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Old 08-28-2013, 03:33 PM   #16
Andrew015
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Originally Posted by bighoo93 View Post
So, how do you explain the fact that I was able to book a full week at any room type at VWL at the 7 month mark throughout all of June, July, August, September, February and March, plus the second half of January (I did not attempt during October or the first half of November, so I don't know about that time)? And, BTW, during the times not mentioned, I could usually get a 1 BR for a full week, and sometimes a studio. And further, for a majority of those weeks where a full week wasn't available, I could get 6 nights for any room type, so depending on when your start/end times were, a full week would still have been available. Maybe I was just lucky? Everyone will make their own decision based on their own preferences, I just thought it might be helpful to include my experience in the conversation.

One thing you could do is go check right now and see if you can reserve a full week at VWL at any room type from 3/28-4/4 (today's 7 month mark). I already know the answer because I checked this morning, but for those who aren't inclined to trust me (and because I do not want to give away any information about current availability), you might find it more compelling.
No need to get chippy with me. I'm not trying to ruffle your feathers. Rather, I'm just trying to point out that your previous statement, " Wilderness Lodge is among the easiest resorts to book for any room type at any time of year", is simply incorrect. Just because you have had luck in the past, and because you can book VWL today at the 7 month window, doesn't mean that is the gospel for everyone. I own at VWL, and at the 11 month window, I could not get 2 studios for 9 nights this past May. I ended up having to do a split stay (7 nights at VWL, 2 nights at BLT). And May is by no means the busiest time of year at WDW. Fact of the matter is, VWL is the smallest DVC resort, and as a direct result, is not the easiest to book as you mentioned. If you were referring to SSR or OKW, I wouldn't have taken issue with you, because generally speaking, few people have trouble getting whatever they want at these two resorts at the 7 month window (aside from Christmas).
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:38 PM   #17
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And for the record, I checked availability for 1 week in a studio in March at Today's 7 month window, and this is what I found:

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Old 08-28-2013, 03:42 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by dmunsil View Post
There are 20 dedicated studios plus 45 lockoffs. So there are 65 studios. If you only count dedicated studios, then most of the resorts have 0 studios.

Not that I disagree with your basic point. If someone's favorite resort is VWL, it would be valuable to own there. Not essential depending on how flexible they are, but certainly valuable.


Point taken, and to be fair, I should have included the lockoffs in my post. But this still gets my point across, that 65 rooms is still a far cry from the 432 at SSR
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:45 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by SteveW8002 View Post
My family and I have been going to Disney about 1.5 times/year, for the last several years. We've stayed at both moderates and deluxe. Our children are 11 and 13; I foresee us going to Disney at least annually for quite awhile. We usually travel there in the summer/fall.

I am considering a Key West or Saratoga Springs resale. We've stayed at both and I like the point price. My question is: if I can book at any resort 7 months out, why would I spend more money on say Wilderness Lodge as opposed to Key West? Do available rooms get booked that fast?

Thanks so much!

Steve
It depends on your comfort zone Steve, the below is just my philosophy on vacation.

with kids, work and a couple of dogs my real life is stressful and hectic so the last thing I want to do is "worry" about getting or not getting the room that I want.

Resort pick has always and will always be important to me. Now it sounds like your family really doesn't care where you guys stay. for me it's make or break. I've never been one of those people who say "I don't care where I stay as long as I'm at Disney" or "I'm only in the room to shower and sleep".

Now unlike bighoo, I have had many (5 to be exact) times when I tried to book a weeks stay at wlv's and had absolutely no luck. last year I wanted a holiday stay, tried to waitlist it day by day and ended up at Saratoga springs.

So I live by the mantra, buy where you want to stay the majority of time.

