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DVC Mike 04-18-2009 10:08 AM

Choosing Your Home Resort - What to Consider?
One of the first decisions a prospective Disney Vacation Club member has to make, after deciding to buy into DVC, is which resort they should purchase and make their home resort. DVC members who wish to add-on face the similar issue of choosing which resort to add-on points at.

DVC members can book their home resort(s) up to 11 months prior to the check-in date, while being able to book other DVC resorts only 7 months prior to check-in date. This 4-month booking advantage is important for certain high-demand periods or certain room types.

Prospective DVC members may not be aware that they are not limited to just the resorts that DVC is actively marketing, but that it is possible to buy into any of the DVC resorts, even the older “sold-out” resorts. You can buy these resorts on the resale market, as well as direct from Disney (once you convince your guide that you simply are not interested in the resorts DVC is actively marketing).

Now, what factors should one consider in choosing their home resort? People consider a wide range of things when deciding to choose their home resort. This includes (in no particular order):
  • Purchase price of points – There is quite a difference in the initial purchase price of points across all the resorts
  • Annual maintenance fees – While some resorts are less expensive in terms of their initial purchase cost, it is very important to consider the annual maintenance fees (dues) that you will be paying year-after-year, as any savings in the initial purchase cost may quickly be eaten up by the difference in dues (for example, Vero Beach resort). The resorts with the lowest maintenance fees at the present time include BLT, VGC, and SSR.
  • Points Chart – The number of points required to book a certain accommodation at any resort will vary, from OKW at the low end to VGF at the high end. The differences in the number of points to book the same type of room may be significant.
  • Years remaining on contract – Ownership at each resort has a particular end date, after which the DVC ownership is effectively over. The end dates vary greatly from one resort to another. OKW (original), BWV, VWL, and BCV contracts expire in 2042; SSR expires in 2054; AKV expires in 2057; BLT and VGC expire in 2060, VGF expires in 2064.
  • Theme/Décor of the Resort – Some people love the theme and décor of resorts like VWL and AKV; others don’t. This is a very personal factor that will vary depending upon your own taste.
  • Room size/layout – OKW has the largest rooms; BLT, VGC and AKV have an extra bathroom (1-BR)
  • Room décor and amenities – Some people love the décor of AKV while others think it is too “dark”. Others love the décor at SSR. Some people want the décor to feel like home, while others prefer something more exotic.
  • Age of Resort – OKW is the oldest resort and sometimes shows its age. DVC does not perform the same type of refurbs they do on their cash resorts as they do at their DVC resorts.
  • Proximity to a particular theme park or entertainment area – Being right next to a theme park (BLT, BCV, BWV, VGC, VGF) may be an important factor to some.
  • On Property or off property – This factor is related to the off-property resorts such as VB, HHI or Aulani. People shouldn’t buy offsite with the expectation of always using the points onsite.
  • Pools, community hall and full range of recreation opportunities – For some, Stormalong Bay at YC/BC is reason alone to buy into BCV.
  • Range of dining options (onsite and nearby) and/or room service – The number and type of dining options in close proximity to your resort may be a big factor.
  • Transportation options – A few resorts offer the option of walking into a theme park or DTD; others offer boat or monorail access; some only offer bus transportation
  • Types of accommodations – Not all resorts offer 3-BR Grand Villas. Only one offers Concierge rooms. A few offer point-saving value accommodations.
  • Views – To some, a great view from your balcony (perhaps BLT and BWV) is a big factor.
  • Hotel or Condo/townhouse resort style – This seems to be a big factor for some. Some people prefer the townhouse arrangement of OKW and SSR, with their outdoor hallways and self-parking right outside the room. Others prefer the resorts attached to a deluxe resort, with indoor hallways and valet parking.
  • In the middle of the action or a quiet secluded spot – Some prefer a resort they can retreat to at the end of the day, while others prefer to be in the middle of the action
  • Size of the resort – SSR and OKW are large, spread-out resorts, and sometimes there can be quite a distance from some rooms to dining and services.
  • Popularity of Resort - Certain accommodations may be hard to book if you don’t own there, such as AKV Concierge or OKW GV.
  • Resale Value – This factor is difficult to predict; however, some resorts may hold their resale value longer than others
Everyone’s personal tastes and individual preferences are different. Some may value certain factors more than others or not at all.

In addition to these individual factors, there are a few popular philosophies that you’ll hear from DVC members.

The most popular philosophy is “Buy Where You Want to Stay”. If you really love a particular resort, then buy into it. There are some people who have a particular fondness for a resort and really want to stay at that particular resort, and they would be unhappy if they were not able to book there. These folks should buy where they want to stay, provided that they can reliably plan and book to take advantage of the 11-month home resort booking advantage.

If a specific resort (theme/style, location, villa type and/or view) is really important to you and you can take advantage of the 11-month home resort booking advantage, then buy into that resort. The need for the home resort booking advantage varies by resort, villa type, view and time of year that you most often vacation.

If you don’t have a particular fondness for a certain resort, or if you’re not a planner and anticipate always booking at the 7-month window (or less), then one of the next two philosophies may be best for you.

