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View Full Version : Thinking of joining DVC and need some advice :-)


labst60
04-14-2004, 06:06 PM
My DH and I are thinking of joining DVC and need some advice.

Some background - we are in our mid-20's, no kids, busy jobs and tend to plan vacations 3-4 months in advance. We love Orlando and think that a studio would be sufficient at least for the next 5 years (prefer King bed). We would like to go to Disney 1 -2 times per year, probably for 4 nights each time - in the past, May and October worked best for us. Because of the nature of our jobs, I couldn't see us ever travelling between Thanksgiving to late April. Of course, once we have children and they get older, who knows what our needs will be...

I have read that the minimum # of points to become a member is 150 - is that just if you buy from Disney or even if you buy resale?

That leads me to our second question.. there is no way we could use 150 points now, so how hard is it to rent the points to others?

Then, there is the "which resort" question. It seems that the consensus is to "rent where you want to stay" but like I said above, we usually make vacation plans 3- 4 months in advance, so does this even matter?? I think I would like the Beach Club the best because of its location, but I LOVED the pictures I saw of Saratoga Springs. Any advice??

We planning a trip to Disney over Memorial Day weekend and will be staying in the Swan. But, for our October trip, we are going to try to rent points for a studio at the BCV to "try it out". Did you make a point of trying the property before you bought??? Can you get a tour??

Also, what "hidden costs" have you encountered on top of the intial purchase and maintenance fees?? How much is closing for a resale?? Through Disney??

Finally, what is the biggest NEGATIVE that you have encountered?? I would really appreciate a balanced view because this a big decision for us.

Thanks for your help!!!!

Doug Wolfe
04-14-2004, 06:16 PM
To purchase Beach Club Villas you will probably have to buy on a resale since it is sold out. Saratoga is currently available through Disney.

A lot of people like studio's. I think they are too small. If you are going to do this program, buy enough points to do a one-bedroom. It has a king in the master bedroom, a full kitchen, DVD player, jacuzzi, etc. Others will disagree with me I am sure.

When you are in Orlando, call DVC & visit the models. They can pick you up in a DVC van from your hotel.

You will not get a king sized bed in a studio.

Go to:

www.disneyvacationclub.com ::MickeyMo

You can order a free video!

Pa@okw95
04-14-2004, 06:27 PM
I agree with the former post, use the one bedroom unit, you will never stay in a studio again. 150 points is a small contract but it will get you the 2 vacations for a one bedroom that you need at this time. You can see the units when you are there in May just make an appointment. Once you see them you will not stay in a regular room again. There is one problem with your situaion that is you must be able to make plans for a vacation at 7 months out to 11 months, otherwise, you could have some problems getting the reservations you want. I don't see any problem with May but October could be a problem if you do not make reservations early.

bom_noite
04-14-2004, 06:59 PM
I agree with the others: The one-bedroom is the only way to go. But, if you can live with the studio for a few years and rent points off - then that is a good strategy to get you in.

On the where to buy: To date we have not had problems getting rooms where we want and when we want. If you want to go to BCV during the week of Christmas, well, you may be out of luck. But, if you are willing to adapt some, you should never have problems. Their are many strategies on this board on how to make a reservation and then make contingency back-up plans.

I can imagine that at your age cost may be an issue. Thus, you should consider the yearly maintenance costs. Those are due right at the first of the year (after Xmas expenses), so, that should be in the back of your mind when you buy. Of course, as people here point out: costs will change, thus, the lowest maintenance fee now may not be the lowest 5 or 10 years down the road.

If cost is an issue, it is an issue. You are young, so, you have plenty of time to add on points later. Don't choke yourself with debt if you dont have to. Regardless, it does make sense to buy in at the resort you like.

These where some of the points that ran around my mind and helped sell myself on the investment:

1) The costs are not going to ever go down. There have been 3 price increases since we bought in less then 2 years ago.

2) While you should not view this as a money making venture, it certainly is not like investing money in a car. If I lost my job today and had to sell, I think I would break even. You are buying an asset that has value and that value will probably not decrease in the short or long term.

3) My kids are 10 and 13. I see the DVC as a program that will change as time goes along. Now, it is fun for the family to enjoy WDW together. 6 or 7 years from now I can let my son enjoy a weekend with his college friends at Vero or Hilton Head. And 15 years from now my wife and I will have a place to take our grandkids.

