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Disney Vacation Club vs. Starwood Vacation Ownership

wingkng

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I am already a proud owner of two weeks with SVO (Westin Kierland and Vistana Villages). While I have enjoyed the benefits of ownership, I have always had a nagging temptation to look into Disney Vacation Club. I have found myself going to Orlando every year in the last three years, and WDW has always been on the agenda. Since being an owner, I have stayed at Vistana Resorts, and will stay at Vistana Villages in May as part of my honeymoon.

I would appreciate any opinions from people with experience in owning or using both of these timeshares. Is DVC really that great, or is it just that Disney "magic" that clouds peoples judgment? I have been on the DIS board, but that opinion of course is biased. I need some objective views of the two. How is DVC's flexibility compared to SVO?
 

BocaBum99

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I would personally love to own both DVC and SVO. I will some day. Both vacation clubs are great.

I believe that both DVC and SVO are timeshare point systems that I would ONLY own to use. In other words, I would not buy either of them to exchange. If you want to exchange, there are far less expensive options that will work just as effectively.

The thing I don't like about DVC and SVO is that they really do have only a very few options for staying at one of their resorts. SVO does a good job at weaving in their hotel properties into the mix. But, you don't buy a timeshare to stay in a hotel.

Now, let's get to DVC. I would say that the overall Disney experience is among the best in all of timesharing. What makes it great is how they have integrated the themes at all of the resorts to be part of the overall Disney experience. So, when you stay at a DVC, you feel like your are part of Disney World itself. To many, this "magic" is priceless. It's worth it at any price. There are many side benefits that DVC owners get like early park entry at certain resorts, free Disney transportation, charging to your suite, sending gifts to your room. In my opinion, these benefits are very minor relative to the overall guest experience.

So, is it worth it? The answer depends on what you care about. Disney can make sense under 3 scenarios. First, if you just love it and have got to have it at any price. I think more than 50% of DVC owners fit into this category. Second, you would stay at Disney hotels on property. If you do this anyway, it's a better value to buy into DVC. I think many owners fit into category 1 and justify their purchase by claiming they are in category 2.

Third, you buy for 5 years or less, you buy a ton of points, rent many of them, use the rest. Yes, that's right. DVC can earn about an 8% return on investment in a short time horizon. It won't last since DVC is a leased property that goes back to Disney in 2042 or 2054. So, the rental gravy train and rising resale prices can't last forever. Your timeshare interest could rise in value and sell it for a small profit. But, if you are pursuing this approach, plan to unload it in under 5 years.

Lastly, if you look at the actual accommodations off Disney property, you will find that there are some out of this world resorts that are just as good as Disney from a technical point of view. But, the prices are anywhere from 90% to 50% cheaper. When you look at Equivalent properties and determine the total cost of staying there vs. a DVC property, you will see that the cost of Magic is over $1000 per week.

Here's what I mean. I believe that the Marriott Grande Vista is as good as any of the DVC resorts. It doesn't have the integrated theme park experience, but technically, it is as good a resort as any DVC. You can rent a unit there almost any week of the year for less then $1000. I'd say you can reliably rent it for around $700-800 for a 2 bedroom unit. If you exchange in, you can get it for a lot lower.

To rent a 2 bedroom DVC prime time will cost you $2500. So, the cost of Magic is at least $1500. Is it worth it? For some yes, for many no. For me, it's worth it to stay at a DVC resort 1 time in 20. I am a value person and feel I can get most of the Disney experience for 1/10 the cost. So, I tend to choose to do that instead most of the time.
 
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Seth Nock

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Both are great programs. The advantage of Disney is the location (right on property). The disadvantage is that it is right to use throught the year 2042. On the resale market, Disney's prices have been appreciating at a much faster rate than Weston's.
 

Denise L

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My opinion...

...as an SVO owner awaiting ROFR on Disney's Beach Club Villas :) is that I'd like to own both too!

We stayed on property at WDW over Thanksgiving. It cost us $2370 for 6 nights in a 2 bedroom. Going over Spring Break, it's more like $4500 worth of points. So depending on when you go, you need a lot of points or need to rent a lot of points.

We'd like to go EOY because of the air travel to the East Coast. I think we will save $$ on our vacations if we can buy now and maybe sell in 10 years or so. Then the question is, which resort do you like on site?
 

Negma

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We own both, in fact DVC was our first TS experience. We have absolutely loved and taken advantage of all that it brings. But as many discussions on this board go, you can stay for less elsewhere. But if you go to Disney every year it will be worth it if you enjoy what a great timeshare will bring you. On a side note, over the six years we have owned, our MF have gone up about $80 a year to $1400 for 300pts. in 2006.
 

wingkng

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Thanks for the insight so far. Negma, did you mean $800 a year back in 2000?

