Walt Disney World has announced its flagship UK discount for 2024, a package that offers an up to $2,100 dining credit during a 2 week trip, 14-day tickets, and more. In this post, we share dates and details, what this could mean for the Dining Plan, future U.S. general public promos, how this compares to past deals, and more.
First, the details of the 2024 Walt Disney World “Welcome Back To Being You” early booker vacation package deal. You’re eligible for this promotion if you are a resident of the United Kingdom or Ireland (if I recall correctly, anyone in the European Union should be able to book this…or did Brexit change things?), and book a full-price Walt Disney World hotel and ticket package for a minimum of 5 nights and maximum of 21 nights.
Travel dates are January 9 through December 18, 2024 with some exclusions, but the deal is available for most school holidays. The 2024 Walt Disney World “Welcome Back To Being You” vacation package deal will be available starting April 20, 2023 and can be booked via a travel agent or on the official UK Walt Disney World holidays website. This “Early Booker Package” deal must be booked by July 6, 2023.
As part of this offer, you can take advantage of Walt Disney World’s 14-Day Ultimate Ticket for the price of a 7-Day Ticket, which includes Memory Maker. Guests booking Walt Disney World’s 2024 vacation package deal with a qualifying package will also receive a $400 Disney gift card. Here are additional details, followed by commentary…
As with regular Walt Disney World discounts, there are three different tiers for the 2024 Walt Disney World “Welcome Back To Being You” early booker vacation package deal…
Tier 1 – Value Resorts:
Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
Tier 2 – Moderate Resorts:
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Tier 3 – Deluxe Resorts & Deluxe Villas:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Disney’s Riviera Resort
Excluded resorts & room types: Disney’s Old Key West Resort, all villas not listed above, campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness, Little Mermaid Room at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, and just about every multi-bedroom unit, most club level rooms, and specialty suites. The list of exclusions is massive, but most are super niche–options like the “Royal Kuba Vice Presidential Suite-Club Level Access” are individually listed, for whatever reason.
While these are the attention-grabbing headline amounts of $2,100 or $1,200, there’s actually a set way to calculate the amount of dining & merchandise credit you’ll receive. For arrivals from January 9 to December 18, 2024 (excluding dates March 23 to April 12, 2023; August 1 to September 30, 2024; and October 12-25, 2024) the nightly amounts are as follows: US$36 in Tier 1 participating Disney Resorts; US$72 in Tier 2 participating Disney Resorts; or US$86 in Tier 3 participating Disney Resorts.
One thing that’s a bit confusing is the exclusion of August 1 to September 30, 2024 above. That’s not because those dates are ineligible, but rather, because the nightly amount is higher: US$50 in Tier 1 participating Disney Resorts; or in US$100 in Tier 2 participating Disney Resorts; or in US$150 in Tier 3 participating Disney Resorts.
Another key detail is the free $400 Disney Gift Card per booking with a flight-inclusive package. Or, get a $200 Gift Card with a hotel & ticket package. I don’t recall the doubled gift card when booking a flight previously, but perhaps my memory is off. The $200 gift card for resort & ticket packages is definitely normal.
So is everything else. The 14-Day Magic Ticket for the price of a 7-Day ticket that includes Memory Maker has been a staple of this package for as long as I can remember.
Currently, guests booking this Walt Disney World 2024 vacation package can modify their hotel and ticket package without any fees anytime up to and including 7 days before the arrival date up to and including December 31, 2024.
Currently, guests can modify Walt Disney World resort flight inclusive package without fees anytime up to 7 days before their arrival date excluding any transport fees imposed by the transport carrier for arrival up to and including December 31, 2024. You will need to pay any difference in price if the price is higher and we will refund you the difference if the price is lower, with a deduction of any applicable fees. Valid for bookings made in the UK or Ireland.
A couple of interesting things here. First is the use of “currently,” which is in the terms & conditions and suggests policy fluidity. I don’t know about in the United Kingdom, but here in America, contract terms cannot be unilaterally modified ex post facto. Hard to imagine that being different in the UK, so most of our legal system was “borrowed” from across the pond. So that’s an odd thing to include.
Additionally, the fine print does not mention cancellations. The main deal description only indicates you’ll receive a “cancellation refund” if Disney cancels your package holiday, which should be a given. That’s another contracts 101 kinda thing–if companies could simply keep your money and not deliver services…well, many would do that. The margins are far better.
