plights with the Disney Reservation System

March 2, 2007 9:21pm
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Back in the day, I used to go to concerts like they were going out of style – sometimes even multiple shows during the same week, regardless of school nights and so forth. Somehow I had the golden touch when it came to buying concert tickets and we were almost always on the floor for anybody that we went to see, of course my prize night still being the 2nd row Aerosmith tickets at Van Andel Arena (best concert ever!)! Maybe it was the closest thing I could find to living out my rock star dreams, but we all had a great time until the financial aspect of the hobby finally set in and promoters got so greedy that $40 tickets became $140 tickets and plain and simple, none of us could afford to go anymore.

Years later, I couldn’t even tell you what the last concert was that I went to see, but that’s another topic entirely.

Nonetheless, I realized that the Disney hotels have sort of taken the place of my passion for concerts, at least from the perspective that now I find myself fighting over reservations for hotels instead of tickets, and sadly, the competition is still fierce. Now mind you, I’m speaking specifically about the passholder rates that they offer each quarter, not so much their rack rates because unless it’s the day before the reservation, I’ve never really had trouble getting a room at full price over there…but who wants to pay that?!

The passholder discounts, on the other hand, are another story because they only offer a specific amount for each resort, and then also for each category of room (I believe), which can be very frustrating! And I understand that as you get closer to your vacation, availability is going to become more and more limited, but we’re still over two months out for ours and the discount codes were only released a week ago – hence the issue… Sara and I are taking a nice, long vacation in May to celebrate our 1 year anniversary – we’re doing the day at Discovery Cove like she’s always wanted, and the other days will be spent playing around at Disney. We wanted something tropical this time around, and since The Beach Club and the Polynesian are both way out of our price range for this time of year, we settled on Caribbean Beach instead. The last time I stayed there was in 1998 with my parents and we all remember it as a very bright and vibrant place, and who can argue with a romantic walk on the beach for a couple in love, right? Well, first we have to get there…

The discount rates finally posted last weekend, so I pulled up the resort on Saturday or Sunday and verified what the price of the package would be – perfect, now just to wait a day or two until my bank account clears so that I can pay for it, right?! Went to make the reservation Tuesday … and the rooms were no longer available. Anything else in Walt Disney World was ripe for the picking, except for the room that we wanted at Caribbean Beach. The system offered us up the same rate at Coronado Springs or any of the other moderate resorts, but we had our minds set at that point and couldn’t settle for anything less! Apparently CBR is just a really popular resort, but it’s also HUGE so you’d think they’d have more selection available to offset that.

Anyways, we finally broke down two days later and made our reservations without the discount, so we’ll still be at CBR, only with $150 less in our pockets. And I’ve checked back on the site just about every day to look for any cancelled reservations that may have been processed, so hopefully something will pop up and we can just switch over to the discounted rate, but it’s just too bad that that’s one of the best benefits for having our passes and yet sometimes we have such a hard time taking advantage of it. Last year staying at the Animal Kingdom lodge went ok, and alongside this reservation we also made one for next week to stay at Pop Century for a night with my Mom, but apparently the program is just a little too popular for the number of people that want to use it and I honestly think that if some adjustments aren’t made eventually, they’re going to have some unhappy passholders on their hands and the last thing Disney needs is to piss off those of us who will come visit the parks on a day’s notice!

So is it a problem with Disney that I have for not offering up more rooms at the rate that I qualify for, or maybe all of the uber-antsy people that made their reservations between Sunday and Tuesday to sweep up all of the available rooms? I think it’s just tough trying to plan a vacation that’s going to be really expensive, then not being able to cash in on a discount that you should be getting, despite the “Subject to availability” clause in the terms of service. I can understand being completely booked up during special events like Gay Days and Grad Nights and whatnot, but when they’ve got full price rooms available to the moon and back, clearly the issue is just that the quantity that they’ve earmarked for discounts has already been spent. And I’m not saying that they should allow discounts on all of their rooms (well, maybe…), but a room for ME would certainly be nice!

 

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