DVC newbie: Availability, Direct vs Resale

RT&JR

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 19, 2022
Hi! We are looking into DVC. We have been doing our research and my wife is more into it than I.

Basic background about us: No kids (and do not plan to), we live in South Florida and have APs and Disney Visa. Go to Disney pretty often (I would say 8-10 times per year) with our stays not being longer than 4 days. We never have stayed in any DVC resort but have been in value & medium Disney resorts (Coronado, Art of Animation, Pop Art, etc). Our main restriction is my type of job (usually 2-3 weeks hitches followed by 2-3 weeks off) and the fact it is unpredictable (I can't say, ie, if I'm gonna be free in July)

Is DVC an option for us? My wife is saying yes but what I have read is that you must plan a few months in advance. I'm seeing that as an obstacle (for the time being). Are you able to snag a room/studio in a 3-4 weeks time window?

Which home resort would you recommend? We have been looking at Polynesian, Animal Kingdom, and Boardwalk. Just read about the new tower in Polynesian and some comments about people waiting to see price changes & restrictions

Regarding direct vs resale "perks": We don't care too much about the dining benefits or lounges. What about APs discount and parking?

For me, if you can get a room/studio a month or less in advance, it's worth looking at. If not, I rather stick to the value & medium Disney resorts and create a "Disney Vacation Fund" starting with the initial upfront cost and then monthly payments, based on the total cost of a current DVC. Am I being a cheapo crazy bast@#$d?

Thanks for the help!
 

kanerf

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Studios are the hardest to come by at 7 months out or less. You might find a night here and there, but likely less than 3 nights in a row. DVC might work for you if you don't mind split stays. Parking comes with all contracts, but AP discount, such as it is, only comes with Direct contracts.
 

Royal Consort

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 14, 2012
If you're not planning to book at least 7-11 months in advance, DVC won't work out for you. There's very little availability for short notice trips (within 3 months). You may get lucky for a short 3-4 night trip but it's not guaranteed. I'd stick to cash rooms which give you more flexibility.

If you're able and willing to plan 11 months out, then DVC may work out for you but the system is not designed with great flexibility in mind.
 

xdan0920

Registered
Joined
Apr 13, 2022
Sorry to say, DVC is not for you. Apparantly it’s not for me either, despite being an owner for 25 years.

You have to “walk” reservations at 11 months. And at 7 months you have almost no shot for a lot of times of the year.

Anything inside 200 days, you are picking over the leftover nights here or there. Hardly ever in a row.
 

RT&JR

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 19, 2022
Studios are the hardest to come by at 7 months out or less. You might find a night here and there, but likely less than 3 nights in a row. DVC might work for you if you don't mind split stays. Parking comes with all contracts, but AP discount, such as it is, only comes with Direct contracts.

Which home resort would you recommend?
 

RoseGold

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
You don't need an AP discount, you are from Florida. Even when it did exist, it was only a couple hundred dollars.

Last minute and DVC do not go well together, but you never know what pops up. The waitlist and stalking do come through if you are willing to mess with it, especially 31 days out, which is when you lose your points if you don't cancel. I've seen stuff pop up with a couple days notice, and you could make that work, maybe that would be good for you.

If you are traveling in weekdays, this might work. Poly has hundreds of standard view rooms. If you put two waitlists in for one night, they might fill. My 31 day waitlist for AKL club level just filled!

Also, if you have enough points, you can just book multiple trips and cancel what doesn't work for you. Example, book one trip, then another two weeks later planning to cancel one of them at 31 days. That's a good option if you plan to mess with it. This requires work, and careful attention to rules, but definitely doable.

Buy a resale contract, and you don't have much to lose. If it doesn't work for you, sell it.

Example: OKW has many stretches of rooms available in the next few months, July August Sep, for 12 points. That's mathematically better than moderate for sure. Kidani has tons for 18 points savanna view, that's an amazing room I'd never pay $800 cash for. Even BLT (Contemporary) has some July dates for 19 points. Heck, even Boardwalk has a big block of studios in July!!! The question is whether you are able to book in mid-July right now. Or at least book mid-July and late July planning to cancel one of them before 31 days.

