Best 2014 Walt Disney World Discounts

Disney World has already announced discount vacation packages and other room only, military, and free dining discounts for 2014. Some of these Disney World discounts are better than others and discounts are quite predictable as they typically repeat, so to get an idea of how the various discounts stack up, we’ve put together this article rating Disney’s discounts. To see which discounts are best for particular “types” of guest read our summary and review of all Walt Disney World discounts below.

Rather than this being a generic post providing specific details (like dates) of the various discounts at Walt Disney World, this post will instead editorialize. You can find the information concerning applicable dates and the like on or on a myriad of other fan sites that simply copy and paste the information from This post is meant to help those of you who are unfamiliar with Walt Disney World discounts get an idea of how good the discount you’re considering really is (despite Disney’s best marketing efforts, some discounts are better than others).

I’ve planned every Walt Disney World trip we’ve taken over the course of the years, and I’ve learned a lot about traveling frugally to Walt Disney World in the process. Hopefully this provides a primer for those who don’t visit as often, but are looking to save the most money possible when planning their Walt Disney World trip!

Although Walt Disney World constantly changes the discounts it offers, the same types of discounts are constantly offered (“Free” Disney Dining Plan, Room-Only, etc.), so these reviews should give you a good idea of which discounts are best for you.

When examining the discounts offered, it’s important to remember that package discounts may include things you don’t want. The Disney Dining Plan, which offers more food than most guests can eat, might be a good deal for you on paper, but if it’s more food than you would otherwise eat, are you really saving money? Some vacation packages require you to purchase Walt Disney World park tickets directly from Disney, when these tickets can be purchased cheaper from an authorized third party, like Undercover Tourist. Read our Tips for Buying Discount Walt Disney World Tickets Guide for more information about saving money on park tickets.

If you’re traveling to Disneyland Resort, check out our Disneyland Resort Discounts Tips & Info post.

Disney Discounts Reviewed:

2014 Magic Your Way Vacation Package – This is actually not a discount at all, but instead Disney’s way of bundling hotel, tickets, and the Disney Dining Plan together (there are numerous tiers of the Magic Your Way vacation packages; some include more or less than what’s listed here, but these are the main three things included in most plan). Disney pushes the Magic Your Way Vacation packages hard on guests booking their vacations. However, despite what Disney agents may say, the Magic Your Way vacation packages are not discounts, and are usually worse deals if paying full price for the package than buying each component individually. Although you will receive certain “Magical Extras” for booking a Magic Your Way vacation package, these Magical Extras are not things that most guests will use. That is, unless you plan on spending time bass fishing or at the arcade while you’re at Walt Disney World. Even if you do, you can usually find a better discount and then just pay full price for the arcade or bass fishing.

Discount ratingsince it’s not really a discount, this rates poorly. Disney encourages people to buy vacation packages because that’s how it makes the most money. Most people will buy tickets and meals, anyway, but buying those items as part of a package typically encourages guests to buy greater-length park tickets and spend more on meals by purchasing the Disney Dining Plan. This also makes guests less likely to leave Disney property to see other Orlando destinations, such as SeaWorld, Legoland, or Universal’s new Wizarding World of Harry Potter (at Islands of Adventure) because they’ve already purchased length-of-stay Disney park tickets and pre-paid for all of their meals at Walt Disney World. Thus, if guests are less-inclined to leave for a day and “waste” the day on their ticket and meals they’ve already paid-for at Disney. The “Magical Extras,” that many guests won’t use anyway, are a small price for Disney to pay for keeping guests on Disney property. Most of the time you will save much more money by utilizing an available discount (which actually often incorporate a Magic Your Way package into the discount) than an undiscounted Magic Your Way package.

We actually don’t recommend doing this, because it’s more expensive to buy tickets from Disney directly, so you’re paying “extra,” in a sense, for this. Plus, with a package you are restricted in what you can add and receive “freebies” that most people will never use. As mentioned above,  we highly recommend buying Walt Disney World tickets from an authorized third party ticket broker instead of directly from Disney.

“Free” Disney Dining Plan - Disney World has announced its “Free Dining” promotion for part of 2014 (expect more dates to come later this year–watch this post for an update on dates). Value Resort guests receive the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan during the promotion, and all other guests receive the standard Disney Dining Plan. I have a numerous articles and resources devoted to the Disney Dining Plan and the Free Disney Dining Plan promotion. More details can be found there.

