Almost everyone has heard of “free dining” or other discounts at Walt Disney World. But the discounts are often hard to come by! Many people get confused or upset when they don’t get a discount. Even though their dates and resort are included in what Disney says the dates and resorts are. Here is a quick overview of how the Disney discounts work. If you have more questions, please comment below and we’ll do our best to answer!
So here is how discounts work at Walt Disney World. Let’s take the example of Free Dining since it’s the most popular discount. Disney will release certain room types at select hotels for particular nights during a date range. If, for example, your dates of travel are August 1-7, but Disney says you must travel beginning August 2, then you are ineligible for a package discount because you are checking in before the discount period. One option would be to “split your stay” and do one night, August 1 as a room only reservation, then book a package for August 2-7 at the “free dining” rate.
But, if Disney also does a “room discount” during those same dates then you have to compare the “room” and the “package” discount. Since discounts cannot be combined then in some cases you’re better off with the room discount and adding the tickets and dining back on- “free dining” does not discount the rooms at all.
Now, let’s say your dates of travel fall right in line with when Disney says are the eligible date, but you still can’t get a discount. This could be because the discounted rooms are sold out. The resort might not be sold out of rooms, however it may be sold out of discounted rooms. Each resort decides how many rooms to offer at a discount, if any. How this is determined is based on how many rooms they have unbooked. Supply and demand applies here!
Travel Agents (And One Reason You Should Be Using Them)
If you are using a travel agent then he/she should automatically reprice your reservations for you and notify you of any savings. Because Disney discounts are so limited you may or may not get one whether you do it yourself or with an agent, but rest assured that most travel agents are up early and on top of the discounts as soon as they hear about them. Hold times for popular discounts typically exceed 2-3 hours. Let your Travel Agent talk to Disney for you and use that time for something else!
Book early and book the vacation that works for your budget. There is never a guarantee that Disney will release discounts of any kind, and even now when they do the dates and availability are more limited each year. A good travel agent will not only check as soon as they hear discounts are out, but also they will continue to check for you as time goes by. Availability often changes for Walt Disney World hotels so even if you don’t get a discount on day one you might still get one! But if you have booked a vacation that you are happy with, then a discount becomes a bonus! Pocket the savings or (better yet) consider upgrading your room, adding a dining plan, or splurging on a Backstage Tour!