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Old 04-14-2014, 04:22 PM   #1
dizzyinwdw
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Almost ready to take the plunge--AKV questions

I've been reading and doing research for a few months on DVC. Also have stayed/will stay in a couple of WDW villas to see how we liked/like the feel of each resort before deciding a home resort. With that in mind, we have narrowed in on AKV and SSR. We are also staying VWL in August to see how we like VWL (we love WL) before hopefully a purchase late this year. I was hoping to bounce a couple of questions here to help narrow it down even more.

After reading the boards we were considering SSR for the cost/value ratio. However, I am in love with AKV after staying AKV and AKL. From the information here it seems like AKV is available 7 months out, so even if we bought SSR we should be able to book something at AKV. But, I was wondering about AKV Value rooms to stretch points as we are initially planning a smaller contract (75-125 pts)? Would it be worth it to buy AKV over SSR for the 11 month booking window?

Not sure if this helps, but any additional points we add on would most likely be at a different home resort and not the resort we initially purchased at. We love to do split stays but would probably like a minimum of 3 nights at any one resort; usually we go to WDW for 5-7 nights total. So if we "pooled" points at 7 months for one reservation we would loose the 11 month advantage anyways (unless we were strategic a book and were able to book both of our home resorts for the same time frame at 11 months, i.e. 3 nights AKV followed by 3-4 nights at Poly LOL?).

We also are planning yearly WDW trips the first week of April, and also a second trip end of August that might not be a WDW only trip (maybe a couple of nights at WDW only). What use year would be optimal?

TIA!!!
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:36 PM   #2
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AKV value rooms are do-able if you can book right at your 11 month window. If you can't get one right at the date of booking you can always get on the waitlist. I would buy at AKV to be able to do this but wouldn't count on it at busy times.

And you can book both of your home resorts at 11 months to do a split stay so you wouldn't necessarily lose the booking advantage. Sounds like a plan!
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:42 PM   #3
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Board contributor Dean has done an analysis that shows you can save money nightly by owning SSR and staying in standard AKV rooms, over owning AKV and booking the value rooms. This gives you perceptibly bigger accommodations, an extra bathroom in some cases (Kidani 1BR have an extra bath; there are no value rooms in Kidani), and extra capacity (5 in non-value 1BR versus 4 in value.).

The reasoning for this math discrepancy is that there is such a large difference in the per-point annual dues between the two properties. While that could theoretically change, if anything I would expect this difference to widen in favor of SSR over AKV.

If your "most of the time" desired resort was one that was more difficult to book, I'd advise you to buy where you want to stay. For this specific description of circumstance, if I were you I would buy SSR for the lower dues, knowing you can get AKV almost all of the time.

This discussion is moot if trying to get concierge rooms at AKV is a priority for you, but those can be hard to get even if you own there.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:53 PM   #4
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What you think that you know today will change once you buy and spend a couple of years as a DVC owner. I used to suggest that you buy where you love to stay, this is because if you are picky about or will become picky about your resort stays, why pay to stay or get stuck staying somewhere else.

The problem is that most only think that they know what/where they want to stay, including my family.

My current recommendation is that you buy SSR, use the points to stay at all of the resorts, experience inventory availability, the DVC system, and the rules and policies. Later you can decide if you need to sell and buy a different home resort of keep your SSR contract.

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Old 04-14-2014, 06:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzyinwdw View Post
I've been reading and doing research for a few months on DVC. Also have stayed/will stay in a couple of WDW villas to see how we liked/like the feel of each resort before deciding a home resort. With that in mind, we have narrowed in on AKV and SSR. We are also staying VWL in August to see how we like VWL (we love WL) before hopefully a purchase late this year. I was hoping to bounce a couple of questions here to help narrow it down even more.

After reading the boards we were considering SSR for the cost/value ratio. However, I am in love with AKV after staying AKV and AKL. From the information here it seems like AKV is available 7 months out, so even if we bought SSR we should be able to book something at AKV. But, I was wondering about AKV Value rooms to stretch points as we are initially planning a smaller contract (75-125 pts)? Would it be worth it to buy AKV over SSR for the 11 month booking window?

Not sure if this helps, but any additional points we add on would most likely be at a different home resort and not the resort we initially purchased at. We love to do split stays but would probably like a minimum of 3 nights at any one resort; usually we go to WDW for 5-7 nights total. So if we "pooled" points at 7 months for one reservation we would loose the 11 month advantage anyways (unless we were strategic a book and were able to book both of our home resorts for the same time frame at 11 months, i.e. 3 nights AKV followed by 3-4 nights at Poly LOL?).

We also are planning yearly WDW trips the first week of April, and also a second trip end of August that might not be a WDW only trip (maybe a couple of nights at WDW only). What use year would be optimal?

TIA!!!
As Msmithmd suggest, it is my opinion that buying at SSR and booking standard at AKV will be cheaper long term than buying VWL and booking value each and every time. Then every time you vary from the value room at AKV the pendulum swings further in favor of owning SSR over AKV. Assuming one isn't focusing on the concierge rooms or 3 BR's there but certainly not at the points size in question. Of course you might have to buy a few more SSR points but that can be a good thing, no more than 10-15% more should be plenty to do the same as AKV focusing on the value rooms most but not all of the time. Still, AKV is a nice resort and owning there is not a bad thing.
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:23 AM   #6
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When resale price of SSR was low, ~$50pp, it make sense to buy it. But SSR price is hiking up quite a bit recently. Since the initial investment is almost the same for AKV and SSR, personally I don't mind paying a little bit premium on the annual due ($90-$150 for 75-125 pts) to get the privileges (11 mo window & value room), and for the animal care.

