RV as a Vacation Investment For Disney and General Vacations

thatonemickey

New member
The short questions are at the end of this post, thanks for reading!

Hello everyone! I have always been reading the posts on the forums here and finally have a question that I don’t think has been asked before (or at least maybe one that I haven’t found on this site). I have always been grateful for all the advice, and fun comments people have written here (and on other sites) and there is a concern my family has along with an opportunity that is time sensitive, and for that purpose if you are like me and browse multiple different sites, you will probably see this posted on there. We need lots of help and need to act fast. Moving forward I hope to be a contributing member of this forum and thanks for your help!

Just a bit of background:
Our family of four (three different generations) have gone to Disney about 15 times. We have gone to Aulani two times. We are also DVC members for about the same number of years, and have used the points in every possible way imaginable (RCI FTW!) and honestly love getting the value of what we actually pay for on a vacation even if it is mind-numbingly expensive. Almost all of us work in fields that give us no heads up as to when we are off or we just don’t know until that week. So flights were always last minute, the earliest we ever booked for a Disney vacation was two months in advance.
We have always used flights to get to where we need to go. At first we thought that going on multiple flights would allow us the benefit of miles or discounts using our cards that are associated with airlines. To be honest, those cards are great for many other reasons, but not for accruing enough points to be able to even get one flight to one location.
However in recent years we began to drive to other airports to be able to get cheaper flights on short notice. Our max was 7 hour drives to the next airport to get really cheap flights on relatively short notice. That was 7 hours of anxiety about reaching to that airport in time and everything that no doubt many of you understand.

With COVID, we were unable to go anywhere at all for many months. Now this is where the question is:
We are not campers, we do not like to camping, however our family has dealt with very terrible vacations that have gone wrong, so being in a small RV will not affect us. We are not interested in the RV lifestyle. However, we are considering buying an RV to just drive to Disney World, for multiple shorter visits per year rather than one long one. We are also considering the RV to drive to airports much farther away from us to get cheaper flights to Hawaii. We also want to use the RV to possibly drive into Canada and visit areas that we were not able to do before. In general, the RV would potentially allow us to explore many areas and go to many different events much farther than our state than we ever could before.
There are hidden fees with the RV, not just the RV itself but also insurance, along with where to store it. To be honest these costs are also adding up as well (not sure if there are other costs, we’d be glad if others can bring them up). Even with the price of gas, the cost savings of not going on a flight multiple times a year and being able to go places we never could afford to go before may be worth it. I repeat, we just want a mobile hotel to stay while we drive to our destinations. Even if our family grows, what we are searching for will give us enough space for that moving forward. We found an RV we like but are hesitant to buy it now that we have found one, ha! (its used so we aren’t buying something that will instantly depreciate in value and we regret later on, plus it will allow us to break even with he investment sooner than never if we buy new).

So the Major Questions are as follows (apart from the minor ones above):

1. Can we drive to Disney World/Disneyland and park the RV for free (using the free parking DVC perk) while we use the resort and stay there for the entirety of our trip?
2. Is this even a good idea?
3. For Hawaii (and other Disney resorts outside of the US) can we park the RV in the airports while we go on our trip? We would be looking at a 25ft long 8ft tall RV.
4. RV we crazy?


Thanks!
T.O.M.
 

bnoble

he's right
If you don't get good answers here, try the Camping at Disney World forum on DISboards. Those folks should know the answers (though they are also likely to answer #4 with "of course not.")

 

thatonemickey

New member
If you don't get good answers here, try the Camping at Disney World forum on DISboards. Those folks should know the answers (though they are also likely to answer #4 with "of course not.")

Ah, well we all have our biases! Thanks for the heads-up. Didn't want to post the same thing to multiple places, but that might be the more appropriate location to post. I'm learning!:RpS_laugh:
 

Strangeite

Well-known member
While I haven't owned an RV, I do run a music festival that has a large camping component and therefore have learned more about RVs than I ever imagined.

I don't think I have ever talked to someone that felt their RV was a "wise" financial decision but they felt it was worth it because they enjoy vacationing that way. The biggest complaint I have heard is maintenance costs. They ain't cheap to fix when the breakdown.
 

thatonemickey

New member
While I haven't owned an RV, I do run a music festival that has a large camping component and therefore have learned more about RVs than I ever imagined.

I don't think I have ever talked to someone that felt their RV was a "wise" financial decision but they felt it was worth it because they enjoy vacationing that way. The biggest complaint I have heard is maintenance costs. They ain't cheap to fix when the breakdown.
So the ones we are looking at are already 20 years old, but run fine and are being sold below $10k, with very low mileage and no accidents. That is good to know that they are expensive to fix. Also the frequency at which they need to be fixed is something else that you won't know until you buy I guess.
 

DopeyRunr

the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts f
I think you have to love the lifestyle. If you're really only looking for a hotel substitute, then when you spend $10k to buy an RV and factor in gas, maintenance, etc., you're kind of "prepaying" for 100 hotel nights in what amounts to a pretty crummy hotel room.
 
#3 Airport parking can be quite expensive especially with a larger vehicle. Sometimes nearby hotels will let you pay to park then shuttle you to the airport.

