Potential New Member - Am I Doing This Right?

elanderson12

Earning My Ears
Joined
Nov 15, 2019
This is my first post here on DISBoards, so please be gentle!

I’ve spent the last several weeks researching, reading DISBoards threads, reading blog posts, watching every episode of the DVC Show, and crunching numbers in tons of spreadsheets on potential contracts. I feel like I’ve narrowed down my options on what will work best for my family, but I want to run my ideas past experienced members for opinions and suggestions.

First, some background information. My family currently consists of myself, my husband, and my 2 year old son. We may have one more child, but this is still up in the air. I grew up visiting Disney World every year staying in Moderate resorts, but I have now discovered the wonders of DVC villas through renting points. I am a major planner and tend to start planning my Disney vacations very far out, so 7 or 11 months are both reasonable booking windows for us. We live in Illinois, so last minute, spur of the moment trips don’t really happen. At this time, we are always visiting every other year at the same time: the end of January. This could obviously change in 10-15 years with older kids, but right now, it is our favorite time to visit. The more I researched and considered, the more I think buying in would be a great, cost-efficient way to continue our biannual visits and enjoy these resorts.

So, being a young family and keeping long term costs in mind, I focused first on those resorts with low maintenance fees. I believe we have narrowed down our choice to Bay Lake Tower or Saratoga Springs. I initially thought BLT was a no-brainer, as we love the property and location, and having the 11-month window would be really nice. But the more I looked, the more I remembered how much I love experiencing a variety of resorts, not necessarily always staying in the same place. There are several DVC resorts I have not stayed at yet, and I’d love to see them all. I looked extensively at skier_pete’s amazing availability post, and it looks like if I’m diligent, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get a 1 bedroom villa at most any resort at 7 months, assuming we continue our pattern of travelling at the end of January or even into most of the spring and summer if our situation changes down the road. This made me consider buying at Saratoga Springs instead to save that initial buy-in and long-term dues, despite not really intending to use that resort very often. We’re flexible people and tend to love most any Disney resort, so I don’t think we would ever be devastated if our first choice was full.

So my questions:

  1. BLT or SS? I know everyone always says “Buy where you want to stay”, but based on our situation wanting to have a variety of experiences in different resorts, I feel like SS might be the way to go. Any insider advice or other resort suggestions?
  2. How many points? My plan right now is to shoot for one week (7 nights) in a 1 bedroom every other year, mostly in the Adventure season, possibly down the road in Dream and Magic seasons. I think about 120 points would be a good amount, allowing us to stay in most any 1 bedroom during the Adventure season with 240 total points from banking/borrowing for each trip. Does this sound reasonable? I’m also open down the road if we decide to expand to 2 bedrooms with older kids to adding on additional points. This is just to start.
  3. Any reason to buy any portion direct? I doubt we would use the vast majority of the bonuses you get for buying direct. We have Disney Visa cards for merchandise discounts, we would probably grab a TiW card for dining if we buy in, and we would almost certainly never plan a trip around an event like Moonlight Magic. I haven’t looked into whether an AP discount would be good for just a 1 week trip, but I doubt it. The only thing I would like is the ability to stay at Riviera, Reflections, and new resorts if/when they come along. But I feel like those restrictions won’t last forever, and we can be patient to stay with them once they are lifted. If not, we could also try to rent out our points and rent someone else’s if we really want to stay there.
  4. Any other advice/suggestions/ideas? There’s so much to think about and consider, I’m sure I’ve missed something. Maybe someone here will notice!

Thanks so much if you’ve taken the time to read through this. I’m so excited about this opportunity, and I’m really hoping we can make it happen in the next year or so (just need to make sure our finances are in order so we will be able to pay cash for it). It’s not a simple process and a big financial decision, so I want to make sure I have the best understanding I can possibly have so we don’t have any regrets.
 

jerseyduke

Home is just where you stay when not at WDW
Joined
Jan 19, 2013
1. Buy where you want to stay. Also, you have a 2 year old. MK is going to be 'THE PARK' for you for quite a few years. January You can get good availability, particularly in one bed rooms (outside of marathon) Also, you have a child that, in 5 - 7 years or so he/she will be at a point in school where taking them out for long periods of times becomes difficult. You might not be booking in January for long.
2. You have to get what is on the resale market. You probably want a dec UY - probably, I would say 125 - 150 point. Not having enough points is a lot more common than having too many. Plus it gives you more flexibility with different view categories and seasons.
3. No.
3. No.
3. No.
3. No.
3. No - Even if the restrictions do last, you can use the cash you save buying resale to pay for a cash stay there, or do a rental point swap. AP discount does nothing for a one week trip. You need 2 stays in within 52 weeks to make it worth while.
4. UY . Traveling in January a lot = December UY is a good choice. Sometimes ppl travel all over the place, but, if you are able to get a UY in which you would be travelling within the first 4 months of it, that would be best.

