California DVC Owners Group

Castillo Mom

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 5, 2003
Hello everyone! :) I've noticed a few "____ (enter state here) Owners" groups pop up lately, but couldn't find one for California. So...can we start one? I think those of us way on the other side of the country have a unique set of circumstances when we travel to WDW, especially those of us who live a stone's throw away from DLR/DCA like I do. I'm extremely homesick and would enjoy commiserating and/or sharing tips with my California neighbors if anyone is interested. Just to start things off, how about a few ice breakers?

1. When did you become a member?
2009.

2. Did you buy direct or resale?
Direct, but I wouldn't turn my nose up at a resale contract should the opportunity arise under the right circumstances.

3. Where do you own?
It's in my signature, but I bought contracts at AKV, PVB and Riviera. Haven't stayed at Riviera yet though.

4. Do you vacation in DLR, WDW, Hilton Head, Vero or Aulani? If so, how often?
I've done several staycations at DLR even though I only live 15 minutes away. Love VGC! I've gone to Hilton Head once, but most of our DVC time is spent in WDW. We'll get to Aulani and Vero one of these days!

5. Are you a DLR AP holder and/or WDW AP holder?
Currently, I only hold a DLR AP. I did have a premier pass when it first came out which was a great value at the time. I've held WDW APs a few times and planning on purchasing again as soon as they become available.

6. What is your favorite airline when traveling to WDW and why?
Hmmm, I don't necessarily have a favorite, although we do lean towards American since they have the departure time from LAX that I prefer which is usually around 8:25 a.m. direct to MCO which gets us there in plenty of time to have a nice dinner upon arrival.

7. When is your next trip to WDW?
9/23/21!

8. What is your average length of stay when visiting WDW?
Prior to adding on at Riviera, 10 - 14 nights. However, I think that's about to change since we'd like to check out Festival of the Arts in '22. If we like it, we'll probably start to average between 7 - 14 nights.

9. Favorite WDW park?
Epcot, especially now that my kids are all adults.

10. Favorite DVC resort?
Ooh, that's a tough one for me. My two faves are AKV and PVB and I pretty much love them equally but for different reasons. Even though I now own at Riviera, I haven't stayed there yet. Next trip will be a split stay at AKV and Riviera, so my opinion might change at that point. ;)

11. What do you find to be your biggest frustration planning a WDW trip?
Making FP+ reservations! I don't like having to get up in the wee hours of the morning to try and score only three fast passes and also have to deal with the tiered system. I much prefer the MaxPass system in DLR and wish they would implement a similar system in WDW. As for dining, I don't mind having to book six months out too much, but would prefer 60 days.
 

bwvBound

DVC SSR & other timeshare
Joined
Feb 5, 2004
Nice! Thanks, Castillo Mom!

Yep, I get the homesick-thing! I was both surprised and comforted to read in the introduction of Dr. David Jeremiah's recent book "Shelter In God" that he said, "And in a move that feels especially surreal to me as a California resident, Disneyland closed its doors to the public on March 14 -- something that has happened only three times in its sixty-five-year history." Yep, surreal was certainly my impression for the first couple months while going through my personal withdrawal period?

1. When did you become a member?
2004. (First toured in 1998. We liked the idea in general but said to ourselves, "We never vacation in Orlando?" True enough. We didn't start vacationing in Orlando until after 2015 and we only really go because we own DVC??)

2. Did you buy direct or resale?
Direct after multiple attempts at resale fell apart. Twice in contract ... but never even made it to/through ROFR.

3. Where do you own?
SSR

4. Do you vacation in DLR, WDW, Hilton Head, Vero or Aulani? If so, how often?
"Yes to all" except Hilton Head; I don't know that we'll ever make it to that location.
We've only been "vacationing" on the points since 2015'ish. We purchased them to stay at BWV while attending a work-related conference at the Dolphin/Swan/Yacht Club Conference Center. The conference ran ~6 days and our stay was typically 8 nights to give a night or two of relaxation on either end.

