DVC Member New Annual Pass Discount—Buying Direct Vs. Resale

Brian Noble

Gratefully in Recovery
Joined
Mar 23, 2004
In general, I'd want a payoff horizon on perks vs. the cost of a direct purchase to be 3-5 years. Maybe a few more, but probably not, and the shorter the better. As we've seen over the recent past, the calculus can change in a hurry through no fault of your own.

More importantly, though, your family's vacation habits are likely to change in ways you can't predict. What seems obvious now ("Of course we will go multiple times a year, every year!") may well be different after ten or fifteen trips in the space of four to five years. Looking back over my own past 20 years: my vacation plans for the next one or two years are pretty firm. Three to five years I have a vague but not great idea about. Anything further than that and I'm just guessing.

And even the next year or two can be thrown into doubt. Sometimes it's for a garden variety reason: the school district changes the vacation calendar, or one of the kids starts an extra-curricular activity that throws a wrench into the schedule. Sometimes it's a much bigger deal: an unexpected separation or a global pandemic.

Of course, the other reason for a direct purchase is the flexibility to book any resort and the feeling of being a "true" member. Those aren't worth much to some people. For others, it is money well spent.
 

DonMacGregor

Sub Leader
Joined
May 13, 2021
I haveto ask. At what point does AP make sense for out-of-staters? 10 park days? 15? 20? I just finished a 2 week trip to WDW in August. It was our first trip both as visitors and as DVC members. We got 10 day passes for four of us that cost about $2400 total. With the new passes, getting 4 passes would equate to about $3k. I'm thinking maybe 15 park days is the break even point?
This right here. As California DVC owners, we typically do one trip to WDW per year, and stay +/- 8 days with at most 6 park days. While we have CM's in the family and can get 4 people in free most of the time, schedules occasionally don't work out and we just get a six-day pass for everyone at $550.00 each. If we do decide to make split trips, we'd still need to get something like 2 weeks of single-day passes to warrant an AP.

I get the "buy an AP and just offset your annual trips by a week or so to get two “annual” vacations out of one AP", but it does limit your ability to decide a few months out (like at the 7 month window) that you'd like to hit Aulani (for us on the West Coast) or HHR or VB (for those on the East) instead, and you still need at least 12-14 days in the parks between the two trips to hit the break even point.

Also, lots of other life events can happen and I can always bank or rent points for next year, but I can't rent out the "unused" balance of my AP that I was going to use for the second trip next year to make the purchase worthwhile.
 
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MBTigger

Designated Bouncer
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
AP's would be less of a factor than the ability to book new resorts. I may use the 11 month strategy and just buy the big passes every other year.

Even then, it would likely be only ONE person with the AP, and the rest of the group with multi day tickets.
 

DonMacGregor

Sub Leader
Joined
May 13, 2021
AP's would be less of a factor than the ability to book new resorts. I may use the 11 month strategy and just buy the big passes every other year.

Even then, it would likely be only ONE person with the AP, and the rest of the group with multi day tickets.
Which is a simple and elegant solution to the food and merch discount dilemma.
 
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Sandisw

DVC Forums
Moderator
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
Which is a simple and elegant solution to the food and merch discount dilemma.
And maybe that is why they removed it. They knew only one person in a family really needs…and how most will buy it now…so was it really that much of a benefit to everyone?

Same even with AP…maybe they figure some will have one person in the family buy and the rest just use multiday?
 

Amyeliza

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
I see your point. However, I do believe that resale is the better option for those who wish to own DVC but only purchase enough points to visit once or twice a year & aren't hitting the parks every day of their vacation.
This is me...small contract with yearly dues I can afford. 2 - 4 days at the park a year at the most. I love to just spend a day enjoying the resorts!
 

CBMom01

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
In general, I'd want a payoff horizon on perks vs. the cost of a direct purchase to be 3-5 years. Maybe a few more, but probably not, and the shorter the better. As we've seen over the recent past, the calculus can change in a hurry through no fault of your own.

More importantly, though, your family's vacation habits are likely to change in ways you can't predict. What seems obvious now ("Of course we will go multiple times a year, every year!") may well be different after ten or fifteen trips in the space of four to five years. Looking back over my own past 20 years: my vacation plans for the next one or two years are pretty firm. Three to five years I have a vague but not great idea about. Anything further than that and I'm just guessing.

And even the next year or two can be thrown into doubt. Sometimes it's for a garden variety reason: the school district changes the vacation calendar, or one of the kids starts an extra-curricular activity that throws a wrench into the schedule. Sometimes it's a much bigger deal: an unexpected separation or a global pandemic.

