This question comes up multiple times a week on the UK forums and as a member who impulse bought DVC a few years back I wanted to share my thoughts. I have no regrets in my impulse Purchase but there are things I wish I had known and thought about before I did.
A Florida Trip is a big thing for any family traveling from the UK. Even staying off property a family of 4 in a motel can run to £6600 (Price including Fly Drive, hotel and Park tickets, quoted on the Thomas Cook Holidays Website) a nice all inclusive beach holiday in Europe will only set you back half that price.
So if Florida and Disney are in your regular trip plans and not a once in a lifetime trip then buying DVC should definitely be something that you consider or at least have on your radar.
Here are the things, I think, you need to think about before you buy.
1. How often are you going to travel?
Do you want to come to Disney Every year or do you want a couple of those European beach holidays in between. Because of they way that you can bank and borrow points to make your trip up to the value of 3 years points it can be beneficial to purchase even a small contract a 75 point contract can potentially give you 225 points per trip.
2. How many points is enough points?
The short answer is you will never have enough, once you are hooked you are going to want to go more often and stay in bigger Villas. Play with the points calculators that are out there and look at the different seasons and how much they will be. If you are confined to travelling in school holidays make sure that you consider the points rate for summer holidays and spring breaks. Look at the different room types and the different points between them. How many more points do you need to be comfortable in a 1 bed unit compared to squeezing in to a studio.
3. Where should you make your home resort?
Many people will say don’t worry and switch to where you want to stay but anyone who has been a member for a while will tell you that isn’t as easy as it used to be. Linking in with the next question this is going to depend on the size of your family and ages of any children. If you have a couple of toddlers a studio at the Polynesian sounds fine, but are you going to be happy when it is two teenagers that will give Grumpy a run for his money? Take some time to explore the resorts that appeal to you, speak to the guests staying there at the moment and do some of the activities available during the day for guests. Own points at a resort that you will be happy to stay at if the plan top change at 7 months doesn’t work out they way you want it too.
4. What Size of Room will I need for my family?
Yes you can physically sleep 5 people in a Studio at the Polynesian but will you enjoy your trip in such close quarters? For 7 more points you could be in a 2 Bedroom at Animal Kingdom Lodge (points Value based on Choice Season 2020). DVC and Deluxe Villas will change the way you ‘holiday and change your expectations, I bought with the plan to stay in Studios but having spent some time in One and Two Bed Units I’m not sure how I will go back to a studio. Be realistic about how you want to holiday, you may think that having the washer/dryer isn’t important but think how nice it is to pack less and go home with little to no Laundry to doWho else is going to travel with you? Grandparents? Other Family and Friends? Having access to bigger units at your 11 month booking window will make a difference as your family and travel party grows. And you can get some 2 bed units at some properties for less than 2 studios.
5. Should I buy direct or resale?
At the end of the day you are going to get more points for your cash if you but resale. The downside might be that you lose some of the Direct Buyer Perks, these are not guaranteed and do change from year to year. Other than the discounts available when you are on Property (and in the Disney Stores in the UK with your Blue Card) as a UK member I don’t feel that I get the best value from the perks, in 3 years I have never managed to get to a members event (they have not matched with my dates and looking at when they are are unlikely to tie in with my dates.) so I would not buy based on these “perks”. The restrictions in the Resale Contracts include not being able to book the newer resorts built from Riviera onwards and you should consider if that is something that bothers you. Another consideration is the Expiry date of the older resorts however think about how you are realistically going to want to travel in 25 years time. I’m not sure where this statistic comes from but it is repeatedly said that the “Average” member only owns for 10 years.
6. Remember that DVC has a rental potential that is very different from other timeshare that you may own.
If you feel that there is a year that you are not going to be able to travel or your circumstances have changed slightly and you can’t afford a Florida trip for a couple of years those banked points can be Rented out via the Team at DVC Shop which in most cases will cover this years Dues and leave something over for a Holiday closer to home. There is also the potential to use the points elsewhere within the Disney Collection, Adventures by Disney, Disney Cruises and RCI.
No one can really answer if this is the right decision for you and your family but make sure you have all the facts and as much information as possible when you make that decision.
Take a couple of hours out while you are on your holiday to visit the sales centre and speak with someone about your options, while at the end of the day they are Sales Agents I found the 3 that I dealt with prior to buying to be very honest in their intentions, making very clear that this was a timeshare interest and that if I didn’t intend to travel to Disney on a Regular Basis then it would not be a good purchase for me. Although there are gaps in the knowledge of the Sales Agents I did not find them to be “Sales At Any Cost Focussed” so you can take the tour and get the information without feeling that you will be forced in to signing for something. Want to stay and experience the resort for yourself? Why not get in touch with the team at DVC Shop and rent a room at your dream resort, find out if it is really everything you have dreamt of or do a Split Stay and Experienced a couple of Resorts to help you pick.
Also remember if you are sold on buying direct but not sold on the current offerings (Currently Aulani and Rivieria) then don’t let them push you toward them and tell them what resort you want. My understanding is that wait lists are closed for Grand Floridian and Californian but you can be waitlisted for points at the other resorts.
The cash prices quoted above are based on travel September 5th to September 19th 2020 with British Travel Agent Thomas Cook and are based on 2 Adults and 2 Children (Under 10)