2023 Walt Disney World vacation packages and hotel reservations are now available, and we’ve spent significant time on DisneyWorld.com comparing room prices for next year to this year’s rack rates to assess price increases. This post shares the extent of the “damage” and also offers commentary about the significance of the rates, discounts, best times to book, and more.
While we’ve been looking at a variety of hotels, we’re primarily interested in the biggest movers, resorts that have been particularly popular this year, and the Value and Moderate Resorts. Our rationale with that last one is that guests booking these hotels are the most price-sensitive.
At some level, the room rates almost become meaningless–like they’re priced in Monopoly money. Sadly, they are not. (To be abundantly clear, I’m not recommending anyone use fake currency to pay for Disney trips.) What I mean by that is that many resort rack rates long ago crossed the line of reasonableness. Most people paying $673 and up per night for Grand Floridian probably aren’t fixating on the price tag before booking–raising rates another ~$20 to $693 (actual prices) isn’t going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Walt Disney World’s low-end resort prices are more interesting, and more of a litmus test of vacation affordability than the high-end rates. At least, that’s what I think, and since I’m the one who had to hassle with doing all of this (at least I got to see Stitch a “few” times!), that’s where we’re going to focus most of our attention.
With that in mind, let’s jump right in and start our analysis with the cheapest hotels at Walt Disney World, the All Star Resorts:
For the second time in the last ~5 years, rack rates have actually dropped at these motels. The All Star Resorts have new low prices of $113/night in the off-season, down from $123/night this year.
This is the lowest they’ve been since 2020, when Walt Disney World lowered rates to $99 per night, likely to advertise a starting rate below $100.
Speaking of which, if you’re trying to find the Cheapest Times to Go to Walt Disney World, they are mostly in January and February 2023. From what we can tell, this is true across all hotel tiers, and the off-season weekday rates during these two months are better than even August and September.
On top of that, the biggest price increases usually happen early in the year. This year, food and ticket prices increased in February. While some years have two increases (with the second usually occurring in October), that would still make January 2023 the cheapest month to visit, with the lowest resort rack rates and what’ll likely be the cheapest prices on tickets and food, too.
For our direct comparisons, we’ll be looking at September and October of this year versus Fall 2023, all in standard rooms. We like this 2-month snapshot, as it shows a wide range of prices, from value season lows to holiday weekend highs.
Above are this year’s rack rates during those months at the All Star Resorts. As you can see, rates range from $126 to $210 per night. Here’s a look at 2023:
For September and October 2023, prices range from $130 to $219 per night. Obviously, not as good as the price decrease for the winter off-season, but a pretty minor increase for most dates.
While premium pricing for the Disney name and location is common at on-site resorts, you’d be hard-pressed to find a non-sketchy hotel room in Orlando for the low end of this price range. Let alone one with perks like Early Entry and theme park transportation, as well as the new and improved rooms that have made their way to Movies and Music, and will soon come to Sports.
Now let’s move over to Disney’s Pop Century Resort and look at September and October 2022:
Pop Century’s standard room rates start at $168 per night and reach $261 per night.
Reasonableness of these prices is in the eye of the beholder. As someone who loves the Skyliner and having non-bus transportation to 2 parks, I’d definitely pay the ~$30 “Pop Premium.” (I would not say the same about the Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation.)
Above are Pop Century’s standard room rates for September and October 2023. Prices start at $173 and hit $271 per night.
Only a few dollars difference at the low end, which is relatively low considering inflation, soaring hotel rates around Central Florida, and demand. The only asterisk I’d add is that Pop Century saw pretty significant price jumps around when the Skyliner debuted, so these rates were probably due for a slowdown. If you compare today to 5 years ago, the increase is much more pronounced.
Moving along to Moderates, we have Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort rates for September and October 2022:
If you haven’t paid rack rates in a while, those prices all might be startling. Caribbean Beach has been our Moderate of choice thanks to the Disney Skyliner gondola service. Clearly, we are not alone…its popularity has exploded in the last few years.
Anyway, prices range from $268 to $340 per night this fall at CBR.
For Fall 2023, rack rates range from $276 to $354 per night at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
As much as we love CBR, that’s tough for us to stomach, especially in the off-season. It wasn’t too long ago that we could score deals here for ~$125/night. These rates for 2023 are comparable to Deluxe Resort pricing in the recent past.
Next up, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in Fall 2022:
Rack rates at Wilderness Lodge this September and October are $397 to $587 per night.
It’s worth noting that Wilderness Lodge is the cheapest (and best) of the Magic Kingdom or Epcot Deluxe Resorts. While still starting at under $400/night, it was only a few years ago that Wilderness Lodge started in the ~$300 range.
In Fall 2023, Wilderness Lodge will start at $409/night and break the $600 barrier ($610, to be exact).
This increase is not surprising. The recent refurbishments and amenity enhancements have garnered mixed reactions from Walt Disney World fans, but they’ve clearly been popular with actual guests.
The effective price increase have been even larger with Wilderness Lodge.
