DVC Reality

Lclark5678

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jun 19, 2019
Hello!! I’m new here. I’m looking to become a dvc member. A huge part of the allure of being a dvc member, is the ability to stay at many different resorts. I was hoping I could get some insight from those who are already members. How realistic is it that you can stay at a variety of resorts? For Orlando, I prefer to travel in January and February. We do prefer studios that sleep 5, but one bedrooms are fine too.

Also, I was wondering what the booking process is for DVC Members. I’ve been playing around on the Disney website, just to see what availability looks like 7 months out for a January stay. When I look under “deluxe villas” I do see some availability for Polynesian studios and bay lake one bedrooms in January. Although, I saw someone post a couple days ago that there are no studios available in January. Is there a different poking process for DVC members, or do you do it under “deluxe villas” on the Disney website?

Thanks so much!!! I’m so glad that the disboards are full of people as obsessed with Disney world as I am!!!
 

aoconnor

WDW Nut
Joined
Apr 27, 2016
Welcome! January and February (outside of holiday weekends and marathon weekend) are among the easiest months to book all year. You should have good availability to try other resorts in studios, and definitely in one bedrooms.

Many say "buy where you want to stay", I go with the less strict "buy where you don't mind staying". I didn't want to buy SSR because I wouldn't be happy staying there. AKV is the next cheapest and I love it there, so I chose that. Do I like some resorts like VGF more? Yes, but not 50% more. I'm happy with AKV as my base and hop around to other resorts when possible, which knock on wood has been relatively easy so far. I've booked VGF, BWV, Poly, CCV, and VGC since buying in 2016, but I don't travel at peak times.

The cash rates you see when searching on the Disney site have no correlation to availability for DVC members. Disney must retain at least 2% of each resort and those are the reservations you see on their site. DVC members have a tool on the member website where you can see a calendar of availability at each resort. Check out this post for some good data:

 
  • Dean Marino

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 3, 2015
    OK, you asked for reality. Trying to provide some?

    1) DO NOT FINANCE. Have a good $30K in cash to buy in. RIGHT out of savings.
    2) You will likely require about 6-10 years, depending on how often you visit, to hit "Break Even" - that point where you have won, over real DISCOUNTED room rates. "Rack Rate" is a myth.

    If this did not make you think a bit? There is more...

    3) BUY WHERE YOU WANT TO STAY. NO DVC is actually "sold out" Every location recovers points DAILY from ROFR & foreclosure. DW & I bought 300 points at BRV - DIRECT, in 2012, LONG after "sold out". We just had to wait a while :). About 3 months. Yes, we have BLUE CARDS.


    4) SEE 3.... You WANT that 11 Month Home Resort window. Sorry - "you can book any DVC at 7 months" is pretty much crap. You will try - and everything will be gone. Try the Grand Californian at DL.... let us know how that works out for you :).

    Us? DVC Owners, BRV, 2012 to present. We have already hit breakeven. We go 18 days per year. We LOVE our DVC. But really: This is generally a $30,000 (or plus) upfront CASH investment, out of your savings, in order to make it work. FINANCING will kill you, at greater than 10% per year interest. This deal is a MAJOR cash expense, and should be weighed against everything else :(.

    Please be sure that everything ELSE (home, children's education, CC bills, retirement) is in place first?

    And right out - VERY sorry if this is not what you wanted to hear. We have no Financial Interest in anything Disney - no stock, no bonds.... nothing.
     
    Last edited:

    Lclark5678

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 19, 2019
    Thank you everyone, this info is great!! I need all of the advice I can get, and this appears to be one of the best places to get it.

    I am mostly interested in either 100 points at the poly, or 125-150 at AKV. I am really only willing to buy resale. We would go every other year. The cost of this looks to be about 11-16,000 up front, which would be nearly half of my savings account. Does anyone see any red flags with this plan? In the last 20 months I have spent over $5,000 in lodging costs, and fully plan on going to Disney again within the next 3 years.

    Again, very new to the world of DVC, and still learning. Am I reading correctly that you can sell unused points, without ending your contract? Is this a way to make up for the cost, if we decide to take a non-Disney vacation?

    I feel like I still have a million questions! Thanks everyone:)
    Thanks!
     

    aoconnor

    WDW Nut
    Joined
    Apr 27, 2016
    Thank you everyone, this info is great!! I need all of the advice I can get, and this appears to be one of the best places to get it.

    I am mostly interested in either 100 points at the poly, or 125-150 at AKV. I am really only willing to buy resale. We would go every other year. The cost of this looks to be about 11-16,000 up front, which would be nearly half of my savings account. Does anyone see any red flags with this plan? In the last 20 months I have spent over $5,000 in lodging costs, and fully plan on going to Disney again within the next 3 years.

