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Old 10-22-2013, 07:56 PM   #1
MickeyNola
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Use Year or Resort?

I'm looking to buy into DVC through resale and I'm not sure which route to take. I'm trying to decide what is more important, the use year or the resort I should go after. We rarely spend much time in the room when we're at WDW, so we don't really put a huge premium on amenities of the resort, but we do try and minimize the time on buses/ monorail and that's largely dependent on resort location. So I'm trying to see if the premium price per point for say, Bay Lake Tower, is worth the extra 20 bucks per point (approximately) than staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, for example.

I'm just getting into my research, so I have a general idea about the use year, but was unsure how the plays into the price per point. Are certain months more valuable then others? Or do I just need to be conscious of it for future points purchases? My initial plan is to just get 150-200 points and add more if needed as our family grows

Sorry if this has been discussed, any advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:03 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by MickeyNola View Post
I'm looking to buy into DVC through resale and I'm not sure which route to take. I'm trying to decide what is more important, the use year or the resort I should go after. We rarely spend much time in the room when we're at WDW, so we don't really put a huge premium on amenities of the resort, but we do try and minimize the time on buses/ monorail and that's largely dependent on resort location. So I'm trying to see if the premium price per point for say, Bay Lake Tower, is worth the extra 20 bucks per point (approximately) than staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, for example.

I'm just getting into my research, so I have a general idea about the use year, but was unsure how the plays into the price per point. Are certain months more valuable then others? Or do I just need to be conscious of it for future points purchases? My initial plan is to just get 150-200 points and add more if needed as our family grows

Sorry if this has been discussed, any advice is greatly appreciated.
UY depends on when you will go most frequently. A UY month with the month you would more frequently go is ideal. So if you always go in Sept, you would want a Sept UY. You wouldn't want an Oct UY because your trip would fall at the end of your UY and if you had to cancel a few months before the trip, you would have to use your points by the end of Sept.

One thing you may learn once you become a DVC member is to enjoy the resort. On our eight night trip a few weeks ago, we spent two full days at the resort just enjoying the view and at least half of each day enjoying the resort. After 15 years of DVC, we don't hit the parks as much as we used to.

There isn't a premium for points based on the UY, except if you buy a fixed week (available at Aulani and GFV).
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by MickeyNola View Post
I'm looking to buy into DVC through resale and I'm not sure which route to take. I'm trying to decide what is more important, the use year or the resort I should go after. We rarely spend much time in the room when we're at WDW, so we don't really put a huge premium on amenities of the resort, but we do try and minimize the time on buses/ monorail and that's largely dependent on resort location. So I'm trying to see if the premium price per point for say, Bay Lake Tower, is worth the extra 20 bucks per point (approximately) than staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, for example.

I'm just getting into my research, so I have a general idea about the use year, but was unsure how the plays into the price per point. Are certain months more valuable then others? Or do I just need to be conscious of it for future points purchases? My initial plan is to just get 150-200 points and add more if needed as our family grows

Sorry if this has been discussed, any advice is greatly appreciated.
If you're not tied to a given resort, I'd get the overall cheapest for WDW assuming that's you main destination, usually that's SSR when you look at long term costs and value. As presented, UY is also important if you consistently travel during certain times of the year. IMO UY can easily be worth 1 yr of points in some situations little or nothing in others.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:14 AM   #4
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UY depends on when you will go most frequently. A UY month with the month you would more frequently go is ideal. So if you always go in Sept, you would want a Sept UY. You wouldn't want an Oct UY because your trip would fall at the end of your UY and if you had to cancel a few months before the trip, you would have to use your points by the end of Sept.
To expand on this a little...

Currently, you can bank points into the following UY at any time (or multiple times) during the first 8 months of your UY. In Deb's example using an October UY, 2013 points would be valid for stays from October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014, and you would be able to bank 2013 points up until May 31, 2014. If you scheduled a vacation in August 2014 and had to cancel in June, the points used for that location would have to be used by September 30, 2014.

My personal opinion is that we sometimes make a bigger fuss about UY than it deserves. To me, it's just an aspect of ownership that we need to be aware of and manage. With many systems, you don't have any choice of UY.