Discount ratingFree Dining is unquestionably the most popular discount Disney offers. Expect to see it every fall, plus some other dates. The promotion offers the Dining Plan for free to guests paying for full price Magic Your Way packages (so purchasing full price rooms and park tickets). When you get “free” dining, you give up another discount (namely, a room discount), and are forced to purchase park tickets directly from Disney (a more costly proposition than purchasing through a third party ticket broker). Still, “free” dining can be a great discount, and is generally best for larger parties in a single room or parties with small children. Popular dates and resorts book up fast for this discount, so it’s almost worth it to have the Disney Chase Visa, which gets a few day head-start on booking the discount.

Walt Disney World Resort-Hotel Room-Only Discounts – These room only discounts are available to the general public for booking only their hotel rooms. Tickets and the Disney Dining Plan are not included with these discounts, but typically may be added separately for full price. Room only discounts are typically tiered, with the deepest discounts (usually 30% off) for Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resorts.  During low booking seasons, the least popular of these resorts can see discounts up to 40% off (most often only at Saratoga Springs and Old Key West). Moderate resorts usually see 25% off discounts, with Value resorts seeing 20% off discounts.

The exact percentages here can fluctuate a bit depending upon season. I’ve seen Values as low as 10% off and as high as 30% off.  The tier system is pretty constant, though, so you can expect Values to always be the “least discounted” and Deluxe Villas to be the most discounted.

As with all discounts, room only discounts are to entice guests to stay on-site and fill room inventory that is not projected to sell out. As such, you won’t see discounts as often at popular resorts or during the busiest seasons. Why would Disney charge less without reason?

In general, the discounts here are slightly better during off-peak times. If you have flexibility, you should avoid traveling when lesser discounts are offered. Not just because you won’t save as much, but because greater discounts are typically offered during slower seasons. So, not only do you save more money, but you have lighter crowds to deal with. Win-win!

Discount ratingFor parties of two or less, the room-only discount is usually my recommended discount (and in our opinion, this discount is “best” at the Moderate Resorts, which we think offer the most bang for your buck). For parties of four and sometimes three, I usually recommend the Free Disney Dining Plan discount when it’s available. This discount usually offers the best value because it doesn’t force you to purchase things you don’t need, and gives you the most autonomy in selecting other aspects of your vacation, like park tickets and meals. If you’re purely considered with traveling cheaply, a Value Resort with a lower percentage discount is always cheaper than a Deluxe Resort or Deluxe Villa Resort with a greater discount. However, the higher tier resorts, obviously, have nicer accommodations.

If you’re in a party of three and are traveling at a time when Free Dining is also offered, which discount you should select depends upon how much food you would ideally want to eat on your trip, the exact percentages of discounts, and in which resort tier you’d stay. If there’s 40% off the resort at which you want to stay and you’re light eaters who would rather save time by doing mostly counter service meals, the decision is easy: take the room discount. If your party would otherwise stay at Port Orleans Riverside on a 20% room discount and you enjoy large table service meals, the decision is also easy: take free dining. Chances are, your circumstances won’t be quite so cut and dry, so you’ll have to crunch some numbers. Consider how much the restaurants at which you want to eat would cost out of pocket versus what you’d save with a room only discount. If the out of pocket dining cost is higher than the percentage savings, take Free Dining. If not, take the percentage discount.

As a party of two that prefers to use the Tables in Wonderland 20% off dining card, we generally go with the room discount.

Annual Passholder Room-Only Discounts – Annual Passholders typically receive slightly better room-only discounts than the general public. The Disney Dining Plan can typically be added to these discounts for an additional fee. Just like the general public room-only discount, these are typically broken down into tiers with the best discounts available at Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resorts. These discounts also vary widely based upon booking trends and season.

These are often available later than the general public discounts with the presumption on Disney’s part that Annual Passholders are in a better position to book a room at the last minute.

Discount ratingAnnual Passholders (obviously) don’t need park tickets, so this will, with very rare exception, be the best discount for them. In fact, even if you’re NOT currently an Annual Passholder, it might be the best discount for you! Depending upon the length of your stay and the tier of resort at which you’d like to stay, it may be advantageous for one member of your party to purchase an Annual Pass to take advantage of the discount (for example if you’re planning a 12-night vacation at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, one person in your party might want to purchase an Annual Pass if the discount rate there is better for Annual Passholders than it is for the general public). You will need to present your Annual Pass at the time of check-in, so make sure to order it in advance and pick it up before checking-in!

