Guide to Disney World Discounts

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Let’s talk Disney World discounts! We all want to save as much money as possible on our Disney World vacation. This post is designed to teach you about the typical types of Disney discounts. We will also take a look at which ones are “worth it” and which might end up costing you more.

There is also a section devoted to identifying all the Disney World discounts offered for the current year. This section will be updated as Disney releases information, because of course they don’t release it all at one time! That would be too easy…

In addition to understanding the Disney World discounts, it’s also important to understand all the other ways you can save money at Disney World. Use a combination of the two posts and you should be a happy camper.

Storm Troopers at Disney Hollywood Studios

Disney World Discounts at a Glance

Disney does not provide us with discounts out of the goodness of their hearts. Remember, Disney is big business and everything they do is done with a purpose. The purpose of Disney discounts is actually to fill up rooms and attendance at any given point throughout the year.

Because of this, the Disney World discounts are very strategic. The dates chosen are usually ones that fill up slower. The resorts chosen to have availability aren’t filling up as fast as they would like.

This strategy is very successful for Disney so they roll out the same plans year after year. With that being said, Disney has a few different categories of discounts that pop up year after year.

Disney Resort Discounts

Your resort stay is one of the most expensive parts of a Disney vacation. Any little discount you can get your hands on will help. Depending on the time of year you travel, this discount can be more or less. But alas, not all Disney World Resort discounts are created equal.

Room Only Discount

The room only discount at Disney World is probably the most straightforward discount. As such it is the easiest and in many ways, potentially the best Disney World discount.

Quite simply, a room only discount is a certain percentage off the nightly rack rate of a resort room. The actual percentage amount will vary depending on time of year, resort category, type of room, etc.

For example, a value resort may have 15% off, a moderate resort 20% off, and a deluxe resort 25% off.

The general rule of thumb is, the slower the season, the better the discount. On top of that, the deepest discounts will always be applied to the more expensive resorts.

The good news is that there are usually room only discounts offered throughout much of the year. There are of course exceptions, but this is the most widely offered discount option, another reason why it is the easiest one to use.

If you have a lot of flexibility in when you go on your trip, check out patterns for historical discounts. It is absolutely possible to book a trip during a time that tends to have the deepest discounts.

Pro Disney Planning Tip: Even if you have your resort booked before the discounts are released, you can still apply it to your stay. Simply call Disney and see if there’s availability to add the resort discount to your room.

Annual Passholder Room Discounts

Disney Annual Passholders are usually eligible for a slightly higher room discount than the general public. Their discount usual lands around up to 30-35% off the rack room rate.

If you book a room first and then decide to become an Annual Passholder, simply contact Disney World and a Cast Member can apply the room discount for you. Just remember you might have to change resorts depending on availability.

The Annual Passholder room discounts tend to be released later than regular room discounts.

Pro Disney Planning Tip: Consider having one member of your group purchase an Annual Pass. This gives the whole party access to the Annual Passholder room discount as well as the other discounts that come with an Annual Pass (free memory maker, 20% off merchandise, and 10% off most Table Service dining).

Disney World Vacation Packages

People are naturally drawn to the Disney World vacation packages as any easy way to just book everything at once and be done with it. But that convenience doesn’t actually tend to come with a discount.

I’m not saying these packages are bad, because they are not. Just make sure you thoroughly check out the details and do alternative pricing to get the real story.

Magic Your Way Style Vacation Packages

Right off the bat, this is not actually a discount, it just looks like one. This is Disney’s standard package offering that bundles together your room, park tickets, and a Disney Dining Plan.

This bundle is actually how Disney makes the most money because often when bundling people might end up paying for more than they might have originally planned.

For example, the Disney Dining Plan is known to be wonderful and convenient. And I can tell you from personal experience that it is. However, if you aren’t a family of really big eaters, it is likely more food than you can possibly eat over the course of a vacation.

If you spend more on a Disney Dining Plan than you would have otherwise spent on food, it is not a discount.

