How to Book Bounceback Discounts at Disney World
Bounceback offers are one of the best ways to book Walt Disney World discounts, and the easiest for scoring Free Dining. In this post, we’ll clear up confusion with info about 2021 bounce-back deals, who is eligible, and how to book these coveted WDW deals. (Updated March 2, 2021.)
Also known as “Future Stay Offers,” bounce-back discounts are only available to travelers who are currently staying at one of Walt Disney World’s resort hotels to book during the duration of their trip. This discount must be booked before 10 p.m. the day you check out of your Walt Disney World hotel. We’ll cover more of the ins and outs later in the post, but that’s the crucial one to know up-front.
The most sought-after bounceback offer of the year is Free Dining at Walt Disney World. Consult our Guide to Free Dining at Walt Disney World for everything else you might want to know about this incredibly popular promo. In a normal year, the Free Dining Bounceback Deal is offered from August through October 31. Of course, this is anything but a normal year…
Walt Disney World’s last bounceback offer was a room-only discount with savings of 20% off Value Resorts, 25% off Moderate Resorts, and 30% off both Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts. This “Future Stay Offer” was bookable when the parks closed, but it was cancelled and removed from rooms when resorts reopened.
We’ve done roughly a dozen hotel stays since reopening, including a couple in 2021, and have not seen a single bounceback flier. As that’s not always conclusive as to whether there’s a bounceback deal, we’ve also called the normal phone number (see below) and verified that no bounceback offer is available. Cast Members have stated they have not been told when the next “Future Stay Offer” will be released. However, there is some good news…
Walt Disney World is now testing a new type of bounceback deal! In lieu of the in-room fliers to capture future bookings from current guests, general managers of select hotels are sending out emails with special offers to past guests of that same resort, for that resort only.
Please note that we’re sharing this simply as a ‘heads up’ so you can check your spam folder. This discount is not available to the general public. If you don’t have the email, you will not be able to book the discount, so don’t bother calling and trying. It’ll just lead to confusion and wasted time.
Rather than being called a bounceback discount (even though it basically is one, albeit in modified form), the Walt Disney World hotel general managers are referring to this as an exclusive ‘friends of the family’ rate.
These special offers are valid for travel dates now through June 10, 2021 if booked by May 26, 2021. No blockout dates are listed, nor are exact discount rates, but I’ve found dates at over 50% off when calling to inquire.
As for the in-room bounceback offers for current resort guests, it remains to be seen when those will return. It’s possible that Walt Disney World’s enhanced cleaning and sanitation policies are an impediment to them. It’s also possible that this is a calculated move, as Disney has determined that only the most diehard fans are vacationing right now, and those guests don’t need to be incentivized to return.
Our prediction is that bounceback offers will either return around October 1, 2021 or not at all until 2022. Before Fall 2021 seems unlikely, and if it doesn’t happen in time for the start of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, it likely just won’t happen this year at all.
As for what the next “Future Stay Offer” will be…it actually could be Free Dining. If things were normal, that would run from late summer until October 31, 2021. While Walt Disney World currently doesn’t have an official timeframe for its return (see our When Will Disney’s Dining Plan Come Back?), it’s entirely possible they might want to kickstart bookings for 2022 with an aggressive offer.
That would be a great way to reverse the current trend of low occupancy numbers and also help reopen additional resorts (check out the 2021 Walt Disney World Hotel Reopening Dates–several are still TBD and might not return until 2022). With that said, here’s what you need to know once bounceback offers do start to return…
FAQ & How to Book Bounceback Discounts
Before we get ahead of ourselves, we should offer a ‘bounceback offer’ definition. Bouncebacks (or bounce-backs, or bounce backs…there’s really no consistent terminology) are targeted offers released to Walt Disney World hotel guests. They are not a type of discount, but they’re a method of booking a discount. (Think of them like PIN or Unique Offer Codes, except targeted differently.)
Usually, bounceback offers are very similar to deals that will be available for the general public to book at a later date. In many cases, bounceback offers might have more or better dates, more room inventory, and/or less exclusions. The most common bouncebacks are room-only discounts, while the most popular (by far) is the Free Dining Bounceback.
Bounceback offers are distributed via in-room fliers that are usually similar in size to park maps (see above). Unlike PIN/UOCs, receipt or possession of a flier is not necessary to book a bounceback. This trips up a lot of people, as most guests don’t read blogs like this one.