So, right now, you book mid-July AKL, late July BW, mid August BLT. Maybe you see a couple nights BC and book them for October. When you learn your schedule, you cancel whichever one doesn't work at 31+ days and you keep going. The more points you have, the better this works. USE YEAR MATTERS A LOT FOR THIS. You need to make your banking dealine around where you won't be modifying or going at all. The other way to make this work is two UYs, like I have. Then it doesn't matter.
 
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CarolMN

DVC Co-Moderator
Super Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Aug 18, 1999
DVC works best for those that can book at least 7 months in advance. If you cannot do that most of the time, DVC will just be a source of frustration for you.

My advice is to try to rent points for a few trips. See how successful you are in getting something a month or two in advance. You will still see some savings and not have to make an expensive commitment to see if DVC would be a good value for you.

If you are not going to book more than 7 months in advance, it doesn't matter which resort you purchase.
 

Royal Consort

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 14, 2012
Which home resort would you recommend?
You will get best availability at 7 months at Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, and Animal Kingdom villas. If you aren't using the 11 month advantage there's no point in buying a contract at more expensive resorts. You buy these to book at 11 months.
 

RoseGold

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
Which home resort would you recommend?
Right now, I would buy resale BLT, and I would make low offers. There's a lot on the market.

The BLT value category is useful to you, and with no kids, the small studio, no frills pool make sense to me. Reserve a couple trips with your priority and mess with the remaining points to see what you can do last minute.

BLT should be very easy to sell in a few years if this is too fussy for you.

I would buy a pretty big contract if you want to make this work. You'll have to have a lot of points to deploy and to move stuff around. This isn't a huge deal if you pay attention to your banking deadlines. I think this totally makes sense IF AND ONLY IF someone is willing to do the work to make it work. If you work this like I would, you won't pay cash (or resort/park parking fee!) again.
 
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kanerf

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Which home resort would you recommend?
Since you like Animal Kingdom Lodge, I would look for a resale contract there. Boardwalk is also good, but will be more than AKL per point. Polynesian would be the most expensive of the three for resale.
 

hglenn

Mouseketeer
Joined
May 10, 2013
It sounds like you enjoy time in the parks and, perhaps, don't do much just hanging out at the resort? Maybe that's due to lack of amenities? But if it's because you like to really just be in parks and the hotel is just a place to come back to each night, then perhaps your current situation is best for you. If you like DVC, you could always rent points. That is one place where you could find some advantage to being in close proximity. We love Pop Century and even though we own DVC, we do plan to rent some of our points to pay for our stays at Pop when we go with family and friends and do major park time. Also, as a FL resident I've seen Disney offer a lot of hotel discounts so you get to take advantage of those.
 

BamaGuy44

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 28, 2014
I think availability is a bit skewed right now, due to pent up demand and a backlog of unused points from the pandemic. But even in the best of times, I don't think planning to book studios a month out would be a very pleasant experience. Certainly possible to piece together last minute stays if you're flexible on where you stay, don't mind split stays, and don't mind putting in a lot of work stalking the site. People do it all the time. I wouldn't want that to be my default though.

If I were in your shoes I would do exactly as you described. Keep a running vacation fund to book rooms with cash. Also, if you're flexible, the point rental sites often have great deals on last minute confirmed reservations. (Anything undr 2-3 months out is "last minute" in DVC world) Doing that you could book DVC stays for the same or less than a value/moderate.
 

RoseGold

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
But even in the best of times, I don't think planning to book studios a month out would be a very pleasant experience.
They don't have to book it a month out. They could book multiple trips a few months out and cancel what doesn't work at 31 days. The extreme version of this would be 7 months out, but it works right now for two months out, and that's with all the Covid points floating around and general tight availability. I could totally make this work with 200ish points to work with. If you're really a crazy cheapo, then you could make DVC work for this scenario.
 
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RamblinWreck

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Hi! We are looking into DVC. We have been doing our research and my wife is more into it than I.

