I can’t say I wasn’t warned. I was told by many of the seasoned veterans on the DVC forums at DISboards.com that once I bought into DVC, I would be taken with this strange affliction called add-on-itis.
Add-on-itis is the malady that affects new and veteran DVC owners alike. Symptoms include an insatiable craving for more points, a process of creative rationalization that strains the bounds of sanity and a wanton disregard for money by way of the kind of creative accounting once the sole domain of politicians and mafia bosses.
It begins innocently enough. You thought long and hard about DVC. You had many discussions with your husband/wife, you scoured the message boards, asked question after question, weighed the pros and cons, tossed and turned while considering all aspects of DVC – do I buy direct, or resale? Do I buy at Vero Beach for cheap points, or do I buy at Bay Lake Tower so I have that 11 month window? Then, the moment of reckoning – you decide it’s time to pull the trigger. You buy into to DVC with 150 points! You’ve done it – you’re a DVC Member! You own a piece of Walt Disney World and will now take your place among the great real estate barons of history.
You’re also a Disney fan with a new toy and you want to play with it. A LOT. So, you begin figuring out how you’re going to spend your newly acquired points. Like Eisenhower planning the invasion of Normandy, you begin to map out your next visit to Walt Disney World and your first visit as a DVC member. You excitedly enter your dates only to find that your home resort has no studios available (unless your home resort is Saratoga Springs, in which case you’re fine). You realize with horror that the deluxe studio you had based your decision on was going to be much tougher to book than you realized.
If you REALLY wanted to get the most use of your points, and have some flexibility on how far out you could book, you’d need enough points for a one bedroom! The realization hits you that the common sense approach you took when deciding to buy in to DVC in the first place was woefully naive. So, you begin stalking the resale web sites for good deals . “I’m just looking, it doesn’t cost anything to look” (rationalization). So you look, and you look, and you find that perfect contract. The one that will make everything alright.
You might also start thinking things like “What if my sister and her family want to join us?” or “Great Aunt Susie and her 6 alcoholic step-daughters have been talking about wanting to do a family trip to Disney World”, and of course, the ever-present thought – ” If I just grab another 75 points, I’ll be satisfied! ” (Insatiable craving) Then starts the back-of-the-napkin calculations (creative accounting). You say “If I don’t eat for a month, and walk the fourteen miles to work every day, the money I’ll save will more than cover the investment – and the kids don’t really need college. Little Johnny is a great kid, but he’s got ‘trade school’ written all over him. It will be fine… “
And then it starts. You put an offer in on a resale contract. You wait on the right of first refusal decision like Casey Anthony waiting on a verdict. You begin wondering what will happen if Disney takes the contract in right of first refusal? What will I do??? I need to be prepared! So you start looking at ‘backup contracts’, you know the contracts you’ll make an offer on if this one falls through. You find two or three that you had missed before (or maybe they were newly listed) and wow – they’re even better deals than the last one. Then you see it! Another “perfect” contract! Right use year, great price, and “I’ve always wanted to stay at the Grand Floridian, but I won’t be able to unless I have that 11-month window – and look – this contract has 200 points available immediately, I can take an extra trip this year”. And so it goes….