For all of you advanced planners, coupon clippers, and deal watchers, this post is for you! It’s historical Disney World discounts. This post will also tell you how much you can plan to save and coming in a future post, an overview of traveling to Disney each month and what you can expect to pay each month as a family of 4. This will be the ultimate guide planning your Disney World vacation.
To start, let’s talk about “rack rates”.
Rack rates are the non-discounted rates you can book at any time. The last two years, rack rates have been released for the next calendar year the 2nd week in July. In 2013, rates were released in June. I would expect rates to be released again in July of 2014 for 2015 vacations. Disney allows reservations up to 365 days in advance after rates are released. Check out the crowd calendar to see when crowd levels and prices are lowest.
Predicting a discount
Rates are released, now playing with numbers, how do you choose your travel dates? Below are the general public and Disney Visa cardholder discounts that were available in both 2013 and 2014 and the date they became available in each year respectively.
|Travel Dates||Discount Available||Date available|
|January – Beginning of Spring Break Season 2013||15-35% off room rates-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public||10/3/12
|January – Beginning of Spring Break Season 2014||Stay, Play Dine – discounted package-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public||10/3/13
|January – week before Easter 2014||5%-35% off room rates-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public||10/3/13
|Mid February – early June 2013 (excludes week of Easter)||15-30% off room rates + discounted tickets-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public||12/27/13
|Late February – mid June 2014 (excludes week of Easter)||5%-30% off room rates + free day of park tickets-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public||1/2/14
|Late April – mid June 2014||10-25% off room + Free Memory Maker-General public||2/6/14|
|Mid June – mid August 2013||5-30% off room rates + discounted tickets-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public||3/28/13
|Mid June – late August 2014||10-35% off room rates-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public||3/13/14
|Mid August – September 2014||10-25% off room + Free Memory Maker-General public||2/6/14|
|Mid August – September 2013||5-30% off room rates-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public||5/6/13
|Mid August – early October 2014||20-30% off room rates-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public||5/2/14
|September 2013||Free Dining-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public||5/6/13
|October – December 2013||Free Dining (ended 12/22)-General public||8/1/13|
|October – December 2013||15-30% off room rates (ended 12/23)-General public||8/1/13|
|October – December 2014||Free Dining (blacked out 10/4-10/25; 11/2-11/8; 11/21-12/11)-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public||5/2/14
So now you know what discount is available, you can make your decision on what saves you the most. A few important notes:
- If more than one discount is available, make sure you choose the best one for your family. A great example is free dining and room discount. If you are traveling with less than 2 adults, planning on staying at deluxe resort, and/or have a short stay, the room discount may be greater than dining savings.
- With ticket discounts or a free day of park tickets, just do a quick check to see how much one more day would cost, sometimes it’s under $10!
- For free dining discounts, as long as your arrival day is within the travel window, your entire vacation will be covered. If you are booking a room rate discount, your entire vacation will need to be within available travel dates.
- Be willing to do a split stay if your travel dates are set in stone. This way you can take advantage of some great discounts. Just make sure you book the same room type if you are planning on staying at the same resort.
- Don’t count on a certain discount even if historical information points towards it. Free dining in 2014 is the perfect example – previous years had very few blacked out dates and 2014 blacked out almost the entire month of October.
When should I book my vacation?
If high demand dining experiences like Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Table, pre-park opening character meals, evening meals at California Grill, etc. are on your list, I highly recommend booking before your 180 days window opens (this means 180 days prior to your arrival). For those looking to budget for your vacation, book early and start paying things off on a monthly or quarterly basis.
If you are looking for high demand reservations like free dining, it may be in your best interest to book a low cost room only reservation to get your dining choices and then book your free dining reservation online as the deal comes out. 2014 Free dining brought phone wait times of 5-6 hours and phone is the ONLY way to update an existing reservation or to book a Disney Visa cardholder discount. While Disney’s web site is very slow on the first day of a free dining discount, you can at least hold your reservation t no cost if the payment system is causing issues (as it tends to when website volume is extremely high) Get a sure thing! The best part about room only reservations is that you are required to pay 1 night’s room plus tax (at a value resort this can be about $100). It’s kind of cheating the system, but your room does go back into the pool after you cancel. If you wait at least 2 weeks after a major discount has been released, wait times can be less than 5 minutes to nothing. Your dining reservations are not tied to your reservation number, so you can cancel without losing your other reservations!
Room rate discounts are not as competitive as major discounts like free dining. Wait times are typically less than an hour and most important for locations like Port Orleans Riverside which have rooms that sleep up to 5 guests.
Regardless of your discount and your resort choice, be prepared to be flexible. This may mean upgrading your room view/category to receive the available discount or changing resorts completely (often in the case of free dining). It’s best to have a backup plan and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices and if working with a travel professional, be available via email or text message as things are changed.
Saving time AND money
Ready to get started planning your 2015 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!