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Old 03-16-2013, 06:25 AM   #1
Earning My Ears
Dolf's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Garden Grove, CA
Posts: 53

My adventures in DVC buying (A story 10 Years in the making)

In 2003, I was a single 26 y.o. male who loved Disney, and almost everything that Disney had to offer. I lived in Los Angeles and did DL quite a bit. In the previous couple years, I went to WDW twice a year. It was during my 4th trip to WDW that I decided to really look at DVC. At the time and buying directly (without knowledge of renting or resale) I was offered 210 pts. for $13,000 at 9.75% interest (which work out to about $61/pt). I should disclose that I was a Cast Member at the time and I got a little bit of a discount. Not much, but it was something that pushed me into buying. I decided to purchase and I will admit I was a little naive at the time.

A few months later, I was kicking myself. "What did I do?" is all I ever asked myself regarding the purchase of this thing. I had a monthly payment and dues that I had to pay. I felt that I was FORCED to go on vacations when I really shouldn't. The cost of using my points was not showing good value to just renting rooms at something like Port Orleans. I was in a panic.

I happened to be in Europe and was able to book 2 nts at Disneyland Hotel Paris which at the time also included Park Hopper tickets. Disneyland Hotel Paris is to this day the best hotel I have ever stayed in. Also, there was no $95 booking fee. I also spent 2 nts in London. Needless to say awesome of a vacation as it was, I'm not sure if that was very good use of my points. I spent all of first years point in 4 nts. At this point I, feel like a total chump for buying into this "time share".

In some points along the way I was unemployed, but managed to keep up my payments. It was year 2, and I wasn't really in a position to be taking any type of vacation. A couple of friends talked me into going to NYC, the year that Wicked and Avenue Q were nominated for Tonys. We worked out a deal where they would give me a certain amount and we can use my points towards a hotel. I booked a 4 nt stay from the Concierge collection. Probably not a good use of my points because it ate most of my points for that year. On top of that, there was a $95 booking fee. What's up with that?! When we got to hotel however, and we opened the door to the room, they had upgraded us to a huge 2 bdrm ste with a living room. A 5 star hotel, 2 bdrm ste in Manhattan. We were living the good life, at least for those 4 nts. I finished out the points for that year with a couple nights at the Disneyland Hotel.

It was year 3, no steady job. Financial problems. However I kept making those payments. I really don't know how. There was no way I was taking a vacation that year. I banked all my points.

It was year 4, and some jobs were coming by. Nothing secure, but was making some money. I had to take a vacation. This is where I was really worried about my DVC ownership. If I didn't have DVC I wouldn't have taken a vacation. But I was FORCED to. I figured I should go to WDW. It had been a while since. I booked BWV because that was what they had available for a week. Then I realized, you know it's gonna be a while since I'm gonna take another vacation. I looked at booking GFH. A studio room with a standard view during the July 4th week for 7nts would cost me all of my banked from the previous year, all of my current use year points, and a handful of my borrowed points from the next year. The DVC Reservationist was trying to talk me out of it. She advised me it really was not good use of my points, but what else was I going to do? I booked it. When we got to the room, it turns out they upgraded us to theme park view where you can see the castle and the fireworks. BTW during this time there was no $95 booking fee. They charge one now.

It was year 5. Nothing really happened. I barely had points. I booked them to the following year. A stay at DLH. Banked the rest of my points.

Year 6. I was in that situation of a lot of points. What was I going to do? What kind of vacation can I take that I wasn't going to spend a lot on park tickets or food? I wound up booking a trip with a friend on a 4nt cruise to the Bahamas on DCL. Banked my remaking points to next year.

Year 7. Wound up having a GF this year. I used a couple nights for DLH and also a trip to WDW with GF and a couple of other friends. Stayed 1 nt at AKV in a studio concierge in order to do the exclusive Sunrise Safari tour my friend had been wanting to do all her life, and a great 5 nts in the WLV 1 bdrm ste. Later that year, I screwed up. I had almost 200 pts left and September came around and I forgot to bank them. Meaning I would have to take a vacation with at least a 100 before the UY was over. I spoke to the DVC Reservationist to see what my options are. Here is what he suggested: deposit your points into RCI for a week stay, you will have 2 years to use these points. I figured if all goes as planned, I can use these points to stay a week in Vancouver, and use the other points for DCL out of Vancouver, for my honeymoon who would be my wife at that point. So I decided OK, deposit into RCI.

