Disney World 2021 Discount: Get Two Days Free
Walt Disney World is offering a sneak peek at a new discount coming out after the holidays that’ll run through September 2021 and offers two free ticket days. In this post, we’ll share the details of this special offer, compare & contrast it with overlapping room-only discounts, and share analysis as to how much money you’ll actually save.
As you might recall, Disney already released some 2021 room-only discounts that offered up to 40% off Walt Disney World resort discounts for Annual Passholders and Florida residents, with up to 35% off for the general public. Those are good discounts–about 5% better than what’s historically offered for the same dates.
Following that, a new 35% off PIN Code was released that extended that same discount even deeper into Summer 2021. Then came the Half-Off Hotels at Walt Disney World for Visa Cardholders, which is one of the best deals we’ve ever seen. Given all of those strong deals, we were optimistic about future 2021 releases. So we were pretty excited when we first saw today’s announcement…
In quickly skimming the details, what I thought Walt Disney World was announcing was a modified return of the beloved “Buy 4 Nights, Get 3 Free” deal that was offered a decade ago to incentivize guests to visit during the Great Recession.
“Buy 4 Nights, Get 2 Free” is not as good as that past offer, but it would still be pretty good. (We still have fond memories of taking advantage of that discount, staying at Saratoga Springs Resort, and receiving a free upgrade back during Summer Nightastic–what a blast!) At first, I was really excited.
Except that’s not what this is. At all.
Here are the official details: Get 2 extra days added to your ticket when you buy a 4-night/3-day room-and-ticket package at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels, valid for arrivals most nights January 8, 2021 through September 25, 2021.
This package can be booked beginning January 5, 2021. The fine print indicates that this discount requires a minimum stay of 4 nights, a maximum of 14 nights, or any number in between–either way, you’re getting 2 extra days.
Other important details are that the number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. 5-day theme park tickets included in this package are valid for admission beginning on date of check-in and must be used within 8 days. This deal cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion.
Offer excludes the following room types: 3-bedroom villas, Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Cabins at Disney’s Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows.
Walt Disney World is also 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. 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.
Honestly though…why bother?
In fact, we’re really puzzled as to why Walt Disney World would offer a preview of this “discount.” It’s the equivalent of your parents telling you 2 lumps of coal are wrapped up in one of your Christmas presents in an attempt to build anticipation. Probably would’ve just been better off not saying anything.
Unless we’re missing something, this is a really, really bad deal. Worse than the “Magic is Here” reopening discount offered to the general public, which we panned for offering savings of only ~8% to 13% off.
It’s worse than the infamous “Free Dining Lite” or “Half-Free Dining” as I’ve come to call Walt Disney World’s that trade on the name recognition and popularity of the Free Dining offer.
Unlike those, this “special offer” isn’t even trying to use marketing gimmicks to look more appealing. (Well, at least not yet.) Not that we’re complaining–it’s better that Walt Disney World does not use spin to make offers appear better than they are.
Most of you probably know just by looking at it, but the reason this offer is so lackluster is because incremental cost of going from 4-day tickets to 6-day tickets is minimal. Longtime Walt Disney World fans have had “the longer you play, the less you pay per day!” drilled into their heads for years when it comes to tickets.
Accordingly, this amounts to a savings of around $50 per adult and around $45 per child over the course of the entire trip. That’s the best case scenario if you visit with peak season pricing on tickets and are only upgrading from 4-day tickets to 6-day tickets.
If you’re booking a longer trip and going from (for example) 6-day tickets to 8-day tickets, you’ll save around $25-40 per person.
We priced out one 4-night package for the two of us at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort in April, and we would’ve saved $97 total for a package cost of $2,718.88. That’s less than 4% off.
By contrast, we could’ve saved $111 per night with the room-only discount, or 35% off. Obviously, that does not include park tickets (hence no comparison of total package prices), but we could follow the advice in our Money-Saving Walt Disney World Ticket Tips post and come out ahead on tickets.
It also doesn’t do this “deal” any favors that those who would save the most money on peak season tickets will be paying the most money for their hotel rooms. The higher-priced ticket seasons are almost always the more expensive hotel seasons, too.
Resort rooms are more expensive than tickets on a per day/night basis, you’re shooting yourself in the foot by saving more on tickets since that means paying more for your resort room.
The percentage discounts for this one will be all over the place. It’ll generally be a worse deal for higher resort tiers and smaller parties, and better deal for large parties at Value Resorts.
