Buying DVC when you haven't ever stayed at one?

Discussion in 'Purchasing DVC' started by uconnfan4, May 8, 2013.

  1. Deb & Bill

    Deb & Bill DVC-Trivia Contest, Apr-2006: Honorable Mention

    Mar 20, 2000
    We bought in 1997 at OKW on our first trip to WDW and staying at the Polynesian (got a great deal where we could put the cost of our stay at the Polynesian towards our purchase of OKW and reduce the price per point). We bought VWL and BCV preopening. We did not stay at any of them prior to buying, but we had hopped over to SAB (when it was still permissable) and Bill knew he wanted to stay there. I wanted VWL because we had always loved going to Yellowstone and staying there.

    We sold the BCV points about seven years ago (and made a good profit on them) and still love our DVC stays. We only sold them because we got tired of giving Disney so much money.
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  3. uconnfan4

    uconnfan4 Mouseketeer

    Feb 6, 2012
    Thank you so much to everyone for their thoughts. I do really appreciate it. I am glad to see that I am not the only one that has ever considered buying without staying there first. I didn't think that I would be. ;)

    I have been researching this for over 3 months now and have already decided about some of the things that I like and don't like. That is how I narrowed it down to BLT, VWL, BCV, and BWV. I am familiar with the BLT or VWL area and love that location. Since I have never been to the BW I am hesitant about those resorts. I really do feel like I should see that area and make sure I like it. It is the time factor that kills me though. I will be in Florida this summer for a Disney Cruise and then a day at SeaWorld, but I will staying off site and don't know if I will have time to get to the BW area to look. Maybe I will just have to make it a priority to do so. Otherwise I won't be back until my trip in November to WL, and I can definitely look then. Maybe I just need to learn to be patient. In the meantime, it doesn't hurt to obsessively stalk the DVC resales. Lol!

    Thanks again!!
  4. PinGirl

    PinGirl Mouseketeer

    Sep 1, 2006
    We bought BWV having only seen the model.

    We had stayed at POR - The Mansions and Alligator Alley.

    We had also stayed at a Timeshare that shall go un-named. Said Timeshare flooded, due to poor construction and the room started growing mushrooms because the mold after the storm was so bad. As a result - we went to Disney Guest Services and explained our situation.

    They got us a great room rate and we moved. (We did call the exchange company and ask to be moved, from the other TS - but they said it was hurricane season and that was their answer)

    We stayed in the Alligator Alley room. It was hurricane season and we figured if Disney took care of us this well as regular guests, as DVC owners we would be very happy.

    My sister also owns at BWV and we both agree - perhaps we've read too much Steven King - but the only thing we don't like is the creepy clown pool - but with pool hopping this can be avoided - so not really a huge inconvenience.

    We own another timeshare - but agree that Disney is the best of the two purchases. We have never regretted spending the money and have used it more than we thought when we originally purchased. We love BWV and OKW - the latter for the larger rooms. :cheer2:
  5. adminjedi

    adminjedi I use my powers for good

    Jul 27, 2008
    My husband had stayed on property at deluxe resorts approximately 10 times. We went on our first trip together with our kids staying in a value resort. After that trip, the discussion about making it a yearly family trip led to the DVC debate. Both of us were 'anti-timeshare' in our opinions, but after a lot of spreadsheets and number crunching, we decided to purchase direct at SSR without having stayed there. On our first trip, we were stuck at the carousel building and far from everything. After that stay, we realized the biggest problem for us at SSR was the size of the resort and no booking categories. We later sold that contract and bought more points where we knew from experience and pre-veiw of the resorts was where we wanted to stay.
  6. Meggysmum

    Meggysmum Mouseketeer

    Jun 11, 2012
    We had never even stayed onsite before we bought in to DVC!

    We always stayed offsite in deluxe type resorts as staying onsite was always a stretch too far but once we did the calculations we realised that DVC would work for us as a concept.