We do enjoy VGC ... but also have other timeshare with two properties within an easy walk to DLR.

We've been to Aulani twice ... but only one was 'vacation.' The 2nd stay was simply a chance to run laundry!

5. Are you a DLR AP holder and/or WDW AP holder?
Currently, we have APs for DLR. We've held APs for WDW ... but not often.

6. What is your favorite airline when traveling to WDW and why?
We used to be 100% American Airlines ... but then Alaska introduced a non-stop flight from SAN>MCO ... and then Southwest offered a free Companion Pass for a year. We choose flights mostly by arrival time at MCO (as early in the day as possible!) and cost.

In recent years, we find ourselves distancing from American Airlines as their schedules and policies have changed. We've developed a tolerance for Southwest for "leisure" but not particularly when traveling for business.

7. When is your next trip to WDW?
None on the books. Two trips for 2020 were cancelled:
* Beach Club Villas in May for the Moonlight Magic at Epcot. Both were cancelled by Disney.
* SSR in Oct (this week!) for the Moonlight Magic at DHS. When Disney cancelled MM, we cancelled SSR.

We also lost a reservation at VGC for this month (cancelled by Disney) ... and have additional VGC reservations on the books Nov, Dec and Feb. I'm kinda avoiding flying these days!

8. What is your average length of stay when visiting WDW?
~8 nights

9. Favorite WDW park?
Epcot and Animal Kingdom are neck and neck. However, we don't always do parks ...

10. Favorite DVC resort?
When visiting for vacation ... my favorite is Animal Kingdom at Jambo if we get a room with a great view. Kinda dicey! We had two visits last year to SSR and really enjoyed both stays. I love to walk ... and that property gave me space to stretch my legs. I also loved the Sunrise Yoga sessions!
CORRECTION! I was just re-reading my profile on this site. The Copper Creek Cabin is, far and away, my favorite DVC. A cabin, for just the two of us, is simply delightful! Hmmm ... maybe I'll overcome my aversion of flying and book a Cabin for 2021!

11. What do you find to be your biggest frustration planning a WDW trip?
Trying to impress on friends and family, when they travel with us, the importance of making plans early! I can do it for "us" ... but coordinating with others can easily become a train wreck. (FWIW, when it is just "us" we mostly go with the flow. We completely quit booking dining in advance and only book a rough framework of FP+. Disney has changed our FP+ so often that we are close to quitting that practice, too. Our next visit might very well be, "Good morning, Sunshine! Which park do you want to visit today? Oh, just catch the first bus? Sure! Sounds good to me.")
 
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LilyJC

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 3, 2017
Yay, a CA owners group! I will definitely be needing a place to commiserate. I usually have a decent attitude, but feeling pretty grumpy and discouraged with CA today. 😤😪 I’ll pop back in with my answers at a more reasonable hour. 😴
 

Castillo Mom

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 5, 2003
Nice! Thanks, Castillo Mom!

Yep, I get the homesick-thing! I was both surprised and comforted to read in the introduction of Dr. David Jeremiah's recent book "Shelter In God" that he said, "And in a move that feels especially surreal to me as a California resident, Disneyland closed its doors to the public on March 14 -- something that has happened only three times in its sixty-five-year history." Yep, surreal was certainly my impression for the first couple months while going through my personal withdrawal period?

1. When did you become a member?
2004. (First toured in 1998. We liked the idea in general but said to ourselves, "We never vacation in Orlando?" True enough. We didn't start vacationing in Orlando until after 2015 and we only really go because we own DVC??)

2. Did you buy direct or resale?
Direct after multiple attempts at resale fell apart. Twice in contract ... but never even made it to/through ROFR.

