So Much for Being Footloose and Fancy Free

cruising spud

Mouseketeer
Joined
Oct 12, 2007
So, as I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I are retired, meaning we can now go to Disney any time of year we want to . Several people on this site gave me great tips on when to visit (during my time frame).

So, today I give Disney a call and request reservations for the last week of February and the first week of March. BUT, there are no available sites. Not a darn tootin' one. I then ask the reservation person to backtrack and look anywhere in February for twelve days. NOTHING. Why are all of these people at Disney during the week? Shouldn't they be at work like I was?

I am thinking that I am going to have to do a daily "Disney reservations check." Do people think I have a chance of scoring a campsite, or should I move on to another vacation destination?
 

mickeyfan0805

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 12, 2007
We are among those who can't get there at that time of year, but my understanding is that those months are heavy for the snowbirds who are avoiding the dead of winter with which the rest of us have to contend! People often have luck picking up a day or two at a time and then piecing it together, but I will say that a 12 day stretch might be tough. At the very least, I'd have a back-up plan.

Do note that February 2020 is coming into view NOW. You can make Fort reservations for any stay up to February 15, 2020 right now. I don't know how early these winter dates book up, but I know many go for the hard to get dates (winter, Halloween, Christmas, etc...) pretty early. With the liberal cancellation policies and minimal down payment, it might be worth it to go ahead and get 2020 in the books as your ideal dates come available.
 

bama_ed

It's kind of fun to do the impossible-Walt Disney
Joined
Sep 23, 2004
I did the daily check for you and Disney's reservation system is being a horse's rear end.

Here is what I found:

Night of ..... (what's available)

Sun 2/24 - all but Premium
Mon 2/25 - all but Premium
Tue 2/26 - all
Wed 2/27 - Tent Only
Thu 2/28 - all
Fri 3/1 - all but Tent
Sat 3/2 - all but Tent
Sun 3/3 - all
Mon 3/4 - all but Preferred
Tue 3/5 - all
Wed 3/6 - all
Thur 3/7 - all
Fri 3/8 - all
Sat 3/9 - all

To prove the system is a jerk, when you look for sites from Sun 3/3 to Sun 3/10 you get NOTHING. :furious:

So book daily, pay the deposit (payment in full), and keep checking for the dates you want that you can't get at the site level you want (Premium, Preferred, Full). It looks like Full should be available for all but the night of 2/27.

You can get reservations merged when you have them all (or do multiple merges over time in blocks) by calling the Reservation line and asking to be transferred to "Guest Services" to have your multiple reservation numbers merged into one (consecutive nights all at the same site level). Your standard Reservation CM CANNOT DO THIS - so ask to be transferred to Guest Services. Some folks have had to call back to get a CM who knew where to transfer them to.

What a stupid, senseless thing to have to do. :sad2:

But most/nearly all of the dates are there if you want them.

Bama Ed

PS - maybe a Travel Agent would be able to see these consecutive dates available? Then again, they may not see anything different than the Reservations CM does.

PPS - I am jealous of your footloose and fancy free status and hope me and DW can get there in the not so distant future.
 
  • cruising spud

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 12, 2007
    bama_ed,

    First, a preamble....we have been to Disney more than a dozen times, but only our four most recent times have been with an rv. Meaning, we don't know all of the ins and outs of Disney and her campgrounds.

    Thank you so very much for explaining and then researching campground availability for me. I began plugging in dates like you suggested, and boy I have a story to tell you. I ran into some issues, called reservations, and spoke to the best cast member ever. How do I know this? She is a camper. Who has been to Disney. She called a friend in guest services, who tried to do exactly what you did, but we still had some issues. We could not get one of the loops we wanted for the days we wanted. I know I am being picky, but I was not going to drop all of that money for a rectangle of bare dirt/sand and not get what I wanted. And, then I asked-why is the campground so extremely busy when the crowd levels at the parks are so low during this time period. I was told (which I am guessing most of you already knew), that this is when the snowbirds hit Disney World. With a vengeance. Who would have guessed? A clue-not me. An epiphany!!!! So, I looked more closely at the crowd calendar and campground costs and realized THIS is why so many people on this forum hit the Mouse in October.

    I decided to turn lemons into lemonade. We will find somewhere else to go next year, and try to get to the meet and greet with the members of this forum in 2020.

    Now, one last question-is it too early to book for October 2020?

