Wait listing for Disney Vacation Club properties, worth it or not? 13

Wait listing is a subject very close to my heart right now, having just gone through the process again.

For those who don’t know, or perhaps aren’t Disney Vacation Club members, let me explain it in a nutshell for you. If you can’t get the reservation you want at one of the Disney Vacation Club resorts, then you can obviously book an alternative, but you can also ask to be put on what’s called the wait list. It pretty much does what it says on the tin. You wait to see if your request becomes available, and if it does, then you’ll get it, with your reservation automatically confirmed.

Of course, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Chances are there’ll be more than one person with the same request, and if you wait list for multiple dates, and maybe only one or two comes free, then anyone who wants just those couple of dates will get them ahead of you.

It used to be the case that people would put in multiple wait list requests to ensure that they got what they wanted, particularly at popular times of the year. Perhaps they’d put in requests for maybe three or four different places for the same night, or maybe they’d ask for a studio, and one-bedroom in a couple of different resorts. But that soon became too much, with the Disney Vacation Club changing the rules, as they can do. Now you can only hold two active wait list requests at any one time, so you may have some decisions to make.

Imagine you want to stay for seven nights in say a savannah view studio at Jambo House of Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, and you can only get nights one, three and four, and six. You still need nights two, five, and seven. Under the new rules, you can only wait list for two out of the three. Logic suggests you’d go for nights two and five first, and if either of those come through for you, then you could next wait list for the final night.

So that’s how wait listing works in theory. What about in practice? I will say here that we are, according to some Disney Vacation Club sources I’ve spoken to, unusual in the way we do things. We always book something at our home resort at 11 months out, and then if we want to change bookings, we move at the seven month mark. Apparently, a lot of people tend to book a lot closer to their vacations than that. Doing it this way means we’ve usually got some form of accommodation.

Our next trip is in early December, which is a hugely popular time of year to visit for Disney Vacation Club members. You get to enjoy all the extra holiday events, but also get to enjoy one of the lowest seasons for members, meaning you don’t have to use many points.

The first night was our problem. I couldn’t even get a studio at the Beach Club Villas at the 11 month mark, never mind the seven month mark. I checked around at seven months for anything else, and basically all that was left was Saratoga Springs. Nothing else going anywhere. Oh boy, this was not a good start.

I had resigned myself to paying out of pocket for another resort, and had even investigated where to stay. The Hilton at Bonnet Creek seemed like a good bet, well rated on TripAdvisor, yet priced at only a few more dollars than a value resort at Disney. I figured I’d put in a wait list request for that night for the missing studio at the Beach Club Villas, but I only took this decision at seven months out. I figured it was a long shot at best.

Imagine my shock then when just a couple of days later, I logged into the Disney Vacation Club website, and found that our wait list had come through. Unbelievable. Well, I guess Disney is the place where dreams come true…

It’s not the first time the wait list has surprised us. A couple of years ago, not long after Bay Lake Tower opened, we wanted to spend a couple of nights there, again in early December. So, hugely popular time of year to visit, and a new resort, which a lot of people wanted to check out. There’s no way we’d get in, surely? We waited a lot longer, and then finally the request came through.

In truth, we’ve had a lot of luck with our wait list requests. The only time we didn’t was during the Food and Wine Festival, when we’d run out of Beach Club Villas points, and couldn’t spend the whole of our time at our beloved home resort. We ended up with a few days at Old Key West, which worked out Ok in the end, but it did show how popular this resort, no doubt along with the BoardWalk Villas, during this time of the year.

So what’s been your experience with the wait list? Have you had to use it often? How successful have you been with it? And how do you find the new rules about only having two active wait lists at any one time? I look forward to hearing your thoughts…

Want to find out more about wait listing and how the Disney Vacation Club points system works? Then PassPorter’s Disney Vacation Club Guide will tell you everything you need to know.

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What Do You Think?

13 thoughts on “Wait listing for Disney Vacation Club properties, worth it or not?

  • Kristie W.