    Again, very new to the world of DVC, and still learning. Am I reading correctly that you can sell unused points, without ending your contract? Is this a way to make up for the cost, if we decide to take a non-Disney vacation?

    I feel like I still have a million questions! Thanks everyone:)
    Thanks!
    Do you have retirement accounts or other investments on top of that savings account? Personally I would not put 50% of *all* my money into DVC.

    If you decided to take a non-Disney vacation one year you could rent out your points yourself or through a broker like David's. You'll likely get $14-16 per point.
     

    Lclark5678

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 19, 2019
    Do you have retirement accounts or other investments on top of that savings account? Personally I would not put 50% of *all* my money into DVC.

    If you decided to take a non-Disney vacation one year you could rent out your points yourself or through a broker like David's. You'll likely get $14-16 per point.
    Thank you. We do have both investments and 401k totaling double of what is currently in our savings account. Our house is almost halfway paid off.

    So you can likely expect to pay off the maintenance fees plus some by renting?

    Thanks!
     

    Carlymouse

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 22, 2017
    We bought in recently (resale, too) with no intention ro rent to compensate for yearly dues. If we ever need to do that, it's a bonus to know that we can. We definitely use the predicted booking patterns thread, and my husband regularly checks in on availability at 11 and 7 months, just to keep a frame of reference. We are okay using 1- bedrooms, which are sometimes more available than studios. I agree that it wouldn't be wise to expect that you can always trade for whatever you want, but you can frequently trade depending on time of year and flexibility with room size. Again, the predicted availability thread and tracking online is helpful. Some resorts are more available than others. We plan on trying different resorts, but we like a lot of SSR's amenities, so we went with total value (SSR got us the most points + cheapest dues for what were had to spend), but that IS a very personal decision. We wouldn't have bought SSR if we thought we'd only be happy trading at 7 months.
    Since purchasing, we are super happy with our decision. We bought last fall, and have only taken our first DVC trip since purchasing (booked AKV Savannah view studios for spring break) , but we've loved thinking about our future trips and psuedo- planning them. Good luck with your decision- making!
     

    clayfolks

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 31, 2009
    We, too, prefer traveling in January or February. We own at AKV, Poly, and RIV. We bought Poly bc of switching at 7 months and falling in love...
    We have switched successfully at 7 months and stayed in studios at GC, GF, SSR, Poly, BLT, BW, BR, and OKW. We have also book Aulani for friends at 7 months.
     

    Lclark5678

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 19, 2019
    Wow. That’s good to hear. Do you guys think that you will continue to be able to book fairly easily during non-peak months in the future? Do you think it will be different for resale vs direct buys? I know it’s impossible to know the future, but you guys definitely have more to go off of than I do:)
     

    gharter

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 3, 2004
    Go through the stickies here about DVC. I spent about 2 months really reading through the information and asked a lot of questions before we purchased.
    We have never regretted our contracts.
    As mentioned above:
    This is a vacation purchased. i would never finance this. If you don't have the cash, wait.
    Buy where you want to stay. Home resorts you can book at 11 months. We have never had a problem booking at 11 months. Depending on the time of year, booking at 7 months can be difficult to impossible.
    If you can't plan your vacations about a year in advance, DVC may not be for you.
     

    NoTime42

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 28, 2019
    Wow. That’s good to hear. Do you guys think that you will continue to be able to book fairly easily during non-peak months in the future? Do you think it will be different for resale vs direct buys? I know it’s impossible to know the future, but you guys definitely have more to go off of than I do:)
    Theme Park vs DVC peak times are often quite different. October - January marathon is currently DVC’s most high demand time (DVC owners are usually sensible folks that are drawn to low points and more moderate weather)
    ...but it’s always possible for demand to shift and/or Disney adding festivals/theme park parties to make other times more popular, too.
     