Home resort is important for several reasons:
  • Home resort determines the "annual dues" you will pay, which comprise the vast majority of what you will pay to own and use DVC.
  • Home resort gives you an advance booking window to use during peak visition times, and MAY be the only DVC lodging you can get for a particular vacation. You will often hear that factor expressed as "Buy where you want to stay," but that strategy is only applicable if you can reliably book more than 7 months out, and right at 11 months out during peak periods. I think a better strategy is "Buy where you would not be disappointed to stay."
  • There will be an initial buy-in premium for some resorts compared to others. However, I think the much more important premium is the points cost inflation for similar villa size at some of the resorts, particularly the monorail resorts.
So to me, resort is more important than UY -- although the combination of the perfect resort and perfect UY is obviously the ideal. Except, of course, your vacation patterns will probably change over time.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:45 AM   #5
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IMO the more you vacation at Disney, the more your likes and dislikes will change. We spend less time in the parks and more time at the resort. Because the honeymoon period is over we now find that we own at resorts like BLT and find that BLT just doesn't do it for us compared to other resorts.

For us Disney is about taking you to somewhere different compared to your daily life. The theming at BLT is like any other modern hotel and the views of the theme park are limited to the roof of space mountain and the top of the castle way off in the distance.

The best UY based on your travel periods is free insurance. Why not consider it in your purchase planning, it allowed us twice to bank when we were forced to cancel vacations.

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Old 10-23-2013, 10:10 AM   #6
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Fees an important point

So if I understand this right, I can book at my home resort 11 months in advance, or any other DVC seven months in advance, so really the home resort is a convenience thing, you're not tied to staying at your home resort. And points are points, so accumulating points as cheap as possible per point and with the lowest fees is probably a good strategy. Doing some math I realize fees are going to be a big part of the ongoing expenses, so choosing a resort with lower fees will make some savings.

I guess what I'm still struggling with is that as a young family we don't really know how we are going to travel in the future. Right now we have gone to Disney 3 times, each in the late spring/ early summer. Over the 20+ year span of having a DVC membership I'm sure that's going to change. But hey, you never really know for sure, so I guess we're going to take a shot, try and make a good decision and go from there. Thanks again for all the comments, they've really been helpful.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by MickeyNola View Post
So if I understand this right, I can book at my home resort 11 months in advance, or any other DVC seven months in advance, so really the home resort is a convenience thing, you're not tied to staying at your home resort. And points are points, so accumulating points as cheap as possible per point and with the lowest fees is probably a good strategy. Doing some math I realize fees are going to be a big part of the ongoing expenses, so choosing a resort with lower fees will make some savings.

I guess what I'm still struggling with is that as a young family we don't really know how we are going to travel in the future. Right now we have gone to Disney 3 times, each in the late spring/ early summer. Over the 20+ year span of having a DVC membership I'm sure that's going to change. But hey, you never really know for sure, so I guess we're going to take a shot, try and make a good decision and go from there. Thanks again for all the comments, they've really been helpful.
The home resort is a guarantee thing. It allows you to book at your favorite resort, getting the room size you want, when you want. Increasing ownership increases the competition at 7 months for the more desirable resorts. In the past people would call from more than one phone to try and book during the opening of the 7th month window during busy times. The phone queue could be several minutes.

People waitlist because they didn't get the reservation that they wanted, I didn't pay thousands of dollars for our contracts hoping to get a reservation.

Bill
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:37 AM   #8
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So if I understand this right, I can book at my home resort 11 months in advance, or any other DVC seven months in advance, so really the home resort is a convenience thing, you're not tied to staying at your home resort.
Don't over-simplify too much. You may very well be limited to staying at your home resort in some circumstances.

For example, the period between Thanksgiving and New Years is traditionally VERY busy at all resorts, for a variety of reasons -- cheap points costs, holiday decorations and events, annual membership meetings, school holidays, etc, etc, etc.

During that period, you will almost certainly have to book your vacation at your home resort the instant your booking window opens at 11 months. Wait an hour or two, and you're likely to be waitlisting unless you own at one of the larger resorts. Wait a day and you're probably out of luck, and don't even think about getting a December reservation at 7 months (although you will get lucky occasionally).

Other resorts that are tough to get are BCV and BWV during the Food & Wine Festival. The walk-to, crawl home advantage creates tremendous demand for those resorts during that period.

That's why I say "Don't buy where you would be disappointed to stay."
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And points are points, so accumulating points as cheap as possible per point and with the lowest fees is probably a good strategy. Doing some math I realize fees are going to be a big part of the ongoing expenses, so choosing a resort with lower fees will make some savings.
Assuming you don't really care where you stay, and don't have a particular resort you want to visit during peak times -- yes, I would agree with that. The other situation where I would agree with it is those families who cannot reliably book during the home resort booking window.

