

    EnJoy Active Member

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    Disney recently exercised ROFR on Grand Californian. At the rack rate they are selling GCV, it makes sense for Disney to exercise ROFR.
     
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  25. WanderLuster
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    WanderLuster Silver Member

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    Just found my way back to the thread. We weren't able to make a decision last time we were down in Florida...but we're headed back to Disney for a long weekend at the F&W fest in October, so it's back on my radar.

    At this point I've been to Disney 3 times this year (Five days in February, 2 days in March, 3 days in October). I also spent 2 days at Universal in June. Last month, I started a new job where I am working much less (approx 45 hrs/week versus 75) and have every other Friday off. I'm planning on waiting for about a year to see how my travel patterns end up with this job and then reconsidering my options. My mom's best friend just bought a condo in Celebration and I'm hoping that I'll get a chance to see it and the community there as well.
     

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