By now, everyone has heard of Disney Vacation Club's issues with their new resort in Hawaii. President Jim Lewis and two other executives were fired from Disney and sales of the new timeshare resort have been halted for more than a month now.
On the surface, this does not seem like good news for anyone except the mainstream media, ever anxious to pounce on any bad news with the word timeshare. I don't think for a minute that I know the details of what went on (or didn't go on) to cause the DVC problems. Some people believe it had to do with legal filings, others believe it has to do with surprisingly low annual fees to support such a project. I strongly believe that Disney Vacation Club will do the right thing with owners and in the end, their Hawaii project will be a success.
But the greater good that I think will come out of this story is that consumers everywhere will start to ask more and more pertinent questions before purchasing ANY timeshare, Disney or other. Some of those questions have to do with the annual fees, some have to do with developer control and others have to do with the difference between a "new" and "used" timeshare.
Don't get me wrong, I think that DVC is a good thing for some consumers to buy, however, for too long, DVC and some other brand names were thought of as somehow better than a small, independent timeshare and that is just not true. Consumers and the media need to know that with more than 6,000 timeshare resorts worldwide (almost 1,700 in the United States), this is too big an industry to make broad generalizations based on a name only.
We'll be talking more about the questions that consumers need to ask before buying any timeshare in the next few weeks. If you have any you'd like to include, let us know. And if you are an owner at DVC's resort in Hawaii, drop us a note and let us know how things are going.