A lot of people have been asking me, "Dad, Dad!" Or saying, "Dad! Dad! All the rooms are booked! All the rooms are booked! Does that mean the crowds are gonna be crazy?"
Part of the problem is the Pop Century is being updated - Photo by Judd Helms
Not necessarily, especially right now. There is a reason why all the rooms are booked right now. And for the foreseeable future. And it's not because the crowds are going to be up. I think the crowd patterns are gonna stay pretty much like they usually do. What has happened is the construction at a lot of the hotels, there's major construction.
Coronado Springs, they took a whole set of buildings out. Same thing at Caribbean Beach Resort, a whole area of buildings out. The Pop Century has refurbishment going on that is taking a building at a time out of service. Maybe not a whole building, but at a least a floor of the building.
When they did the Polynesian Resort refurb, they took a bunch of rooms and turned them over to the Disney Vacation Club. When they re-did the Wilderness Lodge this last year, the just-opened Copper Creek area of the Wilderness Lodge, they took eight person rooms and turned them into four person rooms. And they didn't double the number of rooms.
So, probably 6 to 10% of the normal amount of rooms at Walt Disney World are out of service. From what they had two years ago, before the Polynesian rooms opened up, the DVC rooms opened at the Polynesian, from what they had before that started, the number of rooms available is down about 8 to 10%.
So? Disney on an average night is 87% ... their average occupancy rate is 87%. If you take 10% of those extra rooms out and you're 95% booked. Which is fully-booked. And so, also Disney re-did something over the weekends. They're booking over the weekends and if you're booking over a weekend, it's really hard to get a room.
The suggestion is to book early. Book six months out. Beat the rush. Book as soon as you possibly can. That's always been my recommendation, but I know a lot of people say, "Yeah, you can wait until the discounts," no! Book as soon as you can.
Whether it's six months, whether it's 18 ... as soon as you can book a room, you book a room. That way, you get it locked in. With all of the construction going on, now, two, three years from now, when the Star Wars hotel open, these new hotels open at the Caribbean Beach Resort is a DVC property. The one at Coronado Springs is a DVC property. Those won't help much.
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Until Disney builds another general hotel, or expands one of the other general hotels, we're not gonna see a lot of the availability jump up overnight. Might jump up a little bit, because the DVC rooms, they leave some of the for the general public, but for the most part, they are reserved for DVC, Disney Vacation Club.
Dad's Bottom Line
So, that is why you're having such a hard time booking rooms at Walt Disney World. It's not a crowds thing. It's not a number of people. There's not as many available right now.