Packages also lock you into buying your park tickets from Disney, and this is often not the cheapest way to get your tickets. Make sure you learn about buying Disney park tickets to understand all of your options.

There are some exceptions where buying a Magic Your Way vacation package is required in order to access an actual discount. In those cases it is more worthwhile.

Seasonal Disney World Vacation Packages

At times Disney offers special off season or seasonal discount vacation packages. For example, for Christmas 2019, Disney offered the Ultimate Disney Christmas Package.

The package was confined to very specific dates and had a firm outline of what is included in the package (including tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!).

These packages might offer a unique experience, and people certainly enjoy that “all inclusive” feel that tends to come with these packages.

Again, do your math to discover whether there actually is any sort of discount or if you could possibly mimic that package by putting the pieces together on your own with cheaper parts.

Renting Disney Vacation Club Points

There are certain times of year that have zero Disney resort room discounts. Or maybe there is no availability on a discount at a resort you want to stay at. Another option for saving on your resort stay is by renting Disney Vacation Club points.

This “discount” actually has nothing to do with Disney directly.

I’ll avoid a long and complicated description of Disney Vacation Club in this post, but if you are curious about what Disney Vacation Club is, you can read my guide here.

In general, Disney Vacation Club (or DVC) is the name given to Disney’s time share program. DVC members own points they use to book stays at Disney’s Deluxe Villas.

When a DVC owner knows they won’t be able to use their points they often rent them out to someone who can use them. That’s where you come in.

You pay a price per point for however many points you need to book a room. This varies widely but room offerings range from studios to 3-bedroom villas and cabins.

Let’s look at a very specific example. You want to book a room for a week for your family of four. There are no room discounts available. Out of curiosity, you compare how much it will cost to rent DVC points instead.

  • Pop Century Resort, 6 nights: $1356 for a standard room
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge DVC Point Rental, 6 nights: $1368 for a deluxe studio

For an extra $12 you get all the amenities of a Deluxe Resort instead of a Value Resort. Renting DVC points does come with it’s own pros and cons, but it’s something to keep in mind as an option to get higher quality accommodations for the cost of a much cheaper resort.

Free Disney Dining Promotion

The Free Dining Promotion is the single most popular discount at Disney World. As such, the competition for rooms during the promotion period is fierce. I have a whole post dedicated to the ins and out of the Free Dining Promotion so I won’t go into huge detail here.

The general gist is that if you book a Magic Your Way vacation package in an eligible room during the promotion period, you qualify for a free Disney Dining plan. This is a potentially massive savings depending on the size of your party.

Seriously, I know I’m a broken record, but always do the math first to determine if this is a good deal for you. Some families end up saving a ton during this promotion, others not so much. It kind of depends on what type of eaters your family is, family composition, and so forth.

Update: The Free Dining Promotion continues to be suspended. I do expect it to come back once Disney is able to increase capacity and open more restaurants.

Disney World Ticket Discounts

Ah, the coveted Disney World ticket discounts. Park tickets are a huge expense during any Disney vacation. Unfortunately, outside of buying your park tickets from an authorized discount Disney ticket center there really aren’t that many options for discounted Disney tickets.

My favorite authorized Disney discount ticket seller is Undercover Tourist. These are the cheapest Disney tickets you’ll find, and they link to My Disney Experience. I’ve used them many times, they are legit.

If you don’t feel comfortable buying your park tickets from anyone other than Disney, consider saving some money by using discounted Disney gift cards to pay for your park tickets.

Disney Vacation Club/Florida Resident Discounted Annual Pass

Disney Vacation Club Members and Florida residents qualify for discounts on Disney’s Annual Passes. There are special annual passes which only apply for DVC members and Florida residents.

In addition to those passes, DVC members and Florida residents qualify for discounts off the standard Annual Passes.

Florida Resident Discount Disney Tickets

Occasionally, Disney has an offer specifically geared towards Florida residents who are not annual passholders. There are almost always blackout dates associated with these tickets. This is because Disney is trying to fill in the gaps of lightly attended days.

