Florida Guide > Miscellaneous
Timeshares and Discount / Free Tickets
One of the most expensive parts of holidaying in Orlando is the cost of Park
and Attraction tickets, but it is something you really cannot do without. Even
before you get there you may have seen internet sites offering absurdly low
prices - but beware - look at the small print at the bottom where it probably
will say that, in order to qualify for these cheap tickets, you must attend a
presentation. Sounds easy, doesn't it? But as with everything, you get what you
pay for - nothing is free! And it could end up costing you more than half a day
of your precious holiday in Orlando - if you add that into the equation it may
well not seem so cheap! I hope these tips will help you to understand what you
may be, unknowingly, getting yourselves into, if you decide to try to get cheap
tickets! Note that the tickets sold on this site have no strings attached, are
are NOT timeshare tickets.
Everywhere in Kissimmee, along the 192, you will see shops and booths
offering cut price tickets. You won’t even escape them in the shopping malls
either, and it is very tempting to think that you can get really cheap Disney
tickets. However, you should take care, as, in reality, you don’t get anything
for nothing, and these offers normally require a visit to a timeshare
presentation! They will promise you that you can be in and out in an hour and a
half, and they may also try to entice you with an offer of a free meal at the
time share itself. It can seem too good an offer to miss, and, after all, what’s
an hour and a half, compared to the enormous savings they are offering?
In fact you will be VERY lucky if you escape after an hour and a half. Expect
to lose half a day of your holiday, at the least. They do their level best to
keep you there in order to persuade you to buy a week’s time share option – or
maybe they will call it a ‘holiday club’ (a rose by any other name would smell
as sweet!). Although the time shares/holiday clubs do vary in the extent to
which they put you under pressure, they all follow a similar format. You will be
asked to book an appointment, and probably asked to give a deposit which will
either be refunded, or set against the final cost of your ‘gift’.
When you arrive at the time share you will be introduced to a salesperson
(though they will not be called that) who will be extremely friendly, very
interested in you, and who will do their level best to put you at your ease.
They will take you into a large room with tables and chairs, and you will be
offered refreshments – these vary from a cup of coffee and a muffin, to a full
buffet meal. You will sit at a table and just chat for a while, whilst the
salesperson may tell you the story of their life, or you may end up telling them
yours, but it is all designed to ‘warm you up’. Then they will take out their
questionnaire and go through a series of questions, designed to tell them
whether or not a time share would be of use to you (and guess what, they always
are!) These questions will include how many times you go away, what you spend,
and all importantly, where you would ideally like to go. Don’t say Florida, or
Hawaii, or any of the well-known places, because they have time shares in all of
them. We find the Galapagos Islands are a good destination, as so far they have
not been allowed to build there! The idea is to persuade you that instead of
spending ‘x’ amount each year you should buy it ‘up front’ and save thousands of
dollars in the process. They are so persuasive that you may well feel that it is
the bargain of a lifetime.
However, there are ongoing costs such as maintenance, and administration
costs which they are strangely vague about. This can add up to $499 per week
plus $120 administration cost. Having paid $28,000 for your ‘vacation dream,’
should you later need to sell it, expect it to raise less than a quarter of
that, if you are lucky!
They will probably also promise you cheap flights – but they will never give
you any prices, or availability.
They may then take you to see a very boring film showing large American
families extolling the virtues of staying in one of their time shares, before
taking you on a trip round the resort, ending up in an apartment. At about this
time you are beginning to think it must be nearly over, and you can get back to
the shops or the parks or whatever, but it is only just starting. You will be
asked constantly if you like it, and if it would be great for your family. You
can begin to feel that you would be really mean if you didn’t provide this
wonderful experience for the whole family to enjoy. Not only that, but your
host has been so charming and helpful that you feel guilty if you tell him you
don’t really like his apartments, and your family doesn’t really want to sleep
on a sofa in the lounge for a fortnight!
After this, they will take you back to the main room, which is usually very
noisy and claustrophobic, where dozens of little groups are huddled round
tables. Every so often, one of the ‘mangers’ stands up and asks you for silence
while they announce that ‘Mr and Mrs Bazinski from Pennsylvania’ have just
joined the big happy family of ‘holiday clubbers’, and you will be asked to
applaud enthusiastically as they stand up and are introduced to everyone. They
may hand over a bottle of champagne to the happy couple who look thoroughly
bemused after their 2 and a half hour hard sell.
Now comes the crunch. The questionnaire has revealed that, surprise,
surprise, you are the ideal candidates for a time share, and you really can’t
afford not to accept the offer of a lifetime of idyllic holidays, all over the
world, for a really nominal sum. And how much is all this going to cost you may
ask? Well, of course, that depends on the time of year, but let’s say $28,000
for a peak week. Gulp! You really can’t afford that? Well, now is the time for
your friendly salesperson to go and consult his/her manager, just in case there
is anything HE can do to ‘facilitate’ your purchase. It’s also the time for you
to be really firm about not wanting to go any further. And of course, their
friendly manager CAN do something – he can offer you a discount so it will be
only $18,000. Surely this is a bargain? Still too much? Well what would be
affordable? They will drop the price, little by little, enticing you to accept
this truly remarkable, never-to-be-repeated, opportunity. They will offer you
enticing deals on credit, but beware of the interest rates! And if you still say
‘no,’ then it can get a bit unpleasant. (We have worked out that they are taking
$1.5 MILLION for each apartment so no wonder they can give you a couple of cheap
There is one timeshare organisation which is really quite scary. Set amid a
top class golf course, it is undoubtedly a wonderful place, but it is one of the
worst time-shares (holiday clubs!) that we have ever experienced. First of all
they usually keep you waiting for some time in a crowded foyer, for your turn.
Then they ‘spin’ it out unendingly, with you hoping that you can be on your
way. But, if, at the end of the sales pitch, you regretfully decline, your
oh-so-friendly salesman will suddenly turn into a snarling beast. If you do not
respond to more pressure he will go and get his ‘Manager’ who is one of the
‘heavies’ who looks like something out of an Al Capone movie, and he will come
and sit down and interrogate you over why you won’t buy. At this stage you
really DO have to be firm, stand up and say ‘NO, I’m going’. Let the kids loose,
if all else fails – tell them this is the one time they have permission to
whinge, whine, throw tantrums on the floor, scream, yell or insist on going to
the bathroom at once! However, you have fulfilled your side of the bargain and
are entitled to your cheap or free tickets, but it may not be easy to escape.
The better time shares will accept that you have said no, and will gracefully
allow you to leave. You may feel like the poor relation but at least you will
get your tickets and be on your way!
Should you still want to enter the world of presentations and holiday clubs,
there is just one tip – when you start, make a point of setting your watch,
asking what time you should be finished, and firmly stating that you will be
leaving at exactly that time and not a minute later. But our advice is, don’t
waste your time – or the sunshine – go for a reputable site, such as OV. At
least you will get great prices and no pressure!
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