I have always enjoyed the Disney experience, so I figure it is an added cost for that. My idea is to use the DVC every other year, alternating with my Westin Kierland week. On the year that I use DVC, I can always convert my week to Starpoints and get a longer timeframe to use it.

I know that some people think converting the TS to Starpoints is a big waste of money, but in my mind being able to experience some other parts of the world and staying at a luxury hotel with Starwood is well worth it.
 

Negma

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sorry in 2002 we paid 1100, they have gone up about $80/year. I have to go back and see our first years. To your conversion of points, I also like the flexibility of being able to convert if we want to with the same cavaets that you mention. What I like about TUG is that TS are used by different folks for different reasons, such as value, or forcing to go on vacation, or the nicer accomadations, and every reason is valid. Good luck, we will be in Atlantis in Feb, and Disney in April, we are very excited:)
 

wingkng

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deniselew said:
...as an SVO owner awaiting ROFR on Disney's Beach Club Villas :) is that I'd like to own both too!

We stayed on property at WDW over Thanksgiving. It cost us $2370 for 6 nights in a 2 bedroom. Going over Spring Break, it's more like $4500 worth of points. So depending on when you go, you need a lot of points or need to rent a lot of points.

We'd like to go EOY because of the air travel to the East Coast. I think we will save $$ on our vacations if we can buy now and maybe sell in 10 years or so. Then the question is, which resort do you like on site?
I have been thinking of Wilderness Lodge Villa, simply because the atmosphere so different from my life in the east coast. I have lived in the NY/NJ area for five years, and the other themed resorts (BWV, SS) seem kinda too familiar to me. I too am thinking EOY, thus giving me a break from Disney at times.
 

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I own DVC and marriott but not Sheraton or Westin or Hyatt.

For me, the difference w/ Disney other than being on property, is the flexability. It is a very flexible program-we can stay 1 day or 14 days depending on our points, room type and time of year. I have also used my points at some very exclusive resorts like The Sagamore in Bolton Landing on Lake George. We have also stayed in a lovely 1 BR hotel in NYC on Thanksgiving-eve. I have used my DVC points for Disney cruise as well, although not always economical.
DH wanted the Marriott becuase it is deeded. I am not as concerned w/ our DVC expiration because we bought it to use it, and we do.
I have also used our DVC points for Vero beach and Hilton Head Island.

Will we always want to be in WDW, maybe not, but I know that DVC resale is high.
I do think that if you buy any timeshare it is important ot have a reputable company.
 

wingkng

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Just wanted to give you all an update. Since I last posted, I have joined DVC, and after only 2 days, I was able to book my first stay at the Boardwalk Villa in May. I am very excited about it.

I believe that it is a good complement to SVO. I plan to convert my week at Kierland to Starpoints every other year, and then use my DVC points every other year. DVC allows me to bank and borrow points to make it as big or as small of a trip as I want. I don't have to stick to a week at a time. I am also looking forward to using it for a Disney Cruise someday.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with my Vistana Villages week....
 

EileenSRN

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Vistana Villages is a Mandatory Resort. You won't have any trouble selling it. How many Starpoints do you have? Put an ad on TUG. Good luck...
 

tomandrobin

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Congratulations on your purchase!

I was wondering, did you buy direct or resale? What type of unit/points did you buy and what resort? I too have thought about buying into DVC. The wife absolutely loves it there! We have stayed at the reosrts in Disney, never tried the timeshare units. (We prefer in the park, as oppose to staying outside od Disney). We are trying the Swan and Dolphin in 3 weeks for a weekend, using some of our starpoints!

The price per point seems high, but I guess its a relative to what you want!
 

spiceycat

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when Disney can charge $435 for the Polyn for one night....

believe me DVC is a bargin.

but it is only a bargin if you go to WDW every year and stay on site in a moderate or deluxe.

if you don't then as had been pointed out - there are other timeshares out there - that are a better buy.

I have been a DVC member since 93 and I still love it.

staying onsite is different - if you know this you will appreciate DVC.

I stay alot and I use studios (to save on points)...so this is a good bargin for me.

I also rent my points so even the maintence fees aren't that bad...
 

wingkng

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tomandrobin said:
Congratulations on your purchase!

I was wondering, did you buy direct or resale? What type of unit/points did you buy and what resort? I too have thought about buying into DVC. The wife absolutely loves it there! We have stayed at the reosrts in Disney, never tried the timeshare units. (We prefer in the park, as oppose to staying outside od Disney). We are trying the Swan and Dolphin in 3 weeks for a weekend, using some of our starpoints!

