They are very up front with your fees, etc. You have annual maintenance which you can pay monthly or annually. If you finance through Disney (or anyone for that matter) you will also have your payments and interest. Your only other costs involved would be if you book in the “conceirge collection”…such as Keystone Resort in Colorado or a Dude Ranch in Arizona. For those reservations, they charge a $95 booking fee. When you book a DVC resort (OKW, SSR, VERO, Hilton Head, Beach Club, Boardwalk, Wilderness Lodge, etc) there is no fee for booking.
We usually go in late May and or early June when we go to WDW. We stay 7 nights at OKW in a studio. That runs 98 points. We can also go over Spring break and stay Sunday through Thursday nights (5 nights) for 55 points. If you did that, you would use all your points, plus you have to borrow a couple. If you don’t want to use your extra points you can “bank” them. You have to use them by the next year. For example, you have a May use year (that means you get a new “set” of points each May) in June 2005 you used 98 points at OKW for 7 nights in a studio room. You still have 52 points left over and you don’t need them anymore this year (this year meaning until end or April 2006). So you would “bank” them. You would need to use them by the end of April 2007.
The maximum you are allowed to have at any time is 3 years. The only way to acheive this is by banking an entire year, using the current year, and borrowing from the next year.
Remember…DVC is not JUST for Disney. We are planning on taking two years off from Disney World after our March trip (GULP!!!) and we are still using our points. We are going to Keystone Resort in Colorado over the summer and getting a great 2 bedroom condo for 5 of us for 135 points. I know my DSis is getting a one bedroom condo there for 95 I think. There are tons of fun and free things to do in Keystonre and the accomidations are beautiful (very comparable to Disney resorts). Then the following year we are going to spend a week exploring Hilton Head SC staying at Disney’s Hilton Head resort. I think the points for 5 nights there are going to run us about 40 points so we are getting two rooms so our Mom can come along.
DVC will save you $$, if you use it properly. I for one wouldn’t use my points for a cruise. It would cost my family 3 years of points to go on one 4 day cruise, when I could be using those points at other DVC resort and get about 4 weeks of vacations for the same price. Also, the adventurer collection is very pricey point wise, as well.
We figure once our DVC is paid off we will keep applying that money in a savings account for those type of vacations that we can do in between DVC vacations.
Keep in mind. If you go to Disney (or any other vacation desitination) one week per year until 2054 (which is when your time share at SSR will expire) just staying at a value-type resort, you will pay approx $100 per night x 7 nights. That works out to $700 per year x 49 years = $34,300. And MUCH MORE if you are staying in accomidations comparable to DVC resorts (more like $300/night x 7=2100 x 49 years = $102,900!!). I think DVC is selling SSR approx $85/point right now which works out to about $13000.
Good Luck with your decision. It does seem complicated at first, but it’s really easy once you get the hang of it!