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As of January 1, 2019, we have closed our forums. This is a decision we did not come to lightly, but it is necessary. The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk. The server software itself must be updated, and it cannot be without removing the forums.

So it is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our long-running forums. They came online in 2000 and brought together so many wonderful Disney fans. We had friendships form, careers launch, couples marry, children born ... all because of this amazing community.

Thank you to each of you who were a part of this community. You made it possible.

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There are other changes as well.

Why? Well, the world has changed. And change with it, we must. The lyrics to "We Go On" for IllumiNations say it best:

We go on to the joy and through the tears
We go on to discover new frontiers
Moving on with the current of the years.
We go on
Moving forward now as one
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Ever on with each rising sun.
To a new day, we go on.

It's time to move on and move forward.

PassPorter is a small business, and for many years it supported our family. But the world changed, print books took a backseat to the Internet, and for a long time now it has been unable to make ends meet. We've had to find new ways to support our family, which means new careers and less and less time available to devote to our first baby, PassPorter.

But eventually, we must move on and move forward. It is the right thing to do.

So we are retiring this newsletter, as we simply cannot keep up with it. Many thanks to Mouse Fan Travel who supported it all these years, to All Ears and MousePlanet who helped us with news, to our many article contributors, and -- most importantly -- to Sara Varney who edited our newsletter so wonderfully for years and years.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you for your amazing support over the years. Without you, there's no way us little guys could have made something like this happen and given the "big guys" a run for their money. PassPorter was consistently the #3 guidebook after the Unofficial and Official guides, which was really unheard of for such a small company to do. We ROCKED it thanks to you and your support and love!

If you miss us, you can still find some of us online. Sara started a new blog at DisneyParkPrincess.com -- I strongly urge you to visit and get on her mailing list. She IS the Disney park princess and knows Disney backward and forward. And I am blogging as well at JenniferMaker.com, which is a little craft blog I started a couple of years ago to make ends meet. You can see and hear me in my craft show at https://www.youtube.com/c/jennifermaker . Many PassPorter readers and fans are on Facebook, in groups they formed like the PassPorter Trip Reports and PassPorter Crafting Challenge (if you join, just let them know you read about it in the newsletter). And some of our most devoted community members started a forum of their own at Pixie Dust Lane and all are invited over.

So we encourage you to stay in touch with us and your fellow community members wherever works best for you!

Best wishes for a wonderful and magical new year!

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Old 11-07-2018, 11:45 AM   #16
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Ok, I just went to check that out. I couldn't find availability for January - late May for studios (I didn't bother with November/December, as I figured there would be nothing left). However, I could find studios available from 27 May.
I assume you are looking on the Walt Disney World hotel booking site. Cash availability is very different than DVC member inventory.

I'm not going to try explaining availability in detail because it would require 500 words just to touch on the basics. Suffice it to say that people would be very wise to choose a Home resort that they like and don't mind staying at. The recommended procedure is to book one's Home resort as close to 11 months out as possible, then try to switch the reservation to a new destination at 7 months.

If you cannot consistently book 7+ months in advance, DVC is not a wise purchase.

Other than that, it's important to note that DVC only covers the lodging. An entry-level DVC purchase will cost $300-400 per month, if financed, for the loan and annual dues. Then you still have to pay for theme park tickets, transportation to and from Orlando, meals, and all other expenses.

In the long run, DVC will probably enable you to make more frequent *Deluxe* hotel stays, but you will probably end up giving more money to Disney than ever due to the extra costs associated with those visits. If you're accustomed to staying in a Value resort or off-site, DVC probably won't save you anything. Also there are no "free dining" or other promotional offers for DVC points stays.

A hotel guest can schedule their visits when finances allow. DVC owners are locked into paying year-after-year. Renting out points can help recoup some $$$ if there's a period where visits are not practical, but rental revenue will not cover the cost of dues + month payments on a mortgage.

Good luck.
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Old 11-07-2018, 12:54 PM   #17
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I assume you are looking on the Walt Disney World hotel booking site. Cash availability is very different than DVC member inventory. .
Gosh no - I was looking on the DVC member website. I don't remember the last time I looked at the hotel booking site. In fact, I'm not even sure I could find it, we've been DVC members for so long!
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Old 11-07-2018, 01:36 PM   #18
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Sometimes, I think DVC should be named something that sounds more weighty and serious.

Calling it a club suggests you can simply withdraw from membership if it doesn’t work out for you.

I once saw someone ask advice about financing DVC who was advised to think of it as Disney Vacation Mortgage instead, explaining that it’s easy to gloss over the implications until something happens rendering you unable to afford the payments.

Tim’s advice is very sound, IMO.
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Old 11-07-2018, 01:51 PM   #19
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We joined in 2010 (BLT) and have never regretted it for a moment. We now also own at Boardwalk Villas as well.

I would say there are a couple of cons: One is that keeping track of points, use years, banking and borrowing, etc., gets complicated and sometimes tedious. It's easy to live in fear of somehow losing track of your hard-earned points!

Second, it does kind of tie you down to Disney. Especially if you have somewhat limited funds, be aware this will make it much harder to take real vacations elsewhere. Be sure you are a Disney addict!

But on the whole, it is truly wonderful. Good luck with your decision!
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Old 11-08-2018, 01:24 PM   #20
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Gosh no - I was looking on the DVC member website. I don't remember the last time I looked at the hotel booking site. In fact, I'm not even sure I could find it, we've been DVC members for so long!
Sorry...somehow I thought your post was written by OP. Apologies.

