How Do DVC Waitlists Work?

You’ve pulled up the booking tool for Disney Vacation Club members, decided where to stay, and are now ready to book. There’s just one little problem: Your first option isn’t available. It’s happening more often these days.

As the DVC program continues to increase in popularity, booking your top resort choice at the seven-month window is more challenging. Fortunately, Disney has thought of everything.

You can schedule a Waitlist and thereby position yourself at the front of the line when someone else cancels. Let’s evaluate how Waitlists work and how you can benefit from using them.

What Is a Waitlist?

Unless you’re dedicated to booking a room at your home resort the day your 11-month window opens, you won’t always reserve the room you want. You’ll face competition from other DVC members dreaming of their next Disney vacation. 

At times, you’ll try to reserve the hotel room you desire, only to discover that no inventory is currently available. This scenario unfolds all day, every day, throughout the hospitality industry…but Disney has planned for this scenario.

The DVC program empowers you to reserve a spot on the Waitlist for a currently booked resort/room type. You can think of this practice in terms of visiting a restaurant. No table is available, so you put your name on the list. Soon afterward, a server greets you and takes you to a recently open table. 

The DVC program isn’t quite as tidy as that, but the idea is generally the same. When you cannot reserve the room you want, you book a Waitlist reservation instead. 

Disney’s website includes a complete FAQ on how this process works, but it’s really quite simple. When you try to book, the system will alert you to the lack of inventory. Then, you’ll select “Waitlist This Entire Stay.” You’ve just added your name to the list!

Should other DVC members cancel an inevitable occurrence, the person at the top of the Waitlist will receive the room. When you filled out the Waitlist, you already pre-booked your room in the hope of this scenario. So, it’s an automatic transaction the system confirms. 

Of course, you probably won’t be at the top of the Waitlist at first. Ergo, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the room you want. Waitlists function as excellent contingencies, but they’re far from foolproof.

What Can Go Wrong with Waitlists?

The problem you’ll face when booking a Waitlist is demand. Disney theme parks have exploded in popularity during the 21st century. Other DVC members try to reserve these rooms at the same time you do. 

Disney lacks the inventory to fulfill everyone’s room request. Your Waitlist booking signals that you want that room. You’re effectively signing a contract that you’ll take that room if it becomes available. 

Alas, you won’t be the only one trying. Let’s think about the restaurant scenario again, only on Valentine’s Day. If you visit the most romantic restaurant in town, joining the waitlist isn’t enough to guarantee a table. Sometimes, demand outweighs supply. 

At Disney theme parks, certain times of the year, like runDisney events and major holidays, will book quickly. Even when you create your Waitlist, you’ll be one of hundreds of DVC members angling for the same handful of rooms. 

Pro Tips for Waitlists 

Thankfully, you’ll discover a few pro tips that can increase your odds of snagging that desired Waitlist. For example, the system favors shorter stays over extended ones.

You’ll discover that splitting your trip into multiple shorter reservations will increase your odds compared to a weeklong reservation attempt. Even if you don’t grab the full week, your Waitlist may provide you with a few days at your DVC property of choice, presuming you don’t mind Resort Hopping. 

Speaking of resorts, Waitlists come down to math in a different way. Some properties offer more DVC inventory than others. You’ll have better luck when booking a property offering more DVC rooms. 

Stating the obvious, you’ll have the most Waitlist success at the places with the most rooms. That statement sounds straightforward, but in the heat of the moment, people often forget the basics. 

Also, pay attention to the DVC Points Chart. When a reservation costs more DVC Points, that’s a sign that Disney knows it’s in higher demand. If possible, you should consider switching your visit to a less popular week, indicated by one that costs fewer DVC Points. 

Similarly, DVC charges more on Fridays and Saturdays. If your reservation avoids these days, you’ll have better luck with your Waitlist. I realize that’s challenging from a travel perspective, but you can always book a cash room if necessary.  

If All Else Fails…

Here’s where Add-On-Itis® comes into play. I realize you’d rather stay wherever you want using the DVC Points you already own. Sometimes, that’s simply not possible, though.

When you know you intend to visit a DVC property regularly, you should consider purchasing a contract there. Often, new DVC members buy before we decide which property is our favorite. 

In such scenarios, you’ll feel stress when the seven-month window opens. That’s the moment you can attempt to book your new preferred resort. Alas, it’s also the time when you’re most likely to need a Waitlist.

However, you can skip that nonsense by purchasing a contract at the DVC property. Then, you’ll gain the 11-month window advantage that comes with a Home Resort

Access all available Disney Vacation Club resale listings, or learn more about buying and selling with DVC Resale Market.


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