You must show proof of Florida residency in order to qualify for these discounted tickets.

Chip Topiary during Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Disney World Military Discounts

The Disney World Military discounts are the single best discounts you can get for a Disney vacation. The discount comes in the form of both a ticket discount and a room discount.

The discounts apply for active and retired military personnel and their families. They are also able to purchase rooms and tickets for extended family and friends traveling with them (in limited quantity).

The Armed Forces Salute discounts are typically good for a year and then the waiting game begins to see if Disney renews the offer for another year. Odds are pretty good that they will as they’ve been doing so every year for the past several years.

The new Armed Forces Solute discounts for the next year are typically released in mid to late September.

Also, the military room discounts are not available during Christmas or Easter.

In order to qualify for this discount the military personnel or their spouse must be present to activate the tickets at Disney World. This is key. The military person cannot book a room and order tickets for someone else and then not go on the trip. He/She must be present.

Armed Forces Salute Room Discounts

As with many other discounts, the amount of rooms available at each resort for the military discount is limited. If all of the rooms are taken in the resort you want, they are taken.

The category of the resort you want will determine the ultimate discount you receive. Typically, the discount is as follows:

  • Value Resorts 30% off
  • Moderate Resorts 35% off
  • Deluxe Resorts 40% off

There are some room exclusions to the Armed Forces Salute room discount. The discount does not apply to the following rooms:

  • 3 bedroom villas
  • Cabins at Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Wilderness Lodge
  • Little Mermaid Standard rooms at Art of Animation Resort
  • Bungalows at Polynesian Villas and Bungalows

Armed Forces Salute Ticket Discounts

All of the Armed Forces Salute tickets are park hopper tickets, though there is also an option to upgrade to a park hopper plus as well. The price and exact number of days on offer changes each year.

Even as the price goes up, it is still hundreds of dollars less than the rack rate of park tickets.

Armed Forces Salute Tickets can be purchased from your local base ticket office, Shades of Green Resort, and at Disney World ticket booth. However, I highly recommend you purchase them at the base ticket office.

If you do not have tickets purchased in advance and linked to your My Disney Experience account you will not be able to book your Disney park pass reservation.

Make sure to check below for the current Armed Forces Salute ticket offers.

Disney World Discounts 2021

This section is a continual work in progress as the year progresses. As new Disney discounts are released I will keep updating this post.

Some of the discounts span multiple seasons so I will put them under each heading they apply to. Just make sure you pay attention to applicable dates for each promotion.

Armed Forces Salute Discount 2021

The Armed Forces Salute Discount was continued through 2021. The discounts for rooms are offered most nights from January 1 through December 17, 2021.

Typically, the room discount percentage follows the schema outlined above of 30%, 35%, and 40% off according to room category. As always, the Deluxe resorts have the biggest discounts.

The following rooms are excluded from the Armed Forces Salute room discount:

  • Fort Wilderness Resort campsites
  • Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary
  • Riviera Resort
  • 3 bedroom villas
  • Cabins at Copper Creek Villas (at Wilderness Lodge)
  • Polynesian Bungalows
  • Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation Resort

Armed Forces Salute Ticket Discount 2021

Things get a little weird for the Armed Forces Salute ticket discount in 2021. Typically, the ticket discount goes into effect in January of the new year and the tickets are good until mid-December.

Instead, this year they are extending the buying period of the 2020 Armed Forces Salute ticket through February 14, 2021. The prices stay the same, and the limit for tickets is up to 6 ticket.

These tickets are good through September 26, 2021.

# of Park DaysPark Hopper TicketPark Hopper Plus Ticket

Right now, it’s assumed that on February 15, 2021, an increase in the ticket cost will happen and it will potentially be good for use through December 17, 2021. However, this isn’t known for sure. And let’s face it, nothing has been normal for quite some time now…

Disney World Discounts: Winter/Spring 2021

Fortunately, Disney is continuing the trend of some pretty steep discounts in the beginning quarter of 2021. This time, there are good/great discounts open to ALL guests, not just certain demographics.

It’s important to note that Disney as extended the flexible cancellation policy through April 30, 2020. This allows you to book a room and cancel or modify it while still getting your money back.

Up to 35% off Disney Resort Rooms

This one doesn’t even have a fancy name. It gets straight to the heart of the matter. This is a straightforward room only discount at select Disney resorts. Save up to 35% off your Disney resort stay for most nights January 3-April 17, 2021. This deal has to be booked by March 15, 2021.

As usual, the exact discount depends on the resort category you choose, and in some cases, which nights you choose. The bigger discounts can be found on the more expensive rooms.

Below are screenshots breaking down the discounts you can receive:

You can see that most weekend nights through much of January and February have a smaller discount.

The following exclusions apply:

  • 3 bedroom villas
  • Campsites
  • Cabins at Copper Creek Resort (Wilderness Lodge)
  • Bungalows at Polynesian Resort

Annual Passholder Discount

As usual, the Annual Passholder discount is just like the standard resort discount, only with bigger discounts. Annual Passholders can save up to 40% on select Disney resort stays for most nights from January 3-April 17, 2021. This offer must be booked by April 17, 2021.

There is a major benefit to this discount over the discount for all other guests. Well, other than the higher overall discounts. This deal isn’t broken down with lesser discounts on certain days. The discount applies to ALL the dates the same.

As usual, the more expensive the resort category, the higher your discount:

Deluxe Villas with 40% discount:

  • Bay Lake Towers
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village
  • Boardwalk Villas
  • Old Key West Resort
  • Riviera Resort
  • Saratoga Springs Resort

Deluxe Villas with a 30% discount:

  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge
  • Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge
  • Beach Club Villas
  • Polynesian Villas

Deluxe Resorts with a 40% discount:

  • Contemporary Resort
  • Grand Floridian Resort
  • Yacht Club Resort

Moderate Resorts with a 35% discount:

  • Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Coronado Springs Resort
  • Cabins at Fort Wilderness Lodge

Value Resorts with a 30% discount:

  • Art of Animation Resort
  • Pop Century Resort
  • All Star Movies Resort (starting February 9, 2021)

The same exclusions apply to this discount as the standard room discounts.

Disney Visa Card Holder Discount 2021

Disney just unveiled a serious set of discounts for Disney Visa Card holders. There isn’t a set discount amount as it seems to vary depending on date, resort, room type, etc. However, on some dates, this is the best discount around, think 50% off!

This discount runs from November 29, 2020 through February 28, 2021. The biggest discounts appear to be around the Christmas holidays, but make sure you double check just to be sure.

In some cases, the Annual Passholder discount offered above is better. That was the case with my booking for Caribbean Beach Resort in January. But for other dates and resorts the discount is even better than the Passholder discount.

If you aren’t an Annual Passholder, there are no other current discounts which will come close to matching this one.

The typical room exclusions apply: Villas at Grand Floridian, Fort Wilderness Campground, Copper Creek Cabins, Polynesian Bungalows, and 3 bedroom villas.

Rooms allocated for this are limited, so take a look now if you are interested in booking a trip. You can check out prices through the Disney special offer page.

You MUST pay for the deposit with your Disney Visa Card. Don’t have a Disney Visa Card? You can sign up through this Disney Visa Card referral link and earn yourself a statement credit of either $100 or $200. Even more savings on that Disney trip!

Get 2 Park Days Free!

Disney’s latest discount releases on January 5, 2021. As the title above states, you get two free park days added to your ticket when you book a 4 night/3 day resort stay. For this deal, you are required to book at least a 4 night/3 day room and ticket package.

This deal is valid for stays starting most nights from January 8, 2021 through September 25, 2021.

Disney does state that you can book longer stays and get 2 park days added to the ticket so you aren’t limited to just a 4 night stay. The minimum length of stay is 4 nights, maximum is 14 nights.

The fine print assumes you are sticking with the 4 night/3 day resort booking. With this you get a 5 day park ticket. The park tickets are valid from the date of check-in and must be used with 8 days. The language suggests you can pick a longer park ticket and get 2 free days added onto it.

The standard room exclusions apply. This deal doesn’t apply to the following room types:

  • 3 bedroom villas
  • Villas at Grand Floridian
  • Fort Wilderness Resort campsites
  • Cabins at Copper Creek (Wilderness Lodge Resort)
  • Polynesian Bungalows
Is this a good Disney Discount?

In a word, no. I mean, if it’s the only discount option available, go ahead and take it. But if there’s a resort discount also available, that will likely be your best bet. Let’s do some math.

A 3 day adult park ticket starting January 8 costs $339. To get a 5 day park ticket, you’ll pay $454. Now let’s subtract the difference to determine how much you’d save:

454-339 = $115 of savings per ticket

Don’t forget, you also have the cost of a resort stay to factor into that equation. A four night stay at Pop Century will cost $692. The total cost of your tickets and resorts is:

4 night stay, 3 day ticket plus 2 day free: $692+$339 = $1031

Now, let’s look at the cost if you instead chose to use the resort discount available for that time frame at Pop Century. This brings the room total to $556. And realistically you don’t need a 5 day park ticket, you could get the 3 day park ticket instead. But let’s do math both ways.

4 night stay, 5 day park ticket: $556+454 = $1010

4 night stay, 3 day park ticket: $556+339 = $895

Most people wouldn’t buy 5 day park tickets on a 4 night stay unless flights or their travel arrangements allow them to. Either way, it’s still cheaper to go with the room only deal.

And the total when using the resort discount gets even cheaper if you buy discounted Disney park tickets through Undercover Tourist. A 3 day park ticket through Undercover tourist costs $324, letting you save an extra $15.

By the way, all these numbers are pre-tax.

Disney World Discounts: Spring/Summer 2021

Disney has begun releasing discounts that cover the rest of the spring and the beginning of summer. Remember, room and ticket discounts are not created equal so make sure you do some math to see which of the Disney World discounts saves you the most money.

Spring Into Magic!

Disney just released the room only discount that runs through the rest of the spring and into early summer. It is essentially an extension of the room discounts they offered for early 2021, but at a slightly lower discount.

You can get up to 30% off the rack room rate with this resort only discount. The level of discount depends on which resort you choose to stay at.

Spring Into Magic is valid on stays most nights from April 18, 2021 through July 10, 2021. This offer can be booked through May 27, 2021.

The typical exclusions do apply:

  • 3 bedroom villas
  • Campsites
  • Cabins at Copper Creek Resort (Wilderness Lodge)
  • Bungalows at Polynesian Resort

Annual Passholder: Spring Into Magic

As the name implies, this is the Annual Passholder version of the Spring Into Magic deal that’s available to all guests. The only difference is the discount offered to Annual Passholders is larger.

See those screenshots listed above for Spring into Magic? You can simply add 5% to those numbers and you have yourself the discount categories for the annual passholder version of the discount.

That’s right, Annual Passholders can save up to 35% on rooms from April 18, 2021 through July 10, 2021. The only real difference is that Annual Passholders can claim this discount by booking it clear through July 10, 2021.

Disney World Discounts: Summer/Fall 2021

Disney recently released some discounts that take us into Fall 2021. It is important to note that the Most Magical Celebration on Earth (aka Disney’s 50th Anniversary celebration) kicks off on October 1, 2021.

This is an extremely popular event and the parks will be packed. Because of this, I don’t expect any discounts directly before and after October 1. When they pick up again is anyone’s guess.

Fall Disney Resort Discount

Here we have another standard Disney resort discount. Again, this is a discount off of the rack room price of the resort. This discount applies for stays most nights July 11, 2021 through September 29, 2021.

Guests qualify for a discount of up to 25% off select Disney resorts. The discounts follow the usual tiers, with Deluxe Resorts saving up to 25%, and the lower tiers saving less.

Here are screenshots showing the specific discounts you get on each of the Disney resorts:

Disney resort discounts screenshot fall 2021
Disney resort discounts screenshot fall 2021

The usual exclusions apply to this Disney discount:

  • Length of stay requirement: At least one night, no more than 14 nights
  • Cannot be combined with any other discount
  • Excludes the following types of rooms:
    • 3-bedroom villas
    • Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Wilderness Lodge
    • Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
    • The Little Mermaid Standard Room at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney World Discounts: Fall/Winter 2021

Coming Soon!

Disney World Discount History

Why is it helpful to understand Disney World discount history? Because Disney is a creature of habit and will follow similar patterns year after year. This allows you to predict what discount will be available during the time you plan to take your trip.

Of course, Disney can throw us curve balls, like the surprise announcement of Free Dining offered over the summer, but for the most part you can make some pretty good predictions.

The team over at MouseSavers has a great chart full of Disney World discount history. I recommend you check it out so you have a basic idea of what kinds of deals to expect during your trip.

How Do I Get a Disney World Discount?

Getting a Disney World discount is easy in the sense that all you have to do is go on Disney’s website or call the reservation line and book it. If you already have a room booked, call Disney to have it modified to be part of the discount.

However, the tricky part comes into play when there is limited availability. Some of the Disney World discounts are extremely popular and will sell out quickly.

Keep your ear to the ground if you are waiting for an announcement of a discount, especially free dining. As soon as it is released be ready to call.

Things to Remember about Disney World Discounts

  • Room availability for a discount can be limited, especially during peak travel seasons so jump on the discount right away
  • A discount isn’t very much of a discount if you have to book a more expensive room than you originally planned
    • Remember, always do the math first to see what you are actually saving
  • Disney vacation packages are not always the cheapest Disney World discount you can find
  • If you want to maximize Disney discounts you have to be flexible in what you are willing to book (i.e. when you travel, resort, etc.)
  • Even if you already have a room booked before a discount is released you still qualify for it, simply call Disney up and they will apply it to your reservation (or move you to a room/resort that qualifies if you so choose)

Final Thoughts on Disney World Discounts

Well there you have it, all the information I could find on Disney World discounts. The bottom line is you should be able to find a discount during your stay as long as you aren’t booking a last minute trip.

If you are booking a last minute trip to Disney World you will likely be beyond the booking expiration date for whatever sale is going on.

I will keep this post updated as each new discount is released throughout the year. Hopefully there will be a Disney discount that works for your trip. Because who doesn’t want to save money?

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Your Thoughts

What is your favorite Disney discount? Do you use a Disney World discount to be able to stay in a nicer room or do you prefer to go with the cheapest option possible? Let me know in the comments below!

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3 thoughts on “Guide to Disney World Discounts”

  1. Because our vacations are limited to certain dates that never seem to fall within an offered Disney discount, we rely on renting DVC points which gives us the opportunity to stay in a nicer resort for less money. I am in the process of booking a one-bedroom villa at a deluxe resort for the week before Christmas 2020 and will pay at least half the price I would pay if booking the same room through Disney. We have had “magical” results our last few visits with the assistance of Joanie Reilly at the DVC Rental Store. [FYI: I have no affiliation with the DVC Rental Store or Ms. Reilly regardless of the fact that we have the same surname. As you can clearly see, mine is correct – she spells hers funny!]

    1. Yes! Renting DVC points is such a great way to save a lot of money on the resort. At some point I want to write a post about it. People think it’s more complicated than it actually is. I mentioned it in the ways to save money at Disney post I just did and showed the calculations. You can stay in a Deluxe studio for less than you can stay at a moderate. Thanks for adding that tip to the comments!

  2. With Disney being so expensive, it’s nice to see there are so many great ways to save money! Thanks for the great tips!

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