Well, I got in. Here's what I think, and it's just that, simply my opinion.
While I know there'll be bugs to work out, this thing is going to work. Not like we might want it to work, or how we are used to it working, but it will work. And it will do the things they said it would do. Not perfectly from day 1, but it will. It's here, and it's real. It will do the things folks wanted it to do, and the things folks feared it would do. (Whatever camp you're in!)
I don't like the reservation process. Some of that is just working with something new, but some of it, in the brief time I had to look, is going to be incredibly cumbersome.
I don't know how long it was up, but would estimate less than 1 hour. It may still be up for some, but once I left I wasn't allowed to come back. Based on the confirmation numbers I was seeing, I'd guess about 500 "transactions" were made and I don't have a clue if those were just reservations or anything it processed.
First thing when I signed on was a warning banner at the top of the screen that I had overlapping reservations. I also booked a new overlapping reservation; and as part of the booking process it gives you another warning screen about the overlap and you have to click on an acknowledgement of it to continue. The initial warning banner gave specific reservation numbers that were in the overlap; which makes me believe the cancelling of overlapping reservations will no longer be a manual process, but the system will know and will act accordingly. If there's anything positive out of this, it is that at least now you will know what the overlap is and can fix it before any problems happen. It seems to be pretty smart about this.
There was a warning banner that auto upgrade was not working, but I successfully put in an auto upgrade request. I wasn't notified it happened, but it worked. So I tried it on another where I found available inventory that met the criteria, but this time it didn't upgrade. I think there will be a steep learning curve on what is an upgrade, and what the system considers an upgrade. (Maybe I'm wrong, there wasn't a whole lot of time to play around with it.) On the upgrade that did happen, I didn't see the room I upgraded from come back into inventory. Maybe just coincidence. I also made a new reservation and was able to upgrade from a 1 bedroom to a 3 bedroom, so that's good news as it seems you can still upgrade more than one step (but with the auto upgrade searching all the time, don't count on it other than mud weeks or it being your very lucky day).
It will let you borrow points from next year (if you run out of current year points) and it will let you rent points, both worked just like they always have. At the end of a reservation, the confirmation screen shows what pot your points came from.
There is a history. Shows everything you've done. How many points are deducted and why, how many points are put back and why.
Booked and cancelled a reservation I made today. It was inside 15 days. The points came back like they should. Something new is I received a confirmation email about the cancel.... nice!
Speaking of confirmation emails, there is a change in the process. No more getting the first one from the "do not reply" address showing what you booked. Instead I received just the "your reservation is confirmed" email which is the one they normally email a day or two afterwards. (Time will tell if I receive another email in a couple days.) So the promise of things being instant and in real time seem to be true. The email and confirmation letter look the same.
Searching inventory seemed slow. It definitely was cumbersome. I couldn't figure out how to do the broad searches I'm used to. It wanted you to pretty much tell it what you specifically were looking for. Exact dates, no ranges. No searching up to 4 days before and after. The orange "book" button will let you search across multiple unit types, but only using an exact, specific, check in and check out date. No multiple date ranges using that search process. There is a way to search multiple dates but only one calendar month at a time, and only by specific room type. And boy, have they made that cumbersome. You have every conceivable room "type" like 1BR, 1BR deluxe, 1BR vision impaired, 1BR hearing impaired, 1BR mobility impaired, 1BR presidential, 1BR presidential reserve, on and on; and it repeats this detailed breakdown for each unit size... 2BR, 3BR, etc. For multiple date searches, you have to pick a room "type" (only one from those many choices) and then you will only see one calendar month of availability for that individual room "type". You can only search one at a time..... one by one by one by one by one........ each individual different 1BR type, each different 2BR type, etc. I'm sure there's a better way to do broader searches (there's got to be) and hopefully more playing around will reveal something I missed.
Didn't look at ARP, moving points forward, RCI, or anything else, much other than searching, booking, cancelling, and upgrading. There wasn't a lot of time.
It's here, and I think it's going to be pretty much like everyone expected. Except searching... there has got to be a better way and hopefully it will be back up tomorrow and I can figure that out better.
BEST ADVISE I GIVE IS WHEN YOU CAN SIGN ON, PLAY WITH IT. START GOING AROUND AND CLICKING ON THINGS AND SEEING WHAT'S OUT THERE. PLAY WITH THE BUTTONS, PLAY WITH THE TABS, SEE WHAT THEY MEAN AND HOW THEY CATAGORIZED THINGS. I FIGURED ALOT OF THINGS OUT IN A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME THIS WAY. AND I'VE ONLY SCRATCHED THE SURFACE.
1 year update. Not much change. Still dysfunctional. Can now pick a month, but searching availability remains difficult and cumbersome. You can pick a room size, but it doesn't break the room size into room type, so it may show a week of 1BR's available, but nothing is bookable or you don't know what options you have within the timeframe. Can't pick multiple resorts, only regions. Can't ask it to search 4 days +/-. I mean really, show me what is available to book. Upgrades are inconsistent. Inventory continues to disappear. 7 year in the making, 1 year in production, and this is what we get. More than just bugs needing to be worked out, it is like an infestation of problems.