4) I got the bug for DVC 8 years ago and kicked myself that we did not invest early when we had the chance. If you have the bug now, that bug will probably stay with you.

Lastly, opinion is that you are best not to finance with DVC. Their interest rates are high. Bank One issue the WDW credit card. They give you 6 months interest free (I think they do still any way) and 1% back on your purchases (and check it but it is 2% back until June 30 -- at least it is for current card members).

If you buy in for 12K (for example) and put it on the card you will have 120 dollars to spend on your first trip to buy tickets, food, etc.

The site is www.bankone.com/disney

Lastly, if you do not know, the Saratoga contracts will expire 12 years (I believe) after all the other resorts. Since you are in your mid 20's that is a powerful thing to consider. Hell, I am 41 - it dont matter to me - I will be dead and gone before my contract is up!

Best of luck. Please let everyone know your final decision.

P.S. I have stayed at DVC properties 5 times (on my and a friends membership). Have never had a bad experience.

bom_noite
04-14-2004, 07:04 PM
Not sure answered your one question:

I have read that the minimum # of points to become a member is 150 - is that just if you buy from Disney or even if you buy resale?

To buy in through WDW the minimum is 150. If you buy in through a resale the minimum does not apply.

Others can tell you about closing costs - but - I think on a resale it can be negotiable (though I would expect the seller would ask you to eat it).

kramer_clan
04-15-2004, 08:29 AM
If I were you, I would purchase as many points as you can afford to. Rent out points the first several years to help pay for your investment. By the time that you have kids, you will be wishing that you had more points to use.

Vicki

sitchu2
04-15-2004, 11:08 AM
You do not need to buy 150 points via resale.

I would at least buy on disney property, because this is where you want to stay.

You can always add on later, via resale or thru disney. A small package now is better then nothing.

Staying in a wdw studio is the better then some deluxe resort rooms because they have mini kitchens.
The one bedroom is great sure, but it is a luxury, especially if its the 2 of you. If you can afford only a small package for studio accomidations, then go for it.

Which brings me to my regret: Not joining DVC in 1995 when I first took the tour of OKY.

Hidden costs: NONE!! DVC is a very honest program, and there is nothing to fear when joining. I am conservative and very leary, but DVC has not disappointed me.

Good Luck

DrTomorrow
04-15-2004, 12:32 PM
Greetings, labst60!

Others have given good answers; here's my $.02.

[DW and I are early 40s empty nesters - we bought into SSR last fall and make our first trip there next month!]

Take the "1BR is what you'll want" advice seriously. We're staying in a studio this May for our first trip, as we've seen the 1BR and we know that, once we stay there, we'll never go back. I'm 6'4", so the king bed is particularly important to me - the studios have queens, I believe.

Renting out your points seems to be a fairly simple thing to do, but keep in mind it has all the pitfalls of any renting: deposits, cancellations, payment, hoping the rentee doesn't trash the place.

Financing through Disney is the easiest way to go, but not the cheapest. We did Disney, then got a home equity loan with a much better interest rate.

You can get a tour at the Sales Center; currently at Boardwalk, moves to SSR in May (?). I've never read of someone going into the VWL and being shown a room.... But don't go by what we did - we bought SSR strictly based on the internet ::yes::

We experienced no negatives or surprises - through Disney, everything was straightforward. The one thing I've read here, though, is that, although the Sales Guides tell you about all the non-WDW DVC options (cruises, other timeshares, etc), they are not the most cost-effective use of DVC points, and are often very difficult to get. Moral: DVC points are best used at DVC resorts.

Best of luck, and please ask - either here or via email - if you have any more questions!

tjkraz
04-15-2004, 02:38 PM
Originally posted by DrTomorrow
I've never read of someone going into the VWL and being shown a room....

I've actually seen posts here from people who have done just that. I don't know how the sales center is set-up now at BWV, but certainly once it moves to SSR, they will no longer have model rooms for the other (sold out) resorts. Even if they do have some of those older models at the BW, I don't think Guides are willing to show them simply because the points are sold-out.

