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  1. #1
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    Default DVC - is it worth it?

    Hi All, I have been trying to familiarize myself with the DVC idea. Can someone describe what it is exactly and if it it worth it? Does it save you a lot of $? We will be living in Florida soon, so we are hoping to visit Disney a few times a year. We are a family of 4 and usually like to stay for 5+ days at a time and love the Coronado Springs and Polynesian resorts. We are trying to figure out what our best options would be when go there. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Tara

    "It's a Small World after all..."

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  3. #2
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    If you're going to be a Florida resident, I'd just take advantage of those deals, or rent the DVC points. Those are probably cheaper options.

    We bought DVC back in 2008 before restrictions were placed on using resale points. At that time they were selling points at AKL and SSR and points were around $107 each. We paid around $65 per point & bought 150 points. We did not finance. We had the cash on hand, which is the only way I'd purchase the points. We don't borrow money, but YMMV. Makes no sense to me to make a purchase that large when you still have a mortgage ; )

    It has been worth it for us. We are a family of 6, which is what pushed us to look into DVC. We'd always stayed at Deluxe resorts (hubby is a self-proclaimed hotel snob), but when child #4 outgrew the Pack & Play, we had to move to 2 rooms. Two deluxe rooms were out of our budget, so we stayed in 2 connecting rooms at All Star Movies in December 2007. We did not love the Value resorts, and took the DVC tour on a whim one day. We fell in love. We were going to sign the contract right there after the tour, but had no debit card or checks on us since we had been headed into the parks when we detoured to the DVC tour. We took the paperwork with us, and hubby, being a saver, started looking into buying resale. Since we're from SC, we bought 150 cheap(er) points at Hilton Head Island. A couple of years later we added another 200 point contract, which gave us 350 total points & allows us to go at least twice a year as a family, or on one shorter yearly family trip with 2-3 stays as a couple (Hubby & I like to go for Flower & Garden, and my sister likes Food & Wine so I'm the one that uses the points the most - I take a friend!)

    DVC works on a points system. The # of points it takes to stay depends on (1) when you go (there are different point values for different times of the year, as well as weekends) (2) how long you stay (3) which property you stay at (4) what you stay in (studio, 1 BR Villa, 2 BR villa, 3 BR villa). There are points charts you can look at to determine how many points you may want to buy depending on when you like to visit WDW. A lot of people say buy where you want to stay, too. As I said, we bought at Hilton Head, which means we can book there up to 11 months before our check-in date. We can only book other DVC properties up to 7 months before check-in, which means we don't have first choice at our faves (Bay Lake, Beach Club, Boardwalk) if it's a popular time of year (like Food& Wine or holidays). Where we stay doesn't really bother me. I like all the DVC properties, so we just take whatever is available at 7 months. Sometimes we get lucky. But if you have a place that you know you want to stay, buy there.

    As for saving money, I think it has saved us. We prepaid for the next 40+ years of WDW accommodations, basically. We were spending at least $6K on each Disney trip before DVC. Now we just pay for (DVC discounted) APs for me & hubby & whatever tix the kids need when we go. We don't buy the dining plan, because we just don't eat like that (breakfast in the room, maybe a snack during the day, and one big TS meal per day is what we do). Now we're spending maybe $2500 per trip and staying in much nicer accommodations than we did when we just booked Deluxe rooms. With 6 people, trunk space (we drive) is minimal, so I like that the kids can pack 2 or 3 things to wear & we can use the washer/dryer in the villas at the end of the day. Since our DVC points are owned at a coastal property, we pay higher annual maintenance fees. Next year our fees are going up because of the damage sustained at the HHI property after Hurricane Matthew. The fees are the only downside to owning DVC, though. Definitely check the maintenance fees before you buy (most WDW properties are about the same, but Vero & HHI are higher because their on the coast).
    1994 PO
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    '14 BCV, OKW, HHI
    '15 BCV, HHI, AKL
    '16 BLT, OKW, AKL, SSR, Fantasy
    '17 BLT, GF, AKL, BC
    '18 Wonder

