by: Tom (Pogo)
The Trials and Tribulations of a “DVC” decision
by Pogo (Mouse-aid charter member)
As a child growing up with hard working middle class parents, we had everything we needed and some of what we wanted. “Family time” was very important to us. Every evening we would gather around the dinner table, promptly at 5:00 PM for our family dinner and then after, it was racing into the living room to watch the Mickey Mouse Club, my first introduction to Disneyland.
Our Sundays were special days. Sunday was for God and family, and how I loved my Sundays as a child. Sunday evening was spent watching The Wonderful World of Disney. Originally aired on Wednesday nights by ABC, it was moved to NBC in September, 1961 to be broadcast in color. And it enhanced my dream to one day travel to Disneyland and meet Mickey Mouse and the rest of the gang. I never really thought I’d ever meet Mickey Mouse in person. California was so far away from our home in upstate New York and we didn’t have enough money for travel while we were young.
When Patti and I met for the first time in July, 2000, we were a perfect fit and luckily we both recognized it. We fell hard in love with each other almost immediately. Her life as a child had mirrored mine with the same type of upbringing, although she is a little younger than I. She was brought up watching the Mickey Mouse Club and had the same dream of one day meeting Mickey but her financial situation was also the same as mine. She never dreamed meeting Mickey was in her future.
But we did finally manage to meet Mickey in the spring of 2001 with our first trip to Walt Disney World while staying with friends in Florida.
Patti and I visited the Magic Kingdom on one of our days and we fell in love with being a kid again. We were there for “rope drop” and stayed until they kicked us out at the end of the night. We were so excited, it made the hour long drive back to our friend’s house go very quickly. We convinced my friend and his wife to join us at Epcot three days later and our love affair with Walt Disney World had begun.
It continued in April, 2002 as Patti and I were married and spent our honeymoon at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort at Walt Disney World and a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas on the DCL ship “Wonder “for our land and sea adventure.
For many people, a trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland is a once in a lifetime experience. But for us and some of our friends, it is a trip we are willing to take every couple of years on a regular basis. Yes, it is expensive, compared to other vacation choices closer to home, but it is by far the most enjoyable trip we’ve ever taken. So far we’ve been there six times and counting.
But what makes it so special? Being in the happiest place on earth is a great start. From the time we turn the corner at the Magic Kingdom and walk down “Main Street” towards Cinderella’s Castle, I am transformed into the biggest ten year old kid you’ve ever seen. Patti has to hold my hand to keep me from running. For me it is all real. I’m a kid again and can’t wait to see Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and all the other characters that helped mold me into the person I am today.
While we enjoy every minute of our trip and feel extremely sad about having to return to real life, we always say to each other, “don’t plan on coming back for a while”! And after we return and start looking at our pictures and writing our trip reports, we long to return as soon as possible. As always, I secretly start the planning process once again.
But this time it was Patti’s idea. She received a call from her son who lives in New Mexico and he said he had to be in the Disney area for a convention in the middle of January, 2011 and wanted to know if we could come to Walt Disney World to be with him, Shanda and Bailey. Without hesitation, Patti said, “We sure can. We’d love to”! Then she informed me of the decision and said to start the planning process. We are so excited to share our love of Walt Disney World with these “first time” visitors.
During the planning process we felt it was once again time to think about joining the Disney Vacation Club and see if it made sense to us. We had taken the tour in 2007 and wanted to join, but we didn’t have an extra $16,000. We didn’t want to take out a loan for it and have an extra monthly payment for something as frivolous as a vacation club so we didn’t join.
But now, it might make sense because we had saved some money and we were planning another trip in April, 2012 to celebrate our tenth anniversary in Hawaii. Oh! By the way, did you know that Disney is building a DVC resort on the island of Oahu in Hawaii that will be opening in August, 2011?
So why not put the money we have earmarked for the Hawaii trip and the money that we were going to pay for our rooms for this trip in January and use it for our first DVC purchase and stay on points for both trips. With that decision made, we started looking at buying into DVC.