Regarding UY, if you travel in April & August yearly, Feb. Mar. and Apr UY will be your best choices.

Last edited by MagicJourney; 04-15-2014 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by MagicJourney View Post
Since the initial investment is almost the same for AKV and SSR, personally I don't mind paying a little bit premium on the annual due ($90-$150 for 75-125 pts) to get the privileges (11 mo window & value room), and for the animal care.
We bought AKV resale in 2012 for 2 main reasons : value rooms and concierge. I have been unsuccessful at getting either of them at 11 months. If they keep the sunrise safari available for all AKV guest, I will be putting that contract on the market.

The problem with value rooms is there are only a handful of them. Lots of times at 11months they are booked +4 days out. I have not tried waitlisting because trying for a couple of nights in a row is much harder than 1 or 2 nights. We usually end up booking elsewhere and using AKV points at the 7mon.
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Old 04-15-2014, 12:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by nalajms View Post
We bought AKV resale in 2012 for 2 main reasons : value rooms and concierge. I have been unsuccessful at getting either of them at 11 months. If they keep the sunrise safari available for all AKV guest, I will be putting that contract on the market.

The problem with value rooms is there are only a handful of them. Lots of times at 11months they are booked +4 days out. I have not tried waitlisting because trying for a couple of nights in a row is much harder than 1 or 2 nights. We usually end up booking elsewhere and using AKV points at the 7mon.
For what it is worth, we just stayed at a value studio at AKV at the beginning of March (start of Spring Break season) and we booked it about 4 months out. It was for 3 nights and 2 were available. We waitlisted the 3rd and it came through about 2 months before our trip. It is the only time I have tried to get a value room so I can't comment how common this is.

BTW, I happen to own at AKV but almost never book more than 7 months out. In fact I only did it once back in '10 during Xmas week. As you can see from my signature, I have stayed at quite a few of the resorts as I like the variety.
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Old 04-15-2014, 12:09 PM   #9
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Based on current reservation patterns, AKV standard or savanna view is usually available at 7 months out with a risk otherwise during first two weeks of Dec, Christmas week, Columbus day weekend, the weekend after that, Veterans day weekend and Tuesday to Sat of Thanksgiving week. AKV value however is often difficult to get at 7 months out much of the year (early March mentioned above is actually one of the lowest DVC demand times of the year when you may find values open at 7 months out) and if you want value rooms, you better own at AKV and plan to reserve exactly 11 months out at 8 a.m. on line and you can even lose that 11 month out race sometimes for value studios or 2BRs, particularly during the times I mentioned above.
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Old 04-15-2014, 01:10 PM   #10
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For what it is worth, we just stayed at a value studio at AKV at the beginning of March (start of Spring Break season) and we booked it about 4 months out. It was for 3 nights and 2 were available. We waitlisted the 3rd and it came through about 2 months before our trip. It is the only time I have tried to get a value room so I can't comment how common this is.
It might help if you had more info to compare. We typically travel Thanksgiving, Dec,May and sometimes Feb. Usually min 3n in Feb, otherwise at least week in a 2bd.

For hahas, I looked at availability today. 3/15 is gone for value studios but open for others. I looked at Feb Pres Day weekend. Value studios are open, which is a surprise because VGF standard studios were gone for one of those nights when I booked last week. I'd move over to AKV, but for short trips it's not really worth saving a few points and having to bus to MK.
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by MagicJourney View Post
When resale price of SSR was low, ~$50pp, it make sense to buy it. But SSR price is hiking up quite a bit recently. Since the initial investment is almost the same for AKV and SSR, personally I don't mind paying a little bit premium on the annual due ($90-$150 for 75-125 pts) to get the privileges (11 mo window & value room), and for the animal care.

Regarding UY, if you travel in April & August yearly, Feb. Mar. and Apr UY will be your best choices.
IMO there is no advantage to buying AKV unless you want concierge or 3 BR AND can reserve day one 11 months out. The dues difference is pretty huge over the life of the contract and will likely do nothing but widen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nalajms View Post
We bought AKV resale in 2012 for 2 main reasons : value rooms and concierge. I have been unsuccessful at getting either of them at 11 months. If they keep the sunrise safari available for all AKV guest, I will be putting that contract on the market.

The problem with value rooms is there are only a handful of them. Lots of times at 11months they are booked +4 days out. I have not tried waitlisting because trying for a couple of nights in a row is much harder than 1 or 2 nights. We usually end up booking elsewhere and using AKV points at the 7mon.
Exactly. From a dollar standpoint alone AKV for 15-20% less points compared to SSR would be almost the same IF one did standard AKV every time with the SSR and value every time with the AKV contract. So the question is where do they diverge. They fall to the side of AKV if and only if one wants something there other than value most trips that one doesn't do value rooms. Everything else favors SSR both short and long term. It's not like the argument with BLT where everyone thought they were paying more for much lower dues (predictably incorrect). I do own 100 AKV points (4*25) but would not repeat that move now if I were buying.
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:12 PM   #12
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We own at AK and rarely stay - we book the Values at 11 months (never had a problem with that) and try to book into the Epcot area at 7 months. Frankly, I prefer the non-savannah views - our preference is the pool view.
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