3. Where do you own?
SSR

4. Do you vacation in DLR, WDW, Hilton Head, Vero or Aulani? If so, how often?
"Yes to all" except Hilton Head; I don't know that we'll ever make it to that location.
We've only been "vacationing" on the points since 2015'ish. We purchased them to stay at BWV while attending a work-related conference at the Dolphin/Swan/Yacht Club Conference Center. The conference ran ~6 days and our stay was typically 8 nights to give a night or two of relaxation on either end.

We do enjoy VGC ... but also have other timeshare with two properties within an easy walk to DLR.

We've been to Aulani twice ... but only one was 'vacation.' The 2nd stay was simply a chance to run laundry!

5. Are you a DLR AP holder and/or WDW AP holder?
Currently, we have APs for DLR. We've held APs for WDW ... but not often.

6. What is your favorite airline when traveling to WDW and why?
We used to be 100% American Airlines ... but then Alaska introduced a non-stop flight from SAN>MCO ... and then Southwest offered a free Companion Pass for a year. We choose flights mostly by arrival time at MCO (as early in the day as possible!) and cost.

In recent years, we find ourselves distancing from American Airlines as their schedules and policies have changed. We've developed a tolerance for Southwest for "leisure" but not particularly when traveling for business.

7. When is your next trip to WDW?
None on the books. Two trips for 2020 were cancelled:
* Beach Club Villas in May for the Moonlight Magic at Epcot. Both were cancelled by Disney.
* SSR in Oct (this week!) for the Moonlight Magic at DHS. When Disney cancelled MM, we cancelled SSR.

We also lost a reservation at VGC for this month (cancelled by Disney) ... and have additional VGC reservations on the books Nov, Dec and Feb. I'm kinda avoiding flying these days!

8. What is your average length of stay when visiting WDW?
~8 nights

9. Favorite WDW park?
Epcot and Animal Kingdom are neck and neck. However, we don't always do parks ...

10. Favorite DVC resort?
When visiting for vacation ... my favorite is Animal Kingdom at Jambo if we get a room with a great view. Kinda dicey! We had two visits last year to SSR and really enjoyed both stays. I love to walk ... and that property gave me space to stretch my legs. I also loved the Sunrise Yoga sessions!
CORRECTION! I was just re-reading my profile on this site. The Copper Creek Cabin is, far and away, my favorite DVC. A cabin, for just the two of us, is simply delightful! Hmmm ... maybe I'll overcome my aversion of flying and book a Cabin for 2021!

11. What do you find to be your biggest frustration planning a WDW trip?
Trying to impress on friends and family, when they travel with us, the importance of making plans early! I can do it for "us" ... but coordinating with others can easily become a train wreck. (FWIW, when it is just "us" we mostly go with the flow. We completely quit booking dining in advance and only book a rough framework of FP+. Disney has changed our FP+ so often that we are close to quitting that practice, too. Our next visit might very well be, "Good morning, Sunshine! Which park do you want to visit today? Oh, just catch the first bus? Sure! Sounds good to me.")
Hello! Wow, I’m impressed that someone actually took the time to answer all my ice breaker questions, thanks!

Sorry to hear that your plans had to be cancelled. We didn’t plan to visit WDW this year and are cautiously optimistic that we’ll be able to go next fall.

I can relate to the complexity of coordinating vacations with those who aren’t planners, it can get tricky. Fortunately, my extended family always acquiesces to my need to control the itinerary. We’ve created some amazing memories together, so they completely trust me now, but oh the pressure of having to ensure everyone is happy!😆
 

Castillo Mom

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 5, 2003
Yay, a CA owners group! I will definitely be needing a place to commiserate. I usually have a decent attitude, but feeling pretty grumpy and discouraged with CA today. 😤😪 I’ll pop back in with my answers at a more reasonable hour. 😴
Yay, welcome to the thread!

Oh I know, the last few weeks have been very frustrating when it comes to DLR reopening. I really feel for the CMs and the surrounding businesses in Anaheim. As for my family and I, we’re in definite DLR withdrawal and miss our happy place so much!

