Does owning DVC really save money?

Discussion in 'Purchasing DVC' started by sharp1r, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. sharp1r

    sharp1r Earning My Ears

    Oct 13, 2006
    My family is considering purchasing with DVC. I have been browsing these forums for a few days, and everyone seems to be happy with their purchase, which is awesome. We have looked into other timeshares before, and I have always come to the same conclusion, that it is cheaper to simply pay for the vacation when you take it than it is to buy the timeshare and pay the annual fees every year. We have stayed off and on property with DisneyWorld, and it is a much nicer vacation to stay on property in my opinion. It is also more expensive, that is why we are looking at the DVC.

    I am honestly and sincerely asking if anyone has done a thorough due diligence on the finances both ways to see how it shakes out? If so, could you post some information and numbers. Also, any comments or advise along these lines would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    Spence Harper
  2. salmoneous

    salmoneous <img src="

    Nov 10, 2005
    We love to talk about this! But there is no one right answer. Everyone has their own numbers. The key issue is what you call "both ways". Calculating the cost of DVC isn't that hard (though even there we disagree about what rate to assume for interest, inflation, etc.)

    But the key question is what you are comparing it against. If you compare staying at a DVC resort as a DVC member verses staying there as a hotel guest (or staying at another Disney deluxe hotel), then the cost comparison is very easy - DVC is much better off no matter how you run the numbers.

    But if you compare the cost of DVC vs the cost of staying at an offsite timeshare, or vs the cost of staying onsite in a moderate with discounts, or even verses staying in Values, then the cost comparison gets pretty tricky. The DVC cost may be a tie or even higher than the other options, but the accommodations are nicer. How do you balance that out?

    Then there is the risk factor. If things continue the way they have for the next 35 years about the way they have the last 35 years, DVC is going to look good no matter what assumptions you use. By the time you project out 35 years, your DVC purchase looks really good. But what happens if things change - what if maintenance costs skyrocket - what if WDW changes (or you change) and it's no longer a place people want to visit. I don't think these things are likely, nor are they thing I think about much. But when you use the phrase "due diligence" you need to start factoring these into your equations.

    But let me cut through all the disclaimer crap and get to the bottom line. If you love Disney - if you plan to vacation there frequently - if you at least sometimes like to stay in deluxe resorts - if the world doesn't go to heck in a hand basket - the owning DVC will not only give you personal satisfaction, but will be fiscally smart as well.
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  4. Granny

    Granny Yeah, I'm a guy

    Jul 25, 2001
    If the goal is to save money, then the answer is.....maybe!

    If you

    - currently stay in moderates or deluxe resorts and
    - you don't focus your vacations to primarily long weekends (that is, you vacation just as much or more during regular weekdays), and
    - you are willing to stay in studios primarily, then....

    Yes, it can save you money.

    It doesn't save my family money because we upgraded to the 1BR and now 2BR villas for our family of four. But my gosh what a dramatic improvement in our vacation experience by doing so!

    For us, it wasn't about saving money. It was about an affordable opportunity to upgrade our vacation experience.
    AdamsMum likes this.
  5. skibum

    skibum DIS Veteran

    Sep 25, 2004
    Never having been a big timeshare fan, we think there is something special about being involved with DVC. It is not just about the numbers. When the numbers people run them, some say it is good, others say you may be better off renting points. There are accountants and CPA's who are members. Most people figure about seven years for break-even - it really depends on what you consider the cost of money for your initial investment. Certainly, for people who purchased in the early 2000's, when the market and interest rates tanked, this was actually a good investment, since prices have increased - even on resales.
    But, do not purchase DVC (or any other timeshare) as an investment. What you are buying is great memories in a wonderful place. If things go good, and you make money, that's awesome. But be aware that someday, these interests will be worth nothing (2042 & 2054).
    Also, realize that the maintenance fees are an ongoing expense, and will end up costing more than the initial investment. They can, and will, go up, although it seems that Disney does a good job of controlling expenses.
    The good news is that the points required to stay at any particular DVC property will never go up. A particular date may go up, but then another date will need to come down, as the number of points to stay over the course of a year is fixed - therefore no point inflation.
    For us, it is worth it. :thumbsup2 We like Disney, and prefer staying on-site. Our kids like Disney, and will get even more use out of DVC as they become older - eventually getting these properties passed on to them. :sunny:
    Good luck with the decision-making process, we looked back in 1991, and finally purchased last year (still kicking ourselves).
  6. cyndilou

    cyndilou Earning My Ears

    Feb 5, 2005
    I too am considering purchasing a resale is it true that the points for DVC resorts stay constant until 2042? What about the cruises?
  7. starwood

    starwood This mouse GOT her next cruise

    Mar 23, 2000
    Another consideration is - if 5, 10... years down the road you decide you don't want your DVC anymore you can sell it and get most of your purchase price back.
  8. tikifanatic

    tikifanatic Avid Bird Watcher and Tiki Collector

    Sep 9, 2006
    We just purchased 150 points at SSR. We paid $86/pp, with closing costs of $123. Maintenance will run $3.98/pp to start.