Now, you are a small group, so, if you throw in 1 bed room and studios into the mix, 7 months picks up some value.

Here is the biggest thing. Buy resale. If you buy BLT and decide you should have went with SSR, sell it. You will lose the closing costs. The contract should not depreciate much, so you wont lose TOO much. Same with SSR to BLT. However, if you buy direct and decide you bought the wrong property............
 

CanadaDisney05

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
This is my first post here on DISBoards, so please be gentle!

I’ve spent the last several weeks researching, reading DISBoards threads, reading blog posts, watching every episode of the DVC Show, and crunching numbers in tons of spreadsheets on potential contracts. I feel like I’ve narrowed down my options on what will work best for my family, but I want to run my ideas past experienced members for opinions and suggestions.

First, some background information. My family currently consists of myself, my husband, and my 2 year old son. We may have one more child, but this is still up in the air. I grew up visiting Disney World every year staying in Moderate resorts, but I have now discovered the wonders of DVC villas through renting points. I am a major planner and tend to start planning my Disney vacations very far out, so 7 or 11 months are both reasonable booking windows for us. We live in Illinois, so last minute, spur of the moment trips don’t really happen. At this time, we are always visiting every other year at the same time: the end of January. This could obviously change in 10-15 years with older kids, but right now, it is our favorite time to visit. The more I researched and considered, the more I think buying in would be a great, cost-efficient way to continue our biannual visits and enjoy these resorts.
We are in our early thirties, with a 3 year old and a new born. So fairly similar situation. We are from Canada, so spur of the moment trips are not a thing for us either. SO is a teacher so that limits us in our travelling time too.

So my questions:

  1. BLT or SS? I know everyone always says “Buy where you want to stay”, but based on our situation wanting to have a variety of experiences in different resorts, I feel like SS might be the way to go. Any insider advice or other resort suggestions?
We were in the exact same situation. The whole pull of DVC to us was that we can make each vacation different by going to different resorts. We don't want to visit the same resort year after year. For that reason we went with SSR. My plan for the next few years is to try and stay at the resorts that are a bit more convenient to the parks, because travelling on the busses with young kids could be a pain. As they get older, we like the more open air, laid back resorts like SSR and OKW. So for us, if we were "stuck" at SSR, it wouldn't really matter. In fact, we are travelling in December next year as a one off and fully expect to be "stuck" there.

Whatever you do, make sure you will still be happy if you end up "stuck" at your home resort. If not, its worth it to spend the extra money. At the end of the day, your home resort is your backup plan. You want to still enjoy your backup plan.

2. How many points? My plan right now is to shoot for one week (7 nights) in a 1 bedroom every other year, mostly in the Adventure season, possibly down the road in Dream and Magic seasons. I think about 120 points would be a good amount, allowing us to stay in most any 1 bedroom during the Adventure season with 240 total points from banking/borrowing for each trip. Does this sound reasonable? I’m also open down the road if we decide to expand to 2 bedrooms with older kids to adding on additional points. This is just to start.
We plan on utilizing studios so it may be a bit different. We bought 200 points with the intention of travelling once a year, or possibly 3 out of every 4 years. Usually this would be in Magic Season. Our thought process was twofold.

1) Because we were planning on sleeping around, we weren't likely to be able to get into the low cost rooms (AKL Values, BWV Standards, BLT Standards, etc...). Therefore, we bought extra points so that we can get in with relative ease to upgraded view rooms. One bedrooms may give you more luck though.

2) This may not be important to you because your looking at 1 BR, but if DVC ever rebalances the point charts, they are more likely to increase studios and decrease 1 BR. So we wanted to make sure we had enough points to handle a potential increase.