Looking forward to your answers. See ‘ya around!😊
 

bwvBound

DVC SSR & other timeshare
Joined
Feb 5, 2004
As for my family and I, we’re in definite DLR withdrawal and miss our happy place so much!
As you are so close ... have you visited for Downtown Disney since it reopened? Did that scratch-the-itch (create a sense of satisfaction) or did it make it worse?

We are too far for a simple "drop in" for shopping and dining so have not visited since early March.
 

SherylLC

Mouseketeer
DVC Premium
Joined
Jul 29, 2017
Yay, a California thread! Thanks Castillo Mom!

And a preemptive HELLO! to everyone!

1. When did you become a member?
2017

2. Did you buy direct or resale?
Direct at first, but pretty soon after discovered resale.

3. Where do you own?
VGC, BC, going to sell soon (I hope) VGF & PVB

4. Do you vacation in DLR, WDW, Hilton Head, Vero or Aulani? If so, how often?
DLR for sure. We love staying two nights at a time to relax and do a quick "get away." WDW once or twice a year for 5-7 days.

5. Are you a DLR AP holder and/or WDW AP holder?
Currently, Premier. It makes sense if you go twice within the 12 months. But we've had DLR AP pretty much regularly since 1991. Back then, they were laminated with a Polaroid photo. There was only one pass, and it was unrestricted. I want to say it was $79.

6. What is your favorite airline when traveling to WDW and why?
We usually fly Delta. We're older and enjoy the Comfort Plus seats where you get preboarding and more room. Plus, my husband flies mostly Delta for work so we often have points and usually use the lounge.

7. When is your next trip to WDW?
February 2021

8. What is your average length of stay when visiting WDW?
5-7 days. After 7 days, we're pretty much exhausted! Each trip is so much fun, but about day 3-4 I remember how much WORK they are!

9. Favorite WDW park?
They're all great, but right now my favorite is Hollywood Studios. Wouldn't it be great if we had one park with all our favorite rides??

10. Favorite DVC resort?
I love the Grand Cal. I love Craftsman and Arts & Craft. At WDW, I like Beach Club.

11. What do you find to be your biggest frustration planning a WDW trip?
Pre-Covid there really wasn't anything. I actually like all the pre-planning necessary to get things lined up. It seems weird that I can't get my reservations yet for February, LOL!
 

LilyJC

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 3, 2017
As you are so close ... have you visited for Downtown Disney since it reopened? Did that scratch-the-itch (create a sense of satisfaction) or did it make it worse?

We are too far for a simple "drop in" for shopping and dining so have not visited since early March.
We are super close and went the Wednesday in July after DtD reopened. We loved shopping at World of Disney, Marceline’s, and a stop for a Salt & Straw treat. It was really great to be there, but I personally felt unsettled and guilty for taking an unnecessary risk. That feeling kept me away for weeks, but we’re planning to go again in the next couple days to celebrate a fantastic first quarter progress report for my youngest. Plus I need some Mickey-pumpkin merch retail therapy!
 

bwvBound

DVC SSR & other timeshare
Joined
Feb 5, 2004
But we've had DLR AP pretty much regularly since 1991. Back then, they were laminated with a Polaroid photo. There was only one pass, and it was unrestricted. I want to say it was $79.
LOL! I have one of those stashed away in my little treasure box along with old ticket books. Mine is a pink colored card, dated July 1987 (was the start or the end date?) and my haircut is awful!!

Edited to add: July 1987 must have been the start date. I had bought the pass with my best friend, at the time. It was soon after moving into my first home as a young adult and my friend was a nearby neighbor. We fed each other's habit: "Hey, I'm having a tough Wednesday. Care to run away to Disneyland? Great ... meet you in the driveway in 30 minutes."
 
