Discussion in 'Purchasing DVC' started by markmcalear, Dec 19, 2013.
What would you say these disadvantages are?
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The biggest disadvantage is having to book 7-to-11 months in advance in order to get what you want. Can you book later? Sure. But every day you wait, your chances of getting what you want drops. Even at 7-to-11 months, it can be difficult to get the more popular rooms. Examples are any concierge room at AKV or a Standard View Studio at BWV during Food & Wine Festival. These often are gone right at 11 months.
With cash rooms, you often can get what you want on short notice.
Another is the cancellation policy. If you cancel within 30 days, your points go into a special holding status and can be used only for 60-day bookings. In addition, those points cannot be banked.
With cash rooms, I believe it's 7 days if not part of a package and, frankly, if you call and plead, Disney usually refunds your money even within 7 days.
Another disadvantage is, even with banking and borrowing, you have a 3-year window to use points. Otherwise, you lose them.
With DVC, you need to be careful to buy the right number of points for you and adjust your vacations accordingly. (Note that Disney allows you to buy an extra 25 one-time points per year at $15/point, so that helps if you need just a few extra points.)
With cash rooms, you are free to spend as much or as little as you like whenever you want.
Two main negatives-
The reality that one must book so far in advance. Cash is always much more flexible if your plans change or your schedule is unpredictable. Personally, I'm "a planner" and I enjoy the game that is getting what I want, where I want at eleven or seven months out. But certainly this isn't for everyone.
The maintenance and upkeep schedule. In general, I find DVC rooms to be excellent- and better than most hotels we stay in. But others are correct that DVC rooms get updated and cleaned less often than the cash deluxe resorts. And sometimes it shows.
One needs to not hesitate to report maintenance issues. Sometimes they get fixed promptly, sometimes not- but in general it seems that anything that would render a room meaningfully non-usable (broken climate control, water leak, etc) is handled immediately, or the guests are moved.
We are willing to accept these things, in exchange for the huge savings with DVC versus deluxe resort cash discount rates. In fact, we love DVC. A lot. Just go into purchasing it with the expectation that it is a vehicle to save money on very good lodging in one of the most desired locations in the world. Nothing more, nothing less. And you will be quite happy with the product.
My observation over time, is that the folks who are displeased with DVC are usually those with unrealistic expectations on the primary product itself, or those who think Disney will treat them specially after they have purchased. And of course there are those who simply don't enjoy the Disney parks as much any more, and would be served better with a different timeshare that had a wider property location distribution (or no timeshare at all).
Funny, but I find this first one a positive.
Planning 7 to 11 months out means that work always let me take my vacation when I planned it. People who did not have the long planning horizen often got told that they couldn't get vacation when they wanted it. Also, having the points and not wanting to lose them forced my sister to take a vacation each year.
I may have got the wrong end of the stick (wouldn't be the first time) but I think you said you were from the UK. In which case booking at 11 months is a distinct advance not a downside as we find we need to book flights at 11 months so I want my room locked in at the same time. As for not being able to cancel at the last minute well it isn't really an option anyway when you have bought transatlantic flights so not so much of an issue.
I always like to book my flights as soon as they become available which is usually at 11 months out.
For our 2014 trip for example, by bumping the accommodation from August 15-29 to August 14-28 I was able to get a flight upgrade from Virgin Atlantic from Premium Economy to Upper Class for £12 per person!!!!!!!
There are a number of issues that could be seen as advantages or disadvantages depending on where you're standing. Here is a list as I see it, I'm sure there are more we could add.
You tie up your up front costs and obligate yourself to yearly dues. That creates personal risk that one could avoid even for those that don't have debts.
No Housekeeping other than the limited amount described. To me this is a positive but not for everyone.
It forces you into a lose or use situations. Again, this could be a positive, I think it was for me early on.
You must plan ahead to be safe and often to be successful. For those that can't, DVC really is not a good choice for them even though some find themselves in this situation and are making it work.
It really forces you back to DVC resorts and away from other trips esp if one bought more points than needed for the DVC type trips. Again, some see this as a positive.
You're limited to the resorts in question but that's usually OK with most DVC members it seems, esp as the system expands.
For those that bought extra points and use them for non DVC trips, they're almost always spending more than they would have spend with less DVC points and cash or other options for the non DVC trips. Obviously it depends on specifics but in general it erodes the savings/value of the system and there really are very few exceptions and essentially non when you are looking at cash type exchanges.
You're competing with other members for the higher demand times, thus you may not get what you want.
For most it actually increases their overall cost of vacations even though it might provide a better "value".
For certain family sizes you may end up having to upgrade rooms and thus cost over hotel type reservations.