3.Any reason to buy any portion direct? I doubt we would use the vast majority of the bonuses you get for buying direct. We have Disney Visa cards for merchandise discounts, we would probably grab a TiW card for dining if we buy in, and we would almost certainly never plan a trip around an event like Moonlight Magic. I haven’t looked into whether an AP discount would be good for just a 1 week trip, but I doubt it. The only thing I would like is the ability to stay at Riviera, Reflections, and new resorts if/when they come along. But I feel like those restrictions won’t last forever, and we can be patient to stay with them once they are lifted. If not, we could also try to rent out our points and rent someone else’s if we really want to stay there.
We went 75 direct, 125 resale. We bought just before they increased the blue card minimums from 75 to 100. Again, the reason was twofold

1) We wanted enough points to be able to stay at the new resorts. We didn't like the idea of spending all of this money and not be able to have access to any new resorts. Of course, they may never build any, but this was a risk we were willing to take on 75 points. With borrowing & banking, we should be able to stay in a new resort once every 3 years if we choose.

2) We want to travel annually. As long as the Gold Pass benefit is around, we will plan our vacations 51 weeks apart. This allows us to use the same annual pass for two vacations. The cost savings on this (if all remains status quo) will be $1600 every two years. If your travelling every other year, this does not work for you. The benefits really become scarce at that point.
 
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  • _auroraborealis_

    I like marshmallows. And adult beverages.
    Joined
    Oct 18, 2015
    I would posit that your travel patterns will likely start to change in ~4 years. So I would definitely look at spring break and summer point costs.

    Under Illinois law, a child can miss no more than 5% of the year's 180 regular attendance days for any reason. This includes excused absences and illness. So you may quickly find that pulling your kid for multiple days has hazards.
     

    skippytx

    Bay Lake Tower
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2015
    A few comments in no particular order.

    I feel (and I'm biased as a BLT owner), the BLT location can't be beat. Dues are the same as SSR, but the location makes all the difference. Being able to walk back to your room after a late night at MK with the kids in less than 10 minutes is a huge deal. You have to decide if the 1 time extra buy in cost is worth it or not. I bought in at 125 a point, not sure how my feelings would change with today's market of 145 to 160 a point. I'm a huge proponent of buy where you want to stay.

    You're vacation timing will be changing once the kids hit school. Schools don't take kindly to removing your kids for week long vacations these days, and while it might be ok the first couple years, I can tell you from experience once they hit 3rd or 4th grade it becomes much harder for them to catch up. Once they hit middle school, forget it. Plan on visiting long term during school holidays or summer vacation. In 5 years when your vacation plans change you'll be looking to add points probably. You cannot reasonably expect to be in adventure season long term.

    In your shoes I would be looking for a 160 point BLT contract, which would get you a 1 bedroom lake view room, every other year in Magic Season, with a couple extra points to spare. You can't plan on being able to get a Standard view room. If you do, consider it a bonus, but plan on lake view.

    I don't think buying any points direct would benefit you. I bought 25 direct points a couple years ago when you could get away with it, but the price difference was negligible at the time. The Gold AP discount has only been this ~*HUGE*~ for a few months and everyone acts like it's going to stay that big forever. 2 years ago you could get the Platinum pass for 599, now we're all thrilled to pay 699 for a Gold and quick to tout the potential 400 dollar savings. No one talks about how much the ticket prices have gone up in the last couple of years. I could rant about this for a while, but yeah I'll stop now.

    Make sure DVC is something you really want to commit to. I have spent a ton more money since buying into DVC than I originally intended to. Flights, tickets, food, merch, dues, those all add up every year. Extra trips because we had some leftover points, bought an AP last year because of the discount which led to an extra trip. The mouse is very good at extracting money from you while you smile the entire time. You're buy in costs will be somewhere between 12 to 25K, you're signing up for 1K a year in dues, add in all the costs associated with using the points, and it's a ton of money. Make sure that is something you're comfortable with at this stage in your life.

    There are lots of other ways to visit WDW that don't involve DVC. Renting Bonnet Creek timeshares, staying offsite in a partner hotel, lots of options out there that don't involve a 5 figure buy in.
     

    Sandisw

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2008
    Welcome! It seems like you have done a lot of research!

    Resort choice. Will you be happy if you have to stay at SSR if you can’t trade out? What if you couldn’t trade all 7 nights and had to split stay? Would you be okay with that? If answer is yes, then saving over BLT could work.

    However, if you would be at all disappointed to stay there, then I’m not sure it’s best choice. DVC is too much money to own and then become frustrated.

    Based on your current every other year trips, buying direct won’t make much sense because it will take a long time to make up those savings. I would not count on Disney lifting restrictions for resale buyers to stay at new resorts. At most, they might allow resale RiV to trade back in to L 14, but there is zero incentive IMO for them to go the other way. if you want to stay at the new resorts, plan on having to rent your points to do so, or add on direct points later on to be used there..of, or course, spend more now to ensure it.

