An article on "Does DVC save you money?"

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Brian Noble

Gratefully in Recovery
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Mar 23, 2004
I think most DVC members are solidly middle class, perhaps towards the upper levels, but still not what you consider wealthy.
This is a very interesting question, and I don't think we know the answer. However, I was just reading Wyndham's 2021 Investor presentation---this is the timeshare developer that built and sold Bonnet Creek just between Disney Springs and CBR. Slide 13 shows the mean household income for owners in three different timeshare systems: Marriott ($155K), Hilton ($113K), and Wyndham ($93K).

While reporting mean rather than median likely inflates the numbers a bit, those are still all well above median household income in the US. I would be surprised if DVC's owner portfolio wasn't at least comparable to Hilton's, and it is likely higher. Whether that is "wealthy" or not depends on your perspective, because it seems to me that "wealthy" is usually defined as "Makes at least 150% what I do," no matter what the "I" in this statement reports as income. ;-)

Heck no it doesn't save you money, it encourages you to go more often.
Absolutely---and this is often how I explain the "value" of timeshares. I bought mine on the secondary market for very little money. If I compared what it would have cost to rent our vacation lodging, it definitely would have cost more, and in some cases much more. But, I am quite sure that I have spent more on vacations than I would have if I was not an owner, because I took more vacations.

Pre-paying vacation lodging helps make vacations a top priority, something you plan around rather than fit in around more important things. Interestingly, that became true even for non-timeshare vacations in our experience. We bought our first timeshare when the kids were six and eight. They are now 20 and 22. They are starting to get to the point where they aren't going to be able to get away as easily and may not join us for as many vacations as they used to. So I am grateful we made vacations a priority during those years, because I will never get them back.

If it saved you money, Disney wouldn't sell it.
I think there are a couple of ways to look at this. It's not so much that Disney gets more revenue from DVC vs. the hotels---I suspect they don't. I suspect that if you rented the exact same rooms from Disney that you stay in over the course of your DVC ownership, your total cost in today's dollars would be higher. But, DVC might still be more profitable, because once you are an owner Disney doesn't need to market itself to you in the same way. Marketing is a significant expense for the company, and they get to spread the expense convincing you to by DVC across several years of your visits, rather than having to spend money every year enticing you to return. In other words, DVC makes Disney "sticky."

is it wise to buy DVC with the intention to give it as a gift for children?
In my opinion no, for two reasons. First, Disney is an expensive vacation even if you only had to pay DVC dues for your lodging. My kids might or might not be in a position to take that kind of vacation depending on their specific circumstances. Perhaps more importantly, how do you know your kids will want to vacation with Disney regularly? My 22yo still counts Disney as one of her Happy Places and will probably be a frequent visitor, but my 20yo probably will go many years between trips if he goes back at all.
 

JETSDAD

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 7, 2016
It does save us on lodging and it also makes us spend more overall on Disney trips. This was the plan though which is why we purchased. We wanted to visit Disney more and to have many trips planned out. It is a place I can relax from work and this forces me to take trips. I was also able to buy when things are going very well in my business knowing that it may not always be the case. The dues are a minor expense to us and we are open to resort only stays if money were to ever be tight (or we'd rent out points to cover the costs if we couldn't go).
 
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DougEMG

DIS Veteran
DVC Gold
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Aug 14, 2008
If you want to stay onsite in a deluxe hotel, owning DVC will eventually save you money on your room costs. Now if your behavior changes because you own DVC that's on you.

We went from 10-12 nights in a moderate to 3-5 weeks, so we ended spending a lot more in total at WDW than prior to owning DVC.

We bought DVC to save money, not to be part of some fancy club.
 

Runnsally

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 30, 2016
DVC is like the now defunct Disney Dining Plan - an actual value for the minority of folks and only a perceived value for most - places a premium on a prepaid experience and changes behavior as others have noted.

Also, I don’t know many “rich” people that would stay in a hotel without housekeeping.
 

