Disney World Historical Discounts + Planning a 2015 Disney World Vacation

 

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

10/10/12

January – Beginning of Spring Break Season 2014 Stay, Play Dine – discounted package-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public 10/3/13

10/7/13

January – week before Easter 2014 5%-35% off room rates-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public 10/3/13

10/7/13

Mid February – early June 2013 (excludes week of Easter) 15-30% off room rates + discounted tickets-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public 12/27/13

1/3/13

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

1/6/14

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

4/2/13

Mid June – late August 2014 10-35% off room rates-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public 3/13/14

3/17/14

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

5/9/13

Mid August – early October 2014 20-30% off room rates-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public 5/2/14

5/7/14

September 2013 Free Dining-Disney Visa Cardholder-General public 5/6/13

5/9/13

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

5/7/14

 

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

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

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!

 

Disney World PIN Codes: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

 

Having never actually received a Disney PIN code in my life, I always thought they were a myth, however I know this is false now that two of my very lucky clients have received codes in the last few weeks. They are real folks and they can save you lots of money or truly enhance your vacation! The most recent codes I’ve seen are for a free park hopper upgrade plus a room discount. For a family of 4, park hoppers can run well over $200 and coupled with a room discount, it can make for a really fun and exciting vacation!

What is a Disney PIN code?

Disney PIN codes are special discount codes that are sent at via mail or email that are specific to your name and address. These are said to be random and discounts can vary from a very small percentage off discount to as big as free dining.

How do I get a PIN code?

Pin offers are said to be completely randomly generated.  In order to receive a code you have to be “registered” with the Disney system. Some suggestions are to request a DVD, order customized maps, sign up for a Disney.com or MyDisneyExperience.com account and update your contact information, or play around with quotes or costs on DisneyWorld.com. While none of these are guarantees, if you’re thinking about a trip, it’s worth a shot! Be sure to check your junk mail just in case it gets filtered to your spam folder.

I think I got a PIN code!

First check to see if it’s a 3 letter/number combination code or if it’s longer. The 3 character long codes are promotional offers that often provide either a small or no discount from current pricing. A PIN code is longer (often 12-14 characters) long and is specific to your name and address.

Ok, now I know it’s a pin, now what?Disney-World-First-Visit-Button

If you have a trip booked, you can call and have the discount applied to your current trip. You may need to upgrade your current room view to take part in the promotion. In select situations, you may need to switch resorts to be included in the discounts as each different exclusions based on the available offer. Unfortunately you are not able to apply the discount online after you have a trip booked. If you booked through a travel agent, he or she would call on your behalf (another benefit to working with a travel agent instead of calling yourself!)

If you don’t have a trip booked, you can use the website provided with the PIN to look at cost comparisons or call Disney and work with one of their cast members. Similarly, you could send it over to your travel agent and they can do all the hard work for you! Easy as that.

Can I combine a PIN discount with a Disney World Special Offer?

Unfortunately, no. You have to choose the discount that most benefits your family. In the case of free dining, this may not be as simple as looking at dollar value as the value of free dining for a family of 4 over a week’s vacation can be well over $1000. If you have questions, contact a cast member, or even easier, contact a Disney travel agent.

The PIN is in my name but my husband/wife is the lead traveler on our reservation, is that a problem?

Nope! As long as the person who has the code is a member of the traveling party, you are able to apply the code to your reservation. In fact, you can book multiple rooms under the same PIN code (typically up to 3 rooms)! But for that, you’ll have to call a cast member for help.

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!

 

More Disney World Tips & Tricks: Answers to frequently asked questions

Continuing the 2014 Tips & Tricks, today we’re going to talk about some more frequently asked questions from potential Disney guests. Disney World can be a confusing place. Talking to my husband who has been to Disney with me about dining reservations was enough to make his head spin.

About a week ago, I started some frequently asked questions with the basics:

  • When should I go to Disney?
  • Where should I stay?
  • Where can I meet characters?
  • And general questions regarding the Disney Dining Plan.

Well since that time, I’ve received more questions, so here are some great answers for you!

I’m flying down and am taking Disney’s Magical Express. Do I need to book service ahead of time?

Yes. While this service is free, each member of your party has to be registered to ride the Magical Express. Your MagicBands will have the confirmation attached to them, so put them in your carry-on luggage and it will be the first of many waves of your wrist during your vacation!

Is there a Magical Express bus for each Disney resort?

No. The Orlando airport is about 30 minutes away from Disney World property, so buses fill up as much as possible based on scheduled arrival times. There are several bus lines that service the various areas of Disney World: “Epcot area”, “Magic Kingdom Area” “Wide World of Sports Area” and “Animal Kingdom area”. It wouldn’t be surprising if you are staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge and make a few stops at Coronado Springs and the All Star resorts before your final destination. Same goes for your return to the airport (which is why your departure time is at least 3 hours before your outbound flight).

I’m arriving late at night, how early can I check into my resort?

The reservations roll over at 6 am every morning. If you arrive earlier than that, you will either have to pay for an additional night, or wait it out. If you plan on checking in early, I highly recommend completing online check-in as Disney will make every attempt to have a room ready for your arrival. If not, you can always check your luggage, go exploring, or hop and early bus to one of the parks.

Once I’m at Disney, are there scheduled bus times to the parks?

Nope. Buses run continuously, usually every 15-30 minutes depending on the time of day. At peak times: an hour before park opening through ~11 am they run more frequently as well as closer to park close and after evening shows. During the middle of the day, they will likely run a little less frequently. If you just miss a bus or it fills up, there’s usually one quickly behind it. Disney also has the ability to launch more buses if a driver relays long lines.

When will there be a discount for my travel dates?

Disney typically releases discounts 2-3 months before travel dates (sometimes 4 months if you’re lucky). Historically discounts have gone like this:

January – February: some sort of dining and/or ticket discount or room discount

March – early June: room discount (2014 offered a ticket discount as well) – this typically excludes the weekend of Easter

Mid June – August: room discount

September (after Labor Day) – early December: FREE DINING! (this excludes the week of Thanksgiving and typically the few days following).

No discounts have been given around Christmas and New Years as they are typically highest travel times. Remember, there is no guarantee that Disney will follow their previous pattern. You are always able to book your package and when the discount becomes available apply it. When changing a package, you will be required to pay another deposit. But don’t worry, you don’t lose your initial deposit. Everything gets applied toward your grand total.

I’m ready to book my package, now what?

It depends on what you want. If you are doing a room only reservation (no park tickets), you are required to pay one night’s room charge plus tax. The remaining balance is due upon arrival.

If you are booking a package (including park tickets and any extras including the Dining Plan), you are required to pay $200 at time of booking. The remaining balance is due 45 days prior to arrival. You are welcome to pay more than that $200 as well. Between the time you book and your final payment date, you are able to pay as much or as little as you want (a really nice way to budget for your vacation). Minimum payment through Disney’s system is $20.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask or search around my blog. There’s a wealth of information available!

You have a question that I didn’t cover here? Feel free to contact me any time!

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!