Basic background about us: No kids (and do not plan to), we live in South Florida and have APs and Disney Visa. Go to Disney pretty often (I would say 8-10 times per year) with our stays not being longer than 4 days. We never have stayed in any DVC resort but have been in value & medium Disney resorts (Coronado, Art of Animation, Pop Art, etc). Our main restriction is my type of job (usually 2-3 weeks hitches followed by 2-3 weeks off) and the fact it is unpredictable (I can't say, ie, if I'm gonna be free in July)

Is DVC an option for us? My wife is saying yes but what I have read is that you must plan a few months in advance. I'm seeing that as an obstacle (for the time being). Are you able to snag a room/studio in a 3-4 weeks time window?

Which home resort would you recommend? We have been looking at Polynesian, Animal Kingdom, and Boardwalk. Just read about the new tower in Polynesian and some comments about people waiting to see price changes & restrictions

Regarding direct vs resale "perks": We don't care too much about the dining benefits or lounges. What about APs discount and parking?

For me, if you can get a room/studio a month or less in advance, it's worth looking at. If not, I rather stick to the value & medium Disney resorts and create a "Disney Vacation Fund" starting with the initial upfront cost and then monthly payments, based on the total cost of a current DVC. Am I being a cheapo crazy bast@#$d?

Thanks for the help!
I'll go against the grain here and say that DVC actually could work for you. It will not be as simple for you to plan trips as it is now though.

If you're going 8-10 times per year, that means you'll want a substantial number of points.

As long as you can make some halfway decent guesses as to when you might be available, you could be totally fine as long as you are willing to frequently log in and manage your reservations.

Say for instance you think you'll want to stay at the Animal Kingdom for 3 nights somewhere in June or July. Just book 3 different weekends during that time frame. Or book a week or week and a half long chunk all together. As it gets closer to the date that you would actually travel, just trim off the dates you aren't going to use from your reservations and book a new one later in the year with them. I mean, you really have a lot of possibilities to be creative with your points when you are traveling to Disney literally 8 times in a year.

The question would then become, how much do you and your wife care about staying in upgraded rooms compared to the ones you stay in now, and does that really offset the extra work and planning that it will take to make your schedule work with the realities of DVC?




Also, a lot of people are overly pessimistic about room availability on this site. There are plenty of resources out there that track the availability of rooms for different dates at different booking windows. The idea that there's no studios available within 7 months in all of DVC is more than a little silly. Even during Christmas that isn't accurate.
 

RamblinWreck

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
You don't need an AP discount, you are from Florida. Even when it did exist, it was only a couple hundred dollars.

Last minute and DVC do not go well together, but you never know what pops up. The waitlist and stalking do come through if you are willing to mess with it, especially 31 days out, which is when you lose your points if you don't cancel. I've seen stuff pop up with a couple days notice, and you could make that work, maybe that would be good for you.

If you are traveling in weekdays, this might work. Poly has hundreds of standard view rooms. If you put two waitlists in for one night, they might fill. My 31 day waitlist for AKL club level just filled!

Also, if you have enough points, you can just book multiple trips and cancel what doesn't work for you. Example, book one trip, then another two weeks later planning to cancel one of them at 31 days. That's a good option if you plan to mess with it. This requires work, and careful attention to rules, but definitely doable.

Buy a resale contract, and you don't have much to lose. If it doesn't work for you, sell it.

Example: OKW has many stretches of rooms available in the next few months, July August Sep, for 12 points. That's mathematically better than moderate for sure. Kidani has tons for 18 points savanna view, that's an amazing room I'd never pay $800 cash for. Even BLT (Contemporary) has some July dates for 19 points. Heck, even Boardwalk has a big block of studios in July!!! The question is whether you are able to book in mid-July right now. Or at least book mid-July and late July planning to cancel one of them before 31 days.

So, right now, you book mid-July AKL, late July BW, mid August BLT. Maybe you see a couple nights BC and book them for October. When you learn your schedule, you cancel whichever one doesn't work at 31+ days and you keep going. The more points you have, the better this works. USE YEAR MATTERS A LOT FOR THIS. You need to make your banking dealine around where you won't be modifying or going at all. The other way to make this work is two UYs, like I have. Then it doesn't matter.
Ah, I didn't see your post before I made mine!

I like the way you think!
 

RoseGold

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
I know I could do this with two 150 contracts with opposite UYs. I'd book guesses based on what pops up and cancel and bank what I don't need. Borrow for last minute. No problem. I'd buy straight SAPs. Poly/BLT/CCV/SSR. I'd try to buy loaded. I'd love to be able to stay at BW for the cost of Pop last time. The other perk of two UYs is you get four waitlists.

But I like playing with the system. It's a game to me. I think it would be fun to plan a last minute trip in three days. I think it would be fun to see if we can make the CCV or the BW reservation. This is a huge hassle compared to a normal hotel booking. The rules are serious, and someone needs to know them well. And that many points is a big commitment.
 
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Sandisw

DVC Forums
Moderator
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
Honestly, I think it will be more of a frustration than it will be worth. For example, I was able to get one of the DVC preview days for GOTG ride in April and wanted to go for just one night. When I first logged in, nothing was available at all for that week...even though I was only looking for a one night stay for the 17th or 18th of May.

I had to stalk the website to get one night to pop up, refreshing constantly that day. And, that was a month in advance, for a Tuesday or Wednesday night.

Now, if you have an idea of sometimes of the year when going might work and can reserve things closer to the 7 to 11 month window and adjust if needed later on, then maybe?

But, last minute bookings just are not something to count on. Occasionally, it can work...but as a regular strategy? IMO, no.
 

RT&JR

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 19, 2022
Thank y'all for your opinions and advice! Never expected more than 2 :jester:


You don't need an AP discount, you are from Florida
I thought it was a discount over a discount.. It makes sense now.

Example, book one trip, then another two weeks later planning to cancel one of them at 31 days
The cancellation policy is 31 days before the trip?

It sounds like you enjoy time in the parks and, perhaps, don't do much just hanging out at the resort?
That has been changing. Before, a normal trip was: Drive to Orlando on early Saturday morning, hit the parks, and go to the hotel late at night (normal hotel). Then next day hit another park and drive back in the afternoon.

Recently, using a bunch of unused Emirates miles I had, we booked 2 trips (Pop Arts and Coronado) and we started to appreciate the resort amenities. For the last one, we just hit the park a couple of hrs each day. We really like it and then we started to think about DVC
Also, if you're flexible, the point rental sites often have great deals on last minute confirmed reservations
I was thinking about that. We will look at it
If you're going 8-10 times per year, that means you'll want a substantial number of points.
But we are not staying at resorts/Disney hotels all the time. We are thinking of 6-8 days at the resort per year.
-And that many points is a big commitment.
I don't wanna commit to more than 150 points.
Now, if you have an idea of sometimes of the year when going might work and can reserve things closer to the 7 to 11 month window and adjust if needed later on, then maybe?
Yeah, it may be our anniversary or my wife's birthday. In the last 10 years, I have been free 8/10 of my wife's birthdays and 6/10 of our anniverssary. My line of work is kind of complicated and when I made it it was because I pushed my bosses to the limit. And then usually I ended up stressed :stitch:
 

RoseGold

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
Your OP said 8 visits with 4 days each. If this is 4 visits with 2 days each, this is even easier and takes even less points. It's not hard to get two day blocks with some flexibility. It would even work for October, which is peak DVC "fall frenzy" and around Christmas.

DVC gets the late night deluxe hours on Mon/Weds, which I think are worth admission. If you book a few M-W blocks, one of them should work. Or not, and bank them. Once you see those deluxe late night hours, you'll be a believer. I planned my next trip around them completely.

As an owner (not a renter), you will be able to monkey with this and keep shifting until one works. As long as you pay attention to your deadlines, this could work.
 

RT&JR

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 19, 2022
(I would say 8-10 times per year) with our stays not being longer than 4 days.

Your OP said 8 visits with 4 days each. If this is 4 visits with 2 days each, this is even easier and takes even less points

My apologies for the misunderstanding. I was just trying to point out that we travel frequently to Disney (8-10 times per year) and our stays ranged between 1-4 nights, being 1-2 nights the most common. We are not looking to stay all the time at a Disney hotel/resort. We may be happy with 6-8 days per year. The rest will go as we usually do (cheap nearby hotels)

So basically, if we want DVC to work, we will have to play the reserve/cancel game until we get something that works for me, taking into consideration the deadlines, which will be the UY and 31 days cancellation policy?
 








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