If you are currently planning a trip to Walt Disney World and are wanting to stay at a non-home resort, chances are you already know the date of when that booking window opens. You have an alarm set before 8:00 A.M. to make that reservation. But what happens if the room you are wanting isn’t available? You can feel defeated, like the dream Disney trip you envisioned is somehow turning into a Disney nightmare (which really, is that even possible??).

You may have spent endless hours stalking the website daily for availability leading up to the day. You were probably tempted to “walk the reservation.” You also may have even browsed the DVC Store website to see if you could close on a contract at the resort you want just to book at 11 months.

I will be the first one to admit that I have been in this situation a couple times before, and I am guilty of doing all of the above. I own at great resorts, but I want to experience all that DVC has to offer, just like we all do! Here are some tips you can utilize when booking a non-home resort vacation at the 7-month mark.

Booking at Your Home Resort at 11 Months
Doing this confirms that you will at least be able to stay on property during the dates you want. You can then change your reservation once the 7-month booking window opens at your desired resort. If there is no availability, you can go ahead and waitlist at that resort without worrying about not being able to stay in a DVC Resort. Don’t miss out on the magic!

The process of waitlisting seems very grueling. You are just impatiently waiting to see if you will get the notification that it has gone through for your desired resort. You usually will know by 30 days out if your waitlist has gone through, but there is an option to keep it active until a week out from your trip. I have read mixed comments on how people did or didn’t have a waitlist go through. There is no guarantee, unfortunately, but may the odds be in your favor!

Having a Back-Up Resort
When booking a resort, you want to take in the time of year you are going. The availability may be slim to none at Beach Club or Boardwalk during Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival due to the proximity of the resorts to International Gateway. There is no problem waitlisting these resorts during that time, but booking at another DVC resort will still allow you to enjoy your Disney trip. If you just put all your marbles into the waitlist, you may not be able to use your DVC points to stay on property.

Animal Kingdom Lodge - Kidani Village Savanna View Room
Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village Savanna View Room

Willing to Adjust Your Trip
For this coming October, I planned a trip with one of my longtime childhood friends and her family. With a total of 7 people, the room choices included booking 2 studios or a 2-bedroom villa. With her children in mind, we wanted to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge, which we do not own. The day before I could make reservations, all the studios had been booked and there were limited days for a 2 bedroom villa. Ultimately we decided to adjust the dates of our trip and booked an available 2 bedroom villa.

Walking a Reservation
This process consists of modifying your reservation until the dates of the reservation match up with your desired travel dates. I question how fair this is and do not agree with this process, but there is no rule set by DVC about doing it.

With the stress and frustrations that the 7-month booking window can bring, this just reinforces the statement of buying points at the resorts you want to stay at. Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips or strategies on booking a non-home resort at 7 months!

Shelby LaFlash
DVC Member Since 2017
Polynesian & Riviera

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3 thoughts on “Booking a Non-Home Resort

  • I have been on the fence about buying a Disney DVC. But after reading all the DVC posts about the hassles of finding a room you want, resort you want, dates you want, I am convinced I do not want to buy a DVC. I would rather pay cash and stay at the resort I want on the dates I want and not hassle with the 11 month, 7 month etc hassles. I don’t care to stay at any of the resorts other than the Epcot resorts. I like the convenience. Why should I buy a DVC and then have to stay at OKW or SS or another resort I don’t care for after spending all that money for a DVC. No thanks.
    I don’t understand the draw to a DVC membership. I want to have a choice to stay where I want.

    • Janet. We’ve been DVC members since 1994. We’ve never had an issue getting a reservation at any Disney resort. However, we usually book our vacations 11 months out (or 7 months). I can see it might be more difficult if you wait until the last minute. Just yesterday, I booked a stay for my daughter and husband for their stay in February and didn’t have an issue. Here’s the thing with DVC membership. The price of vacations will always go up. The DVC has guaranteed us a trip to Disney World every year plus some more. We also used our DVC membership to go to other places. I know a membership nowadays is expensive. We paid about $40/point when we joined. I always tell people not to look at the DVC as an investment. Look at it as a guarantee you and your family can take a vacation for years. I can only imagine what it’s going to cost for a Disney World vacation in 10 years. Personally, I wouldn’t listen to the complaints. You know how it is. People are more apt to complain than compliment. This is the way I look at it. If DVC memberships weren’t popular then they wouldn’t be increasing rooms for DVC memberships. It’s a personal decision and a difficult one to make. You definitely don’t want to regret the purchase. So, if you’re not 99% sure then don’t do it. One final word. We started using our DVC membership when our kids were 4 and 7 years old. Now, we have a 10 month old grand daughter. Soon, we’ll be able to take her. That right there makes it all worth it for us.

  • We have been members since 2007 and I have received every waitlist but one at VGF. Otherwise we typically get an email a week or two after I have put on the waitlist at the 7 month window opening. And this is asking for standard and preferred view rooms.

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