    I wanted AK and hubby wanted BLT so on our next trip we visited both. I was amazed to find that I disliked AK on sight but as soon as we arrived at BLT and saw the location and the funky interior we were ready to buy!
  7. disfanforlife

    disfanforlife DIS Veteran

    Nov 9, 2006
    We stayed onsite at Contemporary, wilderness lodge, and all stars music, but never DVC before buying. I wasn't really aware of the resale market and believed our guide telling us where we had to buy - AKV or SSR at the time. We bought AkV but stayed at SsR on our first trip as members using developer points. Since then we have stayed at BLT, BcV, and AkV. We enjoyed them all. We just added on at BwV resale and plan our first trip there for MArch. Love EPcOt area and can't wait for our first visit home. We also have our first split stay already planned and booked for November. We are bringing friends for their first visit to WDW and are staying at AKV and BLT.
  8. brertoad

    brertoad DIS Veteran

    Mar 22, 2012
    We only stayed at WL, AKL, and POP, before we decided that we'd take the plunge and buy a resale contract. We had never seen the inside of a DVC hotel or DVC room. I did all my looking online. I talked to a friend via email who is a DVC member. I found out about the studios having no king beds only 1 queen and 1 sofa bed, and OKW has 2 queen beds. I never spoke to a DVC sales person. I originally had thought that booking required $95 fee per time, but I was completely mistaken and really confused about it all. After I asked my friend about it, she said that's only if you were booking a cruise. And that when booking rooms, it doesn't cost anything. That pretty much quashed all my hesitation, and I figured it was definitely a good idea, and will save us a lot of money in the long run.

    I chose SSR because of the lower MF and the longer contract expiry date.
    This was the main deciding factors. The way we vacation is in short stays, we don't plan on doing longer than 2-3 days tops. So the 7 month and 11 month window didn't really cause any difficulty for us, it's definitely harder to get longer stays at one resort. Our vacation dates are also flexible, so that wasn't a concern.

    If I was to buy another contract, I would probably buy an AKL contract, maybe OKW, my DH might prefer a BCV or BWV, but he also loves OKW.

    We've been very happy, thrilled even, with our DVC experience thus far. It's probably the best thing we've ever bought ourselves. It would be awesome if they had some king beds available, I'll keep dreaming I guess. The next best thing is OKW.
  9. bisney

    bisney Earning My Ears

    Apr 5, 2013
    We stayed onsite at a moderate but after taking a tour of SSR (and the model AKV suite) and the BWV suite, my wife and I were sold on the idea of staying in deluxe. After returning home (and resisting the aggressive sales pitch from the DVC salesperson) we researched resales and talked to a couple of co-workers who are DVC members. We read through many of the threads and utilized the search function on the Disboards to learn about use years, waitlists, etc.

    With a 2 year old and another on the way, we figured that our family vacations for the next 15 years would primarily be in Florida and if we were going to Florida, we wanted to go to Disney. After the kids grew up, we liked that we could go to Hawaii or other locations like Vero Beach and Hilton Head (and with the rate of expansion, who knows where else Disney could build another DVC location?). Once the kids were grown and potentially have kids of their own, we love the fact that we could treat them to magical vacations and big family trips. Thus, the expiry date of 2042 vs 2054 or 2060 was a factor for us.

    With all that said, it still had to make some sense financially. There are threads that explore the breakeven points, etc of DVC. IMO, the most important question for us was do we see ourselves going to WDW year after year? Numbers wise, yes we could "break even" after X number of years but that means nothing if we are taking unnecessary trips to Disney that we otherwise would not have... or in other words, DVC locked us into future vacations that we may have chosen differently if not for owning DVC. For us, we couldn't imagine going anywhere else on family vacations.

    Then it came down to figuring out which resort to target, the number of points and the ideal use year. Even hearing about "addonitis", I wanted to buy a smallish block of points (150) which allowed us to go 2 times every 3 years in case there were times that 1) we didn't want to go to Disney or 2) we couldn't make it out to Disney. Yes, you can rent out your points but I wanted to keep our initial outlay minimal for now and keep things as simple as possible.

    For us, choosing a resort was somewhat difficult. My wife really wanted to stay at AKV when we took our vacation (our son LOVES animals) but booking cash was crazy expensive. So when we found out AKV was an option, she wanted to buy there. You will read "buy where you want to stay" alot on these threads and that is 100% legitimate advice for the 11 month booking advantage. Some people love F&W therefore owning at BWV or BCV is a must. Some people love staying at VWL at Christmas. Some people love the low points required to stay in the value rooms at AKV or the standard view rooms at BWV. To each their own. However, for us with a young family and understanding that our preferences will change over time, there was no one resort that we felt that we had to buy into to.