    One aspect I am not sure about is whether white card DVC members can purchase TIW without having an AP.

    Good luck!
     
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    jerseyduke

    Home is just where you stay when not at WDW
    Joined
    Jan 19, 2013
    @Sandisw EDITED: TIW is restrited to DVC, AP and Florida residents. It used to be just a 25$ discount. Wow, now I really feel like I am in a club!


    The biggest perks with direct points are gold APs - these are a non factor for you.

    Staying at Riviera and Reflections, et. al. - point brokers are currently charging 3.50 to rent your points for you. So, to rent out your resale points and rent Riviera/reflections points, you will pay 3.50 per point. Do this 10 times and thats 35$ a point. add that to the resale price and you are still well below the direct price.

    those two factors really suggest resale is the way to go for you.

    And direct points depreciate instantly. If you decide that DVC was a mistake, you will lose a good chunk with direct points. resale points are just much safer in my eyes.

    If you will do 2 trips in 51 weeks often, that could change the calculations.
     
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    elanderson12

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2019
    Thank you so much, everyone! I was heavily leaning toward buying strictly resale, but I just wanted to make sure there really was no reason to even consider direct sales. Good to confirm :)

    Also, I knew everyone talked about how much more difficult it is to take kids out of schools now, but I guess I had wishful thinking about being able to still do a little bit in elementary school. I remember my parents taking my sister and I out for a week every year until I was 12! Now reconsidering kicking my contract up to 160 points to account for travelling in higher point cost seasons in a few years.

    I have to keep debating about BLT or SSR, though, now. I feel like every day I lean one way or the other. I also need to reevaluate total costs now that I'm considering the larger contract with the large per point cost discrepancy between the two. It's all just so much to consider!
     

    DisneyOutsider

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2019
    When you factor in the length of your contract, then BLT is a pretty comparable value to SSR. Have you stayed at SSR before to see how you like it? Odds are both your travel rythym as well as the availability of other resorts will change over time, so it's important for you to love your home resort regardless.

    I'll say with confidence that there are zero good reasons for you to buy direct. Definitely go re-sale. You'll be glad you did.
     

    DisneyOutsider

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2019
    Based on your current every other year trips, buying direct won’t make much sense because it will take a long time to make up those savings.
    I'd say that's an understatement. The difference would never be made up regardless of contract length barring some crazy future discounts.
     

    SecondEventuality

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 28, 2019
    If we were only going every other year, then absolutely resale makes the most sense. That *was* our original plan and we ended up direct! LOL!!! :drinking:
     

    skippytx

    Bay Lake Tower
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2015
    I made the same decision you're considering a couple years ago. Save money on the buy in with SSR points, or buy where I really wanted to stay at BLT? I ended up choosing BLT. Like I mentioned though I lucked into buying resale at 125 a point. I'm not sure what decision i would make with todays market.

    We had a nice trip at SSR back in Feb, but I can tell you it confirmed my choice of making BLT my home resort. SSR is a great resort, but no regrets on buying at BLT, especially with the kids.

    School is a lot different that it was when I was a kid. I too thought I'd be able to take my kids out for vacation until they hit high school and it wouldn't be a big deal. I was wrong. This is the last year we'll be doing it and my oldest is only in 4th grade. She's going to miss 2 choir practices as well, and if she misses a 3rd they kick her out of choir.
     

    MJ NH

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 13, 2019
    I just want to point out if you are military or a veteran, you get better deals on tickets than what the annual pass would give you if you only go once a year. i still got the blue card but I don’t ever get the annual pass.
     

    Sandisw

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2008
    I'd say that's an understatement. The difference would never be made up regardless of contract length barring some crazy future discounts.
    Not if one bought SSR. Its $165 direct..I think..resale is around $100..so 65 for 100 points.l.all that is needed for direct..6500.

    Long time, yes..probably 15 years with every other year trips on AP..but one Would make it back eventually..especially if trips started to happen yearly.

    But if you referring to buying and never buying AP, then yes, absolutely
     

    DisneyOutsider

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2019
    Not if one bought SSR. Its $165 direct..I think..resale is around $100..so 65 for 100 points.l.all that is needed for direct..6500.

    Long time, yes..probably 15 years with every other year trips on AP..but one Would make it back eventually..especially if trips started to happen yearly.
    I think that in OP's use-case, an AP would not be a cost savings over regular 7 or 8 day park hoppers
     

    SecondEventuality

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 28, 2019
    Someone has said this already, but the bulk of the contract is not the buy-in, but the fees...so saving 3K by going with resale for the buy-in didn't make sense for us...and that's even *if* we were only going every other year and didn't get annual passes as well as stagger them to maximize the savings (thank you @Sandisw!)

