The 14-Night Booking Challenge

If you have read my previous articles, you’ll know by now that I am a DVC Member from the UK. You may have also picked up on the fact that we tend to vacation for a 14-night stretch. Anything less than a 14-night stay has never really been an option for us. That isn’t to say we couldn’t do a smaller stay, we just chose not to. Generally speaking, most employers in the UK will allow a maximum of two weeks off work for vacation/holiday time so we tend to take full advantage of that, especially if we are going to be flying for 8+ hours. The challenge that I am talking about is very specifically for those who want to book a stay longer than 7 nights.

For us, we have come across challenges when it comes to booking a DVC reservation. In particular, there is one that I think is definitely worth bearing in mind if you are looking at purchasing and intend to have stays that are longer than 7 nights, which is exactly why I am writing this. As it currently stands, DVC will allow you to book up to 7 consecutive nights as soon as the relevant booking window opens (11 months for Home Resort, 7 months elsewhere). Essentially, if you require additional nights for your stay, you have to add those as each day falls within the booking window.

View of the Savannah from Kidani Village, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

I will just add this in here now, I am not looking to be negative about the booking system in any way, I am just talking about our experiences with it. We have spoken with DVC about how this system ‘restriction’ affects us but we understand that it was put in place in relation to how the vast majority of DVC members make reservations, especially when it comes to length of stay. At the time, we were told that they were trying to close a ‘loophole’ where members were using all of their points to book extended stays just to reserve the room ‘in case’ they decided to take a vacation before then cancelling part or all of their reservation nearer the time. This, of course, would leave the resorts with availability that is less likely to be filled at the last minute. Apparently this was happening sufficiently enough to warrant having the restriction. I should add that this restriction was not in place when we purchased DVC.

From a business standpoint, I can totally understand why they have taken this approach and why they have chosen 7-nights and how that works with little to no problems for the majority of the bookings they handle. That said, going back to us being Brits and our penchant for 14-night vacations, the challenge exists nonetheless. You can approach tackling this challenge in one of two ways…

The first method is relatively simple. Wait until your entire stay is within the booking window. However, there is a risk element here, given that you will have to wait 7 days into the booking window in order to book the entire stay. By which point, you may find that availability is scarce, depending on the resort, room-type and season that you are looking for. We seem to struggle with room-type for our home resort of Animal Kingdom Lodge quite a lot. We find that if we aren’t online and ready at the precise moment (8AM Eastern) the booking window opens, we can’t get the room we want. Granted, availability improved over the years, but it is always something that we have to keep in mind.

The other method and the approach we have taken for our last few trips is to book that initial 7-nights as soon as the 11-month window opens. Then, as each ‘additional’ nights stay becomes available and within the booking window, we add on that night. Unfortunately, this is a rather clunky way of going about it and requires you to be able to log in and book those nights every day but we find that it carries less risk of being able to book the required accomodation.

Check-in at Disney’s Saratoga Springs

Overall, we have been fairly lucky in terms of getting the accommodation and the season we require which is exactly why I made the point about not being negative or complaining about it. I should note though, that has always been when booking at the 11-month window. The only attempt we have made at booking after that resulted in a split stay which didn’t actually include our home resort. (If you were wondering, all we managed to get was Saratoga Springs and Coronado Springs!) However, I really do think it is something that is absolutely essential to bear in mind if you are looking at DVC membership.

How about you? How do you approach ‘extended’ stays at DVC resorts?

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12 thoughts on “The 14-Night Booking Challenge

  • June 9, 2019 at 10:41 am
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    Hi Mark .I wish Disney would stop all types of members having to be glued to there computers . we must be treated much better them we are !!! Getting tired. may move on .

  • June 9, 2019 at 12:42 pm
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    If people would not be allowed to rent their points out to those who are not members we might have a better shot getting the rooms we want. But people have turned point renting in a full time business. Wish Disney would crack down on this. Those of us you spent our hard earned money to be members are giving a back seat to the folks who dont want to be members but have the advantage of booking DVC rooms for cheap

  • June 9, 2019 at 12:44 pm
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    Hello Mark, thanks for sharing your perspective. We are USA DVC members and, as you note, most of our DVC stays are 7 days or less. When we do have more than 7 days, we do exactly what you did – we book the first 7 days immediately when the 11-month window opens, and then add each additional day one-day-at-a-time on subsequent days. The recent changes to the booking tool make this much easier. We used to have to call to modify an existing reservation, but now we are able to do it online.

  • June 9, 2019 at 8:23 pm
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    We book many stays for more than 7 nights. We do as you mentioned- book the 1st 7, then add each day as available. I will say it is easier now that you can modify online. Previously you had to call member services each day. We would tell them we weren’t finish yet. 🙂

    • June 10, 2019 at 7:51 am
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      Indeed, I remember the daily call up every day!

  • June 10, 2019 at 7:49 am
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    How did you stay at Coronado Springs using points? (I know that’s not related to the booking period you’re discussing?

    • June 10, 2019 at 7:55 am
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      You can use points to stay at non-DVC resorts but it will cost you more points. I would NEVER recommend doing this, but we were booking relatively late and it was for my husbands birthday so I didn’t really have flexibility with dates and that was all that was available. They list them under ‘Disney Collection’. It works very much the same way as if you use your points to stay at one of the resorts listed under the ‘Concierge Collection’

  • June 10, 2019 at 10:45 am
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    You actually don’t need to log in every day. Once you get those initial week booked, you have blocked out a room. No one else would be able to access it since the 11-month window date would be already taken. So you could wait 3 days, book the next 3 nights, then wait another 4 day and book the final 4 nights. That’s how people “walk” their reservations.

    • June 11, 2019 at 11:44 am
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      Hi Lesley, we did try it that way, we booked our initial 7 nights and then waited 4 days in order to add on an additional 4 nights (because we were away for a long weekend) but unfortunately,​ 1 of those nights no longer had availability. I did say in the article it was possible to do that, but from experience, it carried an additional risk.

  • June 10, 2019 at 2:23 pm
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    We to are from the uk, but as Saratoga Springs(And very pleased with ss, we use to have points at WL, OKW and BCV but sold them) is our home resort we never have had problems booking rooms. We tend to go late one year and earlier the next to make use of our annual passes. For our upcoming trip we will be staying at BLT the first 6 nights before moving to SS. I did have to waitlist for the last of those BLT nights as it was not availiable at 7 months however we only had to wait 2 weeks

  • June 10, 2019 at 3:42 pm
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    I’m a US resident but live on the West Coast, so our stays our usually at least 14 nights. I book seven nights at the 11 month mark and then add one night at a time until I get the number needed.

  • June 12, 2019 at 7:48 am
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    I live in the states with that said I find this registration rules are horrible I called everyday to add my additional days which I find ridiculous archaic and inconsiderate for the members I go every year at this time. It annoys me that I need to do this.

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