Of course, the other reason for a direct purchase is the flexibility to book any resort and the feeling of being a "true" member. Those aren't worth much to some people. For others, it is money well spent.
That’s all very well put.

Also, confusion about how it all works was part of my hesitancy. I asked “How much would it cost me to be sure I could book at Poly at least twice a year.”
To this day I don’t understand the answer to that question, which is that no amount of money can guarantee that.
Well, I can get that kind of certainty out of a hotel
 

Sandisw

DVC Forums
Moderator
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
That’s all very well put.

Also, confusion about how it all works was part of my hesitancy. I asked “How much would it cost me to be sure I could book at Poly at least twice a year.”
To this day I don’t understand the answer to that question, which is that no amount of money can guarantee that.
Well, I can get that kind of certainty out of a hotel
If you book right at 11 months, you are almost guaranteed to get Poly twice a year.

However, with a first come, first serve points based system, it will be harder during certain times and easier during others.

Some owners have bought FW to give them such a guarantee at popular times.

But, for some, the planning required for a timeshare doesn’t fit the way they travel
 

DonMacGregor

Sub Leader
Joined
May 13, 2021
And maybe that is why they removed it. They knew only one person in a family really needs…and how most will buy it now…so was it really that much of a benefit to everyone?

Same even with AP…maybe they figure some will have one person in the family buy and the rest just use multiday?
That’s what I would do…
 

Paul Stupin

New DVC Member
Joined
May 8, 2016
Please keep in mind:

1) To get that hypothetical $16000 (or $14,000) savings over the next 10 years means you spent $36,000 on annual passes to get into theme parks. Are you going to buy annual passes every single year, for every person?

2) At today’s 150 point minimums, a new member pays an estimated $5550-8550 more for the contract than they would by buying resale, which brings the $16,000 savings down quite a bit.


Direct Purchasing Math:
RIV direct: 150 pts at $197 = $29,550
OKWe direct: 150 pts at $167 = $25,050

RIV resale: 150 pts at $140 = $21,000 (saves $8550 but can’t use anywhere but RIV)
OKWe resale: 150 pts at $130 = $19,500 (saves $5550)

Note: Existing members pay a few dollars less per point when buying direct than new members. At Riviera, that currently brings down the direct contract by $750.
I think there are plenty of dvc members who go every year, who buy annual passes for every family member. Certainly not everyone, maybe not even a majority, but many nonetheless. And even if someone pays the maximum for a 150 point contract, and we subtract the $8550 from the $14000, that’s still a savings of $5450. Nothing to sneeze at!
But, yes, there are many ways to crunch the numbers, and a thousand scenarios which can either support or refute my point. All I’m saying is that there are some circumstances where the dvc member annual pass discount really does make it cheaper to buy direct.
 

CWTC

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 25, 2021
Of course, the other reason for a direct purchase is the flexibility to book any resort and the feeling of being a "true" member. Those aren't worth much to some people. For others, it is money well spent.
This is the key: relative value on an individual basis. We wouldn’t buy direct based on perk (ie discounts) that is not guaranteed: Disney can give and Disney can taketh. But the restrictions with RIV may change the math for some people.

We have 1 grandfathered resale (2009, BCV), 1 direct (2013, VGF, bought direct because we wanted the resort), and in process of acquiring a BLT via resale. So maybe it’s easy to say I wouldn’t buy for a perk because we are blue card holders and could stay at RIV if we wanted to (we don’t).

The worth of DVC to us is that we’d pay for for 8-9 day stays once or twice a year in a deluxe resort in a normal resort room. The DVC gets us better accommodations: we always get a 1 bedroom. Again relative worth: I know there’s members who would say we are wasting our points on 1 brs and should get studios.

I will say though that I’d forgotten how painful the resale process is or maybe it’s gotten worse from 2009 to 2021. The relative worth in direct for some people might be avoiding this pain. But we did pay 160$ vs 245$ per point so maybe pain is worth it?
 
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RoseGold

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
Also, confusion about how it all works was part of my hesitancy. I asked “How much would it cost me to be sure I could book at Poly at least twice a year.”
To this day I don’t understand the answer to that question, which is that no amount of money can guarantee that.
I'm going to answer this ignoring super peak times, like Christmas or Spring Break, when I would never go, and I think the charts will continue to shock. This matches the cash trend, by the way.

I would argue this is absolutely knowable with a margin of error to monkey around with charts. Even if you have no idea when you plan to travel, the charts don't have THAT MUCH seasonal variation, and maybe it changes a night or two on your booking. Polynesian in particular is quite stable because its almost all studios and its chart is already high. Even if they decided to fire sale the bungalows on the chart (as a Poly owner, PLEASE DO THAT), it wouldn't move the needle on 300 studios.

