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DVC Grand Californian

Discussion in 'Disney Vacation Club - DVC' started by SeattleJohn2, Sep 5, 2018.

  1. SeattleJohn2

    SeattleJohn2 TUG Member

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    Hello Tuggers! My wife and I (and three boys, aged 2, 9 and 11) have been visiting Disneyland and Disney World at least once/year for the last 5 years or so. We love Disney and are exploring the idea of buying into the DVC program. We currently own two properties through Westin Vacation Club (Vistana) so are familiar with most of the ins and outs of TS ownership.

    I've been doing a lot of research on the DVC program, much of it via the threads and stickies in the DVC forum. I think I have a decent handle on the basics of the system but want to run it by the experts here to make sure my understanding is correct.

    Because we live on the west coast (Seattle) we visit DL a lot more often than DW, so we would probably be best off buying at Grand Californian and having the 11 month booking window. Apparently our only option is buying resale and paying the going rate of ~$200 / point. That means a 250 point block is going to set me back about $50k, plus yearly maintenance of ~$1500. Depending on the time of year, 250 points will get me about 4-5 days in a 1 BR villa. (We normally go to Disney the last week of August before the kids start school.)

    I'm wondering if people have any luck booking Grand Californian 7 months out, specifically for the last week in August? Do people have other ways of getting into the Grand Californian other than paying the ~$1500/night rate for a 1 BR?

    Are there any other benefits / advantages I should be considering for this kind of investment? As of now, I'm having sticker shock so would likely not pull the trigger on Grand Californian. Maybe I'd buy a smaller block for one of the other properties and use them every 3 years when we go to DW.

    Anyway, any comments/feedback/suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance :)

    John
     
  2. CalGalTraveler

    CalGalTraveler TUG Member

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    Wow. $50k is a lot of money! IMO here are some options to consider:

    1) Rent DVC Californian units for now and wait until an economic downturn to buy at a lower price. (You could rent for a long time on $50k + $1500 MF/year)

    2) I know it is a step down quality-wise and it's not Disney, but have you considered resale Worldmark Anaheim? Worldmark points would give you more location options on the west coast and elsewhere as your family grows, and you could save about $30 - $40k which could be applied to your children's college fund. I am not a Worldmark owner, but have often thought about this option as we also prefer Disneyland. We are never in the room at Disney so the resort quality is less important to us than in places like Hawaii. YMMV
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
    SeattleJohn2 likes this.
  3. rhonda

    rhonda TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    FWIW, as you've specifically mentioned booking 1BR units ... I've done OK booking 1BR units at the DVC Grand Cal using DVC SSR points. In the DVC-world, Studios book first, then 2BR units then the 1BR units. If you book immediately at the 7-month window and don't mind using the waitlist for individual missing nights ... you'll likely be successful, eventually, at snagging 4 to 5 nights. It won't be a slam-dunk ... but it won't be impossible either.

    I second the suggestion above by @CalGalTraveler to consider Worldmark the Club (WMtC or simply WM). WM has two properties w/in walking distance of Disneyland and loads of options across the western states. :)
     
    SeattleJohn2 likes this.
  4. frank808

    frank808 TUG Member

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    I second what Rhonda advised. The studios go first, grand villas, 2br and last to go are the 1br units. Not meaning that you will always find 1br at 7 months. But reasonable chance of getting a 1br if it is not a holiday week.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
     
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  5. TravelTime

    TravelTime TUG Member

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    You can rent points for less than $1500 a night through DVC rental agents. Check out David’s and DVC Rental. I find it interesting that the DVC rental brokers charge the same for all resorts even though some are more expensive than others to rent retail or to buy into. I think they should charge a premium to renters for Grand Cal and Grand Floridian but they don’t.
     
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  6. Dean

    Dean TUG Member

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    Reservations can be tough there, no guarantee on availability. If you can reserve day 1 eleven months out it might be worth have the locked in prices (other than maint fees) and control. But it is pricey. I wouldn't count on getting VGC at 7 months out consistently but it can happen at times. Why not look for a smaller package and get 1 BR at times and possibly cash at times. For that price I'd likely try for retail though it might not be available. Still availability can come and go even retail. If you're a gambler you might buy elsewhere ? Aulani or SSR and hope for the best.
     
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  7. heathpack

    heathpack Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I’m not sure where the $1500/night comes from? Are you talking rack rates?

