When considering a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Resale purchase, we often see buyers trying to decide between the resort they want to stay at versus the resort that provides them the most years of vacationing. This is an understandable quandary as one contract can provide the buyer with Home Resort Priority (7-11 month booking window) at the resort they most want to stay at, while the other contract can provide them more years of Disney vacations. The graph below shows the years remaining at different DVC Resorts:
Although there can be exceptions, my advice in the vast majority of cases is to choose the resort you most want to vacation at when joining Disney Vacation Club for four main reasons:
1. Maximizing your Disney Fun! If you are going to the “happiest place on Earth” don’t you want to go to the resort that makes you the happiest? Why go all the way to Disney just to stop a couple miles short of your favorite vacation spot.
2. Home Resort Booking Priority can be critical. Depending on the resort, having that 7-11 month window to book may be critical to getting the resort you want. For those unfamiliar with Home Resort Priority it is an 11 month maximum booking window you get with the resort you purchase your points into, commonly referred to as your DVC Home Resort. If the DVC resort is not your home resort the maximum booking window is 7 months. You can have multiple Home Resorts if you purchase into multiple DVC properties. As a Member you will have Home Resort priority with the amount of points you own at each particular resort.
Also, the time of year you want to book your favorite resort may play a part as well. For example, if you want to travel to Disney’s Hilton Head in January, there isn’t much of a need have booking priority at Hilton Head due to the low demand for that location that time of year. However, if you want to travel to Hilton Head in the Summer season on a consistent basis you will want to own points at Hilton Head as it is a highly seasonal resort that books up far in advance for the Summer. Another example is while Disney’s Beach Club and Disney’s Boardwalk stay busy all year, the Fall Season during the Food & Wine Festival can be very challenging to get the stay you want if you do not book in the 7-11 month window.
Moreover, home resort priority is likely to become even more critical as more Members join. For example, if you owned Disney’s Beach Club in 2004 after it was sold out by Disney and you own Disney’s Beach Club Villas today in 2016 you are still competing against the same number of Members to book a room at the 11 month window. However, if you were trying to book the Beach Club Villas in 2004 inside the 7 month booking window (booking window if not your home resort) you were competing against less than 100,000 members whereas today you are competing against roughly 200,000 members and that is where the impact of growth can be felt.
3. Buy and Sell Option. Keep in mind that you do not have to keep a contract until its deed expires. That would be like buying a house and feeling like you could never move. In fact, buying and selling DVC is much easier as there is no need to get out the big boxes and order the moving trucks. Lets say you really want priority at the Boardwalk resort, and you also want a contract that goes into the 2060’s. You can buy the Boardwalk contract now, vacation on it for the next 10-15 years and then have the option to sell the remaining years of Boardwalk at that time and buy something with a longer deed. Who knows, in 10-15 years your resort vacation preference may change anyway. This option may costs more money in the long run, but there really is no certainty that it will, as no one knows the future values of DVC contracts. For example, very few would have thought Beach Club would sell for more money today on the resale market carrying 13 less years, than it did originally when purchased directly from Disney Vacation Club. Or, you could keep the Boardwalk contract until its deed expires in 2042 and then purchase another contract at that time. Additionally, there may be an extension option much like Old Key West, prior to the expiration date.
4. Extension Possibility. In 2007, Disney Vacation Development offered a 15 year extension to those Members of Old Key West. This extension was originally offered at $15/pt. and was later raised to $25/pt. The Old Key West extension provided Members with an additional 15 years of ownership, extending their Old Key West deed from 2042 to 2057. While there is no guarantee of extensions being offered for Members owning other resorts, the fact that it was done for the original Disney Vacation Club resort, Old Key West, is promising. The rate of Members who extended was low, however, offering the extension 35 years prior to the expiration date may have greatly impacted the low rate. If there are to be any future extensions they would likely come much closer to the deed expiration dates in hopes of increasing the percentage of Members extending. With this a possibility, it does provide an additional reason to purchase where you want to stay as you just might get the resort you want with an option for more years too.
As mentioned in the beginning, there are exceptions to joining Disney Vacation Club with a resort with additional years versus the resort you most want to stay at. The most common exception would include if there is a resort you prefer, but not strongly enough to stay at consistently. In this case, you may be better off joining the resort that can provide you with the best overall economic benefit, and that is likely to include resorts like Disney’s Saratoga Springs and Disney’s Bay Lake Tower that both have nearly 40+ years or more on left on their deeds along with low annual dues. However, if there is that resort that is your favorite vacation spot at Disney, and you want the ability to stay there on a consistent basis, my recommendation is to join with that Disney Vacation Club resort.