I'm debating purchasing a Grand Floridian add on because I know I want to stay there and I simply don't want to worry about whether or not I get the room and at 150 bucks a point there are definitely cheaper places to buy into.
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:48 PM   #20
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We bought 200 OKW points in 2006 because it was the cheapest WDW resort at that time (SSR was selling new at about $95pp). We added on a few times since (125 HH and 100 AKV points). But with our OKW points we have stayed at BWV twice, VWL (over 4th of July week no less), BCV, SSR, HH (in July) and VB (in Aug)...and of course OKW a few times. And a few months ago we booked BLT for Oct (F&W...booked SSR and could have booked VWL. Waitlisted BLT and BWV and a week or so later got the BLT WL...1st time using WL). Also a few months ago, we booked AKV with our new AKV points and added a room at 7 months out for MIL and FIL using our OKW points (standard view 1BR for 12/20-12/25).

The toughest was trying to get the exact dates in July at HH (we just had to tweak our dates) and getting into BCV. We also have never been able to get standard view at BWV or BW view...it's always been pool/garden view. And we have looked for super last minute (like 4-8 weeks out) trips a couple times with no luck getting what we wanted (so we just canned the idea).

All in all we've been pretty happy with what we've been able to book. We have our order of preference, for sure (luckily SSR is at the bottom and we own OKW and like it there, so we always try to book there at 11 months out and then switch to our most preferred that's available at 7 months out). Our AKV is new and I think I'll like having those points for booking the cheaper costing value or standard view. And we own at HH because we plan to go there every other year (to save on airfare and park ticket costs of WDW trips) and it's tough to book HH in the warmer months and over holidays. All 3 that we own are the cheaper deals going. Right now HH is probably the cheapest buy in (just costs more in MF). OKW and SSR are pretty comparable and AKV is just a bit more (for buy in only) and a great deal for a newer resort). I do think a lot about adding on some BWV points...we love that location and would love to be able to get the standard view villas and save points. But, I think we're good for awhile and I want to see how our 1st stays at BLT and AKV go.

Good luck in deciding which way to go OP. Happy hunting for your perfect contract!
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Last edited by lovin'fl; 08-30-2013 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:52 PM   #21
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I agree that VWL can be difficult to book during certain times of the year, that's why we bought there after not having luck at 7 months.

I also wonder how DVC Revenue assigns the inventory. We assume that it's first come first served but what if they hold back some 2 bedroom lock-offs and don't release the studio portion. Their goal is to maximize the DVC occupancy across all resorts and controlling the available inventory is one way to do it.

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Old 08-28-2013, 04:05 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Andrew015 View Post
No need to get chippy with me.
Sorry Andrew. Just trying to explain what you called my "sound advice".

Quote:
I'm not trying to ruffle your feathers. Rather, I'm just trying to point out that your previous statement, " Wilderness Lodge is among the easiest resorts to book for any room type at any time of year", is simply incorrect.
That's good because you'd have to work a lot harder if you wanted to ruffle my feathers. We're all friends here trying to help each other out.

In my experience, VWL was among the easiest resorts to book for any room type at any time of year (I also said "unless you expect to go during the Thanksgiving through New Year's period", during which almost every resort can be challenging). I mentioned later that I have not yet checked April or May, so maybe those will prove difficult as well and that would be consistent with your difficulty getting 9 nights in May. Of course, the other resorts might be similarly or even more difficult to book at those times...

SSR was definitely the easiest. OKW and VWL were right behind, and pretty close actually. That is just overall across the resorts/room types. And really, if you look across all of WDW-based DVC for the whole year, there are a lot more room types available than not at the 7 month mark. That doesn't mean you should buy points at a resort you would never want to stay at, but the cases where you need the home booking advantage to get a week are fewer than those where you don't, so it is worth at least considering whether you want to pay for it. Or, I should say, I find it worth considering, for me.

