HOW TO SAVE
ON DISNEY HOTELS
Visiting Walt Disney World anytime of year is always a special occasion for my family. We’ve been lucky enough to make the trip from Ohio to Florida twice a year and each visit lasts around a week at a time. I know what you must be thinking: How does a family that doesn’t call themselves locals afford to visit so frequently? Over the years, I’ve learned quite a few tips about saving money on resorts and hotels both in and around the House of Mouse. With some easy advice and tips to plan your next WDW vacation, you can find ones that won’t break the bank as well and are perfect for your family’s vacationing style.
If you’re adamant about staying onsite, you’ll definitely want to check out the Value Resorts to save money. We’ve stayed at on-property multiple times and have never been disappointed. Seriously. All of the All-star Resorts (Music, Movies, and Sports), Pop Century Resort, and even Art of Animation offer guests larger-than-life Disney character icons throughout and a decent food court to grab meals. The outdoor activities tend to center around the main pool area at a value resort but they certainly cater to kids with nightly movies, hourly games, and even fun, holiday-themed events. As with all onsite WDW resorts, you have the advantage of letting Disney do the driving the entire length of your vacation which can save you money on car rentals and gas as well.
Tip: Walt Disney World’s Value Resorts use motor coach transportation to all of the theme parks and other attractions. We love riding the buses back and forth (fun, themed music
PHOTO BY CLIFF WANG depending on which park you’re headed to plus you’ll never know who’ll you’ll have the pleasure of chatting with), but if you’re not a fan of public transportation (the buses do get crowded at rope drop or when the theme parks close), think about renting a car. You won’t have to pay for parking because you’re resort property guests and can come and go as you please.
If you really want to save some cash and want to stay onsite, visiting during the off-season is an option for both lower resort rates and lower crowd levels. WDW loves offering discounts on rooms, dining, and tickets when the crowds are lower (think the week after
Thanksgiving, the weeks after Christmas and New Year’s Day, the week after Spring Break and Easter vacations, when the kids go back to school, etc.) and when you bundle all of your vacation needs into a package you’ll tend to spend even less.
This way to save requires vacation flexibility and the ability to jump on WDW’S official website to look for specials pretty frequently. While you’re on the site, request a free planning DVD that will put you on its official mailing list. You never know when you’ll get an exclusive offer or “pin code” in the mail to save on hotel stays and other vacation needs.
Disney Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members also tend to receive some pretty deep discounts on resort room rates and United States military members can score great discounts at Shades of Green, Disney’s onsite resort dedicated to military families. If you are a member of the active military, a retired military veteran, or meet Disney’s other qualifications, check with your local military base for amazingly discounted deals on park hopper tickets, too.
Using hotel points is another easy way to score resort and hotel room discounts. Both the Walt Disney World Swan and Walt Disney World Dolphin hotels are Starwood properties, are adjacent to Epcot so they’re onsite, and offer SPG loyalty programs. The program is easy to sign up for and includes free night awards and other perks. If you’re into accumulating loyalty program points, you can save up and book free nights off site. Always check with your loyalty program sponsors to find out which hotels qualify for your particular program.
Next time you book a WDW Vacation and consider staying on-property, remember to investigate and price out all of your options to find out how much you can save on Disney hotels!