For Walt, it all started with a mouse. For us, it all started with a timeshare scam.

Spoiler alert: we didn’t scam DVC.

I was giving my then 1-year-old son a bath one night when my husband walked into the bathroom and handed me the phone. He said, “Look, I know it sounds too good to be true, but I think we can go to Disney on the cheap.” My husband and I are both teachers, so taking our kids to Disney was a dream that seemed too complex to complete. We had a very tight budget (daycare) and a very tight schedule (we can only travel during holidays and summer). Disney is not cheap, especially during the holidays and summers so, I took the phone skeptically and made my husband finish bathtime.

What ensued was another, not-to-be-named, timeshare organization trying to pitch us on a “free” trip to Orlando. The catch that my husband knew sounded too good was that we live in Maryland and the timeshare rep assured us that Maryland law stated that his organization could NOT make us sit for the presentation. Getting his timeshare company to honor his promise is a story for another time, but we ended up going on the trip during Spring Break and falling in love with Disney despite the timeshare shadiness, the massive crowds, and our complete exhaustion at the end of a day at the park.

While we were there, we ended up running into distant relatives who were staying on property. We were dead on our feet; we were sweaty and dirty waiting for fireworks before the hour-long drive back to a crappy hotel. They were not exhausted; they were happy and refreshed in the evening. At the end of the vacation, my husband turned to me with a challenge: get our family back to Disney within the next 3 years, but put us on property. He said that this would be our once in a lifetime trip, so live it up and get it done.

He knows I can’t back down from a challenge like that, so off I went. I researched the best deals; I saved penny after penny. Finally, 2 ½ years later, I had a trip to Pop Century booked and paid for. We stayed; we loved it; we had a magical time – except that Pop Century’s rooms left a lot to be desired for privacy and kids’ bedtime routines. As we were leaving our last park for the trip, my husband once again turned to me with a challenge: get our family back within 2 years and put us in a larger room.

This time, I needed to research a little more closely and all roads lead to the same thing: DVC, either purchasing or renting. I tried to find any other way but, I couldn’t find anything that met our needs better. Then, I found the resale market. My husband, due to the prior run-in with a timeshare company, was beyond skeptical. We had never visited a deluxe resort before; we had never seen the resorts other than on YouTube walk-throughs. This was a huge financial commitment for something sight unseen. He did not believe it could work but, I am pretty persistent and reasoned with him in the language he loves most: math. I showed him how the cost of returning to Disney in the fashion that he wanted would be a bigger cost over the long run, than the purchase of a contract and the maintenance fees.

In the end, we agreed to buy a medium-sized contract at Saratoga Springs to get us to the ‘house of mouse’ in a 1 bedroom every other year. I booked our first trip at Kidani Village and he was skeptical. He teased me that I had bought an over-priced hotel room and that the only animals we would see at the resort would be squirrels. He rolled his eyes when I talked about the different options for future trips. In his defense, I might have also gotten a little obsessed in my research and talked about points charts and room occupancy a little too often.

When our Magical Express finally rolled up to Kidani Village and we stepped into the lobby, the first thing my husband saw was a giraffe on the savannah. He stopped teasing me after that. The 1 bedroom was exactly what we needed to have a little privacy for both us and our children. The Savannah View was the icing on the cake, well worth the extra points. We loved it. At the end of the trip as we drove away, he didn’t challenge me. He simply asked, “When do we get to come back?”

Even with our tight budget and schedule, we were able to experience more than we dreamed at Disney and will continue to do so for years to come, because of our blind purchase of a DVC contract…. And to think, this all started with a timeshare scam!

22 thoughts on “For Walt, it all started with a mouse. For us, it all started with a timeshare scam.

  • June 5, 2019 at 11:44 am
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    Sorry to bring you down but, you can buy timeshares on eBay that have RCI points (that you can trade-in to go to a Disney DVC property) for a few hundred dollars. I have stayed at a DVC property many times depositing my points with RCI and using them to get a week at a DVC property.

    Reply
    • June 5, 2019 at 11:58 am
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      Not the same, sorry. You cannot buy into DVC on ebay.

      Reply
    • January 31, 2020 at 5:16 pm
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      Not at all the same. You did not get a 50 year deed for Disney properties on eBay. You might have gotten a good deal on one trip – great. Until you purchase DVC directly from Disney, you have no idea what you’re getting.

      Reply
    • August 22, 2020 at 5:56 pm
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      Uh no it’s not the same. But thanks for the laugh.

      Reply
  • June 5, 2019 at 12:02 pm
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    This whole story is a big scam. You cannot buy DVC on eBay, or do anything thing else this OP has said in this article.

    Reply
    • June 5, 2019 at 1:26 pm
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      The OP’s article never said anything about buying DVC on eBay. They simply said they “found the resale market.” You can certainly buy a DVC contract on the resale market, and will be particularly well-served if you use a reputable broker like The Timeshare Store (DVCStore.com).

