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Why I didn’t ‘walk’ the most important DVC reservation I’ll ever make

I just booked the most important DVC reservation I’ll probably ever make.

My wonderful mother, Madeline, turns 90 on Dec 10th this year. I wanted our entire family together for the event – so, I wanted to book seven DVC studios at the BoardWalk to accommodate everyone.

walking a reservation

I’d been planning for this for months. I knew how many rooms I’d need, and I knew the dates I wanted (Dec 8-11). I was concerned since the Fall period is the toughest for DVC availability. I had thought about (and had been strongly advised) to start walking these reservations months ago. I purchased a Boardwalk resale contract SPECIFICALLY to do this (Boardwalk is Mom’s favorite resort, although she’s staying in concierge – more on that in a bit).

But, in the end, I decided to trust this to fate. I logged into my account on the morning of January 8th and proceeded to book all 7 rooms with no issues.

walking a reservation

If you’re not familiar with what “walking a reservation” is, I’ll explain. When you are trying to get rooms that might be difficult to book at 11 months, many people will make a reservation for that room months before the dates they plan to vacation. So, for example, let’s say you really want a grand villa at the BoardWalk for Christmas week. You own at the BoardWalk and therefore can book 11 months out. However, you know that room will go fast and you want to make sure you get it, so you make a reservation at the 11-month mark for Oct 24-31. Then, each day, you modify that reservation – adding a day to the end and removing a day from the start. So, the next day you modify the reservation to go from Oct 25-Nov 1, then Oct 26-Nov2nd, and so on until you get to the dates you want. This is what ‘walking a reservation is’. I’ve also included a video discussing this from our DVC Show on YouTube:

I’m not judging people who walk reservations. I understand the reasoning behind it, and since DVC’s reservation system allows for it, and there are no published rules forbidding it, it’s a perfectly legitimate option. However, for me – I think its a loophole that causes more problems then it solves.

First, It grossly limits availability for other members. Let’s say you want that Grand Villas for the week of Oct 24-31 – but it’s not available. Not because someone else will be using it, but because it’s being walked.

Second, it’s an obscene commitment of time that I simply don’t have. I would have had to do this every few days for 7 rooms. I love my family dearly, but not that much.

And yes, the fact that I didn’t need a Grand Villa for my Mom made the decision not to walk much easier. As I mentioned, the BoardWalk is Mom’s favorite resort. Whenever we’ve stayed there, we’ve stayed on the concierge level and they have been nothing short of wonderful. In my opinion, BoardWalk concierge is the best on property by a mile. For her 90th, she should be pampered beyond reason, and I know that the incredible cast members at the Inn Keepers Lounge will do just that.

So now that the hard parts over, I just need to figure out what to do with my family for 4 days at Walt Disney World to celebrate my mom’s 90th. If only I knew someone….oh, wait 🙂

15 thoughts on “Why I didn’t ‘walk’ the most important DVC reservation I’ll ever make

  • Great article! It’s good to know that you had no problems, specially booking studios. I want to try booking a studio at BWV for NYE. Wish me luck!

  • It is easier to book what you want the 11month ahead with your home base. At 7 months the availability becomes much less.

  • Pete – You are such a kind and generous man. You treat your mother likes she’s the one and only queen. Cheers to you for not walking the ressie. BW does have significant inventory over others so my guess is that is why you were able to snag all 7 studios. I already can’t wait to see your bday celebration footage 🙂 Have a nice weekend Pete.

    • Hi Pete. In response to your question, what to do with your family. May I suggest you focus that question down even further and ask what you can personally do yourself with your mom. A special moment. A memory forever. Many years ago before my mom passed away, I wrote a letter to her (yes back when people wrote letters). In the letter I wrote to her not only my feelings about her and our relationship as mother on son, but how she did a good job as mother, how she took her role seriously and how it has paid off. I never sent her this letter this letter Instead, I read it to her. In person. Face to face. Your mom and Disney mean so much to you, create a heartfelt moment that you will remember with her long after she is gone. Find a special place to read it to her. A place she loves and a place you can visit and stroll past for years to come and remember that special moment you had with her.

      Darrell White
      Ontario Canada

  • I believe I was bit by someone walking reservations.

