Problems getting a room?
About This Page: This is a discussion on Problems getting a room? within the Owning the Magic: Disney Vacation Club, part of the PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel; My husband and I are thinking of buying into the DVC. I just wanted to know, for those of you ...
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Except for one time we have always reserved our room at the 11 month mark and never had a problem. The one time we reserved at 7 months was at Vero Beach and still got in although the person I reserved with told me it was the last 2br available.
DVC is a timeshare. When Disney "sells" a resort, they sell enough points such that every room would be filled 98% of the year. But since demand has its own peaks and valleys, the popular times will often see members shut out due to lack of availability.
(And don't make the mistake of thinking that summer and holiday periods which are popular with the general public are also peak demand for DVC. Many times the opposite is true, with DVC owners flocking to the parks when they are not particularly busy.)
The people who are most satisfied with DVC--and any timeshare--will be those who can consistently book as early as the program rules allow. DVC allows owners to book their Home resort up to 11 months prior to check-in. If you do that, you have about a 99.9% chance of getting exactly what you want.
Owners have a 4 month booking advantage at their Home resort. The vast majority of the time, booking anytime during that 4 month advantage will get you exactly what you want.
But when the 7 month window arrives, things change quickly. Every resort suddenly opens up to hundreds-of-thousands of members. All remaining availability at smaller and more popular resorts is often gobbled up quickly.
The last resorts to fill are typically Animal Kingdom Villas, Old Key West and Saratoga Springs. Those are the 3 largest and they also happen to be the three WDW-based resorts which are not adjacent to a theme park (which hurts their demand in comparison to others.)
1) If you can book 7+ months in advance of arrival at your Home resort, you have an excellent chance of getting what you want.
2) If you are prepared to book a non-Home resort right at 7 months, you have a decent chance. Although for small / popular resorts and high demand DVC dates, it's very possible nothing will be left to book at some resorts.
3) If you expect to consistently book less than 7 months in advance, DVC is probably not a good fit. You will have a limited selection of resorts to choose from and, depending upon how long you wait, there could very well be times when no resort has availability when you finally try to get a reservation.
We've never had a problem...........always got time and view at home resort (11 months reservation ).......and also, got what we requested at 7 month window.....actually, DD got desired location (BLT) and view (theme park) at 6 months......maybe we're just lucky...but never an issue in over 10 years of ownership.
We've never once had a problem getting in somewhere and only once did our first request not come through for us on the waitlist. However, we usually either book at the 11 month or seven month mark - what difference that makes, I don't know, as we don't usually book any closer to our vacation than that.
I've never had problems booking at 7 months either but I think most of us reading this forum understand the ins and outs of DVC bookings better than the average (or rookie) member. We have expectations based upon what we assume (know) will be available certain times of the year. Those who do not are sometimes in for a rude awakening.
About this time every year I will invariably come across a post from a new member who is upset at lack of availability for fall dates. The post usually goes something like this: "I just joined and was anxious to make my first trip but DVC is telling me that EVERYTHING is booked for weeks on end. It's a slow time at the parks so why are there no rooms available? I'm sorry I ever joined DVC."
The period in question is essentially October through the first part of January (holiday season) which is pretty much all high demand among DVC members these days. You've got the Food & Wine fest, Halloween parties, Halloween decor, Jersey Week, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, cheap points in early December, Christmas decor, etc.
Those December dates are still 5 months away and I can guarantee there is not much availability left at the DVC resorts.
And the impressions can be exacerbated by preconceptions like:
"I only want a Studio room, not one of the larger villas." (Studios typically have the highest demand of all villas.)
"I only want a Standard View room, not one of the better views." (Many members flock to the Standard View because of the lower cost.)
So as the old saying goes, the devil is in the details. A member booking a BLT Lake View One Bedroom for May at 7 months will have a vastly different experience than a member expecting to get a BoardWalk Standard View Studio for early December on 4 months notice.
BTW, I didn't mean to step on the original post. I hope folks will still chime in with their experiences.
FWIW, I think it's important to not only report a success / failure rate but also add some info regarding room size typically booked, resort(s) that were targeted and even how far out the bookings were attempted.
As I said, we are pretty close to 100% in getting what we want. A couple times we had to book a "Plan B" location but the wait list got us what we needed. Typically we book One Bedroom villas and the non-Home reservations are made right at 7 months.
