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Old 01-02-2014, 07:17 PM   #1
newdeal
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Does DVC make sense for me?

I know this is an individual question but I want some input anyway. My family has myself, my wife and two daughters (3 and 1). We all love Disney, we generally go two or three times per year. We always stay either off site or at value resorts however every time we go I think I would much prefer to be on the monorail. I am now thinking about purchasing DVC.

We tend to go for long weekends (wednesday or thursday to monday), we generally go around halloween, around the february long weekend (presidents day?) and around the May long weekend in Canada (generally around may 24th).

Currently we do not have annual passes however we have had them in the past and would like to get them again.

Even though my goal would be to stay at BLT due to the monorail or walking to MK, the points are more expensive here and thus I was looking at Saratoga Springs in order to save some money. Because of this I would generally hope to be able to book BLT at 7months as routinely as possible (how likely is this?) We would be staying studio for now, but in the future we would move up to a 1 bedroom once our girls get a bit older.

I was thinking a 200 point contract would make sense for us however the number crunching hasn't fully been done yet. Due to the savings on annual passes it seems as though the cost would be far less than booking rooms at the contemporary in order to get monorail access. It may be more than we are used to paying at values but that is fine, my main concern would be staying at the monorail. That said, is it stupid to save money and buy Saratoga Springs points and should I just put out the extra money to get BLT points? Cost is an issue and so I would prefer to save the money if possible. Thoughts?
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Old 01-02-2014, 07:24 PM   #2
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Always buy where you wanna stay. If you want a monorail resort your best bet is to buy there. That said, will you be able to get in BLT at 7months? The answer is maybe depending on time of year, how many days you want to stay, special events going on, type of room you want etc.
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Old 01-02-2014, 07:29 PM   #3
newdeal
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Ok so I mentioned time of year we stay, how many days we stay and the type of room we want, does anyone have input on if BLT would be easier or harder to get given these circumstances? I don't mind checking every day for availability if that is something that increases chances
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Old 01-02-2014, 07:35 PM   #4
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If you want a lake view room, you are likely to get it probably half the time, maybe more. If you want standard view to save points, forget it - it isn't happening with an SSR contract.

Note that the girls - while you won't believe this - in a blink will have outgrown the MK and will be looking to other parks - or perhaps even Universal - or perhaps even other vacations - my son would much rather be on a beach than at WDW.

Also, keep in mind that Disney vacations once you have DVC is a huge financial commitment - as the kids get older, you have four Disney adults to buy park tickets for, airfare for, food for. If money is an issue, consider carefully the long term implications of points - you may find you have more flexibility renting point than investing yourself.
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Old 01-02-2014, 07:58 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by newdeal View Post
I know this is an individual question but I want some input anyway. My family has myself, my wife and two daughters (3 and 1). We all love Disney, we generally go two or three times per year. We always stay either off site or at value resorts however every time we go I think I would much prefer to be on the monorail. I am now thinking about purchasing DVC.

We tend to go for long weekends (wednesday or thursday to monday), we generally go around halloween, around the february long weekend (presidents day?) and around the May long weekend in Canada (generally around may 24th).

Currently we do not have annual passes however we have had them in the past and would like to get them again.

Even though my goal would be to stay at BLT due to the monorail or walking to MK, the points are more expensive here and thus I was looking at Saratoga Springs in order to save some money. Because of this I would generally hope to be able to book BLT at 7months as routinely as possible (how likely is this?) We would be staying studio for now, but in the future we would move up to a 1 bedroom once our girls get a bit older.

