How Disney Discounts and Promotions Work

Disney will occasionally offer promotions and discounts during slow seasons in order to boost attendance and fill resort rooms.  There are a few things to know about these promotions to help understand how the discounts work.

Discounts are not “stackable” this means that you cannot get more than one discount, so if Disney is offering a room only or free dining you cannot get both.  You will want to compare the discounts in order to figure out which will be a better value for your vacation.

Promotions are generally offered during the slow seasons, this means holidays, spring break and summer are not going to be discounted much, if at all. 

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Thanks to Disney Travel Professionals for the photo.

Discounts are not guaranteed!  There are many, many times when the rooms will sell out, or they don’t apply for your dates of travel, or for the resort you have booked.  Room categories or entire resorts will be excluded as well.  Travel agents have no way to guarantee a discount or promotion until it is offered from Disney and a deposit is paid on the booking.  You will need to act fast in order to secure a discount when it is offered.

So what types of promotions does Disney offer?  Room only discounts are fairly common with Disney. The amount varies by resort, Values are usually 15%, with Deluxe Villas up to 35%.  Kid sized offers mean that the price of some of the package components will be the same as the children’s price.  Extra day of tickets, this is usually a minimum of 4 days with an added 5th day free.  Free dining, at Value resorts they offer the quick service dining package for free, and Moderates and Deluxes get the Disney Dining Plan for free.  There is usually a minimum amount of nights and days for park tickets that you will need to book in order to qualify for these discounts.

 

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Photo via Disney.com

 

PIN codes are another very common form of discounts that Disney offers.  It is unknown how to get on the right mailing list to get these but the best advice I can offer is to make sure you are signed up on the Disney.com website to receive offers and these will at times be sent via email.  The catch?  If the PIN code is in your name you have to be the lead guest on the reservation.

Spring 2015 discount

Thanks to Disney Travel Professionals for the photo.

Bounce back offers, this promotion is probably less well known but can be a very good deal.  A bounce back offer is a booking that you will make while at Disney for a future date.  The offer changes every so often and must be booked before you leave Walt Disney World.  If there is no information in your resort room about the current offer just dial extension 8844 and you will be connected to guest services.  Also if you like to use your favorite Disney Travel Planner (ahem) you can just list them with your reservation agent or transfer the booking within 30 days.

Having an Annual Pass to Walt Disney World can also get you a resort discount.   Be sure that your AP is still valid and make the reservation in your name.

Disney Visa cardholders are also eligible for discounts on occasion.  In the past these have been released prior to the release of general public sales.  You must have the Disney Visa card in order to apply these discounts.

 Disney visa

Military Discounts are also available for active and retired military personnel with a valid identification card.  You can purchase discount tickets at the Shades of Green resort located near the Polynesian Village Resort.

Florida Resident are also offered discounts on tickets and resorts with a valid Florida issued ID.

No matter what discount you are looking at there are always ways to save money on your Walt Disney World vacation, if you take the time to plan it correctly and do a little bit of homework!  Of course you can always leave this to a trained professional who can help with the ins and outs of getting the most bang for your buck.

Podcast Episode 94: Disney Discounts 101

Disney discounts can be very confusing so in this week’s episode we’ve given you a primer on everything you need to know to navigate the Disney discount waters!  We walk you through what happens when a discount is released, how you can take advantage of a discount, and even what to do if a discount doesn’t apply for you.  Don’t miss this episode!  It could save you money!

Happy listening!

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Guest Blogger: Chris Gardiner’s Review of Tables in Wonderland

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It surprises me how many Disney travelers that I meet that have never heard of Disney’s “Tables in Wonderland” program.  I truly find this to be one of WDW’s hidden discount perks and one that could save you a lot of money and convenience if it’s right for you.

For those who do not know, the “Tables in Wonderland” is a card you can purchase if you are a Florida Resident, Annual and/or Seasonal Passholder, or a DVC member.  The cost of the annual card is $125 for Florida Residents and $100 for Annual or Seasonal Passholders and DVC members.  There are some great benefits to having this card that I wanted to go over as well as some of my own experiences from using the card.

The main perk is that the card offers a 20% discount on food and beverages (including alcohol!) at over 100 participating restaurant at WDW.  This includes the parks, resort hotels and Downtown Disney locations.  Considering how much you spend on dining at WDW this can be a great savings!  I find that the majority of the restaurants accepting the card are table service restaurants, while there are a handful of quick-service restaurants are sprinkled in (however I am not complaining because the table service restaurants are the more costly).  Another great advantage of this is that the 20% discount applies to parties of up to 10 people (including yourself). I personally have had the chance to be able to use my card on several trips where I had gone with multiple parties and we all had the chance to dine together.  One time was for the Princess Breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in EPCOT for a party of 7 and the other time was at Be Our Guest at the Magic Kingdom for a party of 9.  Trust me, when I was able to save everyone 20% on their meal it was a ‘magical moment’!  Now you do have to keep in mind a couple of things.  According to their policy when you using the discount “everyone has to be on the same check” and “the Tables In Wonderland member has to pay the bill”.  Honestly I have seen the “member having to pay the bill” enforced sometimes and not at other times.  But my suggestions is just to have a quick conversation with everyone prior to the meal to figure out that if you do have to pay for the meal who gives you money, etc..  Another thing to keep in mind is that by using the card an 18% gratuity is automatically added to the bill.  I have never had an issue with this and actually find it convenient as there is not going back and forth on paying the bill.

Another perk that Tables In Wonderland offers is free valet and theme parking for dining purposes.  If you are renting or have your own car I find this to be a great perk as valet parking at the Disney resorts is $20!  On my last trip we used Tables in Wonderland and dined at 3 Disney Resorts (so in addition to saving 20% on the meal we saved $60 in valet parking fees!).

There are a couple of items that you want to make sure you are aware of with Tables in Wonderland.  The first is that there are blackout dates!  The card cannot be used on:  Mother’s Day, Easter Sunday, 4th of July, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve & Day, New Year’s Eve & Day.  In addition to these dates several of the very popular table service restaurants have some additional blackout dates so make sure you check out www.tablesinwonderland.com for these specifics.

The other very important thing I have learned is do not LOSE or FORGET your Tables In Wonderland card!  You have to have your card with you to use the discount (they will not look it up for you) and if you lose your card you have to pay $50 fee to get a replacement one.  I know this for a fact because prior to one of my last Disney trips I had put my Tables In Wonderland card in a very safe location in my house and then proceeded to leave it at my house while I was at WDW.  So $50 later I learned a valuable lesson (but it was still worth it to have the card!).

As long as I have my annual pass I will continue to get Tables in Wonderland – it’s a great hidden perk that if used the right way can save you big time on your dining at WDW.  Enjoy!