      Reply
  • June 5, 2019 at 12:35 pm
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    Not sure what everyone is talking about – you can buy a resale contract from anywhere someone wants to sell one. That’s how a free marketplace works. If you go through ebay or craigslist or something like that, just be sure to use a reputable title company that’ll hold your money in escrow and verify everything for you. I, myself, prefer to use one of the experienced brokers, especially since some of the paperwork can be tricky, but you certainly can buy from anywhere — even the foreclosure auction — if you know what you’re doing.

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    • June 5, 2019 at 1:31 pm
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      Mike I don’t think this is true because Disney has to approve resale contracts.

      Reply
  • June 5, 2019 at 3:28 pm
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    Lou, they don’t care where you buy it, only what you are paying for it. That is the whole point for Right of First Refusal. You can most certainly buy DVC on eBay, Timeshare User Group and many other resale sites.

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    • June 5, 2019 at 5:25 pm
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      The only scam was the title for click bait Jeff, lol. As for the doubters, I have worked in the Orlando timeshare market for over a decade and the story is factual. You can buy DVC on resale at a great discount (although their right of first refusal keeps the prices up to protect their retail program). Disney is the best resale product in the industry and isn’t like the sea of resales to be had for $1. I have never and will never work for Disney, but love their products. My family has been annual pass holders for a long time. If you can afford it, and you’ll get your money’s worth then DVC is the best timeshare product around. Hilton is also good, but no matter what amy RCI points folks tell you, you ain’t exchanging into DVC.

      Reply
  • June 5, 2019 at 4:01 pm
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    Where was the scam? I did not read anything in this posting that is a scam, maybe I’m missing it?

    Reply
  • June 5, 2019 at 9:03 pm
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    What I don’t understand is she says they are both teachers so it’s difficult to find A TIME TO GO. Teachers have the most available time to go than anyone I know! They can go all summer, Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, mid winter break, spring break and we’re back to summer again. Plus I probably missed some…

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    • June 6, 2019 at 4:19 pm
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      Spoken by someone who isn’t a teacher. Yes, I’m sure they will go in the summer, when it’s scorching hot, prices are near their highest of the season, and it’s super crowded. The point is, they are locked into those times. Same with the other holidays.

      Reply
  • June 6, 2019 at 7:38 am
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    You absolutely can trade into DVC using RCI points. Not easy but can be done. I’ve stayed at Wilderness Lodge, Animal kingdom, Boardwalk, and Saratoga springs using RCI points. Much cheaper than buying DVC.

    Reply
  • June 6, 2019 at 8:08 am
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    We bought in through DVC originally but wanted more points to meet our annual vacation wishes and bought them through the resale market a few years ago (sorry….but was not DVC Store). The resale market gave us about a 50% discount compared to what we would have needed to pay at current DVC add-on point rates. We bought 70 points at around $80/point versus the $150-$160 DVC was looking for at whichever resort was being pushed at the time. Until DVC really kills the perks of resale DVC owners (eliminates DVC discounts or offers), it is worth it to buy resale.

    Reply
  • June 6, 2019 at 11:40 am
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    I own 4 DVC contracts – all bought resale. And I have one Timeshare in Las Vegas that I will never visit. But, I do use that timeshare to trade into RCI to book other very nice resorts around WDW, and occasionally Saratoga Springs 1 BR units in Disney. Of the last several years, SSR 1 BR is pretty much the only thing you’ll find on RCI, and they are not always available, and Disney charges you an extra $195 (or $200) upon arrival, but it’s still the cheapest way to stay at SSR. I found someone on Redweek.com (but it could also have been Ebay, etc) who was willing to sell their point based Las Vegas timeshare for a very low price. And then I told them I would only pay $100, and after a little discussion, they sold it to me, and paid my closing costs. Anyone can do this. But, don’t get a timeshare in the Orlando area if you want to trade into DVC, because Disney blocks you from doing that. I thought I would always trade my Las Vegas timeshare at the Grandview into Disney property, but we have found so many great properties within minutes of Disney, and so much cheaper and bigger, that we often stay at those properties, and use my DVC points to give us several days at the end and beginning of our week long reservations through RCI.

    Reply
    • November 2, 2019 at 8:39 am
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      John and others who have talked about exchanging in through RCI. I own several contracts for DVC points. some of them I purchased direct from Disney but most of them I purchased on the resale market. I also own 28,000 WorldMark points. Some of them I purchased from WorldMark and some of them I purchased on the resale market for literally 5 cents on the dollar total cost. I mostly use my WorldMark points at Disneyland since there is difficulty getting DVC at Disneyland. Though, several years ago, I was able to use RCI exchange points to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge in a 2 Bedroom, Savannah View, on a fantastic vacation. However that really is no longer available through RCI. Because Disney changed how they handle RCI.

