Q: What Walt Disney World Resorts are usually excluded from discounts?
A: If you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World this year chances are you’re playing a bit of a guessing game. You know that Disney typically offers discounts throughout the year and many of you have booked in early to lock in your packages but are anxiously awaiting the savings. Whether its room discount offers or the much coveted Free Dining promotion, there are certainly savings to be had. However, it pays to familiarize yourself with previous Disney discounts because NOT ALL resorts will be eligible when 2018 discounts are released.
If you’re working with a good TA and they know you are looking for savings, they should be able to steer you away from resorts that aren’t big on discounts. However, for everyone else, here’s a bit of a heads up on resorts that you may find exempt from upcoming offers.
Let’s look at the 2017 Free Dining promotion. Though it’s not guaranteed that Disney will repeat this offer next year, its helpful as a bit of a gauge as to what resorts have been historically exempt from discount offers. 2017 Free Dining exclusions included the following:
- Little Mermaid Room at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
- Disney’s Port Orleans- Riverside was excluded from November 14th to December 23rd, 2017
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- French Quarter
- The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
- Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
- Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- 3 Bedroom Villas
These same resorts (with the exception of All Star Movies and Port Orleans Riverside) are also excluded from Sun and Fun Discount Offer, covering Spring and Early Summer 2018.
Are there other resorts that have been excluded in the past? Yes! Disney only offers discounts for the resorts where they need more heads on beds. If a resort is wildly popular during a given season, don’t be surprised if there’s no discount on offer. Usually, these resorts are pretty consistent though there may occasionally be a Wild Card. For instance, if everyone decided to booking into Caribbean Beach Resort next Autumn, and availability was near capacity, you’d probably see it exempt from the Free Dining offer. Its unlikely, but that is the way that discounts are run. Disney creates a discount not to reward people that are already booked but to get more people into the resorts.
So what resorts are safe? As I said, this is changeable but if you’re hinging your bets, there are resorts in each category that are safer than others.
Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villa Resorts– Because of the cost to stay at these resorts, there tends to be greater availability and greater discounts. As a matter of fact, the higher the resort category the greater your savings. So you may only get a 20-25% discount for staying at a Moderate but a 30% discount for staying at a Deluxe. With the exception of the 3 bedroom villas, Villas at the Grand Floridian, Bungalows at the Polynesian and Bay Lake Tower, most of your villas and deluxe rooms are a safe bet.
Moderate Resorts – If you’re desperate for a discount and want to stay in the Moderates, I would suggest either Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (which is currently undergoing a massive refurbishment as an FYI ) or Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Both of the Port Orleans properties can be iffy when it comes to discounts and this will save you from having to move resort later to nab some savings.
Value Resorts – Family Suites at Disney’s Art of Animation Resorts are usually a safe bet. Also, Pop Century is relatively safe as are All Star Sports and All Star Music. I’ve NEVER seen discounts offered for Little Mermaid rooms and All Star Movies may or may not be exempt.
What if discounts are released and my resort is exempt? What can I do? Thankfully, Disney is flexible and you do have options. If room discounts are released and you find that your resort is excluded, you always have the ability to change resort (subject to availability). In most cases, your reservation number will stay the same and your deposit can be carried over. Again, a good TA will be able to keep track of all of this for you and adjust your packages to get the discount. If switching to a resort that is more expensive or upgrading your room category, the difference in price would be added to your reservation.
For some suggestions on when 2018 discounts may be released, give this article a look.
I will close with a disclaimer that there is no guarantee that this year’s discounts will match what Disney has offered in years past. However, we can look historically at the way Disney releases discounts and use that to inform our plans. It can be a helpful guide if you’re looking for discounts during the year ahead but shouldn’t be taken as gospel.
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