Sunday Savings Series: Timeshare Presentations

This hotel does NOT offer timeshares…

A couple of weeks ago I shared a picture of an ad that was on my Facebook newsfeed. The picture was for a company that sells timeshares. I shared the picture because it was obviously wrong. It was a picture of Disneyland tickets for a trip to Walt Disney World. I said at the time that I might write something about timeshares in the near future. I guess that day has arrived.

One way that you might be able to get discounted Walt Disney World tickets is to sit through a timeshare presentation. This is legal, and if you are in the market for a timeshare you can end up with some great extras. There are some things that you need to keep in mind, though.

Let me state right off that I am not talking about Disney Vacation Club here. Technically that is also a timeshare, but it’s done the Disney way and is a whole different ballgame. DVC is not a traditional timeshare.

There are plenty of places in the Orlando area that will try to entice you with cheap or even free tickets. There could be some other things thrown in, like in the add that I saw on Facebook. The offer not only included Disney or Universal tickets, it included a cruise for one low price. One thing to always keep in mind; if it sounds too good to be true, there is probably a catch.

While it wasn’t in Orlando, my husband and I once sat through a timeshare presentation. They gave us a tour of their gorgeous property, and talked about how we could have a guaranteed vacation there for one week each year. It sounded like heaven! After telling us all of the reasons why we needed to buy it, we were told the price. What they had showed us cost more than our house was worth! When the salesman realized that we weren’t going to buy that, we were shown other options. Those still would not fit into our budget. Eventually we were given an offer for a discounted room for a week in another one of their properties. It was the goal of the sales staff that we wouldn’t leave without buying something. My husband works in sales, and even he was surprised by how high pressure the presentation was. We didn’t give in.

When we signed up for the timeshare presentation, we were told that it would take about 90 minutes. We were there for over four hours! The incentive to get us to listen to the presentation was a weekend in a beach hotel. We missed a good part of the beach day because they wouldn’t let us leave.

The first time that my family and I visited Walt Disney World we had dinner at a local restaurant the night we got in. The restaurant had a “ticket booth” in it. We didn’t even approach the booth, the woman working there came up to us. She first started telling us that she could get us discounted tickets. We kept turning her down. Her incentive kept getting better and better. By the time we finally got away, she had promised us free WDW tickets for our whole trip, plus a ride to the parks after the “hour long” presentation. We still turned her down. We knew that it would take well more than an hour, and we did not want to waste part of our vacation.

If you decide to sit through a timeshare presentation, listen carefully. Do not let anyone rush you into making a decision. Also, add up the numbers yourself. A family friend who is good with numbers sat through a local presentation, and the numbers didn’t even come close to adding up to what the salesman was saying. There is nothing wrong with buying a timeshare if you’re going to use it. If you buy a timeshare and change your mind, you do have ten days to cancel the transaction. That’s Florida law.

I am not saying to stay away from timeshare presentations. Just keep in mind that the staff has been specially trained to get you to sign on the dotted line. Of course owning a timeshare is not necessarily a bad thing. Thousands of people save money on their Walt Disney World (and other) vacations because they have a timeshare. Just be prepared to repeatedly say no, give yourself several hours for the presentation, and don’t buy anything that is going to be a financial burden.