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  5. #3
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    As far as saving us money, it hasn't...bc we wont use our points for race weekends, california, or long term trips. It actually ends up costing us more money bc its an extra trip for us. We would otherwise probably compound the race weekend and just stay longer but we have 9 people and we have to make the 200 points we have last a week. So we end up doing 2 race weekends every year, and a dvc trip. The DVC trips end up being the one that we go.....we need to buy tickets bc our passes expired. Would we have it any other way? No. We love having the DVC and the accomodations are the best! It's not really a money saving option, IMO. It is a different way of vacationing and if you do it, then it should be done because you appreciate the accommodations. Bc another thing that happens is once you are DVC you stop getting Pin codes and Bounceback offers and forget free dining.
    A man should never neglect his family for business.-Walt Disney
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  6. #4
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    We've been DVC members almost from the beginning -and have added on a few times. We have never regretted the purchase, and we think it's worth every penny. That being said, it's not going to make sense for you if you are keying in on Coronado and Polynesian with 5 people. There are no DVC units at Coronado, and Poly has only studios or the very expensive 2-BR bungalows. A single studio is probably too tight for 5, so you'd likely need to get 2 rooms there. But there are some other options for DVC rooms that are outstanding. You just have to figure if you'll be happy staying at those other locations most of the time! Good luck with your decision.

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  8. #5
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    We are recent investors and would tell you we've been very pleased. I would say DVC is worth if you intend to visit WDW or other Disney resorts at least bi-annually, if not even annually. It's also worth it if you have a larger party and/or like stay at deluxe resorts. For us its been the gift that keeps on giving!
    Beth & David

    09/82 Treehouse Villas, 06/86 BVP, 10/95 CBC, 10/99 DI, 08/03 PORS, 10/05 POP, 11/06 AKL, 09/09 POLY, 10/10 Wonder, 05/11 Dream/PORS, 08/13 POLY, 11/13 GF, 04/15 POLY, 11/15 BLT, 11/16 Aulani,
    03/17 BLT

  9. #6
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    If you're about to become Florida residents I don't think it's going to save you all that much if any money. You'll now get Florida resident rates on passes and therefore access to Florida resident or passholder discounts on rooms. I'm a local, so hotel costs don't figure into my costs of visiting, but the discounts are frequent, and as someone earlier mentioned, renting DVC points is often a much better value than owning those points.

    Another question to ask yourself is do you think buying a timeshare (in general) is a good investment / use of money? If your answer is no, then do your reasons for saying no change just because this particular timeshare has 'Disney' in its name? Something to think about.

  10. #7
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    Our story is a little different. We have 50 points, two 25 point contracts, that we bought years ago from the resale market, before Disney changed the rules on what resale contracts allow. So, we were "grandfathered" in and don't have any restrictions on how we use our points.

    Our points are at OKW, and we bought the contracts for about $2500 each (with closing costs). So, we've got around $5000 sunk in to our contracts, and they've long since been paid off.

    This allows us to stay at a studio apartment for about four or five days every other year. We've stayed at Bay Lake, Wilderness Lodge, Boardwalk, Hilton Head, and Saratoga Springs. We just blew all of our points for two years on a two night stay at Aulani (in a one bedroom villa...it would have been less points for a studio, but there were none available). We plan to use our points this fall for a quick two night stay at OKW.

    The real thing that I think we love about our membership is the discounts. Discounts on purchases, food, and really on the APs. When we are going multiple times in a year, we can buy Gold Annual Pass renewals for about the cost of one of our normal Disney trips (8-9 days at a Moderate level resort). It includes discounts for meals and Memory Maker.

    We don't use our DVC points for our regular trips, as we don't have enough points really to do that. We're thinking about adding on, though. The one thing that we don't like is that we often take advantage of Disney's "deals", such as getting the free dining plan in the fall, and you can't do that AND use your points for a stay at a resort. But it's awfully nice when you have AP's and you can use points that you've long since paid off. Then all you have to do is get there and pay for food. Everything else is already taken care of. Makes those quick, short trips a lot cheaper.
    2002 - 2017 - 17 visits (POR, BW, All Stars, VWL, CSR, BLT, BC, SSR, Dolphin, offsite x4)
    September 2017 - OKW!