It went from being one of Walt Disney World’s most discounted hotels to one of its least. In the past, Wilderness Lodge was often in the highest tier of percentage savings. Now, it’s usually in the lowest tier–or excluded from special offers entirely! While Wilderness Lodge is my favorite resort at Walt Disney World, that might change to Animal Kingdom Lodge (which still gets the best discounts) as a matter of practicality given the cost discrepancy.
The changes at Wilderness Lodge got me curious about another resort that can’t seem to keep up with demand and now doesn’t discount much: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
Even with significant construction at its edge, fall off-season rates increased on the low end from $579 to $597 and on the high end from $822 to $854.
Not even going to comment on how much we paid last time the Poly was a construction zone, because this is already starting to sound like an old man regaling the youth of “back in my day!” tales. No one has a time machine, so fixating on what travel cost in 2014 is not particularly productive.
As an aside since it’s a common question, you can find the rate calendar I used for these comparisons by searching for availability on DisneyWorld.com. Start by navigating to one of the resort pages that shows the rates for different rooms, like below:
Make sure to select “room only” (rather than a vacation package or discounted rate) on the far left, then click the “Rate Details” button on the resort/room combination that interests you. (See above.)
From there you’ll see a weekly breakdown. For the calendar view, click “View Rate Calendar.” (See below.) Hope that helps!
Reservations may not be made more than 500 days in advance on a rolling basis. This means that you can only reserve through late October 2023 as of right now, with that advancing on a day-by-day basis. November 2023 will be bookable by later this month, and all of December 2023 will be available by late July 2022.
However, if you want to see pricing for the entirety of 2023, you can do that via the rate calendar. Those have already been published for November and December 2023. Here’s a “sneak peek” at what the All Stars standard room prices look like during those two months:
As always, this pricing analysis ends up being rendered somewhat meaningless since few savvy Walt Disney World planners (that’s you!) end up paying rack rates. Between discounts that are released throughout the year and money-saving hacks, “sticker price” is less relevant.
Accordingly, the true test is going to be in terms of what discounts end up being released–or not released. If bookings are down because pent-up demand has fizzled out, the economy has slowed down, and who knows what else, these rack rates could end up being like Kohl’s sticker prices. That’s to say, totally meaningless, as discounts are so ubiquitous that no one is paying full price.
As always, Walt Disney World’s discount strategy for 2023 will depend upon demand. When Disney increases prices, the company does so not at the rate of inflation or because its costs are increasing at a commensurate level, but because they can. When Disney offers discounts, it’s out of necessity, not corporate benevolence. Walt Disney World is an extremely savvy and sophisticated business—they are going to maximize profits to the greatest degree economically feasible.
So…what price points will be economically feasible in 2023? That depends upon a mix of variables, some of which are simply unknowable right now. Will consumer confidence deteriorate in 2023? Is pent-up demand still going to be a factor? Will household savings be further depleted? Are we on the precipice of an economic slow down…or is that just a minor blip?
Will Walt Disney World’s additions garner positive reviews and strong word of mouth? Are more ‘corporate controversies’ on the horizon? Will international travel make a strong comeback? Will Orlando regain its place as a hot convention destination? It’s possible to hypothesize about all of these things, but nothing is certain yet.
Ultimately, the resort rack rate price increases for 2023 at Walt Disney World are not really surprising. On the one hand, there has been an absurd amount of pent-up demand and lower room inventory in Central Florida, that could justify much more significant price jumps.
Even with as outrageous as some of these rates sound, the gap has narrowed between Disney-owned properties and off-site hotels near the parks. (I’ve been trying to book more Flamingo Crossings and other off-site hotels, and they’re routinely more expensive than the Value Resorts.)
Given all of that, I’m frankly a bit surprised that Disney didn’t go higher with some of these rack rates. Although they can end up being rendered meaningless by discounts, that isn’t always the case. Just ask anyone who booked the Poly, Wilderness Lodge, or a handful of other resorts last fall or this spring. Not only were there no discounts, but those hotels sold out at full price many nights.
In other words, Walt Disney World left money on the table by not pricing those resorts higher late last year through this spring. From that experience alone, erring on the side of aiming higher with rack rates and discounting as necessary might’ve been the pragmatic move for Disney.
On the other hand, it’s possible that Disney recognizes that much of the above is fleeting, and the circumstances will be different come next year. Already, the company is starting to discount more for the coming months than they had been late last year and early 2022, so it appears the tides are starting to turn. Even if they aren’t, the company has successfully leveraged a special offer strategy that offers a lot of flexibility over actual, effective rates that people pay.
Regardless, we’d recommend booking sooner rather than later. If you’re definitely visiting Walt Disney World in 2023 irrespective of discount status, lock something in now. Booking early is essentially hedging your bets against the resort/room tier you want selling out, while still having the flexibility of applying future discounts as they’re released. If you want someone to monitor your reservation and apply discounts as they’re released, we recommend booking via Be Our Guest Vacations, a no-fee Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Those travel agents will book your vacation and help take the stress out of planning.
What do you think of the 2023 Walt Disney World hotel room and package prices? Anything surprise you? Are you paying noticeably more (or less) for your trip next year? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments here? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!