      You need to know that Disney has changed their policies so that they no longer allow you to use an RCI exchange to stay anywhere in DW other than a one bedroom unit at Saratoga springs, and perhaps occasionally a 1 bedroom at Old Key West. They just do not let other rooms out on the exchange. So you can indeed exchange into Disney World through RCI, but starting several years ago and for the foreseeable future, when it is available, it will almost certainly be restricted to what I just mentioned.

      If you want a DVC vacation at Disney World you seriously might consider either renting the points from an agency or from an owner by going on Disney owners web boards, or you can purchase on the resale market for about two-thirds the cost that Disney sells them directly. In most cases the resale market probably does make a lot more sense for most people. I recommend you take a look at resale contracts for Animal Kingdom Lodge and possibly Saratoga springs or Old key West.

      DVC is not cheap, though resale points are significantly cheaper than direct from Disney. However I really think it is worth it because it gives you a fantastic location in the park and you can get units with full kitchens and other amenities. DVC will let you stay in a luxury resort 4 approximately the cost of a value resort to moderate resort.

      DVC has also historically done exceptionally well at retaining value. If I go to resell my WorldMark points, I will get pennies on the dollar. If I go to resell my DVC points I am very likely to get all or almost all of my money back. No other timeshare has a history of resale like that. There are never any guarantees, but that is what history has shown and I see no reason why it should change. And if you choose not to resell them when you are no longer using them, you also will always have the option to rent them out to other people you want a vacation without purchasing.

      I can say that I had bought through DVC store, as well as other agencies. And DVC store is excellent.

      I am just a DVC owner and user, and have no association with DVC, WorldMark, DVC Store, or Disney, other than as an owner and purchaser of timeshare. I have written two books on Disney World, however you will never find them because they are not under my name.

      Reply
  • June 6, 2019 at 1:41 pm
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    Wow Greek I under stand DVC Disney Vacation Club – What is RCI and SSR ??
    and don’t u have to pay yearly to have these because some one said they have 4 how can u afford it ?? I would like to get something

    Reply
  • November 2, 2019 at 8:28 am
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    John and others who have talked about exchanging in through RCI. I own several contracts for DVC points. some of them I purchased direct from Disney but most of them I purchased on the resale market. I also own 28,000 WorldMark points. Some of them I purchased from WorldMark and some of them I purchased on the resale market for literally 5 cents on the dollar total cost. I mostly use my WorldMark points at Disneyland since there is difficulty getting DVC at Disneyland. Though, several years ago, I was able to use RCI exchange points to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge in a 2 Bedroom, Savannah View, on a fantastic vacation. However that really is no longer available through RCI. Because Disney changed how they handle RCI.

    You need to know that Disney has changed their policies so that they no longer allow you to use an RCI exchange to stay anywhere in DW other than a one bedroom unit at Saratoga springs, and perhaps occasionally a 1 bedroom at Old Key West. They just do not let other rooms out on the exchange. So you can indeed exchange into Disney World through RCI, but starting several years ago and for the foreseeable future, when it is available, it will almost certainly be restricted to what I just mentioned.

    If you want a DVC vacation at Disney World you seriously might consider either renting the points from an agency or from an owner by going on Disney owners web boards, or you can purchase on the resale market for about two-thirds the cost that Disney sells them directly. In most cases the resale market probably does make a lot more sense for most people. I recommend you take a look at resale contracts for Animal Kingdom Lodge and possibly Saratoga springs or Old key West.

    DVC is not cheap, though resale points are significantly cheaper than direct from Disney. However I really think it is worth it because it gives you a fantastic location in the park and you can get units with full kitchens and other amenities. DVC will let you stay in a luxury resort 4 approximately the cost of a value resort to moderate resort.

    DVC has also historically done exceptionally well at retaining value. If I go to resell my WorldMark points, I will get pennies on the dollar. If I go to resell my DVC points I am very likely to get all or almost all of my money back. No other timeshare has a history of resale like that. And if you choose not to resell them when you are no longer using them, you also will always have the option to rent them out to other people you want a vacation without purchasing.

    Reply
  • July 25, 2020 at 7:56 am
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    We bought Saratoga Springs 15-ish years ago (200 pts) used it like crazy, for 8 years and HAD to sell… We sold for what we paid minus closing costs! We recently purchased 300 pts at a much higher price, but know we will use the heck out of it and it will retain an unbelievable resale value! We love it!

    Reply
  • August 15, 2020 at 11:39 am
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    I bought Boardwalk when my oldest was 1 year old. A couple years later we did add on points for Vero Beach. Best thing I ever did. Now oldest is 24 and have a 19 year old and almost 14 year old and still can’t wait for next trip. We even found we dont always have to go to the parks to enjoy ourselves and sometimes stay at beach resorts either Vero Beach or Hilton Head and love those too. Knowing we get to come back we have found so many other wonderful experiences to have at the house of mouse by exploring and experiencing all the mouse has to offer.

    Reply

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