I was thinking a 200 point contract would make sense for us however the number crunching hasn't fully been done yet. Due to the savings on annual passes it seems as though the cost would be far less than booking rooms at the contemporary in order to get monorail access. It may be more than we are used to paying at values but that is fine, my main concern would be staying at the monorail. That said, is it stupid to save money and buy Saratoga Springs points and should I just put out the extra money to get BLT points? Cost is an issue and so I would prefer to save the money if possible. Thoughts?
You're going from a value/off site situation to a requirement to be in a monorail resort each time, that's a large leap. DVC will cost you more money by far but it may be worth if if you can easily afford it (my definition is pay cash and no other consumer debt). I'd rent and try it out. It doesn't sound like SSR is a good choice for you at this point and I'm not getting the sense that you're quite ready to make such a leap. Get info and make a good decision for your family so whatever you decide will be a blessing for you and your family.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by newdeal View Post
That said, is it stupid to save money and buy Saratoga Springs points and should I just put out the extra money to get BLT points? Cost is an issue and so I would prefer to save the money if possible. Thoughts?
if you want to stay at BLT in a standard view room, i agree with crisi...you are very likely to be disappointed if you buy at SSR. there's a reason people pay more for BLT.

i also agree with dean that going from value rooms to BLT is a giant leap...if you were happy with the idea of buying at SSR or OKW and planning to stay in an OKW studio (with 2 queen beds, it's a much better fit for your family in a few years than the tiny BLT studios), that is a much better value from a financial standpoint.

i think you need to do a lot more research. maybe rent points to stay at BLT and see how it goes before making a big commitment...
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:13 PM   #7
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If you need to ask the question IMO it's not the right time for you. I would wait until you have no doubts.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:38 PM   #8
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It's funny, we own BLT and hardly ever stay there. Don't get me wrong, we really like it but it is rather point expensive to stay there. So we always plan 11 months ahead and get standard views. The last time we did this we got a studio on the 1st floor looking out on the bocce ball courts. Not very magical but hey, we were "home". The big draw for us is the actual walk to MK.

If you want to buy SSR I would suggest you get enough points for a 1 bedroom and try your luck at 7 months at BLT. Most likely you will be able to get a lake view if it's at a slow time.

Best of luck with whatever you decide to do!
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:37 PM   #9
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It sounds like you live close to WDW. I would rent distress points at David's, the Timeshare store, or even the rental boards first. You may only get SSR , AK or OKW but at $9-10 a point you can then explore all the DVC resorts, before making a decision.
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Old 01-02-2014, 10:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by newdeal View Post
Ok so I mentioned time of year we stay, how many days we stay and the type of room we want, does anyone have input on if BLT would be easier or harder to get given these circumstances? I don't mind checking every day for availability if that is something that increases chances
Buying where you want to stay is the only way to guarantee your happiness. If buying SSR to stay somewhere else worked for everyone, SSR would be completely sold out and the point prices there would be more expensive.

You can't look at the past or present to guess the future. Disney is spending a billion dollars to develop software and hardware to help pack us in all year long. They are coming up with programs and events to fill the place up and if they know that attendance is dropping off, they close the parks down early.

Bill
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Old 01-03-2014, 06:38 AM   #11
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It sounds like you live close to WDW. I would rent distress points at David's, the Timeshare store, or even the rental boards first. You may only get SSR , AK or OKW but at $9-10 a point you can then explore all the DVC resorts, before making a decision.
I actually don't live close to disney I live in Canada. I will do some more thinking and will consider a point rental that may be the best thing to do
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:29 AM   #12
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As you note, this will be an individual decision based on what's important to you...here's my take on your situation as you describe it:

1. As other posters have noted, availability at BLT at 7 months is spotty...I've gotten in 3 of 4 times I've tried at under 7 months, but only once in standard view...

2. The real key here is whether you can routinely book your three annual trips at 11 months out (or more than 7 months out) ... The 11-month booking advantage is only useful if you can actually book 11-7 months out...

3. I would guess your May trip (except in those years that the dates include Memorial Day here in the States) would be the easiest (most availability) of the three time frames you list...around Halloween is very busy for BLT, and Presidents' Day weekend also books up fast..."stalking the website" and/or use of wait lists can maximize your chances, but you'll not get the dates you want at BLT fairly often (or, to put a more positive spin on it, you will get your dates some but not all of the time)...

4. Given that your primary motivation is to be on the monorail, I'd consider the new Villas at the Grand Floridian and the soon-to-be opened Villas at the Polynesian...Both are likely to be as challenging (if not more so) than BLT, but w/2 (and soon 3) resorts to choose from you up your odds...