  11. #8
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    We bought into SSR when they were near completion. I never looked at this as an investment because vacations are not investments except maybe towards a quality of life. DVC did give us options as we are south FL residents who for many years went to WDW for every 3 day weekend and a week or two a year. If you asked me through 2010, I'd say that it was worth every penny. We would have enough points for the long trips as long as we weren't going peak periods and the option to use it for a studio long weekend trip or two. In 2010 our family dynamic changed due to divorce and now my ex and I either split the points or swap years. That said, my son who is nearly 16 likes WDW but also USO. We've stayed at a DVC resort and dined in Disney Springs but have gone to other parks a few times and we've literally lost points due to non usage. I still have a soft spot for WDW, so we'll probably keep the points till they expire but no longer keep AP's at WDW.

  12. #9
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    If you would not stay in a deluxe hotel when you stay at WDW....... the "payback math" gets a little important to analyze. Value resorts and off season times might be close to annual dues. Annual dues, airfare, meals, park tickets, and the like are a larger part of the cost of a Disney vacation than the lodging part is in many cases. You just have to take the time and do the math as far as if it is a "good deal".

    That is speaking purely financially. It is a nice 'warm fuzzy' to own a Piece of the Mouse. What is that aspect worth? Who can say. For some.... nothing. For others...... it IS a warm fuzzy. If you buy even a small contract direct;...... you do get some discounts on various things. Will that continue? No one knows. Will it "pay" for the membership? Likely NOT (unless you buy a LOT of stuff).

    In looking at the Disney Dining Plan and paying "cash" for what we eat... we have found that the plan does not save us money. So the DVC reservation not being able to use the dining plan is not a factor for us. We also find that we eat more of what we WANT... and less stuff that we don't want.

    At the moment we think it will be worth it. Ask us in about 10 years .

    best,

    ................john

    DVC membership 2016 <AKL>
    Next Trip: WDW October 2017 F+W Fest <Kidani>
    Last Trip: WDW October 2016 F+W Fest <Pop Century>
    Previous Trip: WDW August 2015 <AKL Jambo -DVC point rental->
    Also: 1988, 1990, 1992, 1997, 2010, 2012
    Disneyland - 1972

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  14. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by WiltonJohn View Post
    If you would not stay in a deluxe hotel when you stay at WDW....... the "payback math" gets a little important to analyze. Value resorts and off season times might be close to annual dues. Annual dues, airfare, meals, park tickets, and the like are a larger part of the cost of a Disney vacation than the lodging part is in many cases. You just have to take the time and do the math as far as if it is a "good deal".

    That is speaking purely financially. It is a nice 'warm fuzzy' to own a Piece of the Mouse. What is that aspect worth? Who can say. For some.... nothing. For others...... it IS a warm fuzzy. If you buy even a small contract direct;...... you do get some discounts on various things. Will that continue? No one knows. Will it "pay" for the membership? Likely NOT (unless you buy a LOT of stuff).

    In looking at the Disney Dining Plan and paying "cash" for what we eat... we have found that the plan does not save us money. So the DVC reservation not being able to use the dining plan is not a factor for us. We also find that we eat more of what we WANT... and less stuff that we don't want.

    At the moment we think it will be worth it. Ask us in about 10 years .

    best,

    ................john
    How many people are kicking themselves for not buying 10 years prior or even at the start. For many it is a big hurdle to say you are going to spend that much on a time share. However if you are a WDW regular it doesn't take long to look back after your first few trips and say, "I should have done this years ago!" That's IF you are a WDW regular who likes or needs deluxe stays.
    Beth & David

    09/82 Treehouse Villas, 06/86 BVP, 10/95 CBC, 10/99 DI, 08/03 PORS, 10/05 POP, 11/06 AKL, 09/09 POLY, 10/10 Wonder, 05/11 Dream/PORS, 08/13 POLY, 11/13 GF, 04/15 POLY, 11/15 BLT, 11/16 Aulani,
    03/17 BLT

  15. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by baldburke View Post
    How many people are kicking themselves for not buying 10 years prior or even at the start. For many it is a big hurdle to say you are going to spend that much on a time share. However if you are a WDW regular it doesn't take long to look back after your first few trips and say, "I should have done this years ago!" That's IF you are a WDW regular who likes or needs deluxe stays.
    Raising my hand! We bought in 2008, but had been taking kids to WDW & staying Deluxe since 2002. We had never done the research and just assumed it was like a regular time share. We didn't want any part of something like that. We finally decided to look into it during our first (and only) stay in a Value (ASMovies).
    1994 PO
    '96 GF (h'moon)
    '02 Cont. tower
    '03 WL
    '05 WL
    '06 GF, WL
    '07 ASMo
    '08 joined DVC: SSR, BWV
    '09 BCV, SSR
    '10 HHI, BCV/BWV
    '11 BLT
    '12 AKL, Dream
    '13 BCV, Fantasy, HHI
    '14 BCV, OKW, HHI
    '15 BCV, HHI, AKL
    '16 BLT, OKW, AKL, SSR, Fantasy
    '17 BLT, GF, AKL, BC
    '18 Wonder

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  17. #12
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    We bought back in 2008 and haven't regretted it once. We are a tall family and need the extra bed that the deluxe gives us as well as booking a one bedroom suite. For us it is a huge savings over cash bookings. We figured we broke even after 5 years.

    One thing I can not stress enough is to buy where you want to stay. For us we loved the Food & Wine, so being able to book at BWV at the 11 month window ensured we were able to get a reservation. There usually is limited availability at the 7 month window.

    Another thing we like about DVC is the flexibility of staying wherever on Disney property we want to. We typically stay 7-12 days every year. In fact we are going to Aulani this summer on our points. If we were to book the suite it would cost us over $5000 for the week we are staying there.
    Brian (aka CanadianWDWFan)
    INTERCOT Staff:Theme Parks, The Water Cooler & Trip Reports
    DVC-BWV

  18. #13
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    We bought way back in 92 and it was a very good deal then. Yes, it was just $51 and they threw in length of stay free entry to the parks until the end of 1999.

    It doesn't feel as good value to buy now but then all hotel costs have gone up. It all depends on how you would use it. It seems to work well in different ways for different people. I know several locals who like to use their points for stays at Vero. It's a nice option if you live close enough. We live a bit far away for that but we did stay at Vero overnight just after it had opened.
    Mikki
    INTERCOT staff - DVC, Characters, Collectibles and Games

    2017 Feb WDW Festival of Art and hopefully winter sunshine
    2017 Aug Disneyland bound

  19. #14
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    Back somewhere around 2007/2008 we took the tour and seriously considered buying. I did all the math from front to back. Looked into the resale market and everything. We decided to hold off and look at some of the resorts more on our next trip, which we did. I crunched the numbers some more and what I came up with is if we were going to completely dedicate ourselves to going to WDW every year for the next 40 or more years, it MIGHT be worth it. We decided to stay at Saratoga on our next trip and I will admit it is a nice resort. When we got back home we started heavily searching resales and were getting close to pulling the trigger. Somewhere along that time, Disney put restrictions on the resale points and took amenities away which completely through my math out of whack so we went back to the drawing board. Then the recession hit and severely disrupted my business ventures so that definitely put DVC on the back burner.

    So due to the recession we didn't even go to WDW for a couple of years and had we owned DVC, paying the annual dues would have been just another burden. On top of that, they started making changes in the parks including FP+ which I detest. The changes have seriously changed how much I want to visit the parks. In fact, the past 3 trips to WDW haven't been "vacation" trips, they have been trips centered around special events our kids were participating in that happened to be hosted at WDW. We have another event this summer so we will be there for that. I haven't scheduled an actual "vacation" to WDW in about 6 years now. The times I have been, I have gotten special pricing or stayed offsite for less than what the annual dues would have cost. So our vacationing plans and habits have completely changed since the time we almost bought into DVC.

    With everything that has happened and changed over the last 10 years since the time we first considered DVC, I am one of those that is very glad we decided not to buy DVC. There is absolutely no way we would have ever gotten a return on the investment required for DVC. We have been taking other vacations and traveling instead the past several years and are going to start traveling to Europe in the next year. So my recommendation is to think very long and hard about how much you really want to be locked into Disney for the next 40 or 50 years before you make the purchase because at the end of the day, it is really is just a timeshare that just happens to be at a Disney theme park and anything can change at any time.

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  21. #15
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    We've talked about possibly doing DVC in the future, but what holds me back is the thought of being financially locked into Disney vacations for decades. We love Disney and plan on doing many more trips in the future, but there are a lot of other places we want to go as well. I don't want the pressure of "well we paid all this money so we have to get a vacation in at Disney." The resale restrictions and annual dues aren't enticing either.

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    First WDW visit: 1984, Village Resort
    Last WDW visit: 2015, Caribbean Beach
    Next WDW visit: 2018, Polynesian

  22. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1DisneyNut View Post
    Back somewhere around 2007/2008 we took the tour and seriously considered buying. I did all the math from front to back. Looked into the resale market and everything. We decided to hold off and look at some of the resorts more on our next trip, which we did. I crunched the numbers some more and what I came up with is if we were going to completely dedicate ourselves to going to WDW every year for the next 40 or more years, it MIGHT be worth it. We decided to stay at Saratoga on our next trip and I will admit it is a nice resort. When we got back home we started heavily searching resales and were getting close to pulling the trigger. Somewhere along that time, Disney put restrictions on the resale points and took amenities away which completely through my math out of whack so we went back to the drawing board. Then the recession hit and severely disrupted my business ventures so that definitely put DVC on the back burner.

    So due to the recession we didn't even go to WDW for a couple of years and had we owned DVC, paying the annual dues would have been just another burden. On top of that, they started making changes in the parks including FP+ which I detest. The changes have seriously changed how much I want to visit the parks. In fact, the past 3 trips to WDW haven't been "vacation" trips, they have been trips centered around special events our kids were participating in that happened to be hosted at WDW. We have another event this summer so we will be there for that. I haven't scheduled an actual "vacation" to WDW in about 6 years now. The times I have been, I have gotten special pricing or stayed offsite for less than what the annual dues would have cost. So our vacationing plans and habits have completely changed since the time we almost bought into DVC.

    With everything that has happened and changed over the last 10 years since the time we first considered DVC, I am one of those that is very glad we decided not to buy DVC. There is absolutely no way we would have ever gotten a return on the investment required for DVC. We have been taking other vacations and traveling instead the past several years and are going to start traveling to Europe in the next year. So my recommendation is to think very long and hard about how much you really want to be locked into Disney for the next 40 or 50 years before you make the purchase because at the end of the day, it is really is just a timeshare that just happens to be at a Disney theme park and anything can change at any time.
    I like your analysis, while not a business owner, I consider myself a "number cruncher" and still have spreadsheets going back to visits in the '90's calculating our trip costs.

    My wife and I visited WDW for the first time together back in '91, about a year before we got married. I remember at the time thinking about it and almost pulling the trigger on it. But, we weren't married yet, they only had I think the one resort at the time (now OKW) and we didn't have kids and weren't sure how often we'd be back. I regret not pulling the trigger back then, but like you, don't have regrets not pulling the trigger since then.

    Our last three visits, with kids, in 2010-12-15 were all stays at POR and two of the stays were with free dining and the other was the Stay-Play-Dine promotion. When people analyze the "is it worth it" from the financial perspective, I think some things get lost in translation, the biggest of which is that the DVC Savings is generally compared to otherwise paying rack rates. But in our last three stays, getting free dining and and reduced dining/rates, we've essentially never paid rack rates, and that really throws off the math.

    For us, the two things that probably were the biggest road blocks were 1) transportation and 2) resort levels. The first, if we lived within reasonable driving distance of WDW, it would have a huge impact in our decision making process, but we don't, any trip there requires airfare for 5, and that puts the kabosh on annual visits. The second, we've traditionally stayed at moderate level resorts, ones that can accomodate 5. Granted I want nothing more than to stay at Deluxe level, but its never been an actual requirement when we've traveled to WDW. If you are purchasing DVC you are basically stating "we have to have Deluxe level".

    The other detractor for us, again being a number cruncher, is that many if not most of the WDW resort promotions that I see, generally have some form of discount, usually 25-35% off select DVC Villas. Granted it doesn't cover all of them, but still, when I've looked at renting points and looking at the Disney discounts, fairly close in final prices, so it again acts as a discincentive for me to buy DVC.

    I would like nothing more than to be a DVC owner, and if I did I'd do my best to make it happen thru the resale market. Unfortunately, answering the question from a financial standpoint "Is it worth it?", the answer is no for us.

  23. #17
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    If you don't plan on going every year or multiple times per year.... buy a small contract. Then with banking and borrowing....... maybe it makes the math look better for once every other or third year. Again........ needs vary. People have to weigh it all for their OWN needs.

    best,

    .................john

    DVC membership 2016 <AKL>
    Next Trip: WDW October 2017 F+W Fest <Kidani>
    Last Trip: WDW October 2016 F+W Fest <Pop Century>
    Previous Trip: WDW August 2015 <AKL Jambo -DVC point rental->
    Also: 1988, 1990, 1992, 1997, 2010, 2012
    Disneyland - 1972

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  25. #18
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    Exactly. Very good advice. We don't go every year anymore and we do the banking/borrowing thing every two to three years. We cruise and travel elsewhere in the off years, then have terrific stays in DVC . As my husband said above, this year we will have a week at Aulani with our DVC points, next year we'll take a cruise. It really works for us!

  26. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Hitchhiking Ghost View Post
    Our last three visits, with kids, in 2010-12-15 were all stays at POR and two of the stays were with free dining and the other was the Stay-Play-Dine promotion. When people analyze the "is it worth it" from the financial perspective, I think some things get lost in translation, the biggest of which is that the DVC Savings is generally compared to otherwise paying rack rates. But in our last three stays, getting free dining and and reduced dining/rates, we've essentially never paid rack rates, and that really throws off the math.

    For us, the two things that probably were the biggest road blocks were 1) transportation and 2) resort levels. The first, if we lived within reasonable driving distance of WDW, it would have a huge impact in our decision making process, but we don't, any trip there requires airfare for 5, and that puts the kabosh on annual visits. The second, we've traditionally stayed at moderate level resorts, ones that can accomodate 5. Granted I want nothing more than to stay at Deluxe level, but its never been an actual requirement when we've traveled to WDW. If you are purchasing DVC you are basically stating "we have to have Deluxe level".

    The other detractor for us, again being a number cruncher, is that many if not most of the WDW resort promotions that I see, generally have some form of discount, usually 25-35% off select DVC Villas. Granted it doesn't cover all of them, but still, when I've looked at renting points and looking at the Disney discounts, fairly close in final prices, so it again acts as a discincentive for me to buy DVC.
    I would be willing to compare those numbers. Just accommodations alone of course. No travel to and from, no park tickets, no meals or other incidentals. However it would have to be at least 10 years of history for a family that goes at least every other year and stays in deluxe resorts only then broken down on a per person basis (assuming the family of five goes for a two bedroom vs. a family of three that might be able to get away with a studio). Regardless of discounts I would be willing to bet that the DVC person pays less per widget than the standard guest. Again that's just accommodations and that's at least 10 years. Add on top of that savings for annual passes, food and merch then you get more leverage. Do it over 20 or more and the numbers would pale by comparison. However Disney ad nauseam isn't for everyone. If you are a Disney die-hard then it's cheaper.
    Beth & David

    09/82 Treehouse Villas, 06/86 BVP, 10/95 CBC, 10/99 DI, 08/03 PORS, 10/05 POP, 11/06 AKL, 09/09 POLY, 10/10 Wonder, 05/11 Dream/PORS, 08/13 POLY, 11/13 GF, 04/15 POLY, 11/15 BLT, 11/16 Aulani,
    03/17 BLT

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