I made the call to my guide at DVC and inquired about buying into the Beach Club or Boardwalk property but they did not have anything available. She tried to convince me to buy into Bay Lake Tower but we not interested. It just doesn’t give us that warm and fuzzy Disney feeling even though it is a great location. And the cost was $112 per point with a 100 point minimum and we thought that was too expensive. Sorry. Not interested!
Our other choice for a direct buy from Disney was to buy into Old Key West at $90 per point for 100 points which we also felt was too much. I have followed a couple of the resale sites and I knew if we found the right deal, we could save a bunch of money.
There are positives to either buying direct from Disney or buying a resale. Either way might be the right way for your situation. And once you buy in, you are a member of the Disney Vacation Club with all the same rights and privileges.
When you buy direct from Disney, you pay more per point and are limited to what they have available, but you don’t have to wait. Your guide can make your reservation as soon as your payment clears. You can chose to pay with a credit card, send a check or do a credit check and arrange to make payments. If you pay with a credit card, they can make your reservation almost immediately. They also tell you they are giving you double points to start, but it is dependent on your use year.
If you buy a resale contact, you can save a lot of money but it takes patience and perseverance. The transaction can take as long as thirty days or more from the time that you make an offer to the time you actually sign the papers. And it will take a week or two for Disney to enter your membership into the DVC system so you better be prepared to wait as long as six weeks to two months.
Another thing you want to consider is waiting until the right resale contract comes along and that might take time. Most resale contracts are stripped of points and you can not make use of them right way unless you borrow points from the next use year. And use year is another very big part of the decision.
What most people don’t understand about the use year is that if you decide to bank any points, you must do it during the first eight months of your use year.
We like to travel during the spring so we figured an October or a December use year would fit our situation just fine. We also felt we needed at least 100 points to be able to do all we had planned for the near future. I felt very comfortable with owning 120 to 130 points, but we didn’t want too much more than that. We don’t want to pay too much in annual maintenance fees.
While viewing one of the resale sites, The Timeshare Store, we felt God smiled upon us once again. We found a “100 point Boardwalk Villa contract” with all 2009 and 2010 points coming this December and jumped on it. We knew we could use the 2009 points to stay in January as planned and bank the 2010 points for our trip to Hawaii in 2012. By banking and borrowing we will have 300 points to use to stay at “Aulani”, the new DVC resort in Ko Olina, Hawaii, a short half hours drive from Honolulu.
We made our offer, it was accepted, our down payment has been made and we were put into something called ROFR. It stands for Disney’s “right of first refusal”. But it means waiting in painful agony as Disney decides to let us purchase it or buy it back themselves. The process could take as much as a month, so we sit here waiting and hoping.
Is joining the Disney Vacation Club right for you? You are the only one that can decide that. But we felt that by joining now, we could stay in nicer accommodations at Walt Disney World as well as nicer accommodations than we could afford in Hawaii and still have use of the Villas for years to come. The money we would have paid for the two trips we had planned should pay for about two thirds of the cost of our DVC purchase. I hope our plan comes together.
About twenty one days later I received the great news that Disney did indeed pass on the right to purchase this contract and that we did own it upon completing the paperwork. It didn’t take me long to leap into action.
I contacted Magic Vacation Title, the company that works with the re-sale site and let them know I’ve passed ROFR and they say, “Great, we’ll get the paperwork going and get it to you via email. I had it the very next morning. We signed it, scanned it, and returned it to them via email within four hours. At their suggestion, I went to my bank and had them do a direct wire to the closing companies’ bank for a few extra dollars and they verified that they had received all the money so we are good to go.
While I had done everything very quickly I was saddened to find out the seller was much slower by relying on the U.S. snail mail to complete their part. So it took almost a whole week before we were told the contract had closed and been sent to Disney. It would be another week before DVC had us in their computer system and allowed us to book our January trip. We are now in our “countdown” to hear a Disney Cast Member say to us, “Welcome Home”
And here is another great part to this story. Patti’s son says he wants to buy into DVC so we can stay together in Hawaii in 2012 and at Walt Disney World every year which really makes us happy. It is already helping to bring our family closer together. I think God has really smiled us. What do you think?
Thanks for being a member.
Pogo AKA: Tom