Aside from families of 4 doing a single room at All Star Movies, I cannot envision a scenario where this is a remotely good deal. Even then, this deal creates the problem of having more ticket days than hotel nights, which further reduces the pool of potential guests for whom this would be advantageous. In so many ways, this special offer just doesn’t pass the smell test.
Unless we’re missing something or there are details that haven’t yet been revealed (which would be a weird way to tease the deal), this will not be better than the previously-released room-only discounts for early 2021 for the overwhelming majority of potential Walt Disney World guests.
This is pretty much a non-discount.
Frankly, it has us worried. It makes sense that Walt Disney World would tease a deal before Christmas. As we’ve noted several times in the past, the stretch between Christmas and early January is the biggest time of the year for new bookings. Previewing a deal gets people thinking about it over the holidays, and prepared to book when the deal goes live.
But that only works if the deal is actually…a deal. Disney would’ve been better off quietly dropping this one, hoping to hook some impulse bookers who didn’t take a step back and do the math. Giving people a couple of weeks to stew over this one and crunch the numbers isn’t going to do it any favors.
Honestly, I was holding out a sliver of hope that Walt Disney World would announce the return of the Disney Dining Plan for 2021 within the next week or two and have Free Dining being the big deal drop of early January 2021. That would present more logistical challenges than the recent Park Hopping announcement, but the Disney Dining Plan and Free Dining are both big business for Walt Disney World, and result in tons of guest bookings.
While there’s still an outside chance of that happening, there have been no credible rumors of it and this “preview” doesn’t exactly bode well for what’s in the pipeline. Our hope is that there’s at least a room-only discount through June 2021, which would be consistent with past precedent.
This blog has discussed pent-up demand or the lack thereof, plus various factors that will impact vacation plans to Walt Disney World, at length. This lackluster discount might thus seem like it vindicates theories of Walt Disney World “Revenge Travel” in 2021.
We’d caution you against inferring that. Remember, the “Magic is Here” discount was released for the summer months of Walt Disney World’s phased reopening–at a time when occupancy numbers at the handful of operational resorts were anemic.
If Walt Disney World were forecasting a surge of bookings for 2021, the first thing they’d do is announce reopening dates for the remaining hotels. Although dates were recently released for Beach Club and Wilderness Lodge, those aren’t until Summer 2021.
Meanwhile, the winter reopening of All Star Movies was pushed back until spring break and several other hotels are still closed indefinitely at this point. That’s not something that would be happening if occupancy projections were high or Disney had confidence in travel picking back up next spring.
There’s really no point in trying to reconcile the seemingly contradictory actions. We’ve been down this road before, trying to surmise some “grand strategy” in Walt Disney World’s approach to incentivizing guests to book trips during the phased reopening. As best we can tell, there isn’t one.
Rather, the “plan” seems to be throwing as much at the wall and seeing what sticks. That’s probably why we’ve seen abysmal “deals” like the Magic is Here offer and now this, plus exceptional ones like the recent room-only discounts and targeted offers. Our advice at this point is to be patient (or apply for a Disney Visa if you don’t already have one to take advantage of that offer) and wait for something that’s actually good. Even if “revenge” leisure travel ends up materializing, Walt Disney World still has a long road to recovery. There will be plenty of good discounts for those who are patient and ready to pounce.
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. The agents there will book your vacation and help take the stress out of planning. Additionally, we’ll continue closely monitoring what’s released and will notify subscribers of our free email newsletter when any Walt Disney World discounts are released or rumored!
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!
What do you think of this 2-day free ticket offer? Will you be taking advantage of this, or a room-only discount? Does this present good savings for your family? Is there something we’re missing?! 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!
I did end up booking this offer for the two of us checking in on September 25th. Deal wasn’t add with a Caribbean Beach reservation but I’m now wondering if they would let me add another day to those 5-day Park tickets? I realize if they do it would probably be the price of the 4th day and not a “6th” but I am considering it.
How can there be more nights than days in the first place??? I check-in on and afternoon/evening, I sleep one night, I get up it is the next day… ALWAYS 1 more day than nights.
We already have reservations for September with 5 nights at Art of Animation but only 3 days at parks. If we try to change to this offer for the 2 additional park days my thinking is that if Disney offers a late summer special on the room reservation that we wouldn’t be able to utilize that deal or would subsequently lose the extra two days if we do (if Disney does offer a late summer special). What are your thoughts about that?
