Planning a vacation to Disney World is not cheap. But there are definitely ways to do Disney World on a budget.
I am a mother of 3 kids. So when we travel I have to consider 5 people! 5 mouths that need to eat (and for such tiny people, my children really do know how to eat). I have to find a place for 5 people to sleep. I have to buy park tickets for everyone. It adds up. And considering this is my job, I like to take my family to the parks as often as I can. So here are the things that I do in order to get the best price, and enjoy Disney World on a budget.
Disney World Resort Promotions
Disney is a little different in how they handle room rates and discounts. Room rates for all of the Disney World Resort hotels are released the summer prior. For example, rates for the 2019 year were released in June 2018. Once Disney released those rates, that is it. They will NOT go up.
There are several different types of discounts offered by Disney, but keep in mind that discounts are NOT added to your reservation automatically. You will have to manually look for the discount and add it to your reservation. You can find the special offers at the Disney World website under “Places to Stay.”
Some discounts are for packages (which would usually include tickets and food), or for room only discounts. Most of the time, the room only discounts are going to be the best bet. You can get a percentage discount on your room, and then you can buy yourtickets elsewherefor a larger savings.
What if a Promotion is Released After I booked?
An issue that I find with the promotions is that they often are not released until a couple of months ahead of time. If you are anything like me, you like planning WAY before hand. So if your dates are set in stone, and you know you have to go during a certain time, you can still add promotions to your reservation if they pop up after you have already booked.
To do this you have 2 options available to you. You can call Disney and have a Cast Member add the promotion over the phone. You can reach them at (407) 939-1936.
You can also add the promotion yourself online. To do this you’ll need to log in to your My Disney Experience account.
From there you’ll need to go in to your reservation and hit “Change Reservation.”
In your reservation details you will see your vacation offer, and you can hit the “Change” button to see available promotions. From there you will be able to apply any available promotions.
There are a few things to keep in mind if you are going to do this. First, not all resorts and not all rooms are available for all discounts. So if you have your heart set on a certain resort or a certain room type, you may be limiting the promotions you can take advantage of, even if there are promotions available during your dates.
You will also want to keep in mind that you cannot make changes to your reservation online if you have added any extras to your reservation. For example, if you have added memory maker or magical express to your reservation, you will not be able to make the change and add the promotion. In this case you will need to call Disney to see if they can add for you.
If my dates are set in stone I like to budget for the full room rack rate. Should a promotion come up, that’s just an extra cherry on the cake.
If you can, keep your dates flexible
If you have your heart set on a certain discount (for example, if you really want to grab the free dining discount), but it hasn’t been released yet, you might want to hold off on booking airfare until you know for sure the dates of the discounts. You can usually get a pretty good idea of the types of discounts you can expect during a certain time of year if you look at the history of promotions and discounts that Disney World has offered.
In 2017 the following discounts were offered to the general public:
10%-20% off room only
15% - 30% off room only
15% - 25% off room only
1 Free Quick Service Meal per night
10% - 25% off room only
Play, Stay, and Dine
15% - 25% off room only
There are also more discounts if you are a FL Resident, a Disney Visa Card Holder, or an Annual Passholder.
While you can’t guarantee that Disney will use the same discounts at the same times, you definitely can find consistency to these discounts over the years. But the key to grabbing these discounts is being flexible. Sometimes adjusting your plans by just a day can mean the difference between full price, and 20% off.
Which resorts offer the best discounts?
When a promotion is announced that has a percentage off (For example 20%-30% off room rates), the higher discount will always go to the participating deluxe resorts. So you can expect Deluxe to have 30% off, and Value resorts to be at 20% off.
Are all dates or rooms eligible for promotions?
Unfortunately, no. There are always going to be room types, and often entire resorts that are not eligible for certain promotions. For example, The Little Mermaid Room at the Art of Animation is almost always except from promotions.
You can also expect black out dates at busier times. For example, a winter promotion might fall in the month of December, but you can bet that Christmas will be a blackout date.
How Can I Be Sure I Will Get a Discount?
First, I would suggest being flexible if you can. If you are more open to different dates or resorts you will have a better chance of grabbing a discount.
Signing up for Disney Visa card can also get you a discount. Disney Visa card holders can sometimes get access to discounts before the general public.
Use past discounts I mentioned above to get a general idea of when promotions will become available, and be ready to book during those times.
Good luck and happy booking!
Still confused or need help?
I am happy to help! Contact me.
See you at the parks,