These availability charts were first created in 2014-2015 to look at trends within the resort availability tool (RAT) for DVC rooms. It has since been updated by a team of DVC users to include all the resort booking categories. To generate the charts, what we do is check the availability tool roughly once a week looking at a variety of two week windows from 1 month out to 11 months out in the future. The charts take roughly a year of effort to generate.
A bit of information to understand the tables. The year in each table is broken into ½ month blocks, meaning about 24 different time periods are reviewed for each resort. I considered each segment to be available as part of FOUR possible categories:
1) 14+ days– means that all or nearly all dates in that span were available. Because of that, I used the color GREEN to indicate it should be easy to book at this time of year.
2) 9 - 13 days – means that of the dates in that span, 8-13 days or more than HALF of the days were available. This is indicated by the color YELLOW, and means you are likely to be able to find availability here with a bit of flexibility and maybe a partial wait list.
3) 3 - 8 days – means that at least HALF the days are unavailable. However, there is at least a few days available during that time. This is indicated by the color ORANGE and with some flexibility you might be able to find a few nights at this resort that would suit your purposes.
4) 0 -2 days – It means there are only a few individual days left, and no blocks of days. This is indicated by the color RED and it is extremely unlikely you would be able to find the availability you want in that window.
The reading of the DVC availability charts are simple as shown in the chart below and described here. Let's say you want to travel in early September. You would look at the row with the date range of September 1st-15th. If you are thinking of booking the room 7-months in advance (in February) because it is not your home resort -you look at the column labeled 7 months. This data is from seven months in advance of the date you are looking at. The intesection tells me that in all likelyhood there will be 8-13 nights in that range with rooms available.
The software uses an average of several samples to determine the number of days that a room is available, because of this, it is the most accurate prediction possible using data over the last 12 months. Because of this however, unusual trends can appear - such as data that was collected during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2021
I want to point out specific events that factor heavily on the trends. The Disney marathon (early January) the Princess Marathon (late February), Easter (in the case of this survey early April) and 4th of July are really the only events in the first nine months of the year that show significant variations that really cover only a few days, causing these times to often show in the YELLOW category much earlier than 7-months, even though all the dates surrounding them remain available for much longer. Memorial day and Labor day don’t seem to be affected in the same way. Not surprisingly, there is a HUGE shift that occurs in late-September and continues through the end of the year. It even shows up in the trends for SSR. This coincides with Food and Wine, and except for the week before Thanksgiving and maybe the week right before Christmas continues through the holidays until the end of the year.
Your chart showed that X resort was open at 7-months, but when I tried to book it, it couldn’t get in. What’s the big idea?
There are no guarantees here. The idea is to make a simple tool showing trends. Those trends will shift from year to year, and more as new resorts come on-line. (For instance, I think the VGF has become harder to get over the last year as I’ve been doing the survey, I suspect if I redid it the next 12 months I would see it booking up even earlier.)
How does this help with waitlists?
In short: It doesn’t.