    Last week in Aug is Magic season. Sun-Thurs nights in a 1BR is 52 points/night. You can rent for $18-$20/pt. Or around $1000/night.

    Say you go 5 nights every year. Renting will cost you at least $50k over 10 years. Owning will cost you $50k plus around $15k in MF. Forgetting about opportunity cost (not that this isn’t important but it just simplifies the math), the question then becomes: if you sold at 10 years when your kids are grown up, would you come out ahead? Or: what will 250 VGC points be worth in 10 years? $250/pt would not be unreasonable, so let’s say $62,500.

    Basically in that scenario, you’d get all your original money back and have enough profit to cover almost all the MF you’d paid in. Unbelievably, you’d have enjoyed 10 years of Grand Californian vacations essentially for free.

    Obviously all kinds of things can go wrong. Resale values could plummet. MF could skyrocket. The place could be destroyed in an earthquake. $50k is a lot of money to plunk down with any kind of uncertain scenario. But logically, buying is probably the cheapest way by far to go to VGC despite the crazy purchase price.
     
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  8. littlestar

    littlestar TUG Member

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    RX8 on another thread says he passed ROFR at $155 a point.
     
  9. TravelTime

    TravelTime TUG Member

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    Grand Cal was going for less a year ago before DVC raised prices. Now it is selling for over $200 per point.
     
  10. heathpack

    heathpack Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    He posted this yesterday. He’s not talking about a historical sale.
     
  11. TravelTime

    TravelTime TUG Member

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    He bought Grand Cal for $155 a point now? That would be a great price.
     
  12. rickandcindy23

    rickandcindy23 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Amazing to me how fast DVC has gone up in price, both retail and resale, and resale gets no AP discounts currently. Disney is the only product that truly goes up in value. VGC is something I wish I would have purchased long ago. I think some people got it for less than $80 per point resale, and that was before the devaluation of resales by Disney.

    I love my Disney points. I think VGC is a wise purchase. I would bet it will go up in value in about ten years, so you could sell for more than you paid. But that is just a guess, so don't hold me to it. :)
     
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  13. heathpack

    heathpack Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    In Dec 2010, we were in escrow on a 70 pt VGC contract for $80/pt, it had 49 banked points plus all 2010 points. Smokin deal. The seller backed out on us without explanation.

    We bought our current 85 pt contract in Feb 2011 for $88/pt. Stripped contract, we didn't get any points until 2012. I was so frustrated at the time that the original deal fell through but the 85 point contract was about the right size for us, so we moved ahead with it.

    Amazing that it has at least doubled in price in 7 years. If we sold now, we'd get back everything we put into it, our purchase price and all of our MF. Disney stuff often defies logic and reason. But we were a little lucky in that we bought during the last big economic downturn when everybody was spooked.
     
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  14. TravelTime

    TravelTime TUG Member

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    That is good for a timeshare but the stock market has tripled since 2010 so it would still be better to have invested in the stock market.

    Also, it appears DVC prices are falling after a brief increase earlier this year. I was trying to sell the contracts I purchased last year but I would be lucky to break even after the sales commission and agent fees. More realistically, I will lose money if I sell now.

    I will probably hold onto them for awhile longer and see what happens. The resorts are great and the MFs are reasonable compared to paying retail like I used to do.

    I do need to learn how to rent out my points if I continue to hold onto my contracts. I have 470 points a year at 5 home resorts. That is a lot and I doubt we can use them all.

    If you are wondering why I purchased Disney, it was for children who are no longer going to be a part of our family. A very sad story.
     
  15. heathpack

    heathpack Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Wrong on the stock market comment. I hear this a lot but if I put $7000 into the stock market in 2010 then took $1500 out per year to spend on Grand Californian stays, I would have less money than when I started. This is true even if I’d also invested my MF annually into said brokerage account. The only way your comment holds true is if we invested in the stock market INSTEAD of traveling. Not a scenario we ever entertained.

    Of course you’re going to lose money on DVC if you buy at a peak in prices, decide to sell a year later and also pay a broker commission. The broker commission is likely to always exceed the 1 year appreciation rate of DVC. Your scenario is indeed one in which a DVC purchase is a losing proposition. But most people don’t sell after one year and won’t be in your same boat.
     