There are places where chart changes over time can burn owners, when a "cheap" booking is adjusted up, like Christmas and Spring Break keep doing. I would argue fall and early December may go up a little too.

Post a new thread with when you want to go and I bet our recommendations for how many points to buy will be identical.
 

quandrea

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 24, 2010
You can also buy a 1300 pass every other year. Travel New Years - July 4 - Christmas, skip a year, repeat.
That’s what we’ve been doing, but with a gold pass. However current pricing means we will stop that too. Going forward will be a park day or two every few years.
 

Sandisw

DVC Forums
Moderator
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
This is the key: relative value on an individual basis. We wouldn’t buy direct based on perk (ie discounts) that is not guaranteed: Disney can give and Disney can taketh. But the restrictions with RIV may change the math for some people.

We have 1 grandfathered resale (2009, BCV), 1 direct (2013, VGF, bought direct because we wanted the resort), and in process of acquiring a BLT via resale. So maybe it’s easy to say I wouldn’t buy for a perk because we are blue card holders and could stay at RIV if we wanted to (we don’t).

The worth of DVC to us is that we’d pay for for 8-9 day stays once or twice a year in a deluxe resort in a normal resort room. The DVC gets us better accommodations: we always get a 1 bedroom. Again relative worth: I know there’s members who would say we are wasting our points on 1 brs and should get studios.

I will say though that I’d forgotten how painful the resale process is or maybe it’s gotten worse from 2009 to 2021. The relative worth in direct for some people might be avoiding this pain. But we did pay 160$ vs 245$ per point so maybe pain is worth it?
In the case of sold out resorts, and buying 100 points or more, it sure can be.

But, someone who travels with flexibility, not on the fall but maybe summer for kids, buying direct at OKW or RIV. and getting the AP for the every other year plan, can eat away at any savings rather quickly.

The other piece is new resorts and that option, including RIV.

When we first bought, we went direct and we’re able to get our summer trip using DVC instead of the cash room, we already had booked. That approx $1500 went right toward DVC and helped offset the cost.

As you say, so many scenarios and individual situation to make it work going direct..or not abs one goes resale.

The new costs associated with a WDW trip like transportation, GP+, ISs, etc will now factor in on whether someone sees it as a yearly or more than once a year destination.

IMO, that’s the first thing to decide because without comfort in that piece, DVC may not make sense in any form!
 

Suzabella

HHI, BRV, BWV
Joined
Jun 24, 2019
When we purchased our first contract resale, I remember someone saying, 'Don't buy direct just for the discounts. They're not guaranteed to stay.' It was probably DonMacGregor!

That stuck with me. Price has always been our primary concern when purchasing. Those discounts come and go and it would take A LOT of discounts to make up the difference we've seen between direct and resale.
 

Paul Stupin

New DVC Member
Joined
May 8, 2016
Exactly. As long as you don't impulse buy, there shouldn't be any pain at all. Buy your points far enough in advance of the need to use them, and time isn't an issue.
No pain at all? Though I have bought plenty of resale points, and still will, I disagree. Not every sale goes flawlessly and many sellers are unreliable, which can occasionally lead to interminable delays. Of course the savings can be (but not always are) substantial, but there’s always a price to pay in time, as well as anxiety. For me, there are plenty of times it’s been frustrating.
 

DonMacGregor

Sub Leader
Joined
May 13, 2021
No pain at all? Though I have bought plenty of resale points, and still will, I disagree. Not every sale goes flawlessly and many sellers are unreliable, which can occasionally lead to interminable delays. Of course the savings can be (but not always are) substantial, but there’s always a price to pay in time, as well as anxiety. For me, there are plenty of times it’s been frustrating.
My point is, if you don't need the points right now, then there really isn't a "delay". I just bought a contract with a March UY. I don't need the points for any trips in 2022, as I'm already good for my planned trip next February, so if something goes south, or there is some kind of delay, I don't really care. If the deal falls through, no big deal. There are plenty more out there. If there is some delay in ROFR or estoppel or at the seller's end, then so be it. I'll either get my deposit back, or I'll just wait until the deal goes through. Irritating? Sure, but not the end of the world and certainly not enough to offset the resale savings.

If I was ordering parts for a car I absolutely rely upon for work, school, etc., then that would be an entirely different story and certainly a delay would be a genuine cause for anxiety and frustration. For me, buying DVC points that I really don't need for quality of life just isn't a deal I'm willing to stress over.
 

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