Florida Resident Room Discounts – Florida Residents typically receive room discounts comparable to Annual Passholders. Proof of Florida residency is required at check-in. The Disney Dining Plan is not included with these discounts but may be added.  

Discount ratingIf you’re a Florida resident who only needs a room for a weekend or something, this is probably the best discount for you. This is true even if you do not have an Annual Pass. Depending upon how many times per year you visit, it may be advantageous to purchase an Annual Pass (and possibly also a Tables in Wonderland card if you eat on Disney property on a semi-regular basis). If not, see below for discounted tickets available to Florida residents.

Florida Resident Disney Ticket Discounts – From time to time, Disney offers discount tickets to Florida residents who don’t own Annual Passes. Proof of Florida residency is required to purchase these tickets. Disney often offers special multi-day tickets for Florida residents for use during lightly attended days in the spring. These tickets almost always have blockout dates during spring break season and Easter week.

Discount ratingAs an Indiana resident who is an Annual Passholder, I can’t fathom being a Florida resident and not being an Annual Passholder. However, if you’re not, these are great prices for tickets, as standard Magic Your Way tickets are typically much more expensive. If you’re a Florida resident planning a vacation to Walt Disney World, I highly recommend adding on the Park Hopper option or the Water Park Fun & More option (or both!). Depending upon how many times per year you visit, it may be advantageous to purchase an Annual Pass (and possibly also a Tables in Wonderland card if you eat on Disney property on a semi-regular basis).

These tickets are a win-win for Disney and guests. Disney gets to draw some guests who otherwise might not have visited at all during the year (or visited during busier times) during times of the year when there is unused capacity. The guests benefit in receiving cheaper tickets and visiting during a light time of year.

Military Disney World “Armed Forces Salute” Room Discounts – Disney’s popular “Armed Forces Salute” was extended through September 2014, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s extended again come Summer 2014.  Military personnel (active or retired) receive better room-only discounts than the general public. The Disney Dining Plan is not included with these discounts, but typically may be added at full price.

Discount ratingDisney does a lot for military personnel, which is absolutely great. However, even with these excellent savings, you might instead check out Shades of Green resort. My father is retired military, and we always stayed at Shades of Green when I was growing up. It was great back then, but thanks to a recent refurbishment (we last stayed here with my parents back in 2010), it’s looking better than ever. It’s located in the Magic Kingdom area (walking distance to Disney’s Polynesian Resort) and rooms are generally as large or larger than Disney Deluxe Resorts, and the food is much more reasonably priced. Prices are based upon military-ranking.

Military Disney World “Armed Forces Salute” Ticket Discounts – The wonderful “Armed Forces Salute” Disney ticket offer is also available now through September 2014. When booking with this offer, active or retired US military personnel may purchase 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with your choice of either the Park Hopper or Water Park Fun & More option at a steeply discounted rate, to be used by themselves, family members (including spouse) or friends. Guests booking this package can upgrade to either the Park Hopper or Water Park Fun & More options for a bit more (highly recommended). These tickets are by far the cheapest that Disney offers, so if you qualify, jump on this deal.

Discount ratingThis is a frequently-offered discount, so don’t fret if you’re traveling after September 2014. It’s not expected to be canceled after that, but prices and exact details will likely be adjusted a bit. This is a great price for a 4-day park ticket. If you’re eligible for these tickets, buy them, as they are without a doubt the best deal you’ll be able to find. I would highly recommend adding on either the Park Hopper option or the Water Park Fun & More option. If you’re going to be at Walt Disney World for more than four days, the Water Park Fun & More option allows you to spend some time enjoying other Disney offerings on your remaining days. If you’re going to be at Walt Disney World for only four days, the Park Hopper option allows you to visit multiple parks in the same day. This will allow you to travel to the parks with morning and evening Extra Magic Hours. Although there are only four theme parks and four days might seem like plenty, it’s impossible to see it all in four days. The Park Hopper option will at least help you see a bit more.

