Why I Choose Not to Walk my DVC Reservations
Walking a reservation is a controversial topic in the realm of DVC. For those of you who may not be familiar with the term, walking in this context means booking a particular villa- day, weeks, or even months in advance of the actual date you want and then periodically modifying that reservation by removing days and adding days until you arrive at the date that you want. This is often done during popular DVC seasons such as the fall to help ensure that you’ll get the villa you want. Walking is especially common for hard-to-get villas like Standard View or Value villas.
For example, if I wanted to book a Standard View Deluxe Studio at the BoardWalk Villas for the week of October 8, I may start by booking a villa for the week of October 1 (or probably even earlier) when my 11-month booking window opens. Each day, I could then remove a day from the beginning of my reservation and add a day to the end of my reservation until I got to the week of October 8.
Here’s why I choose not to walk my reservations:
1. When you walk a reservation, you are essentially holding dates that other people actually do want. Even though you will eventually release the dates that you are “walking across,” those dates will not be available to others until you modify your reservation. Out of fairness to others, it’s best that I don’t walk a reservation.
2. I don’t want to exacerbate the problem. Even if others are walking to help guarantee the villa that they want, imagine what it would be like if the majority of DVC owners began to follow this practice. It would certainly make for a very frustrating booking process for everyone!
3. Instead of walking a reservation to get some of the most difficult to book villas like the Standard View ones, I can look for alternatives. For example, instead of aiming for a Standard View Deluxe Studio at the BoardWalk Villas for October 2020, I planned on booking a Garden/Pool View Deluxe Studio, which tends to have greater availability based on the number of studios in that category. I lucked out and was able to get a Boardwalk View Deluxe Studio. The only downside is that as with the Garden/Pool View, the Boardwalk View is still more points than a Standard View would be.
With villa availability being scarce during certain seasons, I can understand the appeal of walking a reservation, and I realize that Disney has not prohibited the practice. Moreover, with the ability to modify reservations online instead of calling Member Services, walking is technically easier to do than ever before.
Let me know in the comments below. Where do you stand on walking a reservation? If this is something that you have done before, did you find that it was worthwhile?
15 thoughts on “Why I Choose Not to Walk my DVC Reservations”
I have never ‘walked a reservation’ and do not plan to. I believe that as the author stated this practice unfairly locks others out of certain dates/resorts/villas. I usually do not plan a trip 11 months or 7 months out except when we planned our trip to Aulani. That trip I booked at 7 months because we needed a handicapped accessible one bedroom and wanted an ocean view. (There is only one of these at Aulani.)
I try to be flexible with my dates and resort choices and find that this usually allows me to get what I need for a trip. I have been a DVC member for 28 years (yes since the very beginning) and find it one of the best things I have done. I can’t get crazy and walk a reservation that then essentially bocks access for another member.
Kudos to this DVC owner for taking the high road when it comes to procedures for making reservations. There are all kinds of hacks out there for securing FP+ reservations and ADRs etc, but inevitably when you are using these methods of getting what you want, you are potentially shutting someone else out of an aspect of the vacation they hope to have with their family. It’s unfortunate that it is too much to ask Disney/the DVC to monitor and curtail this sort of activity. Hopefully at some point they will devise a system that is fair to all visitors using it.
I have only done it for The Grand Californian and Aulani, both of which can be nearly impossible to get what you want at 7 months. For WDW trips I’ll book my home (OKW) at 11 months (not walked) and then check what’s available at 7 months (not walked) and possibly switch reservations. For the record, I don’t feel the slightest bit of guilt walking at GC or Aulani.
I had never heard of this practice and to be fair would never use it. I do hope that the publication of this practice does not give less scrupulous DVC members a thought to “Walk Reservations”! I have personally been frustrated to not be able to get a time period that I desired only to research a few days later and find availability. Perhaps a member was doing this exact practice.
We have not ever walked a reservation either. There have been times we’ve had to adjust our dates a few days either way because we were not able to get the dates we wanted, but, IMO it’s just not right to do it. I feel people walking reservations and the huge amount of rentals which occur will eventually adversely affect the owner pool, and DVC will primarily become mostly a third party rental market, with very few owners using points themselves, but, simply using their ownership as a means of extra income thru rentals. Every year we find ourselves becoming a bit more disenchanted as I’m sure are other owners….especially those of us who have been owners for 20 years or more.
Thought of walking a ressie but my conscience got the best of me!
I could not agree with you more concerning the DVC rentals. I understand some people need to change their plans but when you see a member listing 5 or 6 rental dates that is obviously rent for income. Could it be just as easy as DVC saying you may only rent to a non member once per year. Similar to the transfer rule. I have about 340 points and its so frustrating seeing those multiple rentals on the groups. I think whats going to happen is people will keep selling off and just renting points. Much easier to get this way. We can only hope they close these loopholes so members can actually enjoy and use their points.
Point rentals do not at all affect availability. The number of points on the market is the same, whether an owner chooses to use the points themselves or rent them out.
As walking keeps getting discussed, more people follow suit. It’s like when seeing carts left in a parking lot, they leave theirs too. If others are doing it and defending it (everybody can walk/everybody has the same chance), why shouldn’t they also get the cheapest room too if they’ve done the work? Makes sense but… now all have to do the work for Standard Studios or overpay for Preferred whether we value our time or not.
The perceived value between Standard/Preferred is so different that people are willing to distract themselves with ‘walking’ reservations for days, weeks and even months. Preferred is often close to 50% more points… what?!
Then you hear reports about preferred rooms having a tree right in front of their window, worse view than the much cheaper standard they had last time. The huge gap in cost does not reconcile with the small upgrade in value.
For less disappointment all around add 1 pt to Standard and 2 pts during F&W demand, and reduce Pref where it makes sense. Saving a couple points (rather than 10s of points) will no longer be worth the time value of walking and Pref’d rooms will feel less exorbitant.
BWV Studios: Standard 52, Preferred 194. Not enough Std to placate demand because they are under-priced. AKL has a bit of an issue too with their 4 Studio categories, though not as drastic. The cost gap should also be reduced between Studios and 1BRs across most resorts (in spite of WDW’s attraction to lock-offs).
After 2020’s point change fiasco was abandoned, 2021 did undergo tolerable changes. I have a feeling over the next few years we’ll see small changes roll out to address some of the current issues of availability and walking. Splitting into 7 seasons over the classic 5 may have been a first step to making future adjustments.
My Example BWV Point Chart for 2021 for Studios:
Season — Nights Total (weekday/weekend) – Standard: Sun-Thur/Fri-Sat, Preferred: Sun-Thur/Fri-Sat
1 — 19 (13/6) — 10/14, 14/16 — [9/13, 14/16]
2 — 65 (47/18) – 11/15, 14/16 – [10/14, 15/16]
3 — 99 (71/28) – 14/16, 16/17 – [12/15, 16/17]
4 — 31 (23/8) — 15/18, 16/19 — [14/17, 17,20]
5 — 86 (61/25) – 15/19, 18/21 – [14/18, 18/21]
6 — 49 (34/15) – 17/20, 18/21 – [15/19, 19/22]
7 — 16 (11/5) — 23/26, 27/29 — [21/25, 27,29]
All of the Standard studios were raised by 1 pt and 2 pts during F&W, Preferred were lowered one point in Seasons 2, 4, & 6.
Current chart totals 1,521,454 points, these changes total 1,521,828. Close enough ;^) Works out!
If I can balance a chart in an hour, nobody can say it’s too hard for DVD.
Yes it is unfair to others when you walk, but also unfair to people in Hawaii and west coast because of time differences. I have gotten up at 2 in the morning on the first day I could book a room and not be able too do so because of computer glitches, would have to wait until phone reservation are open but then it is too late. If the want to stop the walking then they have to be fair to all and not give East coast people an advantage. By the way, I do. It walk but sometimes feel that is the only way I will get my preferred dates,
I had someone walk a reservation for the Riveria. It forced me to book a preferred room instead of a standard room. I didn’t know the term used for the practice but now I do. However, if rules are not broken and you have enough points to Walk; all power to you. Just remember, it will happen to you too.
The only reason I can see to do this is because you aren’t able to book your full vacation stay at your home resort at the 11 month mark. Even if you have enough points for 15 nights at your home resort, you can only book up to 10 days out from that point. Every morning you have to wake up (in my case 2am because of time zone differences) to add an additional day to your stay for five mornings. It would be better if you could just book as many points as you own starting at the 11 month mark for your home resort.
Never heard of walking…I don’t do it, don’t think I would but understand why others do. No wonder I never get a standard studio at BWV!
I have never walked either….but the last few years in early Dec I have met with disappointment at trying to book a SV studio at our home for 20years…BWV…..this year I kept watch..better know as stalking and was able to get SV for a few nites…the 2nd week (Dec)… I am all about trying to spread out those 300 points!!
I’ve owned for over a decade and have never had the need or urge (or itinerary I suppose) to book at 11 months on the dot, thus have I ever walked a reservation. I like to “play the angles” in life as much as the next guy but walking seems smarmy to me. It favors those w a lot of points over the smaller contract owner and it favors those in a more conducive time zone. We are all paying for member services resources to deal w the walkers. DVC needs to shut the practice down or charge a penalty for excessive or chronic reservation changes. Maybe they could make some sort of pre 11 month reservation request so everyone gets an equal crack at a hard reservation.
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