There is so much to learn about DVC, but it is a good idea to look through this Forum, there is so much information here, AND we have a fairly large portion of people that own so you can always get your questions answered!
When I read this thread it reminded me of what brought me to MouseBuzz (Disney Central) to begin with! We had a trip planned for September of 2006 and we were taking my inlaws. We were paying somewhere upwards of $4000 for teh hotel accomodations at the time. We were curious as to what DVC would offer us, since we had been interested for a while! I contacted DVC and came on here one weekend and got so much info. I then realized that if I used the $ for that years accomodations to put a downpayment on DVC then not only would I have that Vaca, I would have a lifetimes worth of vaca’s to come! It worked out terrifically we ended up staying at Old Key West in a two bedroom for like 14 days and they even gave us an extra years worth of points to use when we booked! It was wonderful! When we came home, we added another 75 points to our contract, we loved it so much!!! We have been three other times since and are glad everyday (except for when we get the dues bill every year) that we have it! So what I suggest is that you do all of your research now, and if this is definately something you would do, then take advantage and use the $ that you have put aside for next years trip for a dual purpose!
A couple of other things to keep in mind are:
Length of the contract, now before anyone starts to give me a hard time, I will say that this doesn’t really bother me, but when I talk to other time share holdres (say RCI) they like the fact that their timeshare is for life, that they can will it to their children and then on to their grandchildren, etc… DVC contracts do expire! My contract is good until 2054! To me that is perfectly fine!!! I will be well into my 70"s by then and God willing, I will still be vacationing, but not quite as often I assume! My children will be in their late 40’s/early 50’s and I would hope financially, able to afford their own timeshare by then. I think my $16,000 investment will have definately gotten it’s use! I can and have set up preparations for my children to be “willed” the contract if something should happen to DH and I but what can you say! Like I said, this is not really a factor to us, but to some it is a big deal!
The use year and home resort is important though! Our guide, who we love, didn’t stress this issue for us at the time and I wish he did! You need to keep in mind the times of the year in which you prefer to travel and and the resort you would most like to stay at. For example…we have always wanted to stay at Wilderness around Xmas and with an October use year and a home resort of SSR, that has never and will likely never be an option for us! Just an FYI!!!
Jo-jo, that is a great suggestion about buying separate contracts, I never thought of that! When we bought in the minimum points allowed was 160, not sure what it is now.
Last but definately not least, make sure you buy enough points to support the accomodations you will need. For instance, even if you only have one/two children now, but definately plan on having more, keep in mind Disney will only let you stay in a one bedroom with 5 people if one of those 5 is under the age of 3, so therefore, each trip will require you to book a two bedroom resort! That means the rooms will cost you more points each year then that of which you were using before your family expanded! Just an FYI!
Sorry, I have babbled, I hope I gave you some food for thought!!!