For more information about these military discounts and other military tips for Walt Disney World, visit the excellent

Foreign & Association Discounts – In addition to the military discount, there are other “association” discounts. The most prominent of these is the AAA discount. This discount is usually small, and usually isn’t as good as other discounts that are available. However, you might check with your local AAA branch to see what, if anything is available. Members of other associations are advised to inquire as to whether their association affords them a discount. Again, these savings are unlikely to be better than what’s listed above.

Discount rating - Guests from overseas frequently can receive substantially better discounts than those offered to Americans. In the past, a 30-40% room discount plus Free Disney Dining Plan was not unheard of. Access to these discounts is only available through foreign travel agents and from foreign arms of the Walt Disney Travel Company, but guests coming from other countries would be well-advised to look into these discounts first–they’re often better than US discounts! Discounts for US associations like AAA are rarely, if ever, better than what’s available to the general public.

PIN Codes – PIN codes are often regarded as the holy grail of discounts within the Disney community as they’re only sent to a select few. They’re not a separate category of their own, as they could incorporate many different types of discounts. Only those who receive the PIN Code may utilize it, and usually these discounts are better than those offered to the general public. Usually. I’ve written a lot about PIN Codes over at To increase your chances of receiving a PIN Code, read this. PIN Codes can be room-only discounts, “kids play free” discounts, free dining discounts, or other discounts with which Disney is experimenting.

Discount rating – Since PIN codes aren’t really their own category of discount so much as multiple types of discounts offered to select groups, it’s impossible to rate them. Generally, PIN codes are better than what’s available to the general public, but there have been some exceptions to that. PIN codes are most often early Free Dining, Free Dining for dates not available to the general public, or room only discounts.

Kids Stay and Play Free – This discount offers free tickets for your kids when booking a Magic Your Way Vacation package. The rest of the package is full price (meaning no room discount or discounts on adult tickets).

Discount ratingSince children always stay free in a room with adults, this isn’t that great of a discount. On short stays in Value Resorts with multiple children is when it’s best. The fewer children you have, the longer your stay becomes, and/or the higher tier of resort you choose, the worse discount it becomes. If you have 3 adults and one child staying in Disney’s Polynesian Resort for 12 days, this is most certainly not the best discount. Obviously, if you have no kids with you, it’s a terrible discount no matter the trip duration and resort tier. When this discount is offered, it’s seldom the best discount for most guests.

Other discounts may be offered from time to time (one discount we’d love to see return is the “buy 4, get 3 free” offer), but these are the most common ones that you can normally count on seeing most years. Other, minor discounts (like add-on ticket days) aren’t mentioned here as they typically are insignificant and/or uncommon.

For Walt Disney World trip planning tips and comprehensive advice, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide and related articles. We also recommend the trip-planning book, The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2015which offers an organized and helpful resource for trip planning.

For updates on Walt Disney World, the latest news, discount information, and tips, sign up for our free monthly newsletter!

Your Thoughts…

There are a lot of different ways to obtain discounts on your Walt Disney World vacation, which do you find works best for you? What “extinct” discount would you like to see return? Any other tips for saving at Disney? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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64 Responses to “Best 2014 Walt Disney World Discounts”

  1. Ben says:

    Fantastic writeup, Tom. I know that between Disney’s seasonal and my AP discount, my college roommate and I saved a total of $600 on our trip coming up in May. And when my buddy in the Air Force Reserve asked me to do up a quote for him on the quick, I was flabbergasted to see how much military personelle can save! However, it took me forever to find all my info. Having it all in one easy spot is super helpful.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I hope you suggested that he stay at Shades of Green. It may not be “Disney” (it used to be–it was the Golf Resort, then the Disney Inn), but it’s an incredible value and a great location. When we traveled with my parents in December 2010, we stayed there. It was my first time back to the resort at which I stayed every year while growing up, so that was nice. The resort has really changed–and for the better! Great value, great location–it really can’t be beat!

      • Ben says:

        He knows about it. Right now he’s deciding if he wants to stay at Shades of Green for slightly more money (but obviously more room and luxury) or if he just wants to make things easier and stay at All-Star Sports (yeah… almost typed that one as an acronym… oops) with me and my other friend. It’s his first time going to WDW, so I’m sort of his guide. And he’ll end up being my photo-buddy.

  2. Nik says:

    Nice write-up Tom. I hope you do one of these every year when they roll out the discounts!