HappyDisneyWife

Powered by pixie dust... and espresso ;)
DVC Gold
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Jan 5, 2020
It does save us on lodging and it also makes us spend more overall on Disney trips. This was the plan though which is why we purchased. We wanted to visit Disney more and to have many trips planned out. It is a place I can relax from work and this forces me to take trips. I was also able to buy when things are going very well in my business knowing that it may not always be the case. The dues are a minor expense to us and we are open to resort only stays if money were to ever be tight (or we'd rent out points to cover the costs if we couldn't go).
I have not seen this sentiment expressed here before, but it sounds very similar to us! 🙂
 

Ssplashhmtn

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 18, 2020
I’ll share the math that made it absolutely a no-brainer for us. My wife is an accountant and this was the thinking: We go every year for a week, often in summer but it varies- assume early June. We stayed in a normal exterior room at the Grand Floridian. Prices pre-Covid after any discounts = around $700/night (with tax). Way too many years, we paid $4000-$5000 for a week (with tax). Keep in mind you must add hotel tax to the prices quoted on the Disney website.

A DVC Deluxe Studio at Grand Floridian around that time of year requires 132 points for the week. Buying 132 points (resale), divided by the years remaining on the contract = annual cost of about $500/year. Dues are another $900/year. Total $1400/year.

$1400/year is better than $5000/year. That’s today, and the math improves with time and inflation. Hotel prices will continue to escalate, but our buy-in price is of course fixed at today’s price for the next 44 years. It was a no-brainer because we all know hotel prices will rise along with standard annual inflation, if not more.

This scenario worked for our family, but the math is different for each property; and it depends on what other vacation alternatives you are comparing against.
 

DLgal

Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
I’ll share the math that made it absolutely a no-brainer for us. My wife is an accountant and this was the thinking: We go every year for a week, often in summer but it varies- assume early June. We stayed in a normal exterior room at the Grand Floridian. Prices pre-Covid after any discounts = around $700/night (with tax). Way too many years, we paid $4000-$5000 for a week (with tax). Keep in mind you must add hotel tax to the prices quoted on the Disney website.

A DVC Deluxe Studio at Grand Floridian around that time of year requires 132 points for the week. Buying 132 points (resale), divided by the years remaining on the contract = annual cost of about $500/year. Dues are another $900/year. Total $1400/year.

$1400/year is better than $5000/year. That’s today, and the math improves with time and inflation. Hotel prices will continue to escalate, but our buy-in price is of course fixed at today’s price for the next 44 years. It was a no-brainer because we all know hotel prices will rise along with standard annual inflation, if not more.

This scenario worked for our family, but the math is different for each property; and it depends on what other vacation alternatives you are comparing against.
Man, you really overpaid for the GF hotel.

I always use a discount and never paid over $400 per night all in at any Disney deluxe resort (incl. GF) unless we were staying Club Level.
 

Brett Wyman

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 30, 2018
To me its more like paying in advance than saving money. And there are a million and one fancy spread sheets on line that show you the break even year for each contract.
 

808blessing

👑 of 🏰
Joined
Dec 5, 2020
I’m a saver and was a restrained Disney lover- meaning I would always say this is my last trip, every year. But I definitely did the math and had a good handle on financial status when I “impulsively” made an offer. I wasn’t looking for it at all but the combo of knowing what my patterns of behavior and how much I could afford made me ripe for the “emotional” opportunity. If it didn’t make money sense for my situation, I wouldn’t have jumped.
 

Sandisw

DVC Forums
Moderator
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
I definitely think it’s saving money in the sense of how many times we go and who is going.

Intially, when we bought we compared the cost of CR where we stayed most of the time to the cost of DVC rooms. For our 5 night trip, it cost the same to do a 1 bedroom as we were spending for the hotel room. For a family of 5, that space was great!

Obviously we now own a lot more but go more often. It’s a nice way to provide my kids and their families with a free room when they visit Disney. It also has been nice for a few family and friends who saved when they went and I only charged them $5/point.

