28 February 2011
March 9: That is Hotel Day. At 9 am PST/Noon EST, we will all jump into combat and fight for a hotel room at discounted rates. Unfortunately CCI is repeating last year's horrible system of listing your top choices and hoping for the best. Later you will receive an email informing you of your hotel, at which point you either reject it or put down a one night's deposit. As for when you find out which hotel you've won - last year I received my email the same day, but this year CCI says only that we'll all know by March 15. Probably that is them playing it safe, but possibly they're buying themselves a week to sort out the madness. Possibly they're terrified we'll all crash the Travel Planners system in a repeat of Registration Days I, II and III.
Last year many people claimed to have submitted their choices at 9:03 a.m. and still wound up getting stuck out near Sea World, so I can imagine there will be a few howls of outrage. It also doesn't allow you to hedge your bets - say two nights at your first choice, then one night someplace else - which the old system did. This could mean people looking for only one or two nights could have better luck landing their first choice than people looking for five nights at the same hotel.
As for which hotels are the "best" - price and proximity are all it comes down to, excepting your various Rewards programs. If you're asking where you'll share an elevator with movie stars, let go of that idea now. I always stay at the Marriott and rarely see anyone famous. Parties are your best bets for celebrity stalking.
Here is the list of hotels.