    Also, I think there may be a word missing in this sentence: “In general, the discounts here are slightly better during off-peak times. If you have flexibility, you should above the lower list of dates because these correspond with Spring Break for most schools and Memorial Day weekend. “

  3. Michael says:

    Where are you getting the late spring annual pass information at?

    I’m on the passholder’s website, and there is nothing mentioning 40% off Poly. Only 30%. They’re only discounting the same resorts as the general public room-only discount, too. They just appear to be 5-10% higher.

    If there is an AP discount for 40% at the Poly, can you point me in the right direction? We’re doing a Polynesian/Bay Lake Tower split stay in May for our 5 year anniversary.

    AAA discount got me 20% off Bay Lake Tower in May, since there were resort specific stipulations with the AP discounts.

    Also here’s a helpful hint – If you’re wanting to stay at the Contemporary, especially in the tower, and not the garden wing – check Bay Lake Tower’s prices! It may be seem like it would be a lot more, being a classified as a ‘Deluxe Villa Resort,’ but… It has flat prices, meaning if you’re planning on staying on dates that have weekend prices, BLT’s prices does not increase for Fridays and Saturday night stays. It seems to only save money if you are planning on staying through dates that do fall in the weekend, though.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I didn’t indicate in the text that the Polynesian is offering 40% off. It says “25-35% off” for Deluxe Resorts. It also says “Availability is limited.” Which resorts are available changes as rooms as booked and bookings are canceled.

      Good tip on Bay Lake Tower!

      • Dan says:

        Tom…just curious, are you aware of any room only discounts that WDW may offer during the month of December? We would likely be traveling as a couple at a Deluxe Resort?


  4. Maria O'Donnell says:

    Great posting. Thank you. I’m trying to plan our first trip to Disney for our family (3 young children) plus two sets of grandparents and an caregiver who is with us through August 2013. We seem to possibly have several options for discounts. My question is do I try and have persons who qualify for a discount use them individually and book separately or try and do the whole package together under one discount that might apply to everyone. So for example, my dad is retired military and could sponsor us at Shades of Green (plus we are bringing out caregiver who is married to active military – does she qualify?). My in-laws are Florida residents and our dates are pretty flexible right now so do I wait for the Fall 2012 “Free Dining Plan” discount and book a “Magic Your Way” trip? Help!? Thank you!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      This is really a tough question for someone else to answer. “It depends” is my best answer. Shades of Green is an amazing resort (Deluxe-level), but it doesn’t feel as “Disney” as the other resorts. The rooms are huge and its location is great. It sounds like there are enough people in your group that Free Dining would be a really good deal, too, especially in a cheaper hotel. If you don’t mind staying in a Value or Moderate, I’d say wait for Free Dining. If you like nice hotels with large rooms and don’t necessarily need Disney theming, Shades of Green is a great option. Also, food is cheaper at Shades of Green than elsewhere on property, so if you’re paying for food out of pocket, you save by staying there. Good luck!

      • Maria ODonnell says:

        Thank you. I’ll continue to sort through the details and read your blog. Thanks again!

      • Tammy says:

        The spouse of active duty may purchase military tickets as long as she has her military Id So she would qualify. I purchased tickets two years ago without my spouse because he was over seas. Your best bet is military discount as their 4 day ticket is much better than any other price you will find anywhere… Your dad can purchase up to 6 tickets and so can the spouse of a military member. The tickets are around 160 I believe but they are base tickets, one park per day.. However it is worth every penny and more! Hope that helps :)

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  6. mitch says:

    My travel agent discount is my favorite! 50-75% off up to a 7 night stay at any disney resort, and MYW ticket with park hopper and water parks+ more for 7 days for $185. Stayed at the poly for $149/night last year, and the grand californian for $199/night! Disney Cruises $25 per day. Aulani, hilton head, and vero beach deals galore.

    Also- using chase sapphire points to get target gift cards which can be used to purchase disney gift cards has netted us $800 worth of disney money this year simply for signing up for the card and spending 2k within 3 months.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Yeah, that’s a pretty awesome discount! Sadly, I don’t think it will help too many of us… :(

      • mitch says:

        I bet there’s plenty of travel agencies that would love to have you on board Tom- you should consider getting your CLIA or IATA credentials with an agency. It requires very little time and money (as in, a matter of hours and less than $200) to get credentials and sell- even if only on a limited basis.

