DVC Resort Availability: A common question people have is how easy/difficult it is to book a certain resort at a certain time. For example, how easy would it be for me to book VWL the first week of December? Or BCV during the Epcot Food & Wine festival?
This post will cover the generalities.
HOW DIFFICULT WILL IT BE TO BOOK?
The answer is, of course, it depends.
If we’re talking about booking your home resort exactly when the 11-month window opens up, I’d say you will generally be able to book that without any issues, with the exception of some limited availability / high demand reservations that I’ll touch on later.
If we’re talking about other resorts that require you to wait until the 7-month window opens up, then the answer will vary. Some of the factors that will influence whether you’re able to book at a resort other than your home resort include:
- Whether you’re trying to book at a popular time for DVC
- Whether you are trying to book during a particular resort’s busy time period
- Whether you are trying to book a limited-availability accommodation
It’s always best to reserve at your home resort during your home resort priority period, and then to try to switch the reservation to the desired resort at the seven-month mark. If you can’t book a reservation, you can always “go on the wait list“. Or, if there is availability for only a portion of your vacation time, you could book a “split stay“.
I’m going to lay out some general guidelines. Just recognize that there are always exceptions to any general rule of thumb.
BOOKING AT 11-MONTHS VERSUS 7-MONTHS
If you book your home resort 11-months in advance, you will typically get the reservation you want (with exceptions noted below).
If you wait and try to book any DVC resort 7-months in advance, your success may depend on what room type, resort, view, length of stay, and time of year you are trying to obtain. If you’re booking in an off-season for DVC, then you’ll probably get what you want. The longer the desired reservation for a single room, the harder it will be to get it at 7 months out.
The size of the resort plays a factor. The larger resorts seem to fill up last, so rooms at Saratoga Springs Resort are typically the last to go (SSR is generally always available at 7-months in advance). VGF, since it is the smallest DVC resort at WDW, books up fairly quickly. VGC, being the only DVC resort at Disneyland, can be challenging to book at 7 months.
Studios usually get fully booked first, then 2-bedrooms, and then 1-bedrooms. A summary of the room types available at each resort in DVC Room Inventory.
SOME DIFFICULT TO GET RESERVATIONS
The types of accommodations at Walt Disney World that are generally difficult to get include:
- Animal Kingdom Villas – Concierge and Value rooms
- Old Key West – Grand Villas (near Hospitality House)
- Boardwalk Villas – Grand Villas and Standard view rooms
- Bay Lake Tower – Standard view rooms
- Villas at the Grand Floridian – Studios
It will generally be difficult to book these unless you own at the resort and book at the opening of the 11-month window.
Some people resort to “walking a reservation” to get the above bookings. Others question “why they are not able to book with points when there is availability to book with cash?“.
Both the Boardwalk Villas and Beach Club Villas can be difficult to book during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, if you wait too long after the 11-month window opens up. The same applies to a lesser extent for the Wilderness Lodge from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day (due to the great Christmas decorations).
HIGH DEMAND PERIODS
The high demand period for DVC resorts in general at Walt Disney World is the end of September through the first week of January. Most major US holidays and marathon weekends are also high demand periods.
PEAK USAGE PERIODS
Peak usage periods include the first two weeks of December, December 23 through January 2, and Tuesday to Saturday of Thanksgiving week. It is imperative that DVC members book these peak periods 11 months in advance – to the day.
GUARANTEED WEEK OPTION
DVC also offers a “Guaranteed Week” option which allows an owner to secure a reservation every year during a specific timeshare week, in a specific room size and view, throughout the duration of their DVC ownership. And while it may sound like a traditional timeshare, it’s not. You’re not locking yourself into only going for the week you buy. People who want to book the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day might be interested in this option. Of course, since this is a decision you make at purchase time, it’s probably not relevant to this discussion.