Quote:
Just because you have had luck in the past, and because you can book VWL today at the 7 month window, doesn't mean that is the gospel for everyone.
I'm pretty sure I didn't say it was the gospel. I think I said it was what I would do, based on my experience. Anyone who wants to ignore it is free to do so. Things could certainly be different in the future, so in that sense we're all guessing. I find the past easier to predict than the future...
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:09 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Andrew015 View Post
And for the record, I checked availability for 1 week in a studio in March at Today's 7 month window, and this is what I found:
Then maybe I am just lucky, because DVC let me reserve that timeframe LAST week, and it was available for every room type. Today, I can reserve the following week (and again, I won't disclose whether it was available or not...). If I am getting special reservation privileges from DVC, then I guess others should not go by my experience. Please don't tell DVC though!
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:12 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by disneynutz View Post
I also wonder how DVC Revenue assigns the inventory. We assume that it's first come first served but what if they hold back some 2 bedroom lock-offs and don't release the studio portion. Their goal is to maximize the DVC occupancy across all resorts and controlling the available inventory is one way to do it.
That's a good point and an interesting question...
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:30 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by bighoo93 View Post
Sorry Andrew. Just trying to explain what you called my "sound advice".



That's good because you'd have to work a lot harder if you wanted to ruffle my feathers. We're all friends here trying to help each other out.

Glad we're starting to get on the same page! As I mentioned, some of it is luck of the draw, and it appears you have had good luck in your past experience. I think the general concensus around these parts is that VWL can be a little trickier than others, and for that reason, I would recommend to someone looking to purchase that they consider buying where they want to stay.

If you really don't care where you end up and have lots of flexibility, than I think the "buy where you can get points the cheapest" theory applies. I'm not quite sure where our OP, Steve, fits into this, but I think our dialogue back and forth has been productive and hopefully gives him a better idea of what he might come to expect at the 7 month window.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bighoo93 View Post
I'm pretty sure I didn't say it was the gospel. I think I said it was what I would do, based on my experience.
Perhaps I put a few words in your mouth, but you did say something to the effect of "I wouldn't pay extra to get the home resort booking window there unless you expect to go during the holidays". While Christmas is definitely the peak time of year at VWL, I think it's important to clarify that it doesn't guarantee you the room you want at 7 months. If you must have VWL, I would spend the extra money to buy there. If you are more flexible, then you might consider price as a bigger motivating factor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bighoo93 View Post
Then maybe I am just lucky, because DVC let me reserve that timeframe LAST week, and it was available for every room type. Today, I can reserve the following week (and again, I won't disclose whether it was available or not...). If I am getting special reservation privileges from DVC, then I guess others should not go by my experience. Please don't tell DVC though!
Yes - you should be able to book the following week. I can book VWL 11 months out, so I quickly tried to back into the 7 month window manually, and forgot that you can actually reserve 1 week starting today. As of right now, the studio is available at the true 7 month window, but the fact that last week is already booked goes to show that things can and do change very quickly.
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:00 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by SteveW8002 View Post
I am considering a Key West or Saratoga Springs resale. We've stayed at both and I like the point price. My question is: if I can book at any resort 7 months out, why would I spend more money on say Wilderness Lodge as opposed to Key West? Do available rooms get booked that fast?
Simple answer is that you can not always book what you want at 7 months out depending on what you want. If that wasn't true then everyone would buy SSR and then book at their favorite resort at 7 months.

If you are happy staying anywhere and taking your chance at the 7 month mark, buy at SSR.

If you won't be happy unless you get to stay at your favorite resort, buy that resort.

SSR, OKW and AKV are always the last resorts to book up and that is because they are the largest. VWL, BCV, BLT and BWV are always the first to book up. Looking at the number of rooms at each resort you can see why. Given that you have to take a bus from each of the 4 largest resorts is another reason they always book last.

Maximum rooms at each resort is
SSR 1320
OKW 761
AKV 708
BWV 532
BLT 428
BCV 282
VWL 181

I own SSR and OWV because they were the most economically to buy, but I own BWV because I want to make sure I can stay there.

If it was me and I was wanting to always stay at VWL, I'd buy there.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:26 PM   #27
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Steve, ignore the bickering. Sometimes being an owner ruffles your feathers if someone denigrates your home resort that you love so well.