    • Sharon says:

      Would love to contact your travel agent. . .and get this deal. Can you e-mail me back?? Thanks! Sharon

  7. Mary Kay Harris says:

    My sister and I both in our mid 60′s are coming to Disney World June 9 through the 15th 2013.
    We have each been giving rooms at Animal Kingdom Villas, Jambo House, by our niece!
    I am overwhelmed looking for activities and places to eat, and what tickets will we want to get the most out of our visit.
    Any advice for two old sisters young at heart?
    Thank you,
    Mary Kay

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Check out Jiko, Sanaa, and Boma–all are great restaurants in your hotel. I would recommend park hopper tickets for as many days as you plan on being in the parks.

      There are a lot of other articles on this blog that can help you plan. Enjoy the trip, Animal Kingdom Lodge is great!!!

  8. Valerie says:

    I would also love to see the Buy 4, Get 3 Free deal come back!! That was amazing, went with my family (4 adults), stayed in a Old Key West 1 bedroom suite for 7 nights only paying for 4 in 2009! It was a great deal.

  9. DEBBIE says:


  10. Saimaeve says:

    I’m a military dependent and was amazed by the discounts I received when booking my package. I chose to stay at Port Orleans-Riverside instead of Shades of Green just for the theming and dining plan (It’s a surprise break for myself and my daughter for her 7th birthday so I booked the Royal Guest room). But Shades of Green looks amazing. We may stay there on one of our trips.

    I was expecting our package to cost well over 3k. But I was shocked when it was less than half that for 4 nights and the deluxe dining plan.

    The military discounts offered are great.

  11. Saimaeve says:

    I’m a military dependent and was amazed by the discounts I received when booking my package. I chose to stay at Port Orleans-Riverside instead of Shades of Green just for the theming and dining plan (It’s a surprise break for myself and my daughter for her 7th birthday so I booked the Royal Guest room). But Shades of Green looks amazing. We may stay there on one of our trips.

    I was expecting our package to cost well over 3k. But I was shocked when it was less than half that for 4 nights and the deluxe dining plan.

    The military discounts offered are great and definitely worth asking about if you qualify.

  12. Tammy says:

    Have you ever used the “kids eat free” card or the “dine4less” cards? We are coming to Disney in may-June of this year and I have been reading your site and others and I came across a link with those two cards… Thanks!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’ve heard of the Kids Stay & Eat Free promo (which has been run from time to time), but not the cards you mention. Care to share the links?

  13. Marissa says:

    The best discount – cast member ;)

  14. Josh says:

    My dad is retired military and he wants to take the whole family to Disney. Problem is there is 12 of us. Do you know if someone can buy the extra tickets and are they going to check when you go into the park? I have been told they haven’t in the past, but that was years ago. there is a big difference in prices on tickets

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’m not sure either way. Your dad should be able to buy a certain number of tickets for others. I suspect that number is far less than 12, though.

  15. Thanks for the great info, so well formatted. I’ve passed this info along to my guests, friends, and family.

  16. Torie says:

    The description of the Magic Your Way package is not really accurate because it states that you can do better by buying all the package components separately than when they are bundled. Well, you can’t by the Disney Dining plan separately without a Magic Your Package (unless you are DVC member or Military). I disagree that the Dining Plan is not a good value, obviously it doesn’t work out for every guest, but often it represents a good savings. For many travelers, the idea of prepayment for most food is also very attractive. It saves a lot of psychic energy opening that wallet constantly. The flexibility of the dining plan also allows you to take a day away from Disney and still use the meals by doubling up on table service meals on another day, or splurging at one of the excellent signature restaurants.

  17. A Jensen says:

    Hi Tom!
    As a first time Disney vacation planner, this was very helpful. We have hotel points with Mariott and would like to use those for our trip in December. Since it’s a offsite resort, I’m having a hard time locating where to buy meal plans, or is there one?
    Thank you for the Undercover Tourist site. Saving us money already!


  18. Jaime says:

    Does disney have any discounts for muiltables I have triplets and would Love to take them

  19. Heather says:

    Do you think that Thanksgiving week is going to be blacked out this year? I am planning on taking my 2 teenage sons for my oldest sons 18th birthday and my 40th and a discount would be great.

  20. Adrienne says:

    Do you know if you can get discounts if you are part of the Coast Guard Auxillary

  21. Adrienne says:

    Do you know if you can get discounts if you are part of the Coast Guard Auxillary?

  22. Jonathan says:

    The Magic Your Way Package actually worked really well. Originally, we were wary, and went to Expedia to purchase the airfare+hotel separate from the park tickets, which would have been around $2400 total for each person when combining all 3; that’s before any food. The MYWP gave us a good hotel rate at the Port Orleans Riverside (your recommendation!), and the Free Dining Plan which, after some planning, means $0 for food, which includes 2 Signature restaurants after shuffling credits around. The airfare we then purchased separate, and in the end, the total for each of us was $2000. We saved nearly a grand!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      When I reference the MYW package here, I’m talking about the basic package. Yours is a “plus” package (in this case, “Free Dining”). That discount is discussed elsewhere in the article. The base MYW package is literally just the items bundled together with NO discount.

  23. A.Cherry says:

    Tom, Thank you for this insight. Our family of four (kids 10,8) are planning a trip late Dec. and are new to DW. We are light eaters (like idea of bringing snacks), don’t mind staying off sight, are limited to three days and want to see the Harry Potter. We are looking for discounts on a room and tickets. The hopper may prove to be valuable. Anyone have an idea of how to find a discounts with this in mind? No military.

  24. Temeica says:

    I would love to take my son around the christmas holiday, so that we can also attend the parade. This will be our first time ever going. What do you suggest and do you think it will be very expensive for hotel, and tickets into the park? I am hoping to find an inexpensive prices

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  26. Nichola says:

    My family is planning a trip to Disney for mid December 2013 (12/16-20/2013). We will have 3 adults and 3 kids traveling; however, my eldest 6 year old daughter is disabled and we would like to know what discounts will be valuable to us. Do we have to pay for her entrance into the park since she will not ride many or any rides, also she will not eat the food but she will benefit from the lighting and the overall environment?

    What advise can you provide us?

  27. Freevestor says:

    We have broken down a comparison of hotels (value, moderate, deluxe), tickets, and packages across different travel providers for Walt Disney World vacations.

    Believe it or not, the best deals are not necessarily found directly from DisneyParks. You don’t have to stop at Yeehaw Junction or go to a sketchy firm to get it either. We compare CheapTickets (a subsidiary of Orbitz), Travelocity, Expedia,, and DisneyParks Direct.

    Discount codes can be applied to Disney Special offers as they extend them to travel sites as well. Disney passes on their lowest prices to travel sites, it is up to the travel sites to sell those rooms/tickets and they will extend promotions to Disney hotels much like they would for Marriott, Starwood, IHG, Hilton, Choice Hotels, etc.

  28. jorge chairez says:

    I am planning to go in august for my 2 years anniversary, is there any deal that includes hotel and flight for a week for my wife and I?

  29. Heather says:

    Hi Tom- I have been researching different travel options for Disney and am completely overwhelmed!!! I came across your blog and it helped give me some honest insight- thank you! I am hoping you could advise me about our specific needs. We have a large family, 2 adults and five kids…ages 13,9,7,3&1. I have hit so many obstacles because of our family size. I am extremely flexible and need to be as frugal as possible. My dream is to be able to take our family to Disney before my oldest thinks she is “too cool” for it. As a stay at home mom, trying to plan this on a single income for 7 people is daunting. It sounds like possibly the kids stay play and eat free deal would be the best discount for us but wonder if its a promotion that is offered often and/or when. Thanks in advance for your time and input!!!

  30. Katrin says:

    Hi Tom, wow – you really seem to be a DW-expert! I kind of stumbled over your website when trying to plan our family trip to DW for this summer (first time, and coming all the way from Germany, so we are all very excited). The information here helps me great deal with all the decision making so thanks for that. I found this other website who offers a book with lots of tipps for savings and I´m not sure about it, wondered whether you might know it? It´s called – What do you think about it?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’ve never heard of that site or its book. Personally, I’d just stick with freely available information online. There are so many great sites and blogs about saving money that I doubt that book actually brings anything new or unique to the table. I could be wrong, though.