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SherylLC

Mouseketeer
DVC Premium
Joined
Jul 29, 2017
LOL! I have one of those stashed away in my little treasure box along with old ticket books. Mine is a pink colored card, dated July 1987 (was the start or the end date?) and my haircut is awful!!

Edited to add: July 1987 must have been the start date. I had bought the pass with my best friend, at the time. It was soon after moving into my first home as a young adult and my friend was a nearby neighbor. We fed each other's habit: "Hey, I'm having a tough Wednesday. Care to run away to Disneyland? Great ... meet you in the driveway in 30 minutes."
The good ol days! I don't know if they even advertised annual passes much back then (pre-internet!). We only found out about them while standing in line at entrance gate behind a passholder!

Remember the parking lot back then? We'd arrive later in the day and weave around until we got a spot just spittin' distance from the entrance in the Bambi section. (ahhhh, memories!)
 

KPeterso

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 26, 2004
Yay, this sounds so much fun! I am about 20 minutes from Disneyland.

1. When did you become a member?
2007

2. Did you buy direct or resale?
Both (3 direct contracts and 2 resale contracts). I think there is possibly 1 more resale purchase in my future. And I kind of want the DLH DVC too.

3. Where do you own?
SSR, VGC (2 contracts), AKV (2 contracts - 1 at each location)

4. Do you vacation in DLR, WDW, Hilton Head, Vero or Aulani? If so, how often?
Many staycations at VGC (it is why I bought points there) including for the park's anniversary every year! Usually to WDW twice a year (September and March).

5. Are you a DLR AP holder and/or WDW AP holder?
Premier Passholder - It should have expired 2 weeks after the parks closed and now it just keeps getting extended!

6. What is your favorite airline when traveling to WDW and why?
I look at all for price. And it must be direct, so despite living about 2 miles from SNA, I always go up to LAX. I really liked Virgin America, but it was bought by Alaska and the direct flight removed from the schedule. Lately, I have been on a Delta kick, but I am really ok with Delta or United mostly. Not an American or Southwest fan.

7. When is your next trip to WDW?
Was there the week before parks closed (3/6 - 3/13). Cancelled for September of this year. Booked for March, but my friends and I are still watching the situation and will discuss in a couple months. And then planning for the end of September next year for the 50th. In the meantime, I am up to 5 cancellations at VGC with 2 more visits booked for November and January that I am concerned about. I am really trying to use some banked points that will expire 11/30.

8. What is your average length of stay when visiting WDW?
March is usually 7 night. September is 10-12 nights. For the distance, I want to make it worth it.

9. Favorite WDW park?
Animal Kingdom - I just love the safari and animals. I could ride it all day. I am loving the Disney+ show about behind the scenes at AK.

10. Favorite DVC resort?
So tough - I love my VGC and AKV homes. But also love Boardwalk. I would want to add there, but I can't get past the 2042 expiration at Boardwalk.

11. What do you find to be your biggest frustration planning a WDW trip?
Waking up at some horrid hour to make fastpasses!!!! I start work at 6 AM so I am used to being up early, but I do not like 4 AM (it is just not ok with me). Without pre-booking fastpasses, we would be more willing to play bus roulette, but just does not work if we want fastpasses for some of the big rides. ADRs are not usually a problem as I book more late afternoon lunches which works for us.
 

KPeterso

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 26, 2004
Yep! I'm one of those weirdos still craning my neck and straining my eyes for a glimpse of the Eeyore sign while moving through the Indiana Jones queue!
I always look for that too! Usually have to get a cast member to shine the light up there for me!
 

Castillo Mom

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 5, 2003
As you are so close ... have you visited for Downtown Disney since it reopened? Did that scratch-the-itch (create a sense of satisfaction) or did it make it worse?