The options are poor and limited when looking at exchange options, esp comparing to some other non DVC timeshares. For some, owning both is the best choice.
Now there are a lot of positives but the question was about negatives. Knowing the full picture up front allows one to make better purchase choices as to whether to buy at all, home resort choice and number of points.
I find if you buy the flights the first day they are out you can get the PE upgrade for next to nothing so we always buy 11 months out as well.
Occupancy rates. That makes it hard to do two things - book on short notice (which for some room types can be 'anything less than eleven months out and even then you may not get it - see BLT standard view and VAKL concierge and value) and to do ordinary maintenance on rooms - sometimes things that would take a room out of service for a day or two get delayed - refurbs can get scheduled (in my opinion, its often enough, but the rooms DO look worn before they get refurbed), its harder with the "someone smoked in the room" type of maintenance.
A disadvantage to me is that it really ties you to Disney. That is why a lot of people bought, but plan on using your WDW points at Disney. The times of year where you'd want to be at HHI or VB or Hawaii - and year round in California - are hard to book. Now, if you want to spend January at HHI, you probably won't have any issues.
A disadvantage for some people - not for me - is that we don't qualify for bargains on points. While DVCers will often say that "free dining" isn't much of a deal, it really has been a good deal in some years. When Disney needs to raise hotel occupancy, they have a lot of levers their marketing department can pull to make the hotels look very attractive.
As a trading timeshare, DVC isn't a good deal. Its expensive, its options are limited and members don't have direct access.
It ties you to Disney over the long term. For me, my peak Disney experience was in the late 1990s. The food was good to excellent, the parks were clean, the crowds were reasonable. It is possible Disney will start to ramp up its game to reach that again, but for the most part we've noticed a slow but steady degradation in the things we used to love. For us, food is a huge one - its gone from good to excellent to occasionally inedible to once in a great while surprisingly good. When I pay $100 for a meal (we eat signature, because over the past decade the one credit restaurants have been inedible too often) I don't want to be surprised that the food is good. Now, I'll freely admit that we are a family of food snobs (well, my son is a fifteen year old boy with fifteen year old boy tastes - but even he can tell a good steak from a bad one) and for us, vacations are in part an excuse to eat out and eat well. That is becoming harder and harder at Disney.
Another "ties you to the long term" issue has been inflation. Not only has food gotten a lot more expensive, park tickets have. And, outside Disney's control, but still something we are tied into spending, the cost of airfare.
The beds are not good. They aren't bad, but I wake up with a backache at DVC. My husband is worse. (I like a hard bed, he likes a hard bed and is more sensitive to a divot in the bed than I am).
On the plus side:
We LOVE having the kids sleep in a different room. This is an affordable way to do that.
On property this is one of the FEW ways to do that in anything approaching an affordable fashion. As the kids have gotten older, being on property means my son or daughter can grab a bus on their own - they can sleep in, or they can head back.
We - against my expectation - love having a washer and dryer right there. We come home with clean laundry and it is so easy to pop in a load every night, put it in the dryer every morning, fluff and fold it every evening. Likewise, the kitchen has been a boon to breakfast. We don't use it for other meals, but its great for breakfast.
Not quite. If you stay seven nights or less, you get your trash removed and towels replaced on day four. If you stay eight nights or more, you get a full cleaning on day four and trash removed and towels replaced on day eight. Then the cycle repeats. Adn if you need more towels than one per sleeping space, you need to pay for them.
BWV was fully renovated in 2010, so the furnishings shouldn't be replaced yet. Most complete renovations are about 10-15 years apart, if not more. OKW as 17 years from the time it opened until they renovated.
I should clarify my earlier post.
The furnishings at BWV seemed fine but the villa itself showed wear-and-tear. For example, loose tiles in the master bathroom, scuffed up floors & walls, poor fit on a couple of kitchen cabinet doors, etc.
Still, many have reported on other threads that their renovated BWV rooms looked great. We might have simply been in one that was aging a bit faster than other rooms.
At the DVC association meeting earlier this month, it was mentioned that BWV might replace soft goods (e.g. carpet, linen, towels, etc.) in 2-3 years.
One thing that we like about DVC is the ability to rent out our points (although that can be taken away at any time). This allows us to skip disney for a year if we like and monetize our points if we chose. So if we want to go to Maui one year we could rent out our 350 points for about $4,000 and use that towards lodging. It is just another option that the simple RCI exchange.
I wouldn't make a purchase with the plans to rent out points. You just don't know what DVC will do. A few years back, they limited the number of contracts a person could be an associate on, messing up David's earlier business method. They could come up with other ideas as well.
Plus you need to take taxes into consideration on your income from your rental.
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