      • Katrin says:

        Thanks for your answer! So, do you have any special recommendations for websites for me? (I already found mousesavers which seems to be really good.) I just find this whole research thing kind of overwhelming and was hoping to find it all in one place with this book… Mmh, might give it a try anyway…

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Mousesavers is probably the best option. Good luck! :)

  31. Deb says:

    Wow I didn’t realize the ‘pin code’ was such holy grail! Disney has sent me one a few times! Our plan was to wait for Fall specials, but now I might give them a call and see what deal the ‘code’ gets us! Thanks Disney Tourist Blog!

  32. Tom Phelps says:

    Dear Tom, My first (out of ten or more) trips to WDW was in 1982. Our first ever fifteen digit (Not 16 digit as some web sites report) showed up in my inbox less than one month after our last (Sept 2013) MNSSHP POFQ vacation. That email was marked DISNEY DESTINATIONS “Visit again and save.” That pin# was good for vacations up to 9/27/14. After reading your ( touring plans blog post), and numerous others I feel like the pinhead of pin# information. Every website uses the word “random” with regards to pin#s. I am not so sure. Is that mindless algorithm doing its own thing randomly? Or, could it possibly be that “Mickey’s Marketeers” put our last two visits, in two Septembers, with two MNSSHP hard tickets purchases at the same POFQ resort in their data base.Then the algorithm thought it could entice us back for a third visit with a pin# offer covering yet another September. It is a slower time of the year after all. Your thoughts?

  33. Angie says:

    I am surprised that no one has mentioned the Individual Enrollment in Disney’s Youth Education series. For students aged 5-17……they take a 3 hour educational class in one of the parks and get substantially discounted tickets for the students $199 vs. $313 for a 4 day ticket) and slightly discounted tickets for the adults in our party. By my estimates…our family will save over $500. Has anyone tried this program?

    • Educator says:

      We offer the Disney Youth Educational Series program as part of our Student Leadership Institute, call BOLT (Building Our Leaders for Tomorrow) that’s held in the summer and winter. The YES program is fabulous and has great leaders. Parents can arrange for their child to participate in one or more sessions and receive discounted park-hoppers. If you get a moment, check out our program at – select the 2014 Summer Student Leadership Institute to see how we have incorporated the Disney YES program (3 hrs) to include the afternoon BOLT Session led by dynamic educators in the field. We also offer a tremendous discount on resort rooms (Grand Floridian at $164 a night)

  34. Kiki says:

    Question: My brother was in the army for 4 years post college. That was 20 years ago. Can he still get the military discount, and if so, can he use it to get my family’s tickets if he isn’t traveling with us?

  35. Melissa says:

    Tom, when does Disney Usually announce the free Dining dates for the fall? We are planning a trip in October and are definitely getting the dining plan, but if we could get it for free, that would be even better!


    (I love your blog, by the way!)

    • Melissa says:

      Actually, I just read the post from a few weeks ago with the suspected dates and when they should be released for real!


  36. Jessica says:

    Do you ever recommend renting Disney Vacation Club points from holders, using rental sites? I looked at one and it didn’t seem that it would save too much money as compared to booking directly, especially if a room discount is offered. I’d also be nervous since the booking is done through a third party. Just wanted to get your opinion on this.

  37. Robin says:

    Hi Tom,
    You have a lot of great information to share. I have a question about discounts in general. I am planning a trip for October 2015 and we were thinking of going around the first or second week. Do you know if WDW offers any type of discount during this early October time frame? From all of the reading that I have done, these first couple of weeks seem to be excluded. Any thoughts? Thank you!

  38. Educator says:

    Hello All -

    here’s a great way to have your students grasp the keys to the Kingdom…Magic Kingdom.
    The student and educator Summer Leadership Institute is offering a great deal on rooms at the Grand Floridian for $164 a night and for students and educators to participate in a leadership program. Room rate is available from July 18 – July 27th.

  39. Beth says:

    How do I find the Room Only Discounts?!?

  40. Harley says:

    Hi, I will likely be visiting Disney in august 2015 as a party of 5/6. booking with a third party is definitely not an option for me, what are yoursuggestions for the best discount I could get? We will likely be staying in Art of Animation family suits OR the port Orleans riverside resort. My party is 2 adults and 3/4 children and we are all friends so we will be splitting the costs, if that helps. Thank you in advance to any that give an opinion :)

  41. Matthew says:

    We are looking at taking our children in April 2015. What kind of specials could we see for this time and when do they usually come out. We are first timers and very excited but also extremely overwhelmed by all of this! Thanks!

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