Walt Disney World has released strong new room-only discounts for winter and Spring 2021. In this post, we’ll share the details of these special offers, compare & contrast them with this year’s room-only discounts, and share analysis as to how much money you’ll actually save with each.
As you might recall, Walt Disney World released a slew of room-only discounts at the beginning of last month, including extensions of the up to 40% off “Rediscover the Magic” discount for Annual Passholders and Florida residents, plus the “Southerner Savings” for residents of certain states, with solid deals lasting through Christmas 2020. (These deals can still be booked for holiday travel dates.)
However, the only general public offer was the abysmal Magic Is Here “deal” (air quotes around deal) which was a discount in name only. Following that, there was the widely-targeted PIN Code, but still nothing for everyone, which resulted in a lot fo vocal fan frustration. Well, it appears that Disney has heard your complaints, and is now answering–as there is an excellent general public discount in addition to the Florida Resident and Annual Passholder deals!
This is a tiered discount, with each category of guest (Annual Passholder, Florida resident, general public) receiving different discount levels. Obviously, you should apply the best deal for which you qualify.
Let’s start with the Annual Passholder options.
Here are the official details: Annual Passholders can save up to 40% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights January 3 through April 17, 2021. Walt Disney World’s winter and spring AP discount is available for booking through April 17, 2021.
This special offer excludes the following room types: 3-bedroom villas, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. Additional per-adult charges may apply if more than 2 adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts and Studios at Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts. Maximum length of stay under this deal is 14 nights.
Here are the resort by resort savings rates:
For all of these discounts, Walt Disney World is touting that guests can “book with confidence.” For extra peace of mind, know that if your plans change, any Disney-imposed change and cancellation fees will be waived up to the date of check-in for reservations with arrivals through April 30, 2021.
This is consistent with Walt Disney World’s temporary new cancellation policy, applicable to anything booked. It’s not unique to this offer, but this an extension of the policy through at least April 2021, so that bodes well. We’re guessing that this policy will be the norm until at least 2022. There’s simply too much uncertainty for many people to feel comfortable booking travel without incredibly flexible modification and cancellation policies.
Next, the discount chart for Florida Residents:
Terms and conditions are pretty much identical for the Florida resident deal. Same exclusions, stay limitations, and extra guest fees. The only material differences are that this is available to all Florida residents, not just APs, and you save 5% less across the board.
Finally, the general public discounts:
Here we start to see additional differences, with the noteworthy one being that Friday and Saturday nights save less most dates in January and February.
This makes complete sense. First, weekends are currently significantly busier at the hotels due to Floridians and other Southerners doing long weekends. (It’s honestly surprising that the same limit isn’t being imposed on the other deals–but perhaps Disney is weary about discouraging too many bookings.) Second, those dates encompass the long weekends of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Valentine’s Day, and Presidents’ Day. Those have become increasingly popular travel times, so reducing the incentives for hotel stays then also seems appropriate.
Benchmarking these discounts as compared to historical offers is pretty easy, as a very similar slew of room-only discounts was released last year on October 4 that encompassed travel dates of January 1 through April 25 of this year with the same exclusions and hotel options. (Obviously, there were slight differences since some hotels are currently closed and there’s a new cancellation policy, but you get the idea.
That winter/spring discount offered 15%-25% off room-only rates for general public, 20%-30% off room-only rates for Florida Residents, and 25%-35% off room-only rates for Annual Passholders. In other words, this deal offers an additional 5% off across the board for most dates, but 5% less to the general public on select Fridays and Saturdays.
All things considered, we’d call that a win for Walt Disney World deal-seekers. Even though you can save more with DVC point rentals or Priceline Express Deals, the flexible cancellation policy here (which neither of those offer) is huge.
Of course, value for money still depends upon what crowds, wait times, and entertainment offerings are looking like inside Walt Disney World’s parks, but comparing the apples to apples of the resorts, these 2021 discounts are better than their 2020 counterparts.
As with most discount release days, Walt Disney World’s phone lines will be jammed and the online system will likely slow to a crawl at peak times, with Stitch eating the occasional page here and there.
Despite that, we’d encourage you to book this deal ASAP, especially if you’re considering one of the Deluxe Villas. Walt Disney World doesn’t have much inventory for those Disney Vacation Club resorts, so those rooms in particular are likely to book quickly.
In fact, with limited availability due to the ongoing resort closures and the potential for Walt Disney World “Revenge Travel” in 2021, you might want to book whatever you’re eyeing sooner rather than later. With that generous cancellation policy, it doesn’t hurt to lock something in now–you can always cancel what you have, but you cannot book what’s gone!
In any case, here’s a look at what should be the best per night prices at all of the eligible resorts:
Keep in mind that if you already have a resort reservation booked under another discount (or no deal at all), you can modify your reservation and apply this deal (pending availability and eligibility). Since this is the best deal Walt Disney World has released for these travel dates, you will definitely save more money–unless your room category isn’t available and you have to do a forced/unwanted upgrade.
If you want to help determining what discounts are available for your travel dates and which resort will work best for your family, we recommend requesting a quote from Be Our Guest Vacations, a no-fee Authorized Disney Vacation Planner that we recommend. The agents there will book your vacation and help take the stress out of planning.
Overall, some of these room-only rates for Winter and Spring 2021 at Walt Disney World are pretty attractive. As always, Deluxe & Villa Resorts are going to offer the best savings—we’d skew towards the standalone properties rather than the add-on wings for maximum savings. Several great options under $300 per night there–including some Deluxe Villas under $250 per night.
Even the Value and Moderate Resorts are good options. We criticized this deal in the fall because Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort was ~$180 per night for most dates. Now, both it and Coronado are in the ~$140 range for many dates. Art of Animation and Pop Century around $100 per night is also pretty good, especially with the upgraded rooms in both. Ditto the soon to return All Star Movies Resort. If you’re eager for an escape to Walt Disney World in the coming months and don’t mind the in-park sacrifices and need flexibility on the cancellation policy, these price points are pretty attractive.
Hopefully, Walt Disney World will release more 2021 discounts for the general public in the coming months. It’s good to see Disney getting back on track with general public discounts, and also reopening more hotels and restaurants. By the way, if history repeats itself, the next major round of discounts would be released at the beginning of January 2021, and would include a room-only offer and Free Dining! While that is probably premature for a return of the Disney Dining Plan and that highly-coveted deal, Walt Disney World has already surprised us countless times during the reopening process. We will be closely monitoring what’s released and will notify subscribers of our free email newsletter when any Walt Disney World discounts are released or rumored!
What do you think of these room only discounts for the general public, Annual Passholders, and Florida residents? If you booked this, do you think you ended up with a good price? What was available or unavailable for your dates? Is 35-40% off enough to convince you to book a trip, or is too much still missing from the full Walt Disney World experience to justify even those prices? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments? 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!