The price per point seems high, but I guess its a relative to what you want!
I initially bought 150 points at the Saratoga Springs Resort, when they had a special discount ($83.30 per point). Soon afterwards, I decided to add another 75 points at the Villas at Wilderness Lodge ($92 per point). Both were purchased directly from Disney. I bought them through Disney because I didn't want to bother with the Right of First Refusal (ROFR). Also, I could use my credit card to pay the deposit and future payments, so I can earn some reward points on my credit card. I do have the money to pay them out right, but I wanted to get the most of my purchase.

With this amount of points, I do have a lot of flexibility. I can stay there every year, at a studio room. Or, if I can bank and borrow the points, I can stay at a one to two bedroom villa for a week. I can even use the points to go on a Disney cruise.

I have to admit that DVC is more expensive for the size rooms outside of Disney, but I feel that the convenience and atmosphere of the Disney resorts, along with the flexibility, are good selling points.
 

tomandrobin

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I agree with the convience of being on property. Plus the benifit of the Disney transportation, room charging, free delivery to resort of purchases, and just to have that "Disney" feel.

We used our credit card for our Westin purchase. Didn't want to lose out on all those points :D !

If I purchase a DVC unit I may have to look at a similar purchase. Not sure how I would use the membership yet. Like I said in the earlier post, we will be there in 2 weeks and are talking about going over New Years this year.
 

topdog

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This has been an interesting thread for me, as I am thinking of either Starwood, DVC, or both. If I buy DVC points, how many does it take to get an II exchange or hotel nights if I need to do so? I know thats probably not a good use of the points on a regular basis.
 

Denise L

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The only advantages that I can see are:

1) You are almost instantly in the DVC system and can make reservations pretty quickly. Resales are slow slow slow to close. Mine was approved by Disney on 1/30 and I wasn't in the system until 3/28. I missed getting a reservation at my home resort so now I'm on the waitlist.

2) You can use your credit card and get points

3) You don't have to sweat/worry about ROFR, which can take up to 30 days.

4) You can buy "sold out" resorts for $95/pt. If you aren't in a hurry, you can get on a waitlist, minimum 150 pts. Sometimes you only need to wait a day or so.

5) No closing costs

You might be able to get a good price resale, but Disney is good at buying back a lot of these. Check out www.disboards.com and search the DVC forums for ROFR records.

We bought resale and were pleased with the service from our broker/co-broker, Seth Nock.

Feel free to pm me if you have other questions about whether to buy resale or developer!
 

Courts

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tomandrobin said:
Congratulations on your purchase!
We are trying the Swan and Dolphin in 3 weeks for a weekend, using some of our starpoints!
Please let us know how you liked the Swan and Dolphin. We are thinking of doing the same with starpoints. It is my understanding that the Swan and Dolphin is similar to staying at a Disney resort.
 

Henry M.

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Courts said:
Please let us know how you liked the Swan and Dolphin. We are thinking of doing the same with starpoints. It is my understanding that the Swan and Dolphin is similar to staying at a Disney resort.
My wife and kids have stayed at the Dolphin a couple of times using points and love it. I think those hotels are the only non-Disney properties inside the park with all the benefits that the Disney roperties have. It is very convenient to use Disney transportation and to be able to get into the park early. My wife says she prefers the Dolphin, but they are both next to each other.
 

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emuyshondt said:
I think those hotels are the only non-Disney properties inside the park with all the benefits that the Disney roperties have. It is very convenient to use Disney transportation and to be able to get into the park early.
Only exception to the on-site benefits - no Magical Express option for Swan and Dolphin guests.
 

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Amy said:
Only exception to the on-site benefits - no Magical Express option for Swan and Dolphin guests.
Wow ... that's strange. We've stayed at the Hilton in Downtown Disney and received Magical Express benefits.
 

Denise L

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jerseygirl said:
Wow ... that's strange. We've stayed at the Hilton in Downtown Disney and received Magical Express benefits.
Do you mean that you received RT airport transfers via bus for free, plus they delivered your luggage to your hotel room?
 

Amy

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jerseygirl said:
Wow ... that's strange. We've stayed at the Hilton in Downtown Disney and received Magical Express benefits.
No, Hilton Downtown has an agreement with Disney. I believe it is the only non-Disney resort in WDW that offers the Magical Express plan. I forgot about that when I posted earlier.
 

Pedro

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Courts said:
Please let us know how you liked the Swan and Dolphin. We are thinking of doing the same with starpoints. It is my understanding that the Swan and Dolphin is similar to staying at a Disney resort.
We like the Swan and Dolphin very much. It is a nice weekend escape for us, as it is exactly one hour drive from home. My kids (and us too) love the hotel , the restaurants, and the pool, plus it is within walking distance of Disney's Boardwalk, EPCOT and Disney MGM. We'll be there for Memorial Day weekend for 3-nights also using starpoints. We were able to get the targeted special that Starwood had last month, where you could get one (only one) reservation at 50% off the regular starpoint rate - 15,000 starpoints for a 3-night stay!:)
 
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