I recently had a subscriber write to me about his experience over the years with Disney Vacation Club and booking resorts at the 7 month window. He stated that it has become increasingly difficult to book rooms with points at 7 months out versus when he first joined DVC. I’ve seen this topic discussed a lot on the DVC Facebook group and decided to do some digging.
To no surprise, I couldn’t find any formally written articles citing sources as to why room availability has decreased over the years. I suppose neither Disney nor the resale agents want to discuss the negatives of DVC when they are trying to get you to fork over thousands of dollars in exchange for several decades of resort stays.
I found one blog post, (the author cites no sources for the information he put forth), that I think is worth reading for any current or prospective DVC members. You can find his post here: Why is Disney Vacation Club Availability So Limited?
Since I couldn’t find an article that satisfy’s my standards for credibility, (forgive me, I am a librarian), I decided I would simply observe DVC member experiences being shared via the Disney Vacation Club Neighborhood Facebook Group. I know, this isn’t the most ideal source either, but a lot of what was shared in the group over the last month supports what the author of the aforementioned blog post mentioned as to his suspicions for decreased DVC availability.
Are Studios Harder to Reserve 7 Months out than 1 and 2-Bedroom Villas?
The consensus amongst DVC members is yes. The members have floated out several theories for this, including the idea that many people are opting for the smaller rooms in order to stretch their points into more vacation days. This is bad news for small families like ours who only need a studio.
Another theory is that those renting DVC points have a tendency to reserve studios. While this may very well be the case, there is no proof that this is what is occurring, and I saw several members state that they do not believe the rental market is having an affect on availability in general.
Are Non WDW Resorts Affecting Availability?
Another theory amongst members is that those purchasing points at non WDW resorts like the Aulani, Vero Beach, and Hilton Head are vacationing more often at Disney World and thus making it more difficult for those who own at WDW to reserve a room at 7 months or less.
I will say that when we purchased our points back in August 2017, we were offered the Aulani, the Polynesian, and Copper Creek. We automatically crossed the Aulani off the list because we would not be able to afford regular flights to O’ahu like we can to Orlando. However, many people purchase the Aulani while vacationing at the resort. The question is, are those who bought in at the Aulani vacationing more often at WDW than at their home resort? It would be great to see some actual data for this!
Where Should I Buy Points if Availability has Decreased?
While many would recommend that you purchase at a resort where you can get more points for your money (e.g., AKV costs less per point than BLT), I would recommend purchasing at a resort that you WANT to stay at on a regular basis. If you love Bay Lake Tower (BLT), then you should consider buying in at that resort for the 11 month advantage. If you are like us and don’t see yourself traveling to the Aulani every couple of years, then it is probably best that you not buy in there. If your heart is set on the Grand Californian at Disneyland then you most definitely need to purchase points at that resort as DVC availability has always been more limited there.
Buying Points at a Second Resort
If you have the financial means, there is always the option of purchasing points at an additional resort to have two 11 month booking windows. While there are a lot of logistics in owning points at two resorts, this is a common practice amongst those in the DVC community. I recommend reading posts from those who own at multiple resorts to see how it works before taking the plunge yourself.
Any Tips for Booking Reservations?
My husband and I were both working 40+ hours a week up until our son turned one. We had no flexibility at this time, so booking a trip at 11-7 months out wasn’t an option for us. Even with me at home now, it still isn’t easy for us to plan a vacation this far in advance, (i.e., he could deploy in that amount of time). I imagine it is the same for many of you who reading this post. If this is your situation, I recommend watching the DVC page for availability in the next 60 days.
Take a look at the numerous crowd calendars that are available to help you determine your best chances for booking a room at the resort you want. Some of the obvious times to avoid booking are the holidays and event days (I’ve heard marathon weekends can be a nightmare).
If you can’t get your full stay at a resort, consider splitting your stay between two resorts. If you have your heart set on staying at one resort for your entire stay then put yourself on the waitlist. Depending on the time of year, I often see people stating on the Facebook group that their waitlist came through.
I have a subscriber request video coming out on Edutaining’s YouTube Channel on Tuesday, July 31. This is the first topic I bring up in the video, and I’ve asked for my subscribers over there to share their thoughts and experiences in the comments section. I’ll update this post if my subscribers have any insights that might help others. Once again, there is no strong data to be found for this topic, and all we have to go on are the theories and experiences of current DVC members.
Share Your Thoughts
Are you a DVC member? Please share your thoughts regarding decreased room availability with others in the comments below!