Wednesday, February 15, 2017

In Which Jenn Calls The WDW Resort Reservation System Out On Its Lies

And now for another story of the thought that goes into trip planning - and how the WDW online reservation system is FULL OF LIES.

After two lovely solo trips, I am ready to tour WDW with a buddy again. Lucky for me, my pixie-dusted Disney aura has settled on Pat at least a little, as he has decided he's coming with me for the Star Wars - Dark Side Half Marathon. Hooray!

The first step in successful trip planning is of course your resort reservation. Were it just me, I'd be looking at three days in Pop, as per my current usual. For all his rugged, camping-and-my-Jeep interests, however, Pat is more particular than I am about hotels (maybe it's an architect thing?). We decided on a five day stay, and I brought up some options.

All deluxe resorts were sadly out, as we are not kazillionaires. The Contemporary will have to wait for another time. I did peep at the prices at AKL and Wilderness, and while the costs were more reasonable they were still appreciably higher than the next tier down. I simply had to filter out deluxes. Moderates and values only, please.

Pat expressed a fondness for Port Orleans Riverside, where we stayed last time. Unfortunately, it was listed as unavailable - even without applying the discount code Disney had sent me.

On to the next thing, then. We could stay at Pop, but Pat didn't seem too enthused about the comparatively juvenile "theme." I love Pop and find a lot of the decor very cute but I can totally see where he's coming from in relation to Riverside's exquisitely rendered ambiance.

Caribbean Beach only had pirate rooms available at a completely unnecessary upcharge. Pass.

Coronado Springs was a viable alternative, but it's known to be sprawling. We looked at a map together and counted five widespread bus stops. Pat vetoed on this basis alone, but I think a lot of it had to do with the pictures not looking as pretty as Riverside.

Port Orleans French Quarter was listed as available, but only without applying the discount (stupid POFQ always pulling that nonsense!). The single bus stop was attractive and Pat liked the fact that it was Port Orleans pretty. The boat the Disney Springs is a nice perk, too. The one detriment: the aforementioned lack of discount made it almost twice the cost of Pop.

After debating a little, Pat came down on the side of POFQ, and despite its added costs I was inclined to agree. Rather than make the reservation immediately, though, I decided to call the WDW reservation phone line in case there were annual passholder discounts available. (Note: calling WDW is the only time ever ever ever I will ever choose the phone option over the web option. Please don't call me. Send me a text like a civilized person, sheesh.)

Ooh, and, pro tip: if you can, call the WDW reservation line after 10pm EST. It's open until 11pm and your wait will be much shorter.

Anyway, I wound up talking to a very nice CM who was totally shilling for the Disney Dining Plan. She was like, "Did you have a plan for dining?" And I was like, "Yeah, we'll probably wing it, we don't need a dining plan." And then she was like, "I have added the Deluxe Dining Plan to your package." NICE TRY, LADY.

This is when things start getting weird again. The CM gave me the aforementioned quote at POFQ with the DDP attached, plus I believe the AP discount although we never got far enough to confirm. I said no thanks to the DDP, can you run it again as room only? At which point availability for the room vanished. Odd.

I suppose I could've pushed back on that, but first I figured what the hell, might as well ask. Do you see any availability at Riverside? She checked and THERE WAS. With the AP discount, it was $200 cheaper than POFQ.

So I booked it immediately. Sure, POR has four bus stops, but we didn't run into trouble before so I think it'll be okay. Hell, depending on our room location we could always walk to the POFQ bus stop. I hear good things about Ubering around WDW, too. The Disney Springs boat is available here, and we already know Pat likes the resort's design. We'll have Boatwrights readily available if we want it. And hey, we're each saving $100 over POFQ. Being as how we are not wildly rich, that's helpful.

How weird that POR was listed as unavailable on the website, then. It wasn't unavailable just 'cause of the discount code, and I know this for certain because POFQ specifically called out that it was only bookable with regular rates. And yet over the phone it was mine for the asking.

In conclusion: as I have said before, unless the WDW online reservation system is giving you exactly what you want, don't trust it. Call. Unexpected things happen when you call. Worst case scenario, they say no dice and you book your second choice anyway.

Save us some whiskey, Talon!

Have you experienced any weird discrepancies when booking a Disney trip? Are you going soon? Where are you staying?!

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

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