If you can't use the booking window, or you don't care, where you own doesn't matter as much. That was our family's situation, so we bought where the numbers looked the best.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:58 AM   #9
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So if I understand this right, I can book at my home resort 11 months in advance, or any other DVC seven months in advance, so really the home resort is a convenience thing, you're not tied to staying at your home resort. And points are points, so accumulating points as cheap as possible per point and with the lowest fees is probably a good strategy. Doing some math I realize fees are going to be a big part of the ongoing expenses, so choosing a resort with lower fees will make some savings.
As long as you realize that when you can't book BCV at seven months during a high demand season so your kids can use Storm Along Bay or want a BLT theme park view to watch fireworks on New Years Eve there will be a board full of people here who will say "yeah, don't know why you thought THAT was going to work." (we will be nicer than that, what you'll really get is a bunch of people saying "that's why we paid more for BCV/BLT/BWV/GFV")

One thing to keep in mind is that the resorts that have higher resale prices attached to them - the people paying those prices pay them FOR the advantage of being able to book "home." Disney sells enough points that each resort can fill with only home resort owners. So by the time the seven month window comes around, at those high resale priced resorts there aren't very many rooms available for all the people who would like to switch.

But the lower priced resorts are really nice, and it is very possible to book outside your home resort - just not in such a way that you are sure you'll get what you want when you want it.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:32 AM   #10
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If you can't use the booking window, or you don't care, where you own doesn't matter as much. That was our family's situation, so we bought where the numbers looked the best.
Knowing what you know now and realizing that DVC will continue to add more people to the mix which will increase booking competition, do you wish that maybe you should have purchased somewhere else?

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Old 10-23-2013, 12:15 PM   #11
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More to think about

I think our travel plans are flexible, so we'd just see what's available at the 7 month mark and go from there. There is an attraction to trying a number of different resorts, so I think we'd be open to not going to the same resort year after year. If we do travel around the Holidays we usually go to see family, not to Disney, although now that you mention it I could see how that'd be great. We're not too big on fighting crowds though, so I think a Disney Christmas trip would be pretty rare for us.

Thanks again, there's alot to think about.
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:21 PM   #12
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Knowing what you know now and realizing that DVC will continue to add more people to the mix which will increase booking competition, do you wish that maybe you should have purchased somewhere else?

Bill
No I don't -- but that answer is unique to our family.

If where you stay really matters to you -- to the point that your vacation would be diminished if you couldn't get in where you wanted to be -- I think it makes sense to own there. I think that is especially true if you only visit once a year, or once every other year and really care where you stay. We just didn't feel that way, and still don't.

When we bought, I honestly didn't care where we stayed. In addition, I doubted that we would make many reservations in the home resort window. That's just not typically how we plan vacations unless we absolutely have to, and my wife has some job restrictions that make long-term vacation planning difficult. Also, because we live only a few hours away, I figured if I couldn't get a particular resort at seven months, we'd just try it some other time.

I'm sure many, many other families would have the opposite view...and rightfully so.

I also think your point of the ever-expanding DVC membership competing for certain accommodations at seven months is well-taken. I think that will become more of an issue as time goes on.
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:45 PM   #13
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One more consideration. If you want to save points, many of the cheaper point villas, like BWV standard view, BLT standard view, AKV value villas, go quickly at eleven months out. So if those appeal to you, you need to own at those resorts. Or if you want BLT theme park view or AKV Concierge villas, you need to own there. Likewise, OKW Grand Villas go quickly, so you need to pretty much own at OKW to get those as well (most of the year, sometimes you can get them at seven months out).

BWV and BCV go before seven months out during F&W Festival time.

But SSR and OKW are great resorts and usually have availability at less than seven months out. Same with AKV. These three are the largest resorts.
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:08 PM   #14
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I think our travel plans are flexible, so we'd just see what's available at the 7 month mark and go from there. There is an attraction to trying a number of different resorts, so I think we'd be open to not going to the same resort year after year. If we do travel around the Holidays we usually go to see family, not to Disney, although now that you mention it I could see how that'd be great. We're not too big on fighting crowds though, so I think a Disney Christmas trip would be pretty rare for us.

Thanks again, there's alot to think about.
Although Christmas is busy for DVC, busy times for DVC don't usually map to busy times for the parks. DVCers in general are like you, most of us don't like to fight crowds. The late third quarter into the early first quarter -from late September when F&W starts through marathon weekend in January, is the highest demand time of year. On the other hand, if you want a room over Spring Break or in June - you usually have a lot more choices at seven months.
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:26 PM   #15
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Although Christmas is busy for DVC, busy times for DVC don't usually map to busy times for the parks. DVCers in general are like you, most of us don't like to fight crowds. The late third quarter into the early first quarter -from late September when F&W starts through marathon weekend in January, is the highest demand time of year. On the other hand, if you want a room over Spring Break or in June - you usually have a lot more choices at seven months.
That's not accurate. I try at 7 months out to try to book a room in April.....and many times there is none available. In December I didn't have a problem booking at 7 months out at all.
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