Okay, so we have been thinking about DVC for several years. The biggest thing holding us back is not being able to always choose where we stay. So this is a question for the DVC owners: How often have you not been able to book your preferred resort? Does it ever happen at the 11 month point with your home resort? How about at 7 month? What is my likelihood of having to “settle” for a resort I don’t really want to stay at?
I can’t answer as an Owner, but I can answer as renter who have dealt with owners. Availability ultimately depends on the resort and room type - certain rooms pretty much book at 11 months, like AKL Value rooms. The time of year can be a factor as well - although the variable points structure somewhat levels off demand, certain room types can be harder to get during certain “seasons”.
David’s has an excellent general guide on when you should book http://www.dvcrequest.com/how-soon-should-i-reserve.asp.
Well, when you say “settle”, you probably mean ‘staying at your home resort because you couldn’t find availability anywhere else’.
Only buy where you won’t mind staying!!
There are several resorts and room type that are difficult to book even 11 months out, ie. AKL Club Level, it also depends on the season. I booked BLT and Kidani at 4 months out for our January trip - availability was good, though not all choices available anymore (BLT Std view). October to December would be more of a challenge.
If you do not like to settle somewhere you don’t like, spend more money for a home resort you’d prefer. I bought at BLT and BCV for that very reason. Proximity to parks was my top priority.
I will probably add a few points at AKV in a couple of years as I want to stay in some of their rooms (Club Level, Value etc) on future trips.
Any more questions, feel free to ask! I spend ages deciding whether to DVC or not.
Yeah, I think the problem is that we are picky about resorts. When we want to concentrate on MK and the restaurants around there, we want to stay at a monorail resort. But sometimes we want to have a very different type of trip and stay at BC or BW. Park hop to Epcot every night for dinner and drinks. But we generally have a good idea which type of trip we want when we are booking and pick accordingly. Just worried that if our home resort was BLT and we wanted an Epcot trip, we may not be able to find availability at BCV or BWV at 7 months. Does that make sense?
Oh it does make perfect sense. Hence why I bought a small contract at BCV as well.
I just checked the availability tool for May 2016 (7 months out). Studios at BWV and BCV are partially available. If you book at exactly (!) 7 months out you might be okay. 1 BR and 2 BR villas are more easily available.
Also, when would you like to do your trips? October, November, December? Very, very hard to get anything on the Boardwalk due to F&W.
I’m just a renter so perhaps you would know better -
Is it accurate to say that the DVC seasons differ from the regular Disney season? For example, Oct/Nov might be slow time for regular Disney guests but is closer to “peak” season for DVC guests? Granted it was only about 4 months out but I found little availability at any resort when I was looking in the Oct/Nov timeframe.
The last two times we have gone were in the last week of February and we had no problem getting into BLT at 7 months. (Yes, they were out of standard view studios at 7 months but seemingly plenty of availability of all other studios.)
If that’s the case - it might be something to keep in mind when deciding if you want to buy into DVC.
Oh yes, the DVC season is different to the regular Disney resort season.
DVC is busy and early booked for stays anytime from September through December. So, Oct/Nov, is right in the middle and really hard to book (esp. for a week and longer). Reasons are F&W, MNSSHP, MVMCP, and generally low points per room and night.
January to early September is the slow season for DVC, that’s why I could book a studio quite easily at BLT 4 months out.
If your travel time is usually in the busy DVC season, home resort booking priority is key (11 months out). Of course, if you’re only looking for a couple of days (2-3) during that time, you can get lucky at 5-6 months out.
It really depends on what you mean by “season”. In terms of cost, the DVC Points seasons are similar to the Resort Price seasons; there are differences here and there, but they follow the same general pattern. However, in terms of demand/availability, as @bienchenbibi said, the low points seasons can book up very quickly, as DVC owners are looking to get the best value for their points.