However, people wishing to purchase a resale have reported success simply by walking up to the resort desk and asking if they could see a room. If it is not a busy period and they have an open room, someone from the resort will gladly escort you up to the room and let you look around for a couple of minutes.

crisi
04-15-2004, 03:10 PM
There is something about your post....mid 20s, big decision, hidden fees.......

DVC is a luxury expense. You are going to be tied into paying those darn maintenance fees every year - even if you really need new washer and a transmission job on the car. Before you spend this much money, make sure that your 401ks are funded, that if you plan on buying a house in the near future, the downpayment is funded, that you have savings set aside in case one (or both) of you get laid off. Kids are "somewhere" in your future - daycare expenses? Loss of one income?

In addition there is the expense of Disney vacations. WDW is not a cheap place to visit - and while DVC can reduce/move/ or control your hotel expenses, it isn't going to pay for food or park tickets or airfare.

Forgive me for reading between the lines and jumping to some advice based on what may or may not be your financial situation. But this is a big deal and a lot of money to tie up in vacations. DVC is VERY cool, however - if its affordable for you. If its not, it could be a financial albatross you'll regret.

Lisa P.
04-15-2004, 06:02 PM
We... think that a studio would be sufficient... (prefer King bed).

Disney hotels rooms sometimes have a king bed rather than the two doubles or two queens. However, there are no DVC studios with a king bed. They all have one queen bed plus another queen bed or a sleeper sofa.

...tend to plan vacations 3-4 months in advance... would like to go to Disney 1 -2 times per year, probably for 4 nights each time - in the past, May and October worked best for us.

Are you thinking that you would normally spend two long weekends at Disney per year? The weekend points cost is high. Which type of resort is usual for you (deluxe, moderate, value)? If you would normally be happy in a moderate or value king bed room for long weekends, then you may find that it makes more sense to continue to pay cash for your rooms, rather than DVC. JMHO.

...the minimum # of points to become a member is 150 - is that just if you buy from Disney or even if you buy resale?

Generally, this is just from Disney. Since resales require paying added closing costs, there's less of a savings with a very small resale points contract.

...how hard is it to rent the points to others?

Not hard but there are no guarantees in the future. I would not recommend a purchase with renting as part of the plan.

...the "which resort" question... we usually make vacation plans 3- 4 months in advance, so does this even matter??

No. In that case, I would go with the lowest maint fees or choose SSR for the longer contract and no closing costs. There's no home resort advantage when you are normally making reservations within the 7 month window.

...we are going to try to rent points for a studio at the BCV to "try it out". Did you make a point of trying the property before you bought??? Can you get a tour??

If you plan to occasionally take advantage of the earlier reservation window at a home resort, then it's really a good idea to check out the resorts to select your home resort. In your situation, it probably matters much less. Anyone may schedule a tour.

Also, what "hidden costs" have you encountered on top of the intial purchase and maintenance fees??

It's pretty expensive as timeshares go since operating and member services costs are rolled together and all included in maint fees. This leaves fewer surprises. It also means that you are paying whether you use single nights (more reservation services and housekeeping services) or not.

Most people seem to visit WDW a little more often with DVC, which can end up costing more in your yearly budget - more travel costs other than accommodations.

How much is closing for a resale?? Through Disney??

Commonly $500+ with a resale, none through Disney.

Finally, what is the biggest NEGATIVE that you have encountered??

You need to be able to be somewhat flexible, especially when not booking as early as possible. This is true of nearly all timeshare points programs.

Also, points costs for Eastertime/Christmastime are ridiculously high, IMHO. Weekend trips are pretty costly as well as all the school break periods.

While DVC offers some options for using points outside of DVC resorts, they are generally a poor value when compared with other options for obtaining those vacations. They are also rather limited in selection.

There is no assurance of any of the extra benefits (like pool-hopping), discounts or trading options - so don't let any of them influence your decision to buy. Make your decision purely based on how you could use the points to stay at DVC resorts. HTH.

labst60
04-16-2004, 06:49 AM
Wow.... thanks for all the great advice!! It has all been really helpful!

The tough part (for everyone I'm sure) is anticipating what your needs will be 5 - 10 years down the road!