  16. TravelTime

    TravelTime TUG Member

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    I was not trying to truly compare a timeshare to the stock market. I am just saying Disney is not a great investment by any means. I know you should not buy a timeshare and sell it in a year. I would be lucky to break even or only lose a little bit of money so in that regard Disney is better than every other timeshare. But it is nothing to brag about. That is all I am saying. I screwed up by buying into Disney for the children and now I am paying for it. Sorry I am having a terrible month with my timeshares, not just Disney. I probably should sell them all, take the loss and go back to hotels and my vacation homes. That was working great before, just expensive.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
  17. rickandcindy23

    rickandcindy23 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I saw your frustration on the Marriott thread. You literally said you hate Marriott. I am unhappy with Marriott because they have downgraded our SPG points by 33%, so I am also pretty upset, but I think you are just having a bad month, like you said.

    Wait a while to get rid of everything. Maybe your family issues will be resolved at some point and the timeshares will look better to you.

    Disney VGC is definitely one I am wishing I bought, but I did get 250 OKW points for $50 per point, and 250 SSR for $63 per point a year later, so I am pretty happy.
     
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  18. TravelTime

    TravelTime TUG Member

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    I really do not mind all the money invested in timeshares. I just need to lower my expectations. I expect high quality service as a Platinum Premier and Presdiential member of Marriott, and not getting it. That’s all. Plus all the monitoring of timeshare companies and timeshare people is exhausting. Otherwise, it’s fine. The rooms are clean and sometimes we get a view that corresponds to what we booked. LOL

    We booked VGF for next year. We own VGC and have never stayed there yet. I am not really excited about staying at VGC. The resort was not overly impressive to me. I do love Animal Kingdom. I wish all my points were there. I probably need to change what I own.
     
  19. heathpack

    heathpack Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Good lord. It’s not bragging to talk rationally about your TS ownership. If you buy DVC and hold for years it typically appreciates. That is how most people use timeshares. I did not say that in every scenario, no matter what, every owner comes out ahead with DVC ownership. I also stated that you can’t count on any of the historical “truisms” and that buying DVC (or any timeshare) is a risk. Your personal situation is an aberration, and most people should not base their decisions on an aberration.

    And of course we should all exercise judgement based on knowledge. I was first interested in VGC pre-construction and bought my Hilton Head contract specifically so that I would be an owner in DVC when VGC went on the market- it was offered for sale first to DVC owners and the thought was that it might sell out before non-DVC owners would get a chance to buy direct. But that never happened, the economy tanked and we didn’t buy in that first wave. We waited to see what would happen and got a resale bargain when the economy was bleak. So we got lucky for sure.

    But how did we have the knowledge to buy when everyone else was selling? By reading TUG and listening to the experiences and wisdom of others. If people didn’t share their positive experiences for fear that someone else would perceive their comments as “bragging,” we would have acted only based on complaints/dissatisfaction which I guess should be characterized as “humble”? But if that’s all we heard, we would have been ill-informed.

    It’s a shame that any of us having losing experiences with TS but plunking down money now in the hopes of saving on vacations in the future is the risk we all take. Circumstances could change for any of one us, which then changes the equation substantially. We all need to be aware of both the positive and the negative in TS ownership, which is what TUG is about.
     
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  20. TravelTime

    TravelTime TUG Member

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    Yes you are correct. It is great when people share their positive experiences and teach others how to effectively use their memberships in these timeshare companies.

    A lot gets lost in online communication. I did not mean that anyone was bragging. I was just using the expression “It’s nothing to brag about.” I could have also substituted the phrase “It’s nothing to write home about.”
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
  21. Dean

    Dean TUG Member

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    I'm not sure where your numbers come from but had one invested in the stock market in 2010 the up front costs (purchase, closing and initial fees) plus the yearly fees, one would have more now than the value of dvc. But as a save and spend fund it wouldn't work out the same because you'd only expect money market rates. And assuming doing a given timeshare on cash anyway skews the answer anyway. The only benefit of DVC is if it saves money and/or adds real value, it does for some and doesn't for others. Any current value (gain OR loss) is only applicable if you sell. It'll be worth less at some even if the overall prices remain high because of the ROFR. The other aspect of DVC is that MOST people just spend the savings on other things, more/longer/more luxurious trips, etc, much like a credit card where people spend quite a bit more than if they used cash (on average around 15% more).
     
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