PTI is Pardon the Interruption. Not only is it one of my favorite ESPN shows, it’s also something I’ll use to break up my stream of consciousness with posts about Disney. Enjoy. Or don’t, whatever. Tune in next time for biting sarcasm and controlled rage.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Disney Vacation Club, here’s a very, very brief breakdown: owners purchase points per year in a set use year (For example, 160 points with a June use year) to use as they choose (with some restrictions) at DVC resorts, and some outside collections (other Disney resorts, cruises, Adventures by Disney, and via exchange programs with some other timeshare entities). You purchase your initial set of points at a price per point, then pay dues on the number of points you have every year. Dues are typically $5-8/point. You can bank points into the next year and borrow from the next year. You can’t carry over more than one year of banked points, and you must use them or lose them within that frame.
My family purchased 270 points at the BoardWalk Villas, our favorite resort, for $82/point. We bought on the resale market and paid in full for a loaded contract (meaning we were able to use points that the previous owner didn’t). Every September we “receive” another 270 points that we can use for vacations within the year, or for the next year. I say receive in quotes because technically we always have them, they’re just waiting for the appropriate use year to be utilized. The resale market is fantastic- you can purchase contracts at any of the “sold out” resorts for a far lower price point than the current direct from DVC options. There are some restrictions to using resale points (no cruises with points, etc.), but they’re not a financially sound use of points anyway. We’ve been able to enjoy a number of vacations on our point scale and we’ve only been members a short time. We’ve stayed at home, Saratoga Springs, Bay Lake Tower, Wilderness Lodge, and this Feb. for the race my friends and I are spending a night at the Villas at the Grand Floridian, the first hotel I ever stayed in at WDW, and its crown jewel. VGF went on sale in 2013, and went for $155, then $160-165/point. Major change from our buy-in, plus nights in rooms there generally cost more points than nights at a BWV studio, 1BR or 2BR.
Disney Vacation Club recently released the point chart and price for Disney’s Polynesian Village and Bungalows, the most recent DVC addition. People have been anxiously awaiting the end of construction at the Poly, when the lush lobby, volcano pool, and most of the rooms were taken out of commission. So far, the response to the new lobby are overwhelmingly negative, people are not thrilled with the pool renderings, and the release of the recent point chart did not help. See below:
Now let’s compare this to dollars, shall we? Theoretically, if you wanted enough points to spend a week in a 2BR bungalow every year (studios sleep five and are definitely stuffy, especially for more than 2 adults- ask my friends), you’d need 841 points/year. Multiply 841 (lowest amount of points for a bungalow in lowest cost season) x $160 for your initial buy-in, get $134,560. For a vacation. Assuming many people in the US don’t have that amount in cash lying around to spend on vacay, most people will finance. Add $4000 or so/year for dues, and you’re paying out the ass for A VACATION. Not a home, not even something you’ll keep forever (deeds revert to DVC after 50 years), but A VACATION. Worse, some people are opting in for buying fixed weeks (like a traditional timeshare), which requires a 30% increase on the amount of points needed for your desired week.
I’ll admit- I was considering blowing my bonus on a 50 point add-on. It’d get me two and a half nights in a studio in low season, but it’d be great for weekend trips if I didn’t want to put out cash. Honestly, I also wanted to be in the cool kids club of Poly owners. Not long after the chart release, I realized it wasn’t worth destroying my dreams of owning a condo to be able to call myself a Poly owner. I have a debilitating desire to be cool, but luckily it hasn’t bankrupted me yet.
Although I’m not as cray as its baby boomer fanbase, I’ve always loved the Poly. The grounds and the music have been the paragon representation of true Disney imagineering to me. I’m sad that Disney marketed this property to the 1% and effectively priced out normal buyers. I’m also sad that not buying in means staying at the Poly will cause me agita (over the competitive non-home resort seven month booking window) or millions (paying cash to stay in what’s left). I guess I’ll really have to wait and see how hard it is to get a weekend once booking opens. Til then, I’ll just read about people over on Disboards who are mortgaging their homes to buy a little slice of paradise.