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.