The only time we didn't get what we wanted was under a very tough set of circumstances. I tried booking a Bay Lake Tower Studio for a Friday & Saturday on about 5 months' notice. That attempt came within a couple months of the resort opening. I sat on the wait list for about 2 months and then simply gave up hope and booked elsewhere. Maybe it would have even come available. It was more my choice not to wait.
Other than that, booking 7 / 11 months in advance and understanding that some of the smaller room categories are hard to get has been a recipe for success for us.
We usually book our home resort (SSR) at 11 months, and then decide if we want to look elsewhere at 7 months. Since we have been members for several years, we also know (as Tim stated), that there are certain resorts at certain times of the year that we are simply not going to be able to stay in (such as BC during F&W). So saying that, we have always gotten what we were looking for at 7 months, but sometimes have not been successful at 3-4 months (we tried AKL Kidani at 3 months - 1bdr without success). We are OK with that, since we love SSR (already have 2 more ressies!). We have been getting a 1bdr for all of our stays lately, since we love the extra room and w&d in the room. We pack a lot less, and, if one of us gets up early, we don't have to disturb the other person while having coffee and catching up on the news in the morning.
Location: UK, Chelmsford - close to the V festival (if you have ever heard of it)
Concierge Level: 6
I have only booked one dvc vacation, I know that's not much experience but I'm happy to share. I was hoping for a studio at bwv (my home) in early december. As tim says this is a busy dvc time due to low point cost. I booked at two days after my 11 month window opened (mainly due to my silly assumption that a UK bank holiday was a non Working day for member services .... Rookie mistake). I asked for a standard view .... I knew from the boards that the chances of this were slim... I got a preffered view but I'm very happy.
I know that's only one example but its the only one I have .
I think if you are fairly flexible and understand the dvc system and demand you should not have a problem. Also i have read many times that some resorts always have better availability mainly due to there size e.g. SSR and okw especially when compared to WLV and BCVs as these are small resorts.
Good luck in your decision.
Clare Loves Stitch "sometimes the right path is not the easiest one" Grandmother Willow - Pocahontas Proud DVC owner at BWV from March 2011
Last year the day after the devastating tornadoes we "evacuated" to WDW to await the restoration of electricity.
We departed North Alabama on April 28 with no reservations at all. Literally. Once we had traveled far enough to have cell phone coverage, I reserved a room for that night at a Fairfield Inn in the FL Panhandle with my Marriott app. Member Services had already closed (we departed about 4:30 PM Central Time).
We got up the next morning and called DVC Member Services when it opened. We requested a 1 BR (laundry!) at a couple of places (BCV, BWV), and then the CM said, "Why don't I tell you what's available?"
We scored a 1 BR at VWL starting that evening through the weekend! We subsequently extended our stay for another night, but were unable to snag a 1BR at VWL. We knew we would have to change rooms, but decided not to change resorts, so we went with a 2BR for the one night.
So, you really never know, but it's always good to have a priority list of where you want to stay if you are making a ressie at 7 months out--or a lot less!
I've booked 2 DVC trips to date. The first was at my home resort, AKLV. I called at exactly 11 mos and was unable to get a concierge studio for my April dates (which wasn't unexpected -there are only a handful). A 1 BR concierge villa was available but I didn't want to spend the points, so I booked a value 1 BR instead (also not too many available). I waitlisted the concierge studio but it never came thru for my dates (7 nights)
I booked a studio for the end of August at BCV at around 7 months. My first night wasn't available so I waitlisted it and booked a night at BWV. My waitlist came though within a month or so.
I think the key is to know when to book and to have a back up plan in case your first choice isn't available.
As everyone else have stated. Book early, Usually no problems. we just booked our next vacation with less than 6 months to go. Many of the places we wanted to try was already gone. But settled with OKW> to try something new. For the most part, I happy just to be at disney!
We've been very lucky. I usually always book our home resort at the 11 month mark and if I want another resort, I'm ready to go as soon as my 7 month window arrives. I've only had one time where I didn't get what I wanted, and that's for our upcoming stay at BLT...I had to go with a 1-bedroom lake view instead of the studio (any view) I wanted. Since it was for only three nights, the points weren't prohibitive, (still banked 28 for the year). I could have gone on the waiting list, but we decided to go with the 1 bdrm, we usually do that anyway.
I've also gotten in at Hilton Head this past May only two months out...we did go waiting list, but it came through just fine!