We are too far for a simple "drop in" for shopping and dining so have not visited since early March.
We sure did! I've been seeing on Youtube that crowds have been high on the weekend, so we went on a Wednesday around 4:00 recently and it was a really good experience, low crowds. We did a little shopping at WOD and a couple other stores and then had dinner at Ralph Brennan's out on the patio. We haven't had a chance to go back, but are planning two in a couple weeks. It was nice to get a small dose of Disney, but wasn't quite enough to completely quell the blues. ;)
 

Castillo Mom

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 5, 2003
Yay, a California thread! Thanks Castillo Mom!

And a preemptive HELLO! to everyone!

1. When did you become a member?
2017

2. Did you buy direct or resale?
Direct at first, but pretty soon after discovered resale.

3. Where do you own?
VGC, BC, going to sell soon (I hope) VGF & PVB

4. Do you vacation in DLR, WDW, Hilton Head, Vero or Aulani? If so, how often?
DLR for sure. We love staying two nights at a time to relax and do a quick "get away." WDW once or twice a year for 5-7 days.

5. Are you a DLR AP holder and/or WDW AP holder?
Currently, Premier. It makes sense if you go twice within the 12 months. But we've had DLR AP pretty much regularly since 1991. Back then, they were laminated with a Polaroid photo. There was only one pass, and it was unrestricted. I want to say it was $79.

6. What is your favorite airline when traveling to WDW and why?
We usually fly Delta. We're older and enjoy the Comfort Plus seats where you get preboarding and more room. Plus, my husband flies mostly Delta for work so we often have points and usually use the lounge.

7. When is your next trip to WDW?
February 2021

8. What is your average length of stay when visiting WDW?
5-7 days. After 7 days, we're pretty much exhausted! Each trip is so much fun, but about day 3-4 I remember how much WORK they are!

9. Favorite WDW park?
They're all great, but right now my favorite is Hollywood Studios. Wouldn't it be great if we had one park with all our favorite rides??

10. Favorite DVC resort?
I love the Grand Cal. I love Craftsman and Arts & Craft. At WDW, I like Beach Club.

11. What do you find to be your biggest frustration planning a WDW trip?
Pre-Covid there really wasn't anything. I actually like all the pre-planning necessary to get things lined up. It seems weird that I can't get my reservations yet for February, LOL!
Hello and welcome to the thread! :)

Ah, BCV definitely has a special place in my heart. We stayed there on the hotel side during our first ever trip to WDW. That's when we first heard of "Disney's best kept secret" and were planning on getting more info, but we never did get a chance to. In retrospect, I wish we had because I would've bought DVC much sooner and saved a little money since the next trip was on cash at the Polynesian.

As for the planning, I guess getting up early to get those fast passes isn't really my issue, it's the FP+ system itself. I do love planning though and don't even mind being on hold when I call WDW or DVC, love the hold music! 😁
 

Castillo Mom

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 5, 2003
We are super close and went the Wednesday in July after DtD reopened. We loved shopping at World of Disney, Marceline’s, and a stop for a Salt & Straw treat. It was really great to be there, but I personally felt unsettled and guilty for taking an unnecessary risk. That feeling kept me away for weeks, but we’re planning to go again in the next couple days to celebrate a fantastic first quarter progress report for my youngest. Plus I need some Mickey-pumpkin merch retail therapy!
Yeah, it was a little unsettling when we went too. When we go again in a couple weeks, it'll be on a weekday again. I need more ears! ;)
 

bwvBound

DVC SSR & other timeshare
Joined
Feb 5, 2004
We sure did! I've been seeing on Youtube that crowds have been high on the weekend, so we went on a Wednesday around 4:00 recently and it was a really good experience, low crowds. We did a little shopping at WOD and a couple other stores and then had dinner at Ralph Brennan's out on the patio. We haven't had a chance to go back, but are planning two in a couple weeks. It was nice to get a small dose of Disney, but wasn't quite enough to completely quell the blues. ;)
We love Brennan's! I shot an email to my hubby when they reopened ... but ... we didn't even try. Maybe sometime later ... but for now we are both soooooo busy trying to compensate for life under the lockdowns.
 

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