    I figure that our first 10 years will be booked primarily at AKV. But when the kids are older, maybe they would want to stay at SSR for DTD or BCV for the pool. Or maybe after that, we would want to stay at BWV since we enjoy Epcot and the area is just lovely to walk through. Etc, etc, etc. So our approach changed to "buy at the most economical place where we wouldn't mind staying" so that if booking at our 7 month window and the waitlists didn't work, we would be happy to stay at our home resort.

    After looking at a combination of the expiry date, initial price per point and MFs, we felt that SSR was the best overall value. If the 7 month window doesn't work out for us, then we would be more than happy to stay at SSR.
    We loved the feel of SSR when we took our tour... I love the laid back atmosphere, it just felt so much more relaxing compared to the craziness of the parks and having DTD closeby for adult entertainment was a big plus.

    I personally enjoy seeing different things and am therefore looking forward to trying different resorts. IF there is ONE resort that we have to stay in year after year, adding another small contract of ~100-150 points at that resort in addition to our current 150 point SSR contract could be a viable option. Whereas if we bought a 300 point contract at the start, adding on another 100-150 points in the future would be much more daunting.

    Anyways, sorry for the long post. In short, only you can determine what makes sense for you. We bought into DVC without having stayed at one and are looking forward to many happy years of family vacations.
  10. kkolbusz1

    kkolbusz1 Mouseketeer

    Mar 10, 2013
    We've been going to Disney and decided it's really the only place we want to travel. tried a RC cruise for our 1 yr anniversary 10 yrs ago & were mad when we got back that we didn't go to Disney. I've been going there since I was 2. We haven't stayed at any of the DVC resorts, always moderate, then when we had kids, value. We wanted to buy into the dvc for years & saved up. My sister bought in years ago & we figured out the math, decided it was a good choice & decided to buy! We purchased SSR because the dues were lower that most and because it expires in 2054. We also travel at less popular times and could switch around if needed as we'd like to try all locations.
  11. Fan of Figment

    Fan of Figment Couldn't imagine life without WDW!

    Aug 9, 2012
    Same for us. We go often and always will so I always knew I would buy in at some point, it was just a matter of when. I bought in at SSR with only seeing pictures online and going passed it on the POR boat ride. I loved the way it looked, was the most affordable, so that's what we went with.

    I do plan on checking out all the other resorts as we go though, so if we ever add on we can decide which we'd prefer most.
  12. crisi

    crisi DIS Veteran

    Feb 25, 2002
    When we bought, OKW BWV and VWL were available resale, and BCV was being sold, but was not yet completed. Because vwl was so new, the price premium on a resale was significant, and I'm frugal (although I do like the resort) we ended up at bwv without ever having been past the international gateway. We like it a lot. Like a lot of bwv and bcv owners, we are as much Epcot fans as anything, and the short walk to Epcot is wonderful.
  13. imapoohbear12

    imapoohbear12 Earning My Ears

    Oct 11, 2012
    We never stayed at any. We wanted to go to Disney I didn't want to spend thousands and then buy dvc what a waste I could buy more
    Point instead of doing that We bought 150 ssr for their low mf at only 60 pp Then I got addonitis and bought 30 more at bcv for 71 pp. both contracts were loaded with banked points we went 6 mts later
    Never regretted not wasting money going to disney and then buying We bought 4/12
  14. Lakeview

    Lakeview Earning My Ears

    Apr 23, 2013
    Well, I need to chime in with the BLT owners. My family had stayed at the All Star Music (2007) and one off property stay (2004) before that. Then life changed with my wife's early passing. As a single father I needed to keep moving forward, and enjoy some of life with the kids ( now 12 and 8). Well after her passing I was thinking of an investment / vacation place for us. A co-worker years ago mentioned his recommendation because of his membership. After investigating a direct purchase with Disney I pull the trigger on a purchase of 160 BLT, 160 Aulani (2011 close, Dec UY, worked out to about $105 pp, and 160 bonus pts to use for BLT, oh and some fast passes too).