We were thinking of doing 2 parks/2 nights when go this summer to FL (not primarilly for Disney) but staying 2 extra nights and 3 more park days is only about $400 more for my family of 4. It’s a deal considering i wasn’t planning on going as many days as we will probably end up going now. We get 2 more hotel nights and 3 more park days for less than $500 more. I’ll take it.
That would be a deal!! Especially trying to take a big family!
I agree! It’s making it possible for us to go to all 4 parks as a family of 7!
This deal works for me. We have four nights at All Star Movies and to add another day at a park is around 300 so to get 2 days of park tickets will save us money. We are arriving early on the day we check in and leaving late on the day we check out. This will give us more park time!!!
I am not sure if you’ve already seen this, but DVC members can get in on the fun this time around! If you book using DVC points for 4 nights or more, and buy a 4 day ticket, you get 2 free days added to it. Really, unless you are doing a split stay you will only have 5 days to be there, so its more like get day 5 free… BUT I have never seen ticket offers for DVC members before (only been one a couple of years). Hoping this bodes well for future ticket offers while using points! Plus since there is not competing % off offer for points stays, it Really is Free!
I had not seen that! Where are you looking? It’s not on the main ticket & tours page for DVC discounts: https://disneyvacationclub.disney.go.com/discounts-perks-offers/tickets-tours/
There have been some great DVC discounts in the past, particularly on Annual Passes. (Although I think the last truly exceptional one was around 2016.) Hopefully there are more next year!
Enjoy more of the magic you love when you buy a non-discounted 4-day Walt Disney World theme park ticket with a valid 4-night Disney Vacation Club Member reservation and receive 2 extra days added to your ticket. This offer is valid for arrivals through September 25, 2021.
Book starting January 5, 2021–and get ready to make magical memories!
I think perhaps this only shows up for blue card (direct) DVC owners. I read about it here and elsewhere, and it’s not in my offers (no blue card).
We’re blue card owners and it’s not there. Perhaps it’ll show up on Jan 5.
@Tom and @John MP, it wasn’t in the member magic area. It was a little blurb I almost did not see in the News and Alerts section. That said, did you guys try the link I sent? It should make you login then redirect to the offer. At any rate it says call member services to take advantage of this offer starting Jan 5th, so I’d assume whomever asks could get it?
I see it now, thanks for the link!
This also makes me wonder whether this is a ticket deal that’ll be stackable with a room-only discount. If they’re offering it for DVC bookings, there’s no reason the same wouldn’t be true for other reservations. Now THAT would be good news!
I have 8 nights at CBR with 9 day park tickets booked for August 2021 for four people. Is this deal going to help me? Sorry, trying to digest it!
Hi Tom: I really like your emails. Very informative. We are Disney nuts too. We go once or sometimes twice a year for the past 25 years with our kids and now grandchildren. How do we find out about all these discounts. I called about a Disney Chase Credit Card with the 40 percent off Grand Floridian in Florida. No help from Chase. They told me to research it myself. I can’t figure it out. Which Disney Chase Card is it. We use a Chase Southwest Card using our points for flights. Help!!!
Your Chase Southwest Card isn’t the one to get the discounts. It must be the Disney Chase VISA card. You get rewards to use at Disney with that card. Not miles.
Hi Tom! Do you think Disney will be adding fun in the sun discount any time soon? Was able to book that in 2019 and saved big time on the grand! Looking to head back this August and would love to book using this discount again. Thanks for everything you do!
Is it possible this is some kind of IT glitch and it really is supposed to be a two free nights situation? It seems odd that they would do the typical room-type/inventory restrictions that they do with room discounts for what amounts to such a piddly deal for most people, especially if the goal was to use this more as a marketing thing than anything else.
Never mind, I just saw the posted offer itself.
I guess this is another reminder of how people who read blogs like this truly make up such a small minority of WDW guests. I imagine most people don’t look at the price breakdown of WDW tickets (if they look at anything beyond total price at all) and just assume that adding extra days costs the same or similar no matter how long their trips are. After all, the tickets are expensive enough that even when you get into the trip lengths where the cost of an extra day is minimal, the per day price is still very high.
The only logic I can see behind this offer is that Disney might be noticing that people are taking shorter trips on average than before and this could be a test run to see whether they want to move the threshold where adding ticket days costs little to a shorter stay.
