Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Applying a Discount to Your Disney Reservation

By: Melissa

We’ve all been there. You research, research, research, and finally decide what you want. You look for the best price you can find, and finally purchase. And then the next week, it goes on sale. Personally, I think that’s where the facepalm originated. But what if that happens after you book your Disney vacation?

Do. Not. Panic.

You can apply discounts to your reservation after you’ve booked your vacation!

How does that work? It’s actually pretty easy!

Let’s say you’ve already made reservations for your trip. And a day, week, month later, Disney rolls out discounts that apply to your travel dates. What do you do? Call them! Give the CM your confirmation number and tell them you’re looking for any discounts that may apply to your trip.

Depending on what the offers are, the best discount for you may not be obvious. But the CM will guide you through it, and this is where flexibility is important. There are typically “blackout” dates during the discount period.  If you can adjust your dates by a few days, it might save you a lot of money. If you can’t, you might consider a split stay in order to be able to maximize the discounts available. (A split stay is where you break your trip into two reservations. This could be beneficial to you if your arrival date and a day or two after are in the blackout period, but the rest of your trip is in the discount period. Split stays are pretty common.) The CM will be able to help you decide what discount is best for you and how to maximize it for your trip.

So, how do you find out about discounts? I’m so glad you asked.

Sometimes Disney will send emails or promo materials via snail mail.  Another great resource is the Disney website. If you’re a Disney Visa cardholder, you will actually be notified of upcoming discounts and specials ahead of time, and they’ll be available to you three days before the general public.

Disney generally releases discounts in blocks. It gives people with reservations enough time to apply them, and still allows enough time for those who were considering a trip time to plan and make reservations. They typically have two types of discounts – one for room reservation only, and one for those who have package reservations that include resorts, tickets, and dining. They also offer free dining promotions at certain times of the year (usually in the fall). Which discount is right for you will depend on your family and type of reservation.

It’s important to call as soon as you can when you find out about discounts, because sometimes there are a limited number available, especially when Disney offers the free dining discount. There are a certain number of rooms available for the free dining discount at certain resorts. If they run out of their allotment at the resort you’re staying at, you’re out of luck. However, if you’re willing to switch resorts in order to get free dining, flexibility can save you a lot of money.

I know it sounds confusing. But the bottom line is this: you can still get discounts. Keep your ears open, and just call when you have some time to invest. It may not take long, but you certainly don’t want to be rushed when you’re trying to figure out how to save your family what could be a significant amount of money.

How much money? It varies.  If you have a resort only reservation, you can save up to 30% during discount offerings. If you are able to get free dining, it could be more, depending on your family size. I have a friend who was able to get a discount applied to his reservation that allowed him to upgrade his dining plan and save $1,000. That’s definitely worth a phone call!

The Real Moms all take advantage of discounts, and we talk about them more in our saving & budgeting posts. I’m personally waiting for discounts to roll out for the fall. You can be sure that I’m watching the Disney special offers page and looking for my Disney Visa cardholder email! (Usually, fall discounts roll out mid to late spring.)

Have you been able to secure discounts for your Disney trip? What’s your favorite discount? How much have you saved?

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