    I did so because my first objective was Disney World and everyone I knew that had stayed at the Contemporary raved about the convenience. That was enough points for a studio off peak. I added the other 160 so I could add them in and book a peak week and somewhere down the road get to Hawaii.

    With the bonus 160 BLT + few more points from my purchase, I did a AKV 12 day stay for my youngest daughters birthday. I used my remaining pts the following spring and did a Week after Easter (AKV). Then 4 day Xmas ( early dec SSR), then a school Feb holiday break (7 day), and Easter again (7 day) ( both BLT).

    Now I'm not thrilled with the decor of BLT, but don't hate it either. Studio kitchen better than SSR or AKV. I love the location, and it has as much, if not more activity option as any other resort with the full dock on the lake. All of that said I'm rapping up a purchase of an additional 160 BLT ($85 Feb UY, all 13' and forward). This way I can do peak 11 months out. If not maybe I'll try the other resorts. The other reason is that I'm doing my first 2 BR unit this Nov with family.

    14' trip might be Euro Disney ( France ) or Hawaii.

    If you can't tell I'm loving it so far and I've only owned for almost 2 years.
  15. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2007
    I am a total outlier because we had never even been to WDW when we bought. DH and DS has never been to Florida!

    We loved DLR but did not want to own or stay at The Grand. I don't like the aesthetic of it enough. We knew we would love Wdw once we started going, so when Bay Lake came up, we leapt.

    We were also in a position where we had to finance so resale was out, an one of what I feel were just a couple blind spots in my Dvc knowledge was the idea that I could have insisted on buying an older resort from Dvc. If I had realized that then OKW would have been a better choice, as we fell in love with it. In fact we still haven't stayed at Bay Lake and we bought in '09 and started going to Wdw in '10.

    If a decision works for you in all the important ways then it works for you.
  16. dsneygirl

    dsneygirl <font color=blue>My little pirate is here<br><font

    Jun 6, 2000
    We had stayed at AK, WL, BC and BWI before we bought but never a villa. We bought VWL as my DH loves FW and the entire Bay Lake area. No regrets more than 20 trips later.
  17. bigvig1130

    bigvig1130 Mouseketeer

    Mar 8, 2013
    I had already booked DCL for October of this year. My wife suggested we stay a few days prior to the cruise at AKL. After looking at the rack rates, I almost passed out. That's when I decided to look into DVC. Found a good resale contract for AKV and decided to go for it. I have an DD 11 who is a Disney lifer and a DS 9 months that has many in his life. I have never stayed in a DVC resort before but.I do know that Disney does have a high quality standard. Hence the premium price for all things Disney. Plus my whole family loves animals which is why we chose AKV.
  18. uconnfan4

    uconnfan4 Mouseketeer

    Feb 6, 2012
    I am sorry to hear about your wife. Sounds like you have had many fun trips with your children and there are many more to come.

    Also thank you very much to everyone for sharing their opinions about buying in and sharing some of the factors in their decision. I spoke with my husband and we are going to try to get over to see the Boardwalk area in July. I will be excited to see it!!
  19. uconnfan4

    uconnfan4 Mouseketeer

    Feb 6, 2012
    I had the exact same feeling when I looked at some of the room rates. I thought that if I just took the money I would spend on one of the villas for a week as a hotel and put it toward a smaller contract it seemed that it would cover about a third of some of the contracts!!! It really seems to make sense since I know that we will be going again and again.
  20. ffcheff

    ffcheff Mouseketeer

    Sep 7, 2010
    I purchased at BLT without ever staying in a dvc property. Then bought an AKL contract resale without seeing that resort. The AKL contract was the right use year and what I could afford to spend. It also gave me the most years until expiration. I do not regret either purchase and I like both resorts. Also two bathrooms for a family of 5 in a one bedroom is worth its weight in gold.
  21. Kimmielee

    Kimmielee <marquee><font color=blue>The first person to repl

    Sep 6, 2004
    We had been gifted short stays in AKV for my son's birthday and BWV (for our honeymoon). When we decided to buy we didn't know to ask if there was availability at an older resort and SSR was being sold heavily at the time. We love BCV and OKW - BCV for the pool and OKW because a studio has two queens and is a bit larger than most studios.

    There isn't a "BAD" DVC resort in our opinion... we are happy to stay in any of them!!! :goodvibes

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