    Again, thank you everyone for helping me wrap my mind around "retirement vacationing 101."
     

    Teamubr

    Formerly racing around the country.
    Joined
    Nov 7, 2010
    What Ed said.

    The total lack of any logical programming on the reservation site is a mystery. Many, many people have been successful piecing together reservations at the busiest times of year. You should be OK for February/March. It will just take some diligence and lots of quality phone time listening to the Disney Muzak.

    j
     

    mickeyfan0805

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 12, 2007
    Now, one last question-is it too early to book for October 2020?
    Reservations can be made 499 days from your date of check-out. Right now, that puts you into mid-February, 2020. Thus, mid-October would come into the window about 8 months from now...June, 2019.
     

    FtW Mike

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 4, 2016
    As you have learned Disney is a SnowBird destination. Locals also are more likely to grab spots on the weekends then as well.
     
  • bama_ed

    It's kind of fun to do the impossible-Walt Disney
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2004
    We will find somewhere else to go next year, and try to get to the meet and greet with the members of this forum in 2020.
    Spud, we would love to have you come to the M&G planned for October 2020 Columbus Day week.

    Yes, if you run the 499 night/500 day calendar backwards, the earliest you can book is late May into early June 2019 (technically it is 500 days from the day you check OUT of the Fort on your way home).

    Hopefully by then you will have more "retirement vacationing 101" experience and can share some lessons with us ignorant folks :crazy:. I"ll sit at your feet, keep your glass filled, and soak up all the knowledge you are willing to share.

    ED
     

    tltay2005

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2015
    bama_ed,

    First, a preamble....we have been to Disney more than a dozen times, but only our four most recent times have been with an rv. Meaning, we don't know all of the ins and outs of Disney and her campgrounds.

    Thank you so very much for explaining and then researching campground availability for me. I began plugging in dates like you suggested, and boy I have a story to tell you. I ran into some issues, called reservations, and spoke to the best cast member ever. How do I know this? She is a camper. Who has been to Disney. She called a friend in guest services, who tried to do exactly what you did, but we still had some issues. We could not get one of the loops we wanted for the days we wanted. I know I am being picky, but I was not going to drop all of that money for a rectangle of bare dirt/sand and not get what I wanted. And, then I asked-why is the campground so extremely busy when the crowd levels at the parks are so low during this time period. I was told (which I am guessing most of you already knew), that this is when the snowbirds hit Disney World. With a vengeance. Who would have guessed? A clue-not me. An epiphany!!!! So, I looked more closely at the crowd calendar and campground costs and realized THIS is why so many people on this forum hit the Mouse in October.

    I decided to turn lemons into lemonade. We will find somewhere else to go next year, and try to get to the meet and greet with the members of this forum in 2020.

    Now, one last question-is it too early to book for October 2020?

    Again, thank you everyone for helping me wrap my mind around "retirement vacationing 101."
    Yes, those darn snowbirds :sad2:, lol. We live here in Central Florida and have found that it's just something we learn to live with, from sharing the roads :scared: and grocery aisles with them to trying to book campsite reservations anywhere in the state! We have to book 11 months out with the state parks to get a weekend reservation from late Sept through April.
     

    bigdisneydaddy

    Fan of all things Fort wilderness
    Joined
    Mar 27, 2000
    Having spent time at the Fort as a snowbird I can say that lots of sites open up on Monday through Thursday and then fills up on Friday with weekend warriors.

    As is mentioned above, if you think the Fort is hard to get into, try making ressies at a state park.
     

    cruising spud

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 12, 2007
    Ed, as long as you promise to keep my glass filled...….I will say that even though I am not a pro at managing the Disney reservation system, my husband and I have traveled to many other parts of the United States. We actually just got back from a five week trip to Glacier, Olympic, the Redwoods, and Sedona. We've also been to quite a few other places out West. So, I could give helpful tips to anyone who was thinking about traveling beyond the Mississippi. I could return the favor to all of you who have been so helpful to me in my quest to visit Disney.
     
  • tinkerjo

    Crazy Disney nut
    Joined
    Nov 25, 2005
    I had to piece together a reservation last year over that same timeframe. I will admit, it was stressful and took months of checking several times daily but I did get it done. Then I called customer service twice to get them merged ( the first CM said it couldn’t be done but I knew better from these boards). It was well worth the effort
     

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