Right now, we don't really NEED the space that a 1 BR would have - or even the added conviences of a studio.... they would be both be GREAT, but we are fine in a room at the Swan :-)

But I know in a few years, once we have children, that extra space and the kitchen will be invaluable. And since we both think Disney World / Orlando is a wonderful vacation destination and plan to visit at least once per year.... it just seems to make sense :-) So, if I know I am going to want to join in, say, 5 years.... it seems to make sense to join now instead. Luckily, we are in the financial position for this to be a possibility... and prices only go UP as time goes on, right???

I've figured the break-even point for us would be about 8 years (conservative) ... so by that calculation... we would be practically at "break even" if we buy now compared to waiting 5 more years to buy. (Since we will just be spending the $$ on hotel rooms instead of maintenance fees, etc over teh next 5 years.)

It's just all the "little things" to work out now.... how many points, which location, etc. We have ruled out VB and HHI. Neither of us are really "beach people" (I'd rather spend a day by the pool than at the beach). Maybe we'll try them someday, but I know we want our "home" location to be in Orlando.

Thanks again for all the great help! Hopefully we'll have a better idea after we visit Disney over Memorial Day!!

carone0318
04-16-2004, 07:31 AM
I just thought that I'd add my $.02.

Many people toot about the 1 bdrm, once you use it, you'll never go back, but we really enjoy the studio. We joined in 1999 and have been in a studio whenever just our family goes. I am probably more apted to get a studio over a 1bdrm. My kids are young dd (7.5) and ds (3) and I think that they would rather be with me than in a room by themselves, like in the 1 bdrm. I believe that we could be in a studio for another 3/4 yrs, then I don't think that a 1bdrm would be big enough, we'll probably have to jump to a 2 bdrm because our children are one of each sex, needing 3 beds, not 2. We started with the inital 150 pts because that is all that we could afford at the time, but now 5 yrs later we have had 3 add-ons and I do believe that we are now complete with pts. We have 200 BWV and 174 HH - done! We are very practical people and still live like that when we are on vacation, which I guess is why we are ok with the studio. I do wish that they had the washer/dryer in the studio, but with the little ones we are not out that late and I can do wash if I choose once they are asleep and it is free and I think of the walk to the washer/dryer as good exercise ;) .

Good luck and my personal opinion is if you can afford the 150, go for it. You will have time to grow into it and when the other expenses (in regards to kids) comes along, you will already have the pts budgeted and you will adjust. Oh one last perk, if you buy from Disney, it will not show up on your credit report. So, if you haven't bought a home yet or any other major purchase, when the time comes to buy, you will not be dinged because you own DVC, they won't know that you do as long as you are making your payments and in good standing with Disney.

TigerLaw
04-16-2004, 07:38 AM
I am in a similar position so I just wanted to thank everyone for their responses!

dianeschlicht
04-16-2004, 07:43 AM
But I know in a few years, once we have children, that extra space and the kitchen will be invaluable. And since we both think Disney World / Orlando is a wonderful vacation destination and plan to visit at least once per year.... it just seems to make sense :-) So, if I know I am going to want to join in, say, 5 years.... it seems to make sense to join now instead. Luckily, we are in the financial position for this to be a possibility... and prices only go UP as time goes on, right???
That is EXACTLY what I was going to post as advice to you. You seem to know you want to go to WDW often, so it is a "no brainer" to join now before prices rise. The next price increase is in May, so you would want to act fast. I guess I would buy an initial contract with Disney and add on smaller contracts later if you need more points.

jodifla
04-16-2004, 09:33 AM
Here's how it worked for us. We bought 150 points in 96, prekids. And now, we're SO GLAD we did. Because now we have DS, 2, and we can stay in 1 bedroom accommodations, (or larger -- we often take friends and family -- it's so much more fun) and we've dropped to 1.5 incomes -- but, our principal on our intial purchase is paid off.

You have no idea how much easier this makes it to go on vacation these days. We can take our son on the terrific vacations without worrying about the cost. We just have our dues. So for about 600 a year, we can spend 10-12 nights in premium accommodations. We'd never splurge like that without DVC -- and even Days Inn rooms go for almost $100 a night by the time you add in tax.


Now is the time for you to join!

labst60
04-17-2004, 07:57 PM
Thanks again everyone for the great advice and insight!

I think we decided to go with 150 points at SSR.

I THINK we are going to try to buy asap, but part of me wants to wait until we see it at the end of May!