We typically watch and share this deal for several reasons. One is that we love and value our UK readers!!! (I feel like a lead singer shouting the name of the city of the performance just to get some cheap applause). But seriously, we do. Our audience in the United Kingdom is surprisingly large and a lot of readers ask about these promotion; it thus makes sense from a demographics perspective to discuss this deal.
Another is that many Americans are interested in the details of the UK discounts, as it’s often a sneak-peek at what will be offered in the United States. In a normal year, that means a preview of the popular Free Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World offer. Let’s start with analysis of this deal, and then turn to speculation regarding Free Dining and the Disney Dining Plan, generally…
First, I want to pointlessly fixate on the name of this package deal: “Welcome Back To Being You.” Perhaps this is some quirky turn of phrase in the United Kingdom that we simple-minded Americans cannot comprehend (like adding an extra “u” to words), but I doubt it.
Not to overanalyze, but this strikes me as having a subtext about normalcy, and I’m guessing that it’s going to be a throughline in Walt Disney World’s 2024 marketing. I really hope I’m wrong, as it’s decidedly not good. While I do expect 2024 to be the ‘year of the reset and resumption of normalcy’ at Walt Disney World, I would absolutely not draw attention to that if I were the company.
The reason is simple. If a business suggests they’re back to normal in the year 2024, my instinctive first reaction is going to be what took so long?! That’s like 2-3 years after the bulk of society.
Then I’m going to wonder if that’s actually true, why they haven’t progressed further, etc. It’s the type of statement that raises more questions than it answers, and is certainly not reassuring. If I were Walt Disney World, I would not want to draw attention to normalcy at this point. That ship sailed long ago.
A better slogan along similar lines could still have that as a subtext, perhaps borrowing from the Magic Kingdom entry plaque: “Welcome to the Worlds of Yesterday, Tomorrow & Fantasy.” Something that captures both feelings of futurism and nostalgia, with a nod to the Disney100 Celebration and everything old and new. I don’t know what would work, but I just know what doesn’t: this.
Or maybe I am reading way too much into this slogan. Perhaps it’s simply Walt Disney World’s way of saying that everyone in the UK has been having an out-of-body experience up until 2024, when that will conclude. In which case, this makes complete sense.
As for the deal itself, I’m no mathmagician, but this deal sounds pretty comparable to what we’ve seen for the last several years. If my notes are correct, it’s almost identical for most dates, but better if you book flights or travel during the early fall off-season. In that latter scenario, it’s significantly better, and you also have the lowest rate charts of the year for resorts.
With that said, it’s inferior to the pre-2020 discounts. The value of the standard Disney Dining Plan was $78 per adult–so even a party of 2 would’ve come out ahead with that deal for every single travel date. Make it a party 3 or 4 and the Free Dining deal would’ve been exponentially better.
Of course, the Disney Dining Plan is not yet available and Walt Disney World was almost certainly baking in some degree of DDP credit waste into that promotion. Which is to say that they expected most guests to not use all of their credits, or to not use them efficiently. By contrast, a lower denomination dining gift card can be used more efficiently. However, that doesn’t even begin to explain away the full disparity. Not even close.
This also isn’t better than most garden variety room-only discounts during normal times. Obviously, the comparison isn’t straightforward since this offers fixed savings whereas a room-only discount varies by season, but those are almost always better.
Interestingly, this is very similar to the Free Dining Card Discount: Up to $150 Per Night at Walt Disney World offered in the United States for 2023. The amounts are almost identical, so the math and analysis should be about the same. (Many readers reported the savings with that were better for them than room-only discounts, but the majority did better with room-only offers. YMMV.)
To each their own, but if you asked me right now whether Walt Disney World will offer better discounts in 2023 or 2024, I’m predicting 2024 without hesitation. Although significantly lower than last year, pent-up demand is still a thing right now and it’s largely being driven by international visitors (assuming MCO’s traffic data applies equally to WDW attendance–and it should). It’s safe to assume that’ll subside further by next year.