Short of tangible receipt of the bounceback flier or reading a blog post like this one, how else are you going to know you’re eligible for “Future Stay Offers” at Walt Disney World? You could really miss out, and you’d never know! (In other words, not reading this blog is detrimental to your well-being, so never stop.)
So, who isn’t eligible? Obviously, anyone who is at home. Also, anyone who is at Walt Disney World, but is staying off-site or in third-party hotels. You need to be staying at a hotel with Disney in the name (e.g. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and so on). It doesn’t matter if you just left Walt Disney World or will be arriving soon–you aren’t eligible to book unless you’re currently staying in a Disney-owned hotel at Walt Disney World.
Beyond that, it doesn’t matter in which WDW hotel you’re presently staying or which promotion you’ve booked your current stay under. Additionally, you can book up to three hotel rooms via the bounce back offer for multiple travel dates, but those rooms must be under the name of an adult on your current reservation. This means that during your current stay, you could book yourself bounceback room-only deals for three different trips in June, September, and December.
Of course, many of you reading this probably want to take advantage of the Free Dining bounceback. As noted at the top of the post, this is not available and probably won’t be at all this year. However, in normal years it’s popular to do a strategic short stay during the Free Dining bounceback window to make yourself eligible for the following year’s Free Dining offer. This is not as crazy of an idea as it might seem.
We know people who have done this in previous years, and detail how to make it work in our fictional “Costanza family” example. (Note: obviously this advice is irrelevant right now. We’re simply preserving it here so we don’t have to rewrite it when things return to normal. Plus, you might want to know how this works so you can take advantage of it next year or whenever.)
You might remember the fictional Costanza family from New York, who have booked a variety of fake vacations in past blog posts on this site. The Costanza family now has 4 “Disney adults,” as their kids have grown up (I know you’re all on the edge of your seats with curiosity, so yes, they have added more pet hamsters to their family–they now have 15!–but none of those will be joining them on this trip).
The Costanzas really like the location of the Magic Kingdom area hotels, but they are incredibly frugal. As such, the Costanzas follow the advice in our Tips for Renting Disney Vacation Club Points post, and book a 1-night stay in a Deluxe Studio at Disney’s Grand Floridian Villas in September 2021 for ~$250. After checking in, they arrive at their room to find that there is no flyer for the 2021 Free Dining Bounceback Offer in their room.
Cool as a cucumber and never one to get upset, Mr. Costanza picks up the in-room phone and dials x8844. A Cast Member assists them in booking for next year. Alternatively, since Mr. Costanza is on vacation and doesn’t want to deal with a call center or being on hold, he could simply contact his fee-free Authorized Disney Travel Planner, or travel agent. In a perfect world, he’d give them a heads up about booking this bounce-back before his trip, which would make this a matter of a quick, one-line email during his trip. (We’ve done–and recommend–the latter approach.)
Since they only took a 1-night vacation this year, they go all out and book a stay at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for December 24 through 31, 2022. Although Mr. Costanza does not celebrate Christmas, and finds tinsel distracting, he finds the ambiance of Wilderness Lodge very enjoyable during the holidays.
This will be an expensive vacation package–and as we’ve noted, the Costanzas are frugal–but the good news is that they will have 30 days prior to the start of the December reservation to cancel with no penalty (the $200 deposit they paid to book the package is refundable during that time). This fake story has a happy ending, though. After crunching the numbers, the Costanzas realized it’s worth the splurge to book the 2022 Free Dining Bounceback.
These somewhat extreme example should illustrate a few important points:
- How you booked your current stay does not matter–it just matters that you’re staying in a Disney resort.
- It does not matter if your current resort is excluded from the bounceback promo you want to book–you can book any eligible resort while staying at any Disney resort.
- Your current length of stay does not matter. (We know people who have booked 1-night stays just to be eligible to book Free Dining without the hassle the following year.)
- The flier not being in your room makes no difference–dial x8844 and you can book the bounce-back offer.
- When it comes to the Free Dining bounceback, only your check-in date needs to fall within the date ranges.
The first three points we’ve covered above in sufficient detail (I hope) but the last point is worthy of elaboration. Mousekeeping is supposed to leaves these fliers in every single room, but sometimes, that does not happen. As you might know from our past posts, Mousekeeping is currently understaffed (and overworked) and sometimes oversights are made. It happens.
Last fall, we stayed in 6 different Walt Disney World resorts during the window that was eligible to book the Free Dining Bounce Back Offer. A couple of these rooms did not have the bounceback flier in them. This wasn’t because we weren’t eligible (again, anyone currently in a Disney-owned hotel is eligible) but due to simple human error. It was no big deal, because all we needed to do was pick up the in-room phone, dial x8844, and inquire about what (if any) bounceback offers were available to us.
We cannot reiterate enough that dialing x8844 is how to book the bounceback offer (if you booked your current stay with a travel agent, they can also handle it for you, making this entirely hassle-free for you). Do not call the front desk and do not call the central reservations line. While there is a chance that Cast Members at either of those lines will be able to help, there’s also a chance they won’t.
Walt Disney World is a incredibly complex organization and it’s simply not possible for every Cast Member to know every single thing about the resort. The specific role of Cast Members at x8844 is booking bounceback offers, so they have specialized knowledge of the promotions, and will be much better at helping you. (Same goes for travel agents and having this specialized knowledge.) Think of it like a doctor. Your proctologist might be great, but you should really go to a neurosurgeon for brain surgery.
Ultimately, booking a bounceback offer is not brain surgery, even if our long-winded explanation might make it seem just as complicated. Hopefully, we’ve broken these discounts down in a way that makes sense and clarifies the who/how/when/etc. of Walt Disney World Bounceback Offers. We are huge fans of these deals, as they take a lot of the stress out of booking discounts–namely, the waiting and hoping there’s availability for your travel dates and resort. If you get the chance, we’d recommend booking the Bounceback Offer as a safety net, especially if Free Dining is the bounceback offer available when you visit Walt Disney World.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Have you booked any bounceback or “Future Stay Offer”? Do you make a point of calling x8844 to check for bouncebacks even if you don’t receive an in-room flier? 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!
Hi I’m from the UK and currently staying at a Disney resort, would I be eligible for a bounce back!
dial x8844 from your room and ask if there is a bounceback offer available for you!
Hmm. April, is that for the Free Dining offer or just a Room only discount? Because if that is the case, this article is very misleading. Or Disney has changed the offer details since, this article was last updated in August of 2019.
It was for a free dining bounceback offer. I was told there was availability for May 26-Jun2, June 26-July 12 & a small block of dates in late July (these last dates didn’t work for me so I didn’t write them down). We already have a room res for Dec 2020 & I would’ve loved to have gotten those dates with the free dining, but there was no availability.
You don’t need tickets for the stay in which you book the bounceback. Also in another comment several have mentioned they were able to check-in online and successfully call and book the bounceback without having to actually go to DW. Just a thought – you may want to try
Thank you for the information, I tried and failed so made the trip! Going to go to the halloween party since I am here lol.
I see that you were successful in booking the bounce back for next December – congratulations!! I just had a question for you. When you say you tried and failed the first time, do you mean you made a reservation, checked in online, tried to book a bb, and they wouldn’t let you because they could tell you weren’t on property?
I am looking into going for a one night stay next week so I can get this offer, just staying at the resort. I stayed in August and was unaware it was a thing. I don’t need tickets into the park to be eligible for Bounceback do I? We are planning to stay next year December 24th-31st….. will the free dining be for the entirety of that trip if we are checking in on the 24th? Help me understand before I am booking a plane ticket!
Yes, the above article says you have to buy a 4 day park hopper ticket to get the free dining. 🙂
Oops, I read your post wrong. Sorry, Jessica, is correct you do not need to buy tickets in order to book the Bounceback offer. Also, if I am understanding the rules correctly, the Free Dining is for your entire stay.
Update I am here and have successfully booked a stay for next December…. seems to me there is still a lot of availability in the Christmas time frame as long as you are checking in on or before the 24th!
I was just there this weekend- the bounceback offer is only available for dates in May, June and July at this time, so you will not be able to book for next December yet. Might want to save that airfare for early next year!
I vacationed in DW last week and was able to book the bounceback for December 2020. Guessing bounceback for December 2020 might be sold out?
You may have been given incorrect information. CMs are known for that. I booked a Free Dining bb for August 2020, and know others who booked theirs for Dec. 2020. Now, I don’t know what is left as far as availability for next December. You have to be really flexible as far as dates and resorts if you want to go during a busier time.
Oh, now that makes more sense to me. I didn’t think about the availability part of this equation. Disney probably does have a limited amount of rooms set aside for this offer and you may need to be a bit flexible on your dates.
There is a Disney resort at Hilton Head in South Carolina. Is there anyway to know what the bounceback offer would be if you stayed there?
If I travel down with a friend and put both of our names on the reservation, will they allow her to book a bb reservation for her family and me book a separate reservation for my family?
This is the exact question I have…my husband and brother in law will be staying a night next week at a Disney property. They are sharing a room. If both of their names are on the reservation, can they each book separate packages with bounce back offer for each of our families.
As far as I know, that should work. It’s not breaking any of the rules they have for bounce backs, as long as no more than 3 rooms per this reservation are booked. You could call the bounceback line ahead of time and ask them just to make sure: (407)939-1923.
Do you have to physically check into the room to get the bb offer or can the room just be booked and you not stay in it and still be able to receive to bb offer?
I stayed two weeks ago and tried to book the bounce back offer. I waited on the phone for over an hour for someone to pick up. So I had to sit there and ponder whether my time was important to enjoy the park or sit on the phone for an hour to wait for a reservation agent. I decided to enjoy the park as I was not sure how long I would be waiting. You do have to be in the hotel registered in order to book the bounce back.
When we booked our bounce back offer we had checked in (12:00pm) but our room wasn’t ready. So we called from the lobby on our cellphones and made the reservation. They didn’t ask us any questions about where we were, but I assume they somehow knew we were on site as we did check in at the front desk.
Are there bounceback offers for people like us who are annual pass holders? Or is this only for people purchasing stay and tickets?
Thank you so much for this post. My wife and I just flew down for a one night stay and we were just able to book a trip in late May and get the free dining plan. We wouldn’t have known about it without this info, so thanks!!
My husband is going down for the night October 26 and is planning on trying to book the bounce back offer. Did you have any issues getting the resort you wanted or was inventory still available for the offer?
I’m not sure about overall availability because they had our first choice (All Star Music family suite) for a May stay. I would think that’s a good sign but we didn’t ask about other resorts. Sorry.
I know you can’t get longer than a 10 day park pass with a package. Is there a limit to how many nights you can stay with the free food Bounceback offer? We were hoping to stay 15 nights.
There is a 14 night max for FD packages. You could always add on a room-only reservation if you want to stay longer, and ask for the 2 reservations to be linked.
I will be traveling to DW next week staying at pop Century. I have already booked a trip for December 2020. Can I still take advantage of the bounceback offer and apply it to my current 2020 reservation? Or should i cancel current 2020 reservation and wait until my stay in 1 week to take advantage of the bounceback offer? Thank you
You can do like Karen suggested. Or any other split stay like 7+8 or 5+10 days, etc. You can make them at the same resort or enjoy 2 different resorts.
The offer allows up to 3 bookings, you just need to find availability for the resort(s) and dates you like.
Shell- You don’t need to cancel your current Dec 2020 trip. They should be able to take the deposit from that and apply it to your bounce-back offer trip.
Can you be staying at Disneyland and book a bounce back offer for Disney World?
No. You have to be staying in a Disney World resort.
I have until midnight the day of checkout, is that right?
If I’m not in my room to dial 8844, if there a full number to call?
Also forgot to mention, they technically say until midnight the day of checkout, but the line is sometimes closed at 10pm. Best bet is to book before checkout if you can.
Do you know if Fort Wilderness is eligible for the bounce back offer?
8 am making sure I read this correctly, does this mean that you have to stay earlier in yhe year to book another trip later and get the free dining?
You have to stay in a Disney resort August 1st to October 31st of this year to book a free dining bounceback for select dates next year.
You can wait til the general public has the free dining offered. That usually happens either in April-May or the beginning of next year. That is “IF” you did not book it while you are at the hotel now till the end of Oct.
I will be traveling to DW next week staying at pop Century. I have already booked a trip for December 2020. Can I still take advantage of the bounceback offer and apply it to my current 2020 reservation? Or should i cancel current 2020 reservation and wait until my stay in 1 week to take advantage of the bounceback offer?
