How to Save Money and Stay in Disney Resorts

BoardwalkOnce you have made the decision that an on-property, Disney Resort, is the right choice for your family you will want to know how you can make that trip happen for the best possible price. With this in mind we have listed below some tips we have on how to save money while staying in Disney World resorts. These tips are in no particular order and some of them only happen at certain times of year.

  • Room Discounts – The most popular discount that Disney releases are room discounts. They usually release these 3-6 months in advance of certain travel dates. These discounts will range from 10% to 35% off of the hotel room portion of your trip, and the percentages get higher for the higher level of resort you book. For instance a certain discount may be 20% at value resorts, 25% at moderate resorts, and 30% at deluxe resorts. At times of year when crowds are low the discounts will usually be higher and at times of year when crowds are higher the discounts will be less, but every little bit certainly helps. Disney has been releasing room discounts in recent years for almost all travel dates except those most popular times of year. These times include the Christmas/New Year Holiday Season, Marathon Weekend, and the Easter Holiday Season. Most other times have had some discount available, although you should always know that no discount is guaranteed.
  • Free Dining – Disney also offers a “Free Dining” discount at certain times of year. These were fairly frequent 3-4 years ago, but in the last year or two they only release free dining in the less crowded times in the fall (late August and September). When free dining comes out it includes the quick service dining plan at value resorts and the regular dining plan at moderate and deluxe resorts. Also, keep in mind that with free dining you must be booking a vacation package that includes hotel, park tickets and dining. You cannot attach free dining to a room only booking or combine it with a room discount offer.
  • Know Which is the Best Discount – This tip refers to times of year when there are both free dining and room discounts available. Since you can only use one discount per booking when staying at value resorts the free dining offer is a better deal than the room discount since the room discount percentage is pretty low at the value resorts. In contrast, when staying at deluxe resorts the room discount can sometimes be more beneficial and save more money than the free dining plan since room rates are higher at these resorts. It is just important to put the pen to the paper and see which option will actually save you the most money.
  • Know the Rules of Disney Packages – We always recommend you book your trip as far in advance as possible of your trip dates, even if discounts have not been released. When booking a package with Disney you only have to pay a $200 deposit and you can do things such as dining reservations at 180 days and FP+ reservations at 60 days. The balance of your trip is not due until 30 days before your travel dates. Another great feature of booking through Disney is that any part of your package is refundable and/or changeable up until that 30 day mark. If a discount is released and you already have that reservation you can simply call, or have your travel agent call, and get the discount applied to your current booking. So, you are in no danger of losing a discount if you already have a reservation on the books, that is why we recommend doing it early.
  • Work with a Travel Agent – This tip is one that we highly recommend, as using a travel agent is your best bet in finding current deals and discounts and getting them applied to your trip. First, using a travel agent is a free service. Make sure you work with a travel agent who is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, such as those at Big Dreams Travel. Travel agents, especially those with a Disney specialization, are going to be the first to know about coming discounts and deals and they can get these applied to your trip the day they are released. This is important as many Disney deals and discounts have limited availability so the quicker you get them applied to your trip the less of a chance you have of the space at a certain resort being completely booked.

If you have any other questions regarding saving money at Disney resorts post them below and we’ll help however we can.

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