    So our inital outlay is $13,620.00. I assume a 2% inflation rate, although you could estimate higher or lower. Once the purchase is complete, the inflation only impacts the maintenance. The life of the contract is 48 more years, so the total outlay, including inflation and purchase costs will be - $61,941.53 or $1,290.45 if spread out over 48 years.

    Now for the hotel version. I chose the Boardwalk with standard view, just a plain hotel room. The cost per night is $345.00 for a week in mid October. The same time I will be travelling most years. That makes our weekly cost $2,415.00. If we use our same 2% inflation we will pay a total of $197,886.52
    for 48 years of 1 week stays, or $4,122.64 if spread out annually. Quite a difference.

    If you examine the numbers the inital outlay for DVC is greater, but you start saving on year 7 and then you really start seeing the monetary savings from then on.

    Apart from the numbers, the DVC is ONLY a good idea if
    • You prefer deluxe rooms
    • You honestly see yourself vacationing at Disney for 10+ years
    • You don't have to finance the initial purchase price

    Hope this helps. I have complete spreadsheets with all the numbers if you'd like em.
    Sarah_B and disneycruisedreams like this.
  9. sharp1r

    sharp1r Earning My Ears

    Oct 13, 2006
    Good information. We are not looking at this as an investment to make money on. Obviously, the investment, in the end, is financially worthless because it expires. We enjoy Disney and that is why we are looking. We know it will cost us money in the end, like a car, but you can't buy memories anyway, so we intend to vacation at Disney despite the costs. The timeshare is one way we are looking at it to possibly save money and/or help us afford to go there more often.

    Our last Disney World vacation, we stayed at the Animal Kingdom. I thought the room was too small for our family (5) in the end, so maybe we need a 1 BR or bigger, but we would have needed 2 rooms to stay at the other resorts according to the booking agent we used. It cost us about $4000 to stay there for the week (7 days), not including food and other stuff, so it wasn't cheap. That got us thinking that if we did that a few more times, even at other resorts on Disney property, we would have paid for the timeshare. That doesn't factor in the annual fees, but even if that were $1000 per year, and we could go every other year, we would still be 1/2 of what we did pay to stay last time. At 20k investment, pay off would be in about 10 years, giving us another 20 or so years of reduced cost before it expires. That is my current logic anyway. Does anyone agree / disagree? Are there other factor I need to look at that I don't know?

    It always helps to talk to people who have done it before jumping in. There are always things you don't look at or expect, and only someone who has been there can tell you about it. Keep it coming, I'm all "ears", lol.

    Spence Harper
    Kim Gillihan likes this.
  10. skibum

    skibum DIS Veteran

    Sep 25, 2004
    "cyndilou - I too am considering purchasing a resale is it true that the points for DVC resorts stay constant until 2042? What about the cruises? "

    The points for DVC resorts will stay the same, but all other "trade" possibilities may change every year, and usually they go up. Also, there are often out of pocket fees associated with non-DVC resorts.

    The best value is staying at DVC resorts.

    Contact your guide and get the informational packet/DVD for all pertinent info.
  11. Caskbill

    Caskbill <font color="blue">DVC-Operations<br>DVC-Planning< Moderator

    Nov 19, 2000
    The total points for a resort cannot change. They can however make a reallocation. There are a number of factors that decide the point structure including:

    1. Villa type (Studio, 1-B/R, 2-B/R, 3-B/R)
    2. Disney Season (Adventure, Choice, Dream, Magic, Premier)
    3. Day of the week (Sun-Thurs, or Fri/Sat)

    They can increase points somewhere, but if they do, they must also decrease points somewhere else so that the total points do not change.

    They could increase points for Choice Season, and Decrease for Dream Season.

    They could increase points for weekdays, and decrease them for weekends.

    ...and so on. As long as the Point Total for the entire resort does not change.

    Now, all that said, they have only reallocated points one time, in 1996 for the OKW resort. Keeping in mind that everything was brand new for DVC, and this was only 3 years after they first started, this point adjustment made sense as they tracked vacation patterns. They have not needed to reallocate points at any other resorts at any time.

    Points for non-DVC resorts are negotiated each year between DVC and the other resort. For this reason, those points generally do go up each year. The cruise line points have gone up year by year.

    There is no guarantee on what point costs will be for non-DVC usage, and in fact there is no guarantee these exchanges will be available in the future. If DVC and the cruise line don't make an agreement each year, it could even turn out that sometime in the future, using points for the cruise line would no longer be offered.

    Hope this helps.
  12. JandD Mom

    JandD Mom Paying for hope and change.

    Aug 15, 2000
    I look at it this way. We don't compare a villa to a deluxe or moderate room because you can't. Deluxe rooms don't have a full kitchen, a jacuzzi tub or a washer/dryer (we usually don't stay in studios). They also don't have separate private sleeping areas for the adults and children, unless you get a suite. If you get a suite, it will cost you major $$$ anyway.

    We have a 2 bedroom villa for 7 nights in Nov for 2 families of 4. I believe that was around 238 points. I can't find the rates for a 2 bedroom at the BW now (they are almost impossible to book through Disney anyway). But I previously figured out on cash that room would cost us about $6,200 for the week if we had been paying cash.

    At that rate, our DVC pays for itself (exclusive of the fees) in under 4 years.

    We do a little renting of our excess points to pay the maintenance fees. We figure within a few years we are actually going away for free. And if we ever sell our points, even at a loss after 6 years or so, we actually have gone away for free.

    So the way we use it, it does save my family lots of $$$.
  13. JandD Mom

    JandD Mom Paying for hope and change.

    Aug 15, 2000
    I just have to disagree a little with your logic. You don't take into account the fact that the price of the rooms you booked will increase in price every year, so you will actually pay it off sooner.

    Also, for a family of 5, you would probably need a 2 bedroom (unless the new AKV will hold more than 4 in a 1 bedroom). So you would need more points. But see my math. A 2 bedroom with the amenities (kitchen, washer dryer etc) will be more than $4000.

    Also you will save money as you can prepare some meals in your room (as you want) snack in the room etc. We hardly EVER eat breakfast out. That alone has to save a minimum of $20-30 per day per family.
  14. Lucky82061

    Lucky82061 DIS Veteran

    Oct 1, 2006
    DVC is really only worth it if you know that you are going to enjoy going to a DVC property for years to come. Yes they have other options for points usage such as cruises and II exchanges and all, however you should not join based on all those other factors. It really comes down to "will I want to go back to WDW for my vacation for years to come". If the answer to that is yes then DVC is a great investment. But to be clear... "investment" not in the monetary sense but in the sense of having great memories for years to come and the enjoyment that you will get out of the purchase. I have looked at several other "points" based timeshare operations and always got the feeling that they weren't trust worthy enough. The reality is that the company has your money whether you take these vacations or not, and it seems some of them will take advantage of that... like by not having alot of availability, or by changing what you can get with your points. DVC solves all this, the points are set for each resort and they can not increase, they seem to really care about their owners, and you get that warm fuzzy feeling being a member. (you can call me crazy if you wish :rotfl2: ).

    So to make my long story short... If you can afford it without overextending your means, and you know you will enjoy disney for years to come then DVC will be a great investment.
  15. JandD Mom

    JandD Mom Paying for hope and change.

    Aug 15, 2000

    I know I keep posting on this but I am in a "I love my DVC" mood today (I just talked to my guide about an add-on)! :love:

    DH and I were going to buy Marriott VC (which is a great timeshare) and one day, he looked at me and said "the only place we know we will go back to a lot is Disney" so we bought DVC instead. On years when we want to go somewhere else, we will bank or rent the points and then go elsewhere.

    As an aside, we stayed at Marriott Grande Vista last year on a tour package, and my kids (who were only 8) absolutely HATED it. They are such DVC snobs! Whenever they misbehave, I still threaten that we will sell our BW and buy at the Marriott. (I mean no disrespect to owners of Grande Vista. I actually thought it was a very nice property - my kids hated that we had to drive to get to Disney). pirate:
  16. Montana Disney Fan

    Montana Disney Fan <font color=blue>GAT-Master Extraordinaire<br><fon

    Oct 2, 1999

    This is the EXACT number we came up with using a different calculation. As was mentioned earlier, there are many ways to figure it, but the bottom line is, if you go every year and stay on property, you will save money.
    E2ME2 likes this.
  17. crisi

    crisi DIS Veteran

    Feb 25, 2002
    We don't save money....