    Wakey

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 22, 2015
    As above there is off peak availability in studios.
    The buy where you want to stay advice can be good advice, it can be poor advice. If you wish to sleep around the resorts very easily at most times other than peak, and even have decent choice at peak (I bought for the same reason) then think about buying twice the points and stay in 1 beds. 1 bed availibility at 7 months is a different ball game to studios.
    Given you will be booking at 7 months, buy where you want to stay may be pointlessly spending more than you have to. You are like me- not buying to go back to the same place year after year, the attraction of the product is a different vacation each time.
    I bought where I wouldn’t mind staying, Saratoga. In fact I like the resort very much. I’ll happily stay there when it’s refurbed which they have now commenced. My favourite resorts are the Crescent Lake ones, but I won’t buy with just 24 years left.
    So I bought twice the points at SSR, and in fact this wasn’t a difficult decision because we much prefer 1 beds anyway.
    Most times of year, you have the absolute pick of any resort to stay in, with 1 beds. And even most views, last summer I could have booked AKL value 2 weeks running. The tricky ones are BLT Standard, and perhaps theme park, maybe Boardwalk Standard (but I got that), AKL concierge and supposedly AKL value. But generally, take your pick at non peak times.
    In peak times such as Xmas in 1 beds, as long as you book dead on 7 months, you will have some choice- always OKW, and AKL, and likely BRV, and BWV and even BCV. Possibly GFV too but I don’t pay much attention to that most of the time as it’s points intensive so I don’t book it.
    This coming Xmas, 20-26 December, BCV in 1 beds was totally open as was BWV. So I booked BCV. From 26 December to 30 December I was going to book BRV or OKW (split stay on purpose) but BLT came up, so I booked there, I maybe got lucky with that as it was showing as booked when checking in the run up. 31 December was tighter all over. But hey, I am flexible, I like staying different resorts, and BLT I could have stayed in easily in quieter times.
    If I ever score a studio on my travels and wanted one, I could rent out the excess points which would cover the dues across the entire contract for the year.
    Skier Pete’s charts are brilliant and still accurate, but slightly pessimistic I’ve found on 1 beds. But look at them as they are the best data in this area available. Pete said the spotty rating I think means they are available but go quick.
    Caveat to this, is that availibility has got more difficult to get at 7 months. It could change. But again this in my observation seems to have been with regards to studios, not 1 beds. As point cost increases, and points per night goes up, more and more people buy to book studios. I don’t see them chasing 1 beds with the same vigour or any real reason why they should be.
    Bizarrely using this strategy, I have seen situations where say studios at VGF have been fully booked, and thus an owner who paid virtually the same to buy in as me cannot book his studio at 7 months, but me with twice the points can book a 1 bed at 7 months and stay in vastly superior accommodations to the owner there who paid the same and cannot get a studio.
    This strategy obviously means paying double the dues but I’m quite happy to do that anyway for the vastly superior accommodation of the 1 bed over the studio.
     

    Deb & Bill

    DVC-Trivia Contest, Apr-2006: Honorable Mention
    Joined
    Mar 20, 2000
    Wow. That’s good to hear. Do you guys think that you will continue to be able to book fairly easily during non-peak months in the future? Do you think it will be different for resale vs direct buys? I know it’s impossible to know the future, but you guys definitely have more to go off of than I do:)
    There are very few off-peak times for DVC any more. Sept through mid-Jan are book your home at 11 months out and see if there is anything left at seven months out. Summer months are a bit easier, but a bit after seven months, it might be tough.
     

    crisi

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 25, 2002
    DVC is for the long term, and availability patterns can change fairly quickly in the short term. Your own travel patterns aren't likely to stay consistent over the long term either - for instance, January and February may be great now, but if you are young with young kids, might be difficult once the kids get older. If you are newly retired, it might be a great snowbird idea for the moment, but it might quickly be more desirable to take on a longer term condo rental during the snow months than just a week or two at Disney.

    There are three things that change availability patterns - Disney changing visitation patterns by adding new events to draw guests, more DVC rooms being added which increases the seven month competition at the existing resorts, and the membership getting savvier (learning that they have to book early, recognizing that they can rent home resort points they aren't going to use through a broker easily and often with a premium, walking reservations) Buy where you won't mind ending up, and any time you get to stay somewhere else its a bonus. Think realistically about the numbers involved - i.e. a lot of BWV owners bought BW specifically for F&W, it isn't likely that a non-home resort owner will find a room available there in October- and the few rooms that are available are going to move quickly once the seven month window opens up - there are a few hundred rooms in total at BWV and a few hundred thousand members. Bigger resorts will have more availability to move into, one bedrooms tend to be open longer than studios. i.e. you can often switch into the large SSR or VAKL Kidani - but it can be hard to get into a studio at BCV or VGF at seven months during any time of the year.

    If you can go into it with "I'm going to book at home, and then try and switch into BCV at seven months - and be delighted if I get the room - if not, I'll see what else is available and try again next year" you'll be much happier than if you go into it with "I must be able to get into BCV at seven months and if I don't, my vacation will be ruined." But maximum flexibility in booking will always be through cash. And what you are noticing - that CRO has rooms available that are not available to members - can really eat away at some people - some have real anger and dissatisfaction with the system over it - and will not change (those rooms - for the most part - are already booked via points - either Disney's own points from what they currently have in inventory, or member trade outs).
     

