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!
Here’s what interests me about the Bouncebacks: Right now, WDW is having the Florida resident get up to a 35% discount on deluxes (Meaning add 5% to your standard Bounceback Booking). We’ve even seen a discount up to 40%.
While I doubt the 40% discount offer will reappear for the Holidays or Spring (and I could be wrong), I think it very possible that WDW is going to NEED at least that extra 5% discount for a substantial time to come. Even if we do get a V-shaped recovery, so many people are still going to be economically hurting for a substantial amount of time to come that I don’t see WDW having any other choice, and I expect this will continue into at least summer of 2021, possibly the entire year. Which doesn’t even get into whether the parks are operating on reduced hours, whether Park Hopping has returned, the water parks have re-opened, foreign travel has resumed, or if masks are still mandatory. Bouncebacks typically have a fairly large window. I think WDW is going to want to get rid of the extra 5(or more)% discount they’re going to eventually be giving out, as soon as they possibly can. And it’s going to be hard to offer Bouncebacks at less than what the current savings are. If you’ve booked at the max rate, are you going to want to book at 5% less, when WDW is still offering packages at higher rates? Is WDW going to be willing to offer that extended Bounceback window for the higher discount?
I suspect we’ll be seeing Bouncebacks offered, but with a much shorter and more flexible window than we’re used to seeing, a moving window, if you will. Once things return to “normal” when WDW can offer the usual discount rates, only then do I think you’ll see stability and certainty return to this discount.
I’d agree that a higher discount will be necessary.
Even if there’s a full and fast recovery not just in the US but in all international markets upon which WDW depends (something I highly doubt) there will still be psychological scarring–people will be afraid to travel or fearful of spending too much, and finding themselves without a safety net during the next crisis.
But really, I think there’s no way this ends up being a V-shaped recovery of the real economy. Too many small businesses in the restaurant and travel sectors simply will never recover from this, among others.
What’s the max amount of time between trips that you can book a bounce back for? Is it 12 months or can you book Jan 2021 for December 2022 for example
Tom-sorry for the rant in advance; but I am a loyal reader, I just don’t post anything-now that I am fired up enough, here goes:
We are typically a 1-2x a year Disney family and have always taken advantage of Bounceback offers and Free Dining.
We did a short stay in October of 2019 (2 nights at a Value Resort) to book Free Dining for our “big” trip in August of 2020. We ended up canceling this trip, because, COVID. Not only because of having young kids and wanting the full experience, but because of the quarantines, we would have needed 14 days on either side of the trip. Not possible for our family and our jobs. Who can afford that AND Disney?! Never mind the health of my family, including my immune compromised 7 year old daughter.
When we decided to move our trip to next year, same dates (and we were also cruising, that’s a whole other rant on how that was handled) we got ZERO discount. So, we spent the money to book the bounceback/free dining and then essentially would need to pay MORE for our 2021 trip. A paid off trip all of a sudden had around $2K owed on it….
This was after all our reservations were canceled for this year, both for dining and FP (you know how much work goes into this).
I was holding strong, as we love Disney so much and it really is so special to me and my family, but I finally felt jaded enough to cancel our 2021 trip as well.
I can’t believe they didn’t offer anything to families who lost so much. I hope they start rolling out some amazing discounts for 2021 soon. I fear they are losing sight of keeping the families like mine returning. Those of us in the middle/upper middle class that spend a lot of money on these trips and have been loyal for years. It seems they aren’t living up o the usual Disney standards of customer service, which is really sad.
P.S we work with Be Our Guest travel company, who have been wonderful, but their hands are tied.
Thanks for an amazing blog that I enjoy daily!!
No need to apologize for the rant–I totally understand the frustration you and many others have with Disney right now. You’re totally welcome to vent here! I feel for you–and for the travel agents with clients who are not like you, and blame the agent for Disney’s mistakes and mistreatment of them.
Hopefully Disney rights things soon, as they are alienating a lot of people right now.
For future reference, if I am not the main person on the current resort reservation (my mom is) can I still book a bounce back offer where I go without my mom? Or does the main reservation holder need to be a guest on the bounce back offer?
It is my understanding that it Bounce back has to be in the main ticket holders name.
If you’re from the U.K. and staying at a Disney resort would you qualify for the Bounce Back if the flier was in the room at that time?
If you are staying in a Fort Wilderness campsite (in an RV or tent, not a cabin), can you get a bounceback offer?
We have a trip booked this December and one booked for September 2021. Can we apply the bounce back to the trip booked next year or does it have to be a fresh booking?
I know none of us have a crystal ball, but we planned a quick trip in August in order to utilize the typical bounce back offer for out 2021 trip. What do you think the likely hood they even offer the free dining bounce backs this year? Thank you!
Slim and none.
Thanks for sharing this Tom! We booked 11/23-11/25 dates for Yacht Club during our last minute WDW resort stay this past weekend. They had the bounce back flier among the other Disney documents in the room. I wouldn’t have known to look for it without reading your site. We saved just over $500 from the info you provided.
We are taking a trip this March and are considering doing a bounceback. How far out would we be able to do that? We’re not looking at another trip until next year (2021).
I just booked a bounce back offer 2 weeks ago and The WDW call center upon 2 calls is telling me I’m getting 30% off room and tickets both as a package for october staying at polynesian. you noted only room only discounts available
When you booked did they say there’s a minimum amount of nights you have to stay to be eligible for it?
For bounceback stays that are not free dining does your entire stay have to be within the windo or just start then. For example, if we are staying on site next month and also planning a trip in september 25- 30 would we get the discount for all the nights?
For a room discount bounceback you would only receive a discount for those days of your trip that fall within the promotion dates. The dates of your trip that fall outside of that promo window you would pay rack rate.
We just booked by bounce back and weren’t offered free dining. We got a discount on the room rate. Was looking forward to free dining.
The free dining offer ended on 31 Oct. We now have to wait till it is released to the general public. Either it will be released in the beginning of January or in April/May of 2020. Crossing my fingers.
Good evening, afternoon or morning! It is crazy the amount of content which makes for a real head spin! Is there anyone or place I should go to get the best Disney package deal for x 2 adults needing accommodation with a full kitchen or basic cooking facility basically we are travelling from Australia to the USA and plan to stay 3 night in September 2020!
You can book with a travel agent and they will make sure you get the most current discounts available. You can also book it all yourself on the Disney website. It has all the current discounts available and options. And..if you book it and a better discount comes out for the timeframe you are there, you can always call Disney and they will apply it to your current booking.
Free Dining Bounceback offer ended 10/31/19.
If we go to Disney next week, call about 2020 dates we booked through DVC rentals, would they apply the free dining bounce back offer to that already booked trip for 2020 by renting DVC points?
DVC does not get free dining. You would have to be getting a package from Disney for that. You will have to pay out of pocket for the dining plan if you want it.
You have to be staying there currently to book the bounceback offer. When you’re there in 2020 you’d be able to book a bounce back for your next trip but there’s no guarantee on what kind of offer will be available at that time.
Considering this went to October 31, any idea what the replacement offer is? Crossing my fingers so hard for a room discount offer
Yes, there is a room only bounceback offer now for select dates in 2020.
I am planning a trip to Disneyworld in July 2020. Any idea if this bounceback offer is still available? I have the opportunity to stay one night this coming weekend, would one night’s stay be enough to be eligible?
Booked for Sept. 22, 2020 at Polynesian, Do i qualify for the Bounce back offer?
The only days in September are May 25 – September 3. Sorry.
That isn’t true. The room discount bounceback is also good for September 7-26 2020.