That’s even without the possibility of a recession. Most economists are still predicting a mild recession in the United States later in 2023; the European Commission and UK Finance Minister seem to think the EU and United Kingdom have avoided a recession. Lucky ducks. Regardless, if I had to bet on demand being higher or lower for Walt Disney World in 2024, I’m guessing lower. And that’s the key driver of discounting.
I’m hesitant to draw any conclusions or speculation as to what this means in terms of whether Free Dining is offered to the United States general public for 2024. Obviously, we’d prefer to see a Free Dining deal here as that would be a nearly-definitive sign both that the Disney Dining Plan was returning and that Free Dining would be offered in the United States in 2024.
However, the absence of such a deal is not definitive proof of the opposite conclusions.
As we’ve seen repeatedly in recent years, when Walt Disney World releases a deal or announces something, its details are essentially frozen in time or a snapshot of whatever exists at that specific moment.
The terms and conditions of this “Welcome Back To Being You” package discount also mention park reservations. Same story there. Park reservations exist now, so they’re necessarily mentioned in the fine print. I’m not a gambling man, but I’d still bet money that regular visitors (meaning non-APs) will not be subject to the reservations system at Walt Disney World in 2024. (There’s my bold prediction of this post–Park Pass has outlived its usefulness, and will be one friction point to go as Walt Disney World looks to draw back guests.)
I’ll go a step further and predict that the Disney Dining Plan will return for 2024 despite not being part of this package. However, I do not think that Walt Disney World will offer Free Dining in 2024. At least, not early in the year. What happens after April 2024 is anyone’s guess at this point.
Perhaps I’m reading too much into the stupid slogan, but I really think “Welcome Back To Being You” was chosen for a reason here. It’s gotta be a clumsy way of suggesting normalcy, even if as much is not evident from the details of the package–which are similar to last year. My bet is that this is the UK version of branding that will be adopted for the United States, too. Here’s hoping that Walt Disney World workshops the verbiage a bit between now and then! (All of this makes me really wonder what’s going to be announced for 2024 Walt Disney World vacation packages when we get the full details this summer.)
Strong current bookings are likely why this UK deal is subpar. As intimated above, Walt Disney World is still seeing pent-up demand playing out, and a disproportionate driver of that is international visitors.
As we’ve said repeatedly, Walt Disney World does not offer discounts out of corporate benevolence–it’s to fill unsold rooms and increase occupancy numbers. Right now, the EU and UK are likely demographics that are outperforming for Walt Disney World. The company is not going to start offering you all superior savings until your consumer behavior changes.
Although it’s an inevitability that international travelers will fall back into familiar habits when visiting Walt Disney World, it nevertheless makes sense to extrapolate from current bookings and transpose present discounts into the future. If you’re Disney, that’s the pragmatic approach–you don’t want to “over-discount” and sell rooms at a lower rate than needed.
However, a lot will change between now and next year. I don’t know what that means for UK special offers–as they’re usually released a year in advance rather than on a rolling basis like the U.S. promos–but it likely means better discounts in the future, as a whole.
Ultimately, even though the United Kingdom usually gets one big deal per year, it’s not like that was etched on a stone tablet by Walter Elias Disney himself, making it supreme law of the World. There’s absolutely nothing that precludes the company from releasing another, superior discount once pent-up demand drops and/or the Disney Dining Plan returns.
However, there’s also nothing guaranteeing it (I don’t want to falsely get anyone’s hopes up here). The reality is that Walt Disney World will release more discounts if and when those are necessary to incentivize UK whales (whales in a good way!) to book Florida holidays. If bookings remain strong for 2024, fewer and worse discounts will be released in Europe and the United Kingdom. If bookings decrease or resort-wide occupancy drops, more and better discounts will be released.
The company has broken from “discount precedent” countless times in the past to do exactly that. The best example of this from “normal times” came prior to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, when Walt Disney World released Free Dining earlier than normal and then extended it with multiple subsequent waves upon realizing that numbers were still low. There’s no reason to believe Disney won’t take a similar approach to discounting if the situation calls for it. Then again, maybe all of you Brits who have been having an out-of-body experience for however many years will just be happy to be back to being you…at Walt Disney World!
What do you think about the 2024 Walt Disney World “Welcome Back To Being You” package discount for United Kingdom residents? Do you wish we got offers like this in the United States, or do you prefer getting the room-only discounts and shorter minimum stays? 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!