My friend and I have gone a few times for non park trips so it was nice for that.

Now that I added my adult kids in 2019 as owners, they get the AP savings and discounts on shopping and dining without having me there..for as long as that lasts. Given it’s currently 9 of us between all families, the AP discount adds up!
 
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Cheburashka

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 25, 2020
Another question: is it wise to buy DVC with the intention to give it as a gift for children? If I buy a 100 point SSR resale contract over the next year or two, my break even point would be around 2042 which will still give me 10+ years of usage after that. In 20 years, DH and I will be in our late 60/early 70. Children will be in late 20s and early 30s..
No! A timeshare is a financial obligation due to maintenance fees, etc. It should never be considered a gift unless someone specifically asks for it. It's like giving someone a puppy as a gift. Great if they asked you for it, terrible if they didn't.
 
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Cheburashka

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 25, 2020
Man, you really overpaid for the GF hotel.

I always use a discount and never paid over $400 per night all in at any Disney deluxe resort (incl. GF) unless we were staying Club Level.
Then you've never stayed at WDW during peak travel season (or at least, not in the last few years). Many families can't travel offseason due to school. I'm staying at the GF in mid-March this year using an AP discount (40% off rack rate), and the pre-tax price for a garden view room for my dates was $520 per night (over $600 with tax).

That said, when comparing DVC savings to non-DVC, potential buyers need to consider common discounts before making the comparison. If you go to WDW often enough to buy DVC, then it makes sense to get an annual pass (whether or not you buy DVC), and annual pass discounts are the most generous room-only discounts WDW offers the general public. 40% off of deluxe resorts is a standard AP discount. Even without getting an AP, the seasonal room-only discounts typically are 30-35% for deluxe resorts. That should be taken into consideration when comparing deluxe resort pricing vs. buying into DVC.

When I attended a DVC presentation on our Disney cruise, it rubbed me the wrong way to see the presenter only comparing DVC prices to rack rate for deluxe resorts. WDW offers a lot of discounts to rack rate, and offers them regularly.
 
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Yinn

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Still trying to figure out if DVC really is a way to save money. It's a question that I have been asking since Pete created the DVC Fan website. Then I came across this article... To all DVC members, agree or disagree?

p.s. I was looking into the scenario of a SSR resale contract with 100 points at $115 a point. Since I go every other year, the break-even year for me is 2042 , which would be 9-10 trips.. If there was no COVID, I would probably jump in. But COVID has definitely raised my awareness about the "uncertainty" of what the future holds. A lot can happen in 20 years.
Is DVC an "investment" ? It can be.
If you think about it in terms of buying shares by plopping down a bunch of money. Then renting out the points, subtract the dues, and you end up with an annual dividend of sorts.

Is it an investment that provides a return for most folks? Not really and especially not if you use all of it and often. The majority of us would also say that our initial cash plop has actually increased with addonitus.

My situation, plopped down some cash. Went back, plopped back down more cash. With that said, I have also been renting points out. I have paid effectively no dues since purchasing as my rentals cover my dues. I'm still out my initial cash outlays, but the value of my contracts have also (on paper) increased by roughly 10-15%.

But did I save money?

My trip frequency increased. I went from going once every other year, maybe once a year to 4-6x a year. Flight cost increased. Food cost increased. Ticket cost increased. Airport parking. Overall annual vacation/travel budget is up. Financially, DVC did not put my in a better place. But that's not to blame Disney, that's just the nature of my habits after buying DVC.

The question as to whether you will save money or not depends on your habits..
 

RoseGold

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
"[White Card is] basically the lepers of the DVC community." LOL. In an article about "math," at least do some MATH, and do it with resale so you actually get the math right.

I just booked a mid-week, October 2021 booking at Poly. I bought my points well, but lets say I didn't and spent $11/point/year for resale Poly, using the math of the board sponsor. The booking was $834/night cash value, I literally priced it for the same room cash side, versus 19 DVC points, say $209/night, all in, including parking.