Just take it at this. Seven months can be hard some times of the year. A few months out of the year, and a few resorts can be easier to get at seven months out. Just don't plan on the most popular resorts and locations during the DVC popular times.

If you give us an idea of when you might be booking your DVC stays, we could offer a little more information.
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:04 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveW8002 View Post
My family and I have been going to Disney about 1.5 times/year, for the last several years. We've stayed at both moderates and deluxe. Our children are 11 and 13; I foresee us going to Disney at least annually for quite awhile. We usually travel there in the summer/fall.

I am considering a Key West or Saratoga Springs resale. We've stayed at both and I like the point price. My question is: if I can book at any resort 7 months out, why would I spend more money on say Wilderness Lodge as opposed to Key West? Do available rooms get booked that fast?

Thanks so much!

Steve
It can be hard to switch resorts at certain times of the year. Our most common time to go to WDW is Thanksgiving week, Christmas/New Years and spring break (we have three busy kids in elementary and middle school and it works best for us to travel during school breaks). We own at OKW and really like it there, but we've started trying some new resorts when we can. It is tough to switch to most resorts Thanksgiving weekend, even if looking right at 7 months. We have stayed at OKW at Christmas/New Year's - never tried to switch resorts, but I imagine it is similar to Thanksgiving weekend for the actual holidays. This past spring break (not Easter), I could have booked a 2br anywhere I wanted right at 7 months. We never go to WDW in the summer because we prefer to go when the temps are lower and our kids are not busy with sports over the summer, but I think summer in general can be easier for switching at 7 months than a holiday weekend like Thanksgiving. Buy where you don't mind staying if you can't switch at 7 months, and if you have your heart set on a certain resort, I think it is worth spending more to own there.

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Old 08-29-2013, 04:28 PM   #29
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I pulled the trigger

First of all thanks for all of your help. I now understand that 7 months out will be tuff for busy times of the year.

I made an offer for a loaded contract, and it was accepted at OKW for 270 points. My family and I really enjoyed staying there; we had a 1 bedroom and it was huge.

One of my favorite disney memories happened at OKW. My kids and I were coming back from the pool late one night and we decided to cut across the golf course (I know that were are not supposed to do that, but we didn't hurt the course any). We had just crested a hill when the fireworks from Epcot? started. We sat on the hill and watched them as long as they went on. It was magic for us.

Anyway I would like to try some other resorts; however would be happy to stay at OKW; so I guess it works for us.

One question; for those of you that have contracts at multiple resorts, can you combine points?

Steve
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:45 PM   #30
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Another crucial data point: CAN you (routinely) book 11 months out? If you can't, then home resort preference (ability to book 7-11 months prior to arrival) is pretty irrelevant.

This is pretty much the story of my life...I've owned DVC since 2006 (one master contract and 5 add-on's)...for a number of years we knew we would go to WDW for T-giving and so I did book that vacation at the 11-month mark...and for four of those years I wound up arriving a day or two early, or leaving a day or two late, because my son could not nail down his travel schedule that early...it was ok, as I didn't in the least mind "having to" spend an extra couple of days...but that was the only time of year I could plan 11 months ahead of time--and I could only do that while he was in college/law school. Now that he's working the best I can hope for (from him) is 3-4 months early...

DVC works best if you can plan 11 months out...but it can still work even when you're "trusting to luck" more like 5 or 4 or 3 months out--and believe it or not, I've found booking 6 weeks or so out is actually easier (at some times of the year--NOT the holidays, of course!) than 3-5 months out.

Anyway, when I bought my add-on points (5 separate times), I determined very quickly that home resort advantage is not a big factor for me (but since I love all the WDW DVC resorts, I don't care if I have "no choice" for a place to stay when I do go to book)...

So, do consider whether your life (and your traveling party's lives) will allow a commitment to travel 11 months ahead of time (or any sooner than 7 months)...if it doesn't, then the home resort advantage really doesn't matter much...
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