    One of the reasons I bought my DVC contract in 2018 was for my upcoming 50th birthday this year and I was getting a bit bitter/disappointed as my situation was evolving.

    I wanted two weeks for my 50th trip and when I tried to book a studio at Copper Creek for the first week, there was no availability on my desired check-in day. The day after my desired check-in day was available, but not the following day. The day after, my desired check-in day was available, but not the second day. Similarly the next day, day 2 available, but not day 3.

    I decided to try booking a studio for the start of the trip and try to extend it as the later days became available. This proceeded for a couple of days until I think the walking may have stopped or at least paused for a day or two — I then made the decision to book a one-bedroom instead, roughly doubling my point expenditure (needing to use the remaining points from 2019 and borrowing almost all of my 2021 points) for the two weeks (by that time I could book a week-and-a-half and a few days later I extended it to the two weeks).

    I am happy I have the one-bedroom, but didn’t really want to use more than two years of points and my October-November 2021 trip will now require borrowing points from 2022 — and I really expect the 2021 trip to be difficult to book due to lots of walking likely to occur due to the WDW 50th.

    Scott H.
    DVC Member (Copper Creek) since Oct 2018.

  • I’m a bit confused by the concept of availability being limited by walking a reservation. Doesn’t it just change the timing of availability? From the example in the article, won’t the Oct 24-31 dates open up as soon as you’ve walked your reservation past that week? A member will still be able to book those dates I believe. Am I missing something here?

    • He’s saying that person doesn’t know if someone is “walking” the reservation and might miss out on one they actually want/need while the original person is just hogging dates they don’t intend to take.

    • Where it becomes a real issue is with folks with really tight windows for travel. When I was in the Army we would have an exactly 7 day approved leave window. If you are walking a reservation at BWV, I might end up getting a room at SS because I can’t afford to not book and lock in my travel details. Then you walk off the dates and I never know you have vacated it. Waitlisting addresses most of this issue, and I think it really more affects people that are borrowing points from a future use year (they might spend more points to be at another location, even with the waitlist, they end up having displaced points that they now “must use” since they were borrowed).

    • Yes, but that availability is going to open up behind the 11 month window, so you’d have to check everyday for the days to open, and it’s going to open a day at a time, so if you need a week you’re either adding a day at a time and hoping or not booking until the whole week opens, on which case the says may get grabbed up. It adds an extra element of uncertainty to the person booking after they’re released.

  • When did DVC Boardwalk Villas have a conceirge? ONly resort I knew of was Jambo House at AKL? PLease wish your Mom a Very Happy 90th.

  • What makes the Boardwalk concierge so wonderful?

  • Which view did you get? I’m assuming pool/garden. I was trying to get a standard view for mid November and couldn’t even grab a day one to walk.

  • Pete, Your love for your mom is clearly demonstrated in your videos, your blogs, in everything you do. Your mom is going to have a fantastic 90th birthday during the holiday season. Take her to the processional. I went in 2018 for my 60th birthday, and it went way beyond my expectations. Enjoy2020!

  • Enjoyed hearing that you share the same ideals on this.. I don’t need the extra stress.. (But I would never be booking several reservations as you did). I personally don’t like that the option is out there… With the ever-growing inventory, I wish that DVC could somehow make an internal co-op so that people could work together to find matching swap dates; i.e; an owner books a unit for said week/days; other owners can compare travel dates and agree to swap resorts and balance points as needed.

  • hey Pete I’m taking dad in two weeks to Poly for his 90th birthday – mainly because I felt like I could manage mom and dad in wheelchairs/scooter where they can have fun and entertainment – you gave me idea taking your lovely mom – I thought this could be a good episode for a show – taking an elder to Disney – things to do and how best to navigate transportation. If I didn’t know Disney so well I would have never attempted. Listening to u talk about your mom and her having to wait for boat at wilderness lodge gave me a heads up for that. I booked Poly for monorail. While it is fun to take your kids to Disney – I am quite excited to take my parents and enjoy a slower paced but awesome Disney time. They haven’t been in 27 years Many blessing to you and your mom 💕

    My parents are more excited for Disney then dad turning 90. They are as excited as children. So wonderful

    PS .. I think walking a reservation is bad Karma

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