One alternative philosophy states “Buy Where You Wouldn't Mind Staying”. This view states that people should avoid buying at a resort that they really wouldn't be happy staying at. Since the resort you buy into will be your default location should your other options fall through at the 7-month window, you should pick a resort that you would wouldn’t mind staying at; i.e., it would not make you unhappy.

Finally, others promote the idea of “Buy the best deal”; that is, whatever resort has the lowest overall cost. If any resort is fine, then buy where you get the best overall deal for total cost of ownership. Recognize that the variables for that depend on purchase cost (price, closing costs and finance charges), annual dues, expected length of ownership and likely resale value upon disposition. Keep in mind that any savings in upfront purchase cost will probably be offset by the difference in maintenance fees.

Some members may decide to purchase at more than one resort, giving them multiple home resorts. Typically, the reason is that the owner wants the 11-month booking advantage of the Home Resort Priority Period in order to make it easier to get the resort they want, at the time they want, with the accommodations they want. This reduces any possible frustration at the 7-mo window, wait-listing, or having to “settle” for another reservation while missing out on the one you really had your heart set on.

Keep in mind that if you have more than one home resort, all vacation points being used to make a reservation during the Home Resort Priority Period must be associated with that home resort. That is, you cannot combine points from multiple resorts to book one resort during the Home Resort Priority Period. You may combine all the points you have at all your home resorts and book any DVC resort only at the 7-month window.
Some folks purchase small add-ons at other resorts and then, by banking and/or borrowing, book a vacation there at the 11-month window every 2 or 3 years.

dianeschlicht 04-18-2009 10:16 AM

As usual Mike, a very well thought out post! Good advice for ALL those new and prospective members.:thumbsup2

CarolAnnC 04-18-2009 10:27 AM

When I first bought in 1997, The Disney Vacation Club consisted of one resort - that being Old Key West. Sure did make life more simple in choosing home resort, lol.

That being said, I made my subsequent purchases based on the following criteria:

1) first purchase of course, OKW

2) Next came my Vero Beach contract. This was a resale loaded with points and a subsidized MF contract, as well. Loved Vero and use this contract for my cruising habit as well.

3) BWV followed. This purchased was dictated by the fact that I had tried several years of waitlisting for early December without any luck at all. Bought this in order to ensure my ressies in the future for that time period.

4) BCV - I cruised on the first DVC Member Cruise and they were offering BCV which was brand new at the time. I knew there were limited amounts of points to be sold, and went with this as an add on. The incentives were fantastic, and it has proven to be a wise decision.

disney4metoo 04-18-2009 02:57 PM

Great information Mike!

duffy 04-18-2009 08:57 PM


Originally Posted by DVC Mike (Post 31399359)
Room size/layout – OKW has the largest rooms; Newer resorts have an extract bathroom

What's an extract bathroom?

Goofy's apprentice 04-18-2009 10:18 PM

Thanks Mike for a very comprehensive and objective post. You have laid out all the various concerns very well.

JimC 04-19-2009 11:59 AM

Good post. My advice is to "Buy based on what's most important to you".

You might want to edit the remaining years to mention that OKW can have two different expiration dates depending on whether the extension is included.

mopee3 04-19-2009 02:48 PM

For all you people who have lots of points, been around a while, and have lots of posts, do all your contracts have the same UY?


5forDiz 04-19-2009 02:52 PM

Excellent info Mike ! :goodvibes

DVC Mike 04-19-2009 05:12 PM


Originally Posted by mopee3 (Post 31416196)
For all you people who have lots of points, been around a while, and have lots of posts, do all your contracts have the same UY?


All my contracts have the same UY.

MomsOf2boys 04-19-2009 05:17 PM

So very well said! I did just that when i purchased last year and have not looked back. But it is addicting... now looking at BLT in a new light and thinking....hmmm....maybe...

dianeschlicht 04-20-2009 08:01 AM


Originally Posted by duffy (Post 31406870)
What's an extract bathroom?

LOL! That is a funny typo!:rotfl:

crisi 04-20-2009 08:21 AM

Add "Sentimental Reasons" - some people feel a strong attachment to the resort they spent their honeymoon at - or the one they first took the kids to.

My adivice is to make a matrix of all the attributes and rank them - zero to ten - ten being most important to you - zero being the things you can't understand why anyone would care about. Then score each resort against the attribute - and this is completely subjective for a lot of these attributes. Then multiply the weight by the score, add them up - and the highest ranking resort is "home" - unless you look at the result and say "darn it - I was hoping for VAKL" - in which case you have learned where your heart lies.

Opie100 04-20-2009 12:21 PM


Originally Posted by DVC Mike (Post 31399359)
DVC does not perform the same type of refurbs they do on their cash resorts as they do at their DVC resorts.

Terrific post! Very much appreciated. I would like some specifics on the above statement - using examples of what gets fixed at a cash resort but more-or-less ignored at a DVC resort.

duffy 04-20-2009 05:24 PM


Originally Posted by dianeschlicht (Post 31426698)
LOL! That is a funny typo!:rotfl:

Ok, so it is a typo? I thought maybe it was, but then I thought ok, I can see adding one extra letter mistakenly, but 2, that just happen to make a totally different word? Then I started thinking of all the different terms I still don't understand, like a "lock off" unit, and I just couldn't take it any more!! I had to know! What's a lock off unit??? What's an extract bathroom??!

By the way, what's a lock off unit?

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