DVC reservation issues and advice

So a little bit of background before I get to my actual questions…I privately rented a 2 bedroom lock-off at OKW for this July. Me, DH, DD12, DD9, DS5 and then my sister-in-law, her husband and their daughter. We split the cost of the room (10 days, $2600 each), We agreed that I would handle paying the DVC owner (which has been paid in full since last Dec.) and SIL would pay us a little at a time. Last week, my SIL informed me that they had some unexpected house repair bills and can no longer go. They did not ask for any of the $1500 they have already paid. We are still going of course but are ‘stuck’ with a larger room than we need. We always knew going in that this was a possibility, but we would have spent $2000 less than if it were just our family, not to mention that we chose OKW solely because we needed the on site space and now we don’t:( I am sure we will love it, just venting!

So here are my questions…

1 - I have invited my dad stepmom to come if they can. This will likely be a last minute decision since dad is having his prostate removed (cancer) 3 weeks before and might need radiation as well. Can I just leave my SIL and her family on the room ressie and have my dad and stepmom use their magic bands? No park tickets so they would only need them to get in to the room.

2 - So if dad is okay to fly and does come, what are some great relaxing experiences that he could do without going to a park? He is definitely a food snob, but being last minute, ADRs would have to be available.

3 - Should we try to give SIL her money back if we can? She’s paid us 1500 and we are out about 2000 since the trip would have been much less for us if we had not planned it with larger room for them. Really don’t want to eat the cost, but do understand their troubles. We would likely not charge my dad fi he comes - more like a gift for him.

Thank you so much for reading my venting and questions:)

You have conrol over everyone on the reservation under your MDE?

I am the lead guest on the DVC end, but SIL does have her own MDE. I have never given them ressie numbers, but they probably can see my plans since we share.

If they are all listed in your MDE account and you are ordering and receiving the MBs I think they can use them as a room key. They may not be able to charge to the room?

We have an upcoming DVC reservation and had to make some changes recently as to who was coming. I just called and they switched out the names–no problem, no change in reservation. Since you rented through another party, I don’t know if you could call or if the party you rented through would have to.

Member Services won’t speak to you if you aren’t a member. So if you rent points either privately or through David’s, the owner needs to do that for you.

If you book direct through Disney, it’s treated as a normal resort booking, and you can ask them to change the names.

Technically, if a points rental contract specifies who will stay, you should probably contact the owner, otherwise you’re breaking that contract.

I’ll just weigh in on the money question. We had a similar situation occur and the tickets I was asked to purchase “won’t be needed” now. If they asked you to lay out the money with the caveat that they would pay you for them, they should still do that. If you are a very generous person, you’re still out $1100 ($2600 - $1500 already paid) and it’s your call if you want to forgive the rest. No way should you give that money back that they’ve already paid.

If, and it sounds like a big IF, someone else can step in and use their portion of the trip, those folks could reimburse them directly.

I’ll chime in on the Dad reference. From OKW he could boat over to DS, lots of entertainment and dining options. May i also suggest resort hopping. We stayed at SSR last year and enjoyed our boatride over to POR to explore, dine, and enjoy the entertainment. If he golf’s there are 3 golf courses within the resorts. (Not mini golf) Theres also watching the nighttime entertainment from the Poly beach. Not sure you could get him a ressie for CG but if he’s a foodie I would try that. Even if he could just get to the lounge and possibly dine there if an option. Possibly time it right for firework view. There’s actually tons to do without going to the parks.

Just chiming in on ADR availability - it’s amazing what you can get if you use the Reservation Finder here on touringplans. Don’t count anything out just because you can’t find a reservation in your initial search; use your resources well here!

The whole situation is unfortunate, but regarding advice on the money aspect:

While it is never fun to lose money, by your own admission, you recognized this as a potential risk that they might not be able to make it. At the same time, you DID make a plan in good faith. Since they backed out, I would not reimburse them for what they paid already directly. However, due to the awkward tensions that could arise, I would say something to this effect…

“Since the rental is already paid for and non-refundable, if we can find someone to join us instead and pay for a portion of the room, we will refund that portion of money to you as best we can.”

This, of course, means that if your dad and stepmom come and offer to pay part of the room cost, take that money and split it so that a portion of it goes back to your SIL. If your SIL’s remaining portion is covered in full by the amount your dad and stepmom pay, then you can refund them everything above that.

I would NOT say you are out $2000 (as you suggested), because the amount you were contributing to the room ($2600) was the amount you were willing to pay if they WERE coming. So, really, the amount you are out is the amount they did NOT pay. That comes to $1100, by your numbers. So, if your father is willing to pay $1100, the room if covered in full. If he is willing to pay $2000, then refund your SIL $900. If your father isn’t able to pay anything, then you eat the $1100 cost as part of the “gamble”, but your SIL also is out $1500 for a trip they cannot participate in.

Now, having said all this, I will say that if you are in a situation where your family makes considerably more than your SIL (which may be the case, considering you were able to pay for the room in total up front, and they were making “payments” to you), you might simply eat the cost entirely, including refunding the money…not because it is necessarily the FAIR thing to do, but because you CAN and it would be best for them financially, not to mention help prevent hard feelings. IF, however, it is a financial burden you to as well (as opposed to just really annoying to lose out on the money), my suggestion above still applies.


Good point about the contract! If they do end up coming, I will change it.

Thank you for comments! I feel like I did more than enough for them already since I did all of the planning and booking. I even did a huge cost spreadsheet with many different options and went over all the details with them and we decided on booking together. They knew exactly how much things were going to cost over a year ago. I guess it just irks me - they actually make more money than DH and I - we are just much more frugal.

Thank you - that is what I thought:)

Thank you for your wise thoughts! I would definitely pay them back if I got the money. We do not make more money than they do - we are just more frugal and save for WDW year round. Good point on the 1100 out - it sounds much better than 2000! I am really hoping DDad is healthy enough to come and I know he would definitely pay, but honestly life is too short to worry:)

Great ideas! Not really into golf but he would love fireworks from CG! Or even maybe a boat rental would be awesome for them:)

I will definitely be using TP’s reservation finder! It is such a great resource!

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I’ll weigh in on the only aspect that I feel qualified to answer. If he is a “food snob” (I prefer the term “foodie”), then it sounds like the signature restaurants would be to his liking. The good news is that many of these do not fill up as quickly as the other TSs, so ADRs may not be as much of an issue. I would assume that he is going and book some ADRs now. If he goes, then you’re all set. If not, as long as you cancel outside the 24 hour window, no harm, no foul. Jiko, Citrico’s, Yachtsman, Flying Fish, and Narcoossee’s are all at resorts, and are all excellent. There are also many other higher end dining options at the Swan, Dolphin, and DS.


Thank you so much for the suggestions! Seeing that I have 3 still somewhat small children, I have yet to experience the ‘fine dining’ restaurants at WDW. And, yes, foodie sounds ever so much better;).

In that case, the expense was just as much of an gamble for them as it was for you…so I wouldn’t feel terribly bad at the $1500 they put into the trip but won’t (likely) get back. They gambled and lost. As I said at the start, it is unfortunate, but I think you can make lemonade from lemons, for sure. Have fun on your trip!