While being true mouse lovers, been to WDW 8 times in 20 years and a zillion times to Disneyland it seems that veterans are forgotten! Oh, maybe not totally but mostly. Shades of green which is right across from the Polynesian is not considered a disney resort, thus, no discount. We will be there 2021 April 8 thru 13 and I would gladly take advantage of 2 free park ticket days. Also, can you find any better dining deals and when other dining places will re-open? We Loved Jikos and some others that remain closed. Would love to buy both of you a beverage if your going to be around in April.
I need to stop reading while folding laundry…at first I thought this was for hotel rooms (we have 6 nights booked in Sept 2021 and I got super excited)…but this is only for theme park tickets? I am sorry, you were prob clear and I didn’t focus. The ‘night/day’ verbiage makes me think hotel.
Hi Tom! Do you know which WDW hotels are offering half off to Disney Visa card members? .
Ashley, I booked Christmas week early this year. I read about the special deals only for Disney Visa card holders. Art of Animation family suite was where we booked. I immediately called WDW. My rate was adjusted and I saved an average of $300/nite. Originally booked $700-$750/nite reduced to average of $350/nite. Unheard of at Christmas.
Unfortunately, none of us wants to go at Christmas with Covid hype. I am thinking of calling to see if I can push the trip
To end of February. The deal was good for booking then but don’t know if availability is there.
Call ASAP and check. Deal is good for arrivals end of February including Christmas.
I love your info and commentary but your photos really kick your site up a couple of levels above others. Of all the photos of the two of you, the one with you outside and her inside the tent is one of my favorites. I wonder if it was difficult to set up or relatively easy, given the need to balance all the different lighting levels (which maybe can be done in editing)?
It was insanely difficult. What you see there is almost entirely in camera. The lighting was done via cell phones and one lantern, which would’ve been insufficient…until the car in our neighboring campsite randomly backed up and its lights briefly provided some extra (much needed) fill.
Tom, you really have to start labeling your photos. I can guess a lot of them, but some of them have got to be somewhere other than WDW.
These are all from Walt Disney World. The only ones that maybe you don’t recognize are inside Enchanted Rose Lounge (blue room with yellow chairs) or the Love Bug at All Star Movies.
I agree! You have a great site and photos. It would be really nice for your readers if you labeled the picks (locations, restaurant and food name). Please consider including this information so we can enjoy what you are when we get a chance to go! Thanks!!
While I agree it’s a horrible discount, it is *slightly* better than you stated. Or, slightly less-horrible. They phrase it as a 4 night/3 day package — So I presume you can get a 5-day ticket for the price of a 3-day ticket. Turning the 4 night/3 day package into 4 night/5 days.
(as you pointed out, a 6 day ticket for 4 nights would not make any sense).
As the gap between 3-5 day prices is much greater than the 4-6 day gap, the savings should come out to $130 to $150 per adult. So a party of 4 might save $500 to $600 over a 4 night trip. That’s not horrible for a party staying in a value or maybe even moderate level resort. For anyone booking a deluxe room, it’s a pretty weak discount.
The big problem is the value is maximized as exactly a 4 night booking. If you have a 6 night booking… so they will upgrade you from a 5 day ticket to a 7 day ticket, it really would be a minimal discount of just $30 per person.
Thanks–I didn’t consider that scenario. Would definitely improve the offer!
I was just coming here to write the same! That fourth day isn’t cheap, so getting it free is an okay deal, especially for a family of 4-5 people. Though generally the resort deals are better.
But overall, I think this is a response to Universal’s frequent B2G2 days ticket deals. People love the word “free.”
Yes, we priced it for our family of five and it amounts to a savings of about $600 if you are buying a 5-day ticket.. If we were at a moderate resort where the room only discounts are small (about $70 off per night), it would be a no brainer. However, staying deluxe, the 35% off is much better (around $200 off per night, so the four night minimum is at least $800 in discounts).
It’s actually the same reason you say say free dining is not a great deal most times relative to room discounts–sure it isn’t when you are pricing for two, but for a family of 5 (and with Disney’s 10 year old “adult” pricing) it can be an incredible deal.
Ok when I saw this announced on Twitter and realized the terms, I laughed. Glad I didn’t misinterpret it and am not the only one.
On a side note, it really does pay to keep checking back on these deals with limited room availability (for the ones that are in fact deals). I’m a FL resident and Disