A love of all things Disney was something that drew me and my now husband, Marc, together, all the way back in 2006. Our first proper holiday, and by ‘proper’ I mean how us Brits refer to a two-week vacation, came in 2007 and was to Walt Disney World – I assure you, it was never ever going to be anywhere else. It was a wonderful vacation and there were two events to have a massive impact on us both and our future together. First and foremost, we got engaged but that isn’t really what I am here to talk about.
It was on that trip that we were having an evening wander around Downtown Disney (shhh – it was called that back then!) and up until that point I had seen lots of kiosks with the branding ‘Disney’s Best Kept Secret’ all over the place. With my often obsessive desire to learn everything I could about Disney, I needed to know more. I went over to the desk and started chatting with the gentleman and he gave me a very brief overview and asked if we wanted to take a tour.
I distinctly remember at that point, the thought in my head being ‘eurgh – timeshare’. (My parents are ordinary timeshare owners and know that they have on more than one occasion taken these tours for incentives and had the subsequent sales pitch. I’ve sat through it once or twice myself). The gentleman told us that if we’d like to tour, we’d also get fastpasses as a way of saying thank you for our time. Again, being mindful of our holiday time and getting things done, I jumped at the fastpasses as they would definitely save us more time than the tour would take! We booked everything in and then began making our way back to the All Stars Music Resort. As soon as we were out of earshot of the cast member, I was telling Marc that we had to be on our guard. From my experience, these timeshare sales reps are pros at making you feel backed into a corner when it comes to purchasing the product. I warned Marc that this was probably going to sound like the best deal on Earth and like we couldn’t possibly live without it but we had to remain focused and that we only wanted the fast passes.
The next day, we took the tour around the incredible facilities and ‘show-rooms’ including an example of the soon to be completed Kidani Village. At this point, I was experiencing the WOW factor but kept reminding Marc this was all for the fastpasses. Then we got to the ‘sales-pitch’ which I was very surprised to find actually wasn’t a regular sales pitch. I remember listening to all the information, quietly doing the math in my head and thinking about how much this would cost us and how it compared to the cost of the vacation we were on. Silently, I was accessing the feasibility. At one point the cast member left the room to get something and I turned to Marc (who I think was reading my mind) and said, actually this could really work and could be of real benefit to us; as Disney fans (long before even considering children) we knew between us that this certainly would not be the last visit to WDW and we could also use it to fulfill our dream of visiting other Disney resorts around the world.
I kept trying to find a downside to it, but couldn’t. I distinctly remember saying, “damn they got us, there has to be a downside to this! Where is the catch? What am I not seeing?” but there wasn’t anything. Cutting an already long story a little shorter, we talked about the frequency we intended to visit (every two years was the initial plan) and landed on 160 points. He actually talked us down from buying more as we probably weren’t going to use them! We agreed to purchase 160 points at $99 per point with the exchange rate at the time being $2.00 to the £ (for a Brit, this was an absolute STEAL! Haha) and then came the real shocker. He wasn’t going to let us purchase that day. He needed for us to go away, have some thinking time, carry on enjoying our vacation and we would meet again in 3 days to see how we felt…
Three days passed and we were both still trying to work out the downsides, if any, and whether it made sense financially. For three days it was like a constant verbal spar battle. Each of us trying desperately to be pragmatic in our thinking but all routes led back to the same conclusion. DVC seemed just shy of perfect for us. Needless to say, the rest is history, but next time, I’ll get into why Disney Vacation Club works so well for us.