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In episode 005 we welcome Tom Vose to the My DVC Points Podcast.  Tom is the host of the “Welcome Home Podcast.”  His family has been Disney Vacation Club members at Bay Lake Tower since 2013.  Tom and his wife are a true Disney family.  Tom proposed marriage at Cinderella’s Royal Table.  For their honeymoon, their parents booked the newlyweds a Club Level at Animal Kingdom Lodge.  They have been visiting Walt Disney World for years on a regular basis.

Tom recalls being in Tomorrowland when his wife saw the DVC booth and decided to sign up for a tour.  They made a secret pact going into the DVC tour that no matter what, they wouldn’t buy today.  During the DVC presentation, his wife wanted to buy; however, Tom stuck to the agreement.  They went back and did a lot more research and eventually decided to buy at Bay Lake Tower.  BLT was sold out and wasn’t the actively marketed property; however, they joined the waitlist to purchase Bay Lake.  The next day their DVC guide called with good news that they had BLT points available for sale.  (This is an essential point for new buyers to know.  You don’t have to buy the actively marketed resort.  You can go on a waitlist for Disney to buy back other resorts.  When you hear of Disney exercising Right of First Refusal (ROFR), Disney is buying the resale contract for themselves to resell to a buyer who wanted more points at an older resort.)

Tom explains they bought at Bay Lake for various reasons.  Years remaining on the contract, low dues, walk to the Magic Kingdom; however, they rarely stay at Bay Lake Tower because their points go farther at other resorts.  Thus far the Vose family has stayed at Boulder Ridge (which is their favorite resort), Animal Kingdom Villas (both Kidani and Jambo house), the Polynesian and Boardwalk Villas.  They are working on a goal stay at all of the DVC resorts.  Tom and I share the fact that our wives are both teachers and we have to stay in higher point seasons when kids are out of school.  The Vose family books deluxe studios and typically find plenty of options at the 7-month mark.  It may not be their first choice, but they discover they have options available.  They use the waitlist a lot and have had a lot of success with the waitlist.  The only time they waitlist didn’t come through was Christmas week at the Grand Floridian.  Tom explains they signed up two months prior and didn’t expect positive results for this particular waitlist due to the popularity of the resort at Christmas and they didn’t join the wait list at the beginning of the 7-month booking window.  Tom encourages families to come at least once during the Christmas season.

Regarding DVC regrets, they don’t have any.  Tom explains that he did a lot of research before buying DVC and went into the membership with full knowledge.  Tom explains that this is a timeshare and you have to book early.  They would buy more points if they needed them and it was financially feasible.  Going forward, Tom will be looking at adding on more points via DVC Resale Market.   When buying in, they considered a trend with DVC contracts, as Disney grows in popularity and increases the price of staying on property, the DVC contract value keeps rising over time.   We discuss the small differences between a DVC stay and a hotel stay:  frequency of “Mouse-keeping” (Disney’s term for housekeeping) and the lack of fresh towels every day.  Thus far, Tom has never had to pay for extra towels given; however, my family has had mixed results with this area.

We discuss split stays (where you stay three nights at one resort and the move to a second resort to finish your vacation).  The upside is that you can try multiple resorts.  The downside is that you have to pack up all of your stuff and move resorts while on vacation.  Disney's bell services transfer all of your belongings to another resort.  Split stays can become a necessity if you do not book early.  Quite often an entire week at one resort is not available, and you have to piece together your vacation.

If Tom had to do things over again, he would still purchase Bay Lake again.  He would buy the smallest number of points directly from Disney that would get a physical blue membership card for discounts and member perks.  However, Tom would buy the majority of his points via resale.  Currently, new resale only buyers do not get the member perks and benefits.  Tom and I discuss our habit of regularly browsing resale contracts.

Tom’s bucket list is going to Aulani and Disneyland and staying at the Grand Californian.  Grand Floridian and Beach Club are also on the list.

Tom recommends that we bring Nick Cotton from DVC Resale Market on the show.  I bought numerous DVC contracts from Nick and had incredible results.  Nick is a friend of mine and will be joining us very soon.

Tom’s advice to prospective DVC members:  Do your homework.  Tom thought the DVC’s guide was using a sales tactic when they presented DVC as “vacation insurance.”  As an experienced member, Tom validated that DVC truely is vacation insurance.  The guides aren't just stating this as a sale pitch.  Owning DVC ensures you will go on vacation every year when life gets busy.  (DVC published a study showing that DVC members use 98% of their annual vacation time each year compared to about 60% utilization in the general public).  The pre-paid nature of DVC points offers peace of mind that you can afford to go on vacation each year.  Tom also talks extensively about the awesome DVC community.

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