To expand on the topic of availability a little more:

- There WILL be times where it's difficult for a DVC owner to book on anything less than 11 months notice

- If there is availability left at 7 months, it's often gobbled up within days or hours (or minutes) by non-owners at the resort

- The traditional "busy" times for the theme parks do not always apply to DVC reservations. Some buyers make the mistake of thinking "I'm not going during spring break or the summer, so I shouldn't have any problem getting what I want!" DVC owners tend to avoid the high crowds, gravitating toward slower periods like the fall (Sept - early December.)
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Old 11-08-2018, 04:08 PM   #21
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DVC owners tend to avoid the high crowds, gravitating toward slower periods like the fall (Sept - early December.)
Also when we “starter home points” people go unless we want to borrow—cheap season!

(Makes note to self: Must save change to add on points. )
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:38 PM   #22
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Not trying to muddy up the water too much but I thought I should show an alternative since the OP did say they may be looking at buying into a non-DVC time share. Here is our experience over the past few years with non-DVC time shares. My wife and I own two time shares (not DVC) in Virginia. We bank our weeks and points each year and then draw on the banked time to fulfill our travel needs. Over the past 4 years, (on an annual basis) we have used the time to stay 6 to 8 weeks in a one or two bedroom unit in Kissimmee. {Two times we have exchanged into DVC. One at Wilderness lodge and one at Saratoga Springs (both one bed room units.) In each case, we stayed a week and then moved over to our normal resort.} The rest was at a resort only a few miles from the main gate on World Drive across the street from Celebration. In addition, we usually stay a week at both of our home resorts in Virginia, plus one week in Williamsburg and at least one week in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area in Tennessee. Because we are using banked time, we do have to pay exchange fees for each stay and sometimes we have to pay an amenity fee. We compared our use pattern to what we could get using DVC and to see how many points we would need to accomplish the same amount of travel. We found that the points total would be well beyond our reach since we would need several thousand points. With the current estimated price per point being in the range of $160 and the maintenance fees running about $5 per point, it was well beyond our budget. By the Way, we do NOT always travel in the off or cheap seasons. Our current plans are to be at the resort in Kissimmee from the 8th to the 22nd of December. Next will be from February 17 to March 3, 2019 with a possible extension for the next week since Madre Gras is on the 5th. We are Disney annual passholders so we get free parking at the parks and our resort does not charge for parking. We do drive since we live in NC.
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Old 11-19-2018, 12:12 PM   #23
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We use my FIL's points to stay in places around Disney and have not found it hard to find a nice place to stay with a short drive. He owns a Hilton near the Outlet mall and has plenty of Diamond Resort points from a timeshare he bought in Maui and banks every year now that we can exchange through II. I'd definitely explore offsite a bit before deciding on DVC.
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Old 11-21-2018, 10:28 AM   #24
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We use my FIL's points to stay in places around Disney and have not found it hard to find a nice place to stay with a short drive. He owns a Hilton near the Outlet mall and has plenty of Diamond Resort points from a timeshare he bought in Maui and banks every year now that we can exchange through II. I'd definitely explore offsite a bit before deciding on DVC.

I agree with explore your options before purchasing. When we were at WDW in around 2008, we went to a DVC presentation. When they left us so we could discuss our choices, we called my sister who owned the Marriott Vacation Club. We decided on Marriott instead as it was much more flexible, we could go anywhere with little problems, and most important, the deed can be willed. With DVC there was a time limit on how long you could use it and it couldn't be willed (not sure if this is still the case).

Now that Marriott has purchased Starwood, we can now use points to stay at the Swan or Dolphin. Can't use Magical Express, but it's still the Disney magic!
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Old 11-21-2018, 11:41 AM   #25
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With DVC there was a time limit on how long you could use it and it couldn't be willed (not sure if this is still the case).
The suggestion that DVC cannot be willed is simply not accurate. DVC contracts are deeded real estate holdings, supported by all local laws and privileges. In Florida, spousal survivor rights make the process very straightforward when the owner of a contract passes; the ownership transitions seamlessly to the remaining owners. If all owner(s) have passed, the DVC contract becomes part of the estate where it can be easily re-deeded to heirs, given away, sold, etc.

As for the time limit, yes that still exists. However, whether a stated end date is a blessing or a curse is in the eye of the beholder. On the surface, having an asset that doesn’t expire seems like a plus. But consider the possible desire of heirs as the property continues to grow older. Search the net and you’ll find examples of timeshare associations which are literally suing the heirs of former owners to compel them to continue paying annual dues. These are people who didn’t buy the property, don’t want the property, have never used the property and would gladly walk away, but the timeshare association will not let them.

At any given time you can find dozens...hundreds...of timeshares offered on eBay or Craig’s List for pennies, with no takers.

I’m not trying to use scare tactics to make my point. Marriott is sure to be one of the better timeshare operators. However, it’s worth considering that all timeshares will eventually be 50...75...100+ years old. With perpetual ownership, there is no exit plan. If the manager does a poor job of running the property, it could fall into disrepair. If owners start walking away (and the manager allows it), the growing operating costs will be spread over a smaller pool of owners. Many owners are going to find themselves linked to financial and legal obligations they never dreamed they’d face.

If nothing else, the stated end date for DVC ownership means everyone will be free and clear at some point down the road.
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