Time usually means money so often I find that saving money one way means being inconvenienced in others that end up not being a good value proposition. There are alot of individual details to consider.
 

thatonemickey

New member
I think you have to love the lifestyle. If you're really only looking for a hotel substitute, then when you spend $10k to buy an RV and factor in gas, maintenance, etc., you're kind of "prepaying" for 100 hotel nights in what amounts to a pretty crummy hotel room.
Absolutely right! Yes, they would be pretty crummy hotel rooms, but if we would drive our way to Disney World we would do one of the following:
1. Sleep in the car on the way, and with an elder in our group that just simply cannot happen.
2. Pay for said crummy hotel so that we can spend for what we need at our destination.

Also, yes, 100 crummy hotels or a few years to "break even" from the investment?
 

thatonemickey

New member
Why not rent one for a week (or weekend) to see if you can envision using it? We love FW campground if that would be an option you would consider. I’ve seen RVs parked at the moderates & you had me curious, so I searched the Disney moms & it seems they are accommodated at most resorts. https://plandisney.disney.go.com/question/disney-resorts-allow-rvs-parked-parking-lot-staying-345610/
Wow, thanks for the link! So that answers the concern for DVC parking. I really appreciate your advice. We could rent an RV, and therein lies our implied concern. If we like the idea BUT the $10k+low mileage RVs are no longer there, then that is a bummer. Not to mention that many in our family are vulnerable to COVID and we would rather not rent an RV during this time to go. (once bought, it would be cleaned up). This is also an issue when we get to the Parks, but honestly avoiding the flight is much better for many reasons (I had to get on a few for work, and they keep changing the flight times and days and that unreliability is just unacceptable), and things are not as crowded at Disney at this time. Thanks so much for the insight!
 

thatonemickey

New member
#3 Airport parking can be quite expensive especially with a larger vehicle. Sometimes nearby hotels will let you pay to park then shuttle you to the airport.

Time usually means money so often I find that saving money one way means being inconvenienced in others that end up not being a good value proposition. There are alot of individual details to consider.
Yeah, I learned that recently while redoing the roof. 8k for the roof being redone in a week as opposed to 12k but done in a day. Ha!

And yes, being inconvenienced ultimately might mean not being able to take a longer stay and break it up in multiple stays. Or, for example, one stay at Aulani and then 1 stay at Disneyland and 3 stays at Disney World that one year (mix and match depending on points available).

I guess the question to ask would be price of parking at a hotel and then get to the airport (price of the taxi). But if your flight from home is $1200 to HI but from another area it is $550 then even with the cost of gas and parking and taxi (which all adds up as you mentioned) we still come out ahead after just one trip to Aulani. What are your thoughts on this?
 

George

wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tag
It seems there's a fine line between doing your due diligence by crunching the numbers and trying to convince yourself that you really want to do this. Unknown things for me would be whether I'd really want to take that many RV trips, or even if I'll really like it enough to commit to having a pretty big toy (or curse, as it might turn out).
 

thatonemickey

New member
It seems there's a fine line between doing your due diligence by crunching the numbers and trying to convince yourself that you really want to do this. Unknown things for me would be whether I'd really want to take that many RV trips, or even if I'll really like it enough to commit to having a pretty big toy (or curse, as it might turn out).
That is a really good point. I think for the most part, I would be opposed to doing it if I bought new. Buying a used RV would help solve many of the financial strain and general responsibilities that would come with an RV. Maintenance is expensive (I have been told, not sure how much so need to look into that I guess), but if it runs well then it shouldn't need that much. We would only be using it to go from point A to B that is greater than 7 hours. (At least that is how we plan on using it initially).
 

DopeyRunr

the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts f
Absolutely right! Yes, they would be pretty crummy hotel rooms, but if we would drive our way to Disney World we would do one of the following:
1. Sleep in the car on the way, and with an elder in our group that just simply cannot happen.
2. Pay for said crummy hotel so that we can spend for what we need at our destination.

Also, yes, 100 crummy hotels or a few years to "break even" from the investment?
You're misunderstanding. The RV is the crummy hotel for 100 nights. Or, $200/night for 100 nights in an actual hotel for a pretty comfortable alternative.
 

geek1997

Member
You might be able to find RV resorts or storage places near airports that would allow you to park short term. And some may offer shuttle service.

My parents own a bus-type RV and I think the biggest expense or issue they've had over the years has been tires.

Otherwise, I would consider what driving conditions you have to face going from home to WDW (since that's the location you will likely use it the most) and how comfortable you are driving a large vehicle in those conditions. For example, Texas to FL is likely an easier drive than Michigan to FL where you have to deal with snow and/or mountains. And in any condition, it will likely be a slower commute.
 

hizouse

Member
Depending on the size of your family, It sounds like a minivan combined with hotel stays might be a better alternative if you're not that interested in staying in the RV when you reach your destination.

I've seen a couple articles this year about the RV market doing really well because of COVID; I'd wait a year and see (1) if I'm still interested and (2) whether a lot of people buying RVs this year decide to sell next year and flood the market.
 
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