Year 8. By the end of the year, I proposed to my GF. She said yes. It was in NYC, but that's beside the point. Other than letting my sister and her kids stay at GCH in one of those rooms with the bunk beds, not much DVC action this year. Banked all my remaining points from this year.

Year 9. The wedding plans start. The wedding was in August. With that, I had a lot of points to use. I booked 1 bdrm ste GCV on our wedding night for 2 nts. Tried booking DCL, nothing, at least on the DVC side. The rooms were wide open online. I asked if I can be put on a wait list. They said no because they are no longer taking wait lists for this cruise. But it was almost year out. The only thing they suggested was to call back. I then tried to book a stay with those RCI points at a stay in Vancouver. Guess what? Nothing. I figure I'd call back later.

It was 6 moths before the wedding. I was calling frantically to get something for our honeymoon. I was really worried I was going to lose those RCI points, with no opportunity to go on another vacation after our honeymoon. RCI only allows you to book in 1 week blocks. Also nothing in terms of that Disney Cruise. The rule for the honey moon is that it had to be finished by the end of August because my wife would have to go back to school for her Masters Program. I finally decided with my future wife by my side to just call DVC and beg and plead for anything that they have available. Preferably something in Canada since we both have never been. The Reservationist did her search. She said she found something in Ontario. I immediately said we'll take it. The Reservationist said do you want to talk it over with your wife first? She's right here and she nodded yes.

For our honeymoon we flew into Buffalo, NY and drove across to Canada. We spent a night near Niagra Falls. Then we headed up to Oro-Medante. The border patrol woman had never heard of this city, nor really anyone I have talked to from Ontario. I wasn't sure what we were in for.

The time share place was a Shell Vacations 1 and a half hours north of Torronto. We got there, and it was extremely nice. I guess normally during the winter it is a ski resort, but during the summer it was a vacation place for Canadians. That was a good find.

Also in this year, my sister wanted to take my niece to Disneyland and do a 1 nt stay at the DLH. I gave them a stay pin a standard view room. When they checked in, and probably because it was my niece's birthday, they upgraded them to the giant presidential suite at DLH for that 1 nt. You know the one that has the huge living room, kitchen, is the size of a penthouse? This giant apartment for just my sister, my niece, and my nephew.

Year 10. Finally booked that Disney Cruise I wanted to take my wife on. Love it and spent a couple nights in Vancouver. Just a general tip, you can get around Vancouver easily on their skyway/subway system. You don't really need to rent a car or call a taxi.

During the cruise, we met a couple of guys that were interested in DVC. They attended the presentation and wound up purchasing. It was something like 160 pts at $20K. I paid $13k for 210 pts. Hmm...

This year in August, my cousin is getting married in Hawaii in Oahu. I tried booking 3 weeks ago at Aulani and nothing was available. 2 weeks ago, they had 2 nts that we wanted, but in a 2 bdrm ste, and 1 nt the night after in a 1 bdrm ste. I booked both. I called back the next day, they had 1 night in a studio the next night. I wait listed for a studio for those 4 nights, and hoping we get the studio because 4 nts in 3 different rooms, and giant rooms between my wife and I are just not a good use of points. Good news is, August will be my last loan payment!

So the question that was asked:
Originally Posted by pinnocchiosdad
Is DVC membership a value at the proposed increased prices?

There has to be a point break where you really have to ask yourself is this really worth it. Between interest, principle, and MF's, I pay over $6500 a year for my 320 BLT points. Current prices are more than double the introductory DVC prices at some resorts. When you boil it down, your points get you a hotel room for a couple a nights a year with no maid service. I don't think I would do it over at today's prices.
I will say this. DVC Purchases are investments in real estate. I'm not here to say that this is the definitive answer. Historically in real estate, prices go up. Take any point in time, fast forward ten years, cost of real estate would have gone up by at least double. God stopped making land a long time ago, but people keep making babies. If you talk supply and demand, WDW is always in demand, and I believe now more then ever. Ask yourself when was the last time it was slow at the parks?

It is hard to really know for sure because no one can predict the future. In short, my answer is, "Ask the person who bought it in 10 years". For me, it was the best mistake I ever made.
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