Friday, March 25, 2011

The Disney World Discount Game, Part I: Types of Discounts.

It's a Friday before current Disney World discounts end (specifically, on March 27th), which means there's a great deal of speculation out as to what the newest discounts will be. If you're a frequent Disney guest or you're just being budget conscious, you've probably played what I call the Disney discount game:  Searching the Internet or asking your travel agent for discounts, booking and re-booking, to save the most money.  The game can be fun when you find a great deal, but it can also lead to a lot of frustration.  Here is first part of a three-part series on Disney discounts.

There are five main types of discounts: 

1)  General public discounts.  The most common discounts released by Disney, they're available to everyone and are usually in the form of resort room discounts or free dining. Watch for black out dates and booking periods. Most often, these discounts are available during slower times of the year, so don't expect to see this type of code during Christmas break, Easter break, or mid-summer. 

2)  Annual Pass discounts.  These are room discounts available to annual passholders. These usually come out weeks or even months after the GP discount for the same time period.  Most often, they are for 5 - 10 percent higher than GP discounts, but they're also offered for a much more limited number of rooms so book when they come out.

3)  Pin Codes.  Pin codes are the stuff of legends on  Disney message boards because they can be pretty difficult to get.  Briefly, a pin code is a discount code that is personal to you.  You simply go to Disney's website and sign up.  Then, you wait for a code to come to your email or home address.  Sometimes it comes, sometimes . . . it doesn't.  Urban legend has it that you'll be more likely to get a code if you play around with the reservation system after you sign up so that Disney knows you're looking to book a vacation. You can also sign up your spouse and try to double your chances.  If you're traveling with a group, sign up every adult in the group as well, as you normally can book up to three rooms per code, as long as the main person on the pin code is the main contact. 

Pin codes are normally a better deal than what's available to the general public and often a hint of what Disney will release later that year to everyone.  As with the general public codes, make sure you pay attention to black out dates and booking periods.

4)  Military discounts.  Military discounts are, without question, the best discounts available right now. These are available to both retired and active duty members.  If you are a reservist who has served on active duty in the past year, you may also qualify; see your MWR office for details, as these often change.  You'll need to show a military ID at check-in and when you buy tickets.  Room rates average around 40% off.  Right now the current ticket option is for a four-day park hopper for $138 per person (no discount for children), which is a great savings.  Unfortunately, you can't add more days to this admission ticket, but you normally can add water park days.

You can't book military discounted rooms online, so you'll need to contact your travel agent or call Disney directly.  I've found the cast members at booking to be extra helpful with these packages.

5)  Florida resident discounts.  These discounts are available to Florida residents only. They're usually for resort rooms and often, just a few resorts will participate, for example, one moderate and two deluxe resorts. They tend to come out just a month or so before travel.  Don't forget to ask about special park admission discounts during certain times of the year. These are usually in the form of three-day parkhoppers.

Next up, I'll talk about how to play the Disney discount game.

Contact me at ChrisW@PixieVacations.com to find out how you can get a free $50 Disney gift card when you book a Disney vacation over $2400. This is in addition to current Disney discounts.

3 comments:

Gaylin said...

Until recently I didn't know getting a pin code was special! A couple of trips ago I was sent a pin code and got free dining for a 9 day trip! Now I feel so extra special to have gotten one.

Drew said...

Oh man! We just booked our trip a couple of days ago for the end of May! Are the deals retroactive? lol

everythingwdw said...

Drew, you can ALWAYS ask your travel agent to apply new discount codes that Disney puts out. In fact, your TA should be doing that automatically (this is the benefit of using one) if she knows there's one out there that will help you. The most recent codes ended last night, but new ones should be out in the next week so just watch here and other sites.

Good luck and let me know how it works out.

Gaylin, they are kind of rare. My husband, who has never booked one of our trips, gets them constantly. I have had one, maybe two.