Would I spend $834 for Poly plus $25 to park? HECK NO. But I would spend $209, and I love feeling like I got a good value!
 
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Bruggok

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 25, 2019
As long as white card owners like me have reasonable expectations and don't get induced to visit WDW more often, DVC definitely saves money. For example a studio during Dec 25 2021-Jan 1 2022 most expensive week is 204 points at BLT lake (mid range of all studios) and at $11pp is $2244. Currently 1 POP std room for the same week is $2344 (no discount avail), so for any yearly visitor DVC is a no brainer. Even people who consistently stay at All Stars will come out ahead with resale AKV std studios, even at today's higher price level. Anyone who consistently drives to WDW is even further ahead with DVC. Just avoid financial icebergs such as blue card-itis, AP-itis, visit-more-itis, and book bigger room-itis :)
 

JETSDAD

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 7, 2016
I do enjoy looking at my actual cost for my trips based on my purchase price and dues just for fun (I'm not bothering with opportunity cost because that money was going to be spent over the span of 2 years on vacations anyways).

I have a trip booked over Oct 1, this year. Right now it is 12 nights in a value studio at AKV. 107 points. Our cost right now is about $10/pt, give or take a bit, so that brings us to around $1070 for 12 nights over the 50th anniversary at AKV. $89.17/night no parking and no tax. I'll take that as a win.
 

dvc lover 1970

Mouseketeer
DVC Gold
Joined
May 29, 2013
The author is a bit of a jerk. Most DVC members are not wealthy and do not fly First Class (unless you swing an upgrade). I think most DVC members are solidly middle class, perhaps towards the upper levels, but still not what you consider wealthy.
I agree with you. Many have loans on their dvc properties and that is why dvc makes it so easy to finance with them. Everyone I know that is dvc is solidly middle class. DVC was a purchase to have larger rooms. With DVC raising their prices to ridiculous levels maybe that is a possibility for the future
 

yaya74

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 18, 2006
I do enjoy looking at my actual cost for my trips based on my purchase price and dues just for fun (I'm not bothering with opportunity cost because that money was going to be spent over the span of 2 years on vacations anyways).

I have a trip booked over Oct 1, this year. Right now it is 12 nights in a value studio at AKV. 107 points. Our cost right now is about $10/pt, give or take a bit, so that brings us to around $1070 for 12 nights over the 50th anniversary at AKV. $89.17/night no parking and no tax. I'll take that as a win.
I like the mathematical approach of your answer. I crunched some numbers in. Please let me know if my calculation makes sense:

A SSR @ $115/pt, 100 pt would cost me about $10.6 /pt.
($115*100)/((2054-2021)*100)+$7.11=

I recently booked a 6 night stay at OKW, 1 BR. The booking would cost $2790 cash (30% off discount) or 179 DVC point. That would be equal to $15.5/pt if I pay cash. With the SSR contract, I would save AT LEAST $900 on this particular stay..... My saving would probably be more if I could use points for a better accommodation at BVC, BWV, CC, etc....

HOWEVER, how do I manage when I have banked points that I cannot used?
 

JETSDAD

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 7, 2016
I like the mathematical approach of your answer. I crunched some numbers in. Please let me know if my calculation makes sense:

A SSR @ $115/pt, 100 pt would cost me about $10.6 /pt.
($115*100)/((2054-2021)*100)+$7.11=

I recently booked a 6 night stay at OKW, 1 BR. The booking would cost $2790 cash (30% off discount) or 179 DVC point. That would be equal to $15.5/pt if I pay cash. With the SSR contract, I would save AT LEAST $900 on this particular stay..... My saving would probably be more if I could use points for a better accommodation at BVC, BWV, CC, etc....

HOWEVER, how do I manage when I have banked points that I cannot used?
If you have banked points you can rent those out.

1BR's tend to be the worst as far as the cash comparison goes. The mark up from studios to 1BR's is far greater point-wise than it is on the cash side of things.
 
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