So, if it were me in your situation, I'd look closely at whether it's "worth the money" if half (about) the time, at 7 months or less, I'd have to book "off-monorail" (the closer you get, the more likely it would be SSR, OKW or AKV, just because they're bigger and thus have availability for a longer period of time)...if the only real reason to spend the extra money (and it will be extra money!) to stay on site (or at values) is to be on the monorail, then you need to factor in the high likelihood that you will have some trips where, at 7 months or less, you won't have monorail resort choices (because they'll be booked up)--

Also note: the BLT studio is very small. The studio at VGF seems significantly bigger (but also requires significantly more points to book). We don't yet know about the Polynesian, of course. Once you "graduate" to one-bedrooms, tho, BLT is among the nicest (w/an extra bathroom which is really nice)...

You may find that SSR, OKW, AKV (or the others--BWV is also big-ish; Wildnerness Lodge and Beach Club are pretty small and will have the same availability issues as BLT) ARE "worth the money," even w/out the monorail at your resort...particularly if you like strolling around Downtown Disney, you may love SSR (the pools at SSR are awesome!)...worth checking it out either by renting some points there to try it, or by visiting it during one of your upcoming trips...on the other hand, if monorail is an absolute must, and IF you can book your trips 11 months out, then I'd spend the extra to buy into BLT (or Grand Floridian, although that's a MUCH higher financial commitment--no resale yet (to speak of) and high direct pp cost)...

For me, ANY DVC is FAR better than off-site (I basically won't stay off-site myself), and also better than the values (altho I do like the values)...but DVC WILL cost more, per trip and overall, than stays at Values or off-site, at least for the foreseeable future...

Good luck!
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:44 AM   #13
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I agree that buying where you want to stay or at least the place you are okay with if you can't get what want. We thought about the same thing when we bought in 2009 and passed on DVC for years because we knew we wanted to be at the CR location...it was our favorite place to stay.

At the time, it would have saved us $5000 to go the SSR route but in the end, DVC was too much money to buy at a place I didn't even know if I would like vs. BLT, a place I knew I would love.

IMO, I might consider buying less points at BLT to start and use your DVC for some of the trips. I agree with others, you may end up being disappointed with your SSR purchase when getting what you want at BLT becomes difficult.

LV rooms are certainly easier and many people get in to BLT at 7 months, but if you are spending extra money to own DVC over what you are currently spending for values, then spend it on what you want. I have not regretted the extra money we spent to be where we love to be...I know I can book SV rooms for our trips and save the points over LV...for my 4 nights this summer in a 2 bedroom, that is an additional 30 points...after a few years, that will add up to an extra long weekend trip for DH and I.

Good luck!!!
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:03 AM   #14
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Buy based on what is most important to you. Only you can weigh the relative importance to your family of cost and booking advantage at a specific location.

We generally visit BLT twice a year - January and mid-June. We have always gotten a one bedroom lake view at seven months without any problems. We booked VGF for this June, similar accommodations, at seven months. The February long holiday weekend and Halloween are busier times, so booking advantage may be more important then. But that need may be mitigated if you have flexibility on which weekend in February and October you visit.

I agree with others who commented on the significant change from off-site/value to monorail resort. Take your time in deciding so that you are comfortable with the decision. And keep asking questions.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:25 AM   #15
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I would think long and hard and please, do an excel spreadsheet on the numbers. When the DVC man called me, pitching the idea, he explained how the investment would pay for itself in 7 years....as long as I didn't go on vacation for 7 years and sold the points.

I got to thinking about the numbers and made a spread showing the initial cost and then added the yearly fees. Year after year. Then I compared it against us renting points, or just getting a discounted room, year after year, with inflation added in.

It just didn't add up. I think after 20 years the numbers finally caught up. (And this was not even considering the earnings potential if I had just invested the funds in a conservative mutual fund.)

Some others have commented on your kids growing up and how this affects vacation plans. Once mine got to high school, it became impossible to miss school and we were not summer disney folks. So a few years went by before the kids could come. Just some thoughts. I'm sure whatever you choose will be right for you.
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