    We used to go every few (3, 5?) years. We now go every other year.

    We used to say "every man for himself" and take our family. Now we treat our parents, our siblings to rooms.

    We used to have to budget tighter at WDW. Now when we go the room is paid for, so we spend more.
  18. dmoore22

    dmoore22 Old Rock n' Roller

    Jun 15, 2002
    In our case I can say joining DVC has, at the worst, been a break even in comparison to pay-as-you-go and at best it has saved us money. What I find is that our costs are about the same as we would pay for a vacation package staying at a value resort. However the quality of the accomodations is significantly better at our home resort. We have six kids, all teenagers and young adults. We take advantage of the member perks, eg. discounted AP passes, Dining club, etc., etc., which drives down the cost. That has to be factored into your consideration. When we purchase the AP we schedule our vacations so we can get the most out of our AP.

    We purchased via resale which saved a few coins. We were fortunate in that our resale included more than a years banked points which has allowed us to stretch our time over the past few years. We also purchased add-on points via resale. In this case the seller paid the first years' fees.

    Each year we sit down and compare costs via our old way of vacationing verses DVC. What we find is that we are staying twice as long as we did when we stayed at the Value Resorts and are paying as much, if not a little less for a longer, relaxing vacation.
  19. calypso*a*go-go

    calypso*a*go-go <a href="" targ

    Dec 30, 2003
    Hi Spence! The answer is "NO"! You will probably not save a dime buying into DVC. As mentioned previously, you will find yourself going more often than you had ever intended. You will add-on more points in the future, which makes your initial investment even larger. What will you get in return? Not a stinkin' thing but the eternal gratitude of your family (and whoever you pay to house/pet-sit while you're gone!) and a warm, fuzzy, feeling that is priceless. :goodvibes
    vwlfan likes this.
  20. DonnaL

    DonnaL DIS Veteran

    Feb 4, 2005
    One thing I haven't seen mentioned in any of the above posts is the tendency to make more than one trip a year with DVC. At least that's what has happened with our family. We find we've been making one family trip a year and then DH and I try to get away alone for four or five nights (lower point nights..of course) sometime during the year. And prior to purchasing DVC we were a family that went to Disney maybe every 4th year. We made our initial purchase in December, 2001 of 150 pts at VWL and added on 120 pts at SSR April, 2005. We've done two trips a year since 2002.....all to WDW, however, I think within the next year or so we may try HHI or VB on our non family trip. And we probably will add on at AKV ......maybe another 120/130 pts......that should be enough to take us into retirement nicely.
  21. Mtnman44

    Mtnman44 DIS Veteran

    Oct 4, 2006
    THis sounds like a pretty good summary of the advice. You are pre-paying for 30+ years of pime vacation accomodations. That's the jist of it. This is NOT the cheapest route for staying at WDW. However, if you plan or otherwise know you will be traveling to WDW at least every other year for the next couple decades AND you will always be staying in deluxe, "condo" type accomodations, then YES, this DVC will probably save you money. However, as most seem to indicate, people don't buy into DVC as a hedge against future vacation expenses but rather as a way to guarantee access to the "Disney Experience" for the forseable future.

    Here is my quick calculation. If I buy 150 points for 13k, expiring in '42, that is 35 years. 13k/35 = $371 per year + $650 per year in Maint Fees = $1,021 per year "cost" for my room each year. Yes, I know this does not include an adjustment for rising fees each year so these numbers are understated.

    But wait, 150 points won't even get me 7 days in a 2BD! I go every other year anyway, and with careful use of points I should be able to get about 10 or 11 days mostly with a 2 bedroom EVERY OTHER YEAR (300 points). So that one trip every two years really costs me 2 years worth $1,021 x 2 = $2,042 for about 10 days. Now that doesn't sound too great financially speaking but even that is better than paying cash for the same room type. But think about how this will look in 15 or 20 years when the cheapest cash rate at the resorts will be $500 to $800 a night or more. Even with higher maint fees it will be a much better deal. Add to that the other benefits such as having the pretty much guaranteed rooms at WDW if you choose "using your 11 month window". If you want to pay cash at WDW for rooms for the next 20 years, there is no guarantee.


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