    We are currently waitlisted for the entire period of 11/20 – 11/27. We were lucky enough to get into a 2 bedroom L/O at Jambo House, Savannah view (one of our homes but at 7 mo mark) but have the entire stay waitlisted at BLT and WL. I log in about once a week to see if our wish has been granted but so far no luck. I even thought about changing to SSR so that the kids could swim in the new pool and we’d be closer to DTD but I can’t get anything there. Or anywhere else for that matter! The one night holding us up? The night before Thanksgiving. Must be more popular than I realized.

    Last year we waitlisted for two nights at BLT after our 4 night cruise over Thanksgiving. I was pleasantly surprised that our waitlist came through. We loved BLT! We’ve never stayed at WL but thought it would be a hoot to try it out.

    If our wait list doesn’t come through then .. it is what it is. My children will join the animals at the Savannah! 🙂

    No matter where we stay, we’ll be happy campers!!

  • Karen

    I have used the wait list system a couple of times and gotten what I wanted each time. I prefer the new system as I think it makes getting what you really want or need much easier. So far I have been able to switch from Kidani House for one night to add on to a previously booked vacation at Jambo House and we did not have to change rooms. I have also put in for rooms at the 11 month mark and then either switch or wait list at the 7 month mark if we wish to change. Right now I’m waiting to see if a room will open up for my September trip on a wait list for AKL, but if not, I’ll be happy with what I have booked. I like the simplified system, but for me, I will only use it to cover an entire stay or add on one night at the beginning or end of a trip. I could never book a trip without having all my nights together in the same place, unless it was a purposeful split stay.

  • Goofyboysmama

    We are also waitlisted for Thanksgiving week – a 2 BR at AKL Kidani. We will be staying as DVC members for the first time and successfully booked at the 11 month window for a 1BR at Kidani. We booked hoping that we would book BWV at the 7 month window. We waitlisted, but then my MIL wanted to go, and needed more room for 5. I sadly deactivated the BWV wait, knowing we’d be able to try again next year. If the waitlist doesn’t goes through, MIL will have to sleep on the fold out (which is pretty comfortable) with my youngest son. I love AKL, but I hope we will get to stay somewhere else next time as this will be our 3rd consecutive stay there.

  • Brad (papamouse)

    We waitlisted last November at Thanksgiving. We did 2 nights WDW, then Dream cruise, then 3 nights after. I never thought about booking at 11 months out and then moving ressie, so at 7 months I was trying to get 3 nights in AKV concierge. I got the first night, then I booked alternate and waitlisted for the 2 nights at Concierge. I also booked at BWV on the 2 nights before the cruise, but my wife loves BCV, so I waitlisted it as well. The BCV waitlist came through at about 4 months out, and the AKV didn’t look good… until about 4 weeks before our trip and voila! We got it too! That was our first time on a waitlist and it couldn’t have gone better. I am sure it doesn’t always go that good but glad it did for us!

  • Brad (papamouse)

    BTW, I forgot to mention… I think I like the new system. Logically, it would seem we have a better chance of getting a change if they can control the number of bogus waitlists. Kind of like the issue with dining ressies and the new deposit system 🙂

  • Cheryl Pendry Post author

    It’s really interesting to read everyone’s experiences with the waitlist and how often (or not) it comes through for you guys. To those still on the waitlist, I hope you get what you want soon….

  • LuAnn

    I called at the 7 month window for Boardwalk villas for a studio and was told nothing was available. I am not happy because part of the attraction of the DVC was we could stay other places other then our home base (WL). I requested this for the week of 12/1 thru 12/7. this is so frustrating. So far it’s almost a month and nothing. We are traveling with my daughter & her family so I need 2 studios. I am afraid one will get one and the other won’t. Not a happy camper!

    • Cheryl Pendry Post author

      Unfortunately the time you’re after LuAnn is one of the busiest of the year for DVC members – they tend to take advantage of the low points to enjoy the holiday season, so you may struggle this time around. Hopefully, reading some of the other comments, you can see that you may well be able to trade out at the seven month mark a lot of the time. Good luck with the BoardWalk Villas, although I have to say Wilderness Lodge is very cool in the holiday season!

      • LuAnn

        I never thought of that it’s true about the points. I might get lucky my sister did last year getting in the Boardwalk. I hope we can get in my grandson loves it there. Thank you for the info.