    DVC Jen

    Wigs out even the biggest circus freaks.
    Joined
    Jan 11, 2004
    We financed. It was the only way we could buy in initially. For us it was worth the monthly payments and interest. Even with paying interest we see it as a great investment in our family and future vacation. When we bought our second contract - it was resale and we paid cash. That was the right thing for us at that time.

    Each person/family is different. Do what is right for you.

    Now with that said - I do agree with the buy where you want to stay. We have not personally had a hard time staying at every resort we have wanted to try. We had a waitlist a few times, but it always came through (it doesn't always though). We always book at our home resort at the 11th month window and then transfer the reservation at the 7th month window. That way we are covered. We know we will have a room and if it is at our home resort we are happy with that. If we are able to transfer at the 7th month window - icing on the cake.

    We love DVC. We bought in back in 2001 and it was a great decision for us. We have had many many years of wonderful Disney vacations both on site and off at Hilton Head and Vero. Now with that said - I can not bring myself to recommend buying into Riveria with the changes that have been made. I think the value for the price (buying direct) has dramatically decreased. It really is all up the the person/family making the decision though. What is right for one is not right for another. It really is a personal decision based on you, your family and what you want/need now and in the future.

    Best advice I can give - go into this with your eyes wide open. Know what you are getting and what you are not getting. Informing yourself and educating yourself (especially with all the changes now) is the best thing you can do.
     

    weich1001

    Wendi
    Joined
    Jan 7, 2008
    We are a family of two just DH and self. We closed in April 2008 and thru a handful of visits from 2008-2011 "broke even" with our investment...that is given we had used cash instead of points for those dates of travel. Our last vacation at Disney was Nov 2012. Since then we started our own company and not really taken any vacations as our time has been tied up. However we have used them for us, my parents and niece and nephews who now have their own children so they can travel and also enjoy the Disney magic. We never not used a single point during the years we did not "go to the parks".

    As for Jan travel...we have never done so. However, we decided in late Feb 2019 to finally take a real vacation in between a business trip to the south this coming Jan, 2020...We will be there before/during/after MLK weekend - so crowd levels are obviously higher during several of those days. I did what any person who hasn't been to Disney in awhile does...hop on the boards and youtube for information. We had no problem immediately booking a studio at Boulder Creek and at the dvcmember site, almost all resorts were showing availability with all room types.

    During the past week, we just passed our 7 month mark. As most recommend...be online at 8AM or on the phone at 9AM to insure you get what you want. We were and we did get into the resort we decided to stay at this time and easily changed into as 1BR. I was surprised how quickly availability changed at the resorts throughout that day. The first showing just a few of our days being available was Beach Club followed by Grand Floridian Villas.

    Fast forward one week and now most resorts have only limited availability for those dates with Studios hardly available. However, if you do not mind staying at a couple different resorts to vary your stay, that can still be accomplished as they seem to have plenty of availability...just not for the length of time or days we plan to be there.

    If you are able to afford it, I think it is a great way to "buy your hotel rooms" at today's prices for the next 20-40 years or so. And if you decide to not use them to go to the parks, they have lots of other options to be able to use them or go thru a retailer like David's to rent them off (doing so at least get's you your yearly maintenance fee's back)

    Hope this helps!
     

    philharmagic fan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 25, 2015
    Thank you everyone, this info is great!! I need all of the advice I can get, and this appears to be one of the best places to get it.

    I am mostly interested in either 100 points at the poly, or 125-150 at AKV. I am really only willing to buy resale. We would go every other year. The cost of this looks to be about 11-16,000 up front, which would be nearly half of my savings account. Does anyone see any red flags with this plan? In the last 20 months I have spent over $5,000 in lodging costs, and fully plan on going to Disney again within the next 3 years.

    Again, very new to the world of DVC, and still learning. Am I reading correctly that you can sell unused points, without ending your contract? Is this a way to make up for the cost, if we decide to take a non-Disney vacation?

    I feel like I still have a million questions! Thanks everyone:)
    Thanks!
    Remember, Poly has only studios and bungalows. Fine when you have small kids and only need the single room, but will you still be OK with that when your teen or adult children want to bring friends or spouses? Will you need a kitchen or laundry room? Look ahead 10 years - AKV has much more flexibility.
     

    ypv

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 22, 2007
    Lots of solid advice above. My experience has been that we've generally had options at 7-months, but not always (the availability tool is the best resource I've seen for what availability has been recently). It feels to me like availability has gotten tighter over the years, and I think many members would agree. I would echo philharmagic - I think AKV would have more flexibility than Poly. If you would be happy at AKV, you may find that flexibility useful in the future. As my family has gotten older, the importance of extra beds, extra bathrooms, and more space has increased - just something to think about. If you prefer the Poly and are confident those units will meet your future needs, that could be a great option too. You are wise to do some research before buying!
     

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