    So it does depend on how many points you need, the resort, and the expiration date, too!
     
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    Sandisw

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2008
    I think that in OP's use-case, an AP would not be a cost savings over regular 7 or 8 day park hoppers
    Yes, it won’t save on that so that is why I don’t think this OP..if they stay with the every other year, AP doesn’t save..unless you want toconsider merchandise and dining discounts..since they may not be eligible for TIW..

    The one person could get the discounted AP for about $159 more than 8 day park hopper.. Still not thinking it’s worth buying direct because that strategy can still be done with regular priced AP., especially given the initial resale savings.
     

    Jenniebee

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 1, 2019
    Also, I knew everyone talked about how much more difficult it is to take kids out of schools now, but I guess I had wishful thinking about being able to still do a little bit in elementary school. I remember my parents taking my sister and I out for a week every year until I was 12! Now reconsidering kicking my contract up to 160 points to account for traveling in higher point cost seasons in a few years.
    I used to take my kids out of school. The last year I was really able to do that was 6th grade. This will be hard to imagine, but your kids may not want to be out and miss school. My kids are the ones who began putting up resistance to this, moreso than the school or the teachers. It's not just about missing classroom time but also their social lives, one of my kids did not want to miss her sports practices and meets, the other one was in the play and had rehearsals. Just food for thought.

    Re: The two resorts, they are both known to be the smart choices for getting a good value, the dues are nearly identical, actually for 2020 BLT might be lower by a decimal point. Watch some videos on YouTube where they do walk-throughs of the different room types and try to get a feel for which you like better, like for the layout and the vibe. But make sure the SSR videos you watch are the newer refurb ones because that it what it is going to be, and the old decor does not do it justice.

    I will say in the young kid years that you are in right now, BLT is good for proximity to MK, and there is also a decent variety of food choices at the Contemporary (Chef Mickey's, The Wave, Contempo Cafe), and on the monorail loop resorts pretty simple access to three different character meals. SSR is closer to Disney Springs but I doubt your 2 year old will want to spend much time there. ;) However a lot of people with kids say their kids really like the SSR pools. So you just have to weigh it out.

    For resale vs. direct to me this is a no brainier. There are very few compelling reasons to buy direct. 120 points @ $100 = $12,000. 120 points at $165 = $19,800. Is buying direct worth over $9k to you? For BLT this divide will be even greater.

    For an AP the wisdom on this seems to be an annual pass starts to be worth it if you are doing 9 or more park days annually.
     
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    jlb727

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 13, 2019
    I live in Illinois, too! We just bought SSR resale, 150 points. We have two kids, and I’m a teacher so I can’t pull the kids out of school anyway because I have to be in school! That being said, we went with SSR because we like Disney Springs, we will almost always have a car, hubby loves golf, and the kids like the two feature pools. Also, it had the lowest buy-in costs and MFs. As a bonus, the renovated rooms are GORGEOUS. However, we like variety and want to try different resorts and SSR has the best value for that. In March, we are staying at Beach Club and it wasn’t too hard to get a 2 bedroom.

    We were looking 10-15 years ahead when my kids will be in college and hubby and I will be doing adult trips. Proximity to MK with BLT may or may not be worth it to you then. You just have to figure out what you think you will value in 5, 10, 15 and more years from now. Good luck! Let us know what you decide!
     

    sethschroeder

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 24, 2013
    Where to buy? This has to be where you are okay with staying for the next 20/30/40 years. What happens if DVC starts to be a gridlock in the future where trading out is really only possible at absolute low periods (summer as an example). BLT is also likely to have a better resale future because of this as people will want to buy BLT where as SSR would decrease in value as it becomes harder to trade out for another resort.

    Only you can say if Direct vs Resale makes sense. Just my perspective:
    • Annual Passes (biggest benefit but you have to use them)
    • Moonlight Magic (you want to skip around resorts which is good but you need to be able to change travel plans around)
    • Future resorts (do the ones even coming interest you? and remember there are already 10 resorts so thats 30 years just going to each resort 3 times)
    • You can always sell your Resale (possibly for a little loss or a little profit) and buy Direct after you find your resort/area of choice
    • If DVC is hurting they can always change their rules (could we see a day where DVC allows you to pay $100/point to make them "direct", seems far fetched now I know)
     

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