Can you book the bounce back trip by staying at a dvc villa with rented dvc points?
Does Disney ever end the bounce back offer early? I’m considering a one day stay at the end of Oct but I’d hate to make plans and then not be eligible for the free dining plan. Just wondering if anyone had any experience regarding this. Thanks!
They won’t end it early. However, there is sometimes less availability for the promo by the end of October than there was in early August. It’s helpful if you are flexible with dates and/or resorts that you’re looking to book for the bb.
Hi Tom (or anyone else who can help with my question 🙂 ),
I am assuming that you have an AP, since you go so often (but maybe you don’t). I am a passholder. Since a 4 day park hopper is needed to book a bounceback offer, how are you able to book the free dining? Do you eat the cost of the tickets just to get free dining (which seems silly) or are there other discounts available? Does Disney consider you as having tickets already if you have an AP? I would love to be able to book a bounceback!
Thanks for the info!
Have the 4 day park hopper put on a separate hard card and use your AP during your free dining trip. Then use the value of the 4 day hopper ticket against your AP renewal.
That is awesome! I have never thought of doing that! Thank you so much!
So bummed – I live in Alaska – there is no way I can go to a Disney Resort to book our vacation to get free dining. It’s a HUGE savings. So So sad. Any other ideas?
I understand how you feel, trust me. Usually they will release a free dining deal next year as well. I know last year they surprised everyone and released free dining for almost the same dates in the beginning of the year. That was totally out of the blue. It usually would have shown up in April or May. So hang in there. Keep your fingers crossed and await Tom’s email. He will let us know if a surprise release of free dining comes out. I have to wait too.
My trip that I had booked for Sept was cancelled due to Hurricane Dorian closing the airport. I couldn’t get a room in the hotel we booked. SO my free dining deal I had was shot. So we re-booked but have to wait for the free dining to release to the general public. (Disney wasn’t willing to give me a break when I called to make the changes. Mind you we go every year because of free dining.) SO stay positive.
As far as overlapping dates, I know that they will allow the 2nd (or 3rd) room to be booked with different dates if you are all checking in on the same date. I’m not sure if any other overlapping situation is allowed. For example, the room I booked for my sister-in-law has a check-in date the same as ours, but she is checking out 3 days before us.
In the case of you booking a bounceback room in your name and another in your husband’s name, and then switching him back to your room and adding different names to the 2nd room (do I understand that correctly?). . . You can’t do that as they won’t let you remove the lead name on a bb room. You would have to use the name of the person who will be staying in the room to book it. You will be able to add names to the res after you book if needed by calling the bb phone #.
Thanks for the response. I would actually cancel one of the reservations and move either myself or my husband to the other. I’m not sure on dates but we were thinking 12/9-19 OR 12/12-12/22 – it would likely be based on school schedule but possibly other factors unknown this early. I just wasn’t sure if I could book them separate so that one could be cancelled and if so if I could then move the same person to the other res (not changing the lead name). Any ideas?
Thanks!!! Do you know if they can be at different resorts? We would be booking two at one resort and 1 at another. All the same dates.
Yes, they are allowing you to book at 2 different resorts this year (for next year’s stay) as long as it’s the same time period.
Can you book more than one room with the bounce back offer. Say if you’re going to be traveling with other people.
Yes, you can book up to 3 rooms with the bb offer. You will be the leading guest in 1 room, and you can make someone (or 2 someone) who is not traveling with you the leading guest in another room (or rooms). Make sure you have all info for all guests before you call.
Do you know if you can book two overlapping periods? We don’t know which dates we want yet but the range will have some overlap. We can book under me for one an one for my husband but can we add people later (after removing one res move us both to the one we keep)?
To reply to Jessica – I’m not sure as it applies to bb deals, but with regular hotel reservations, right now I have one for 4/19-4/21 and another for 4/19-23. They’re at different hotels but have the same exact 4 people registered in the rooms. I even spoke with someone on the phone this morning to adjust the shipping address for one of the reservations (it was booked on a PIN code deal and had outdated info that I wasn’t able to change). She noticed I had multiple reservations for the same days and mentioned that, but just to make sure I knew there was overlap.
I’ve found changing people assigned to a room reservation to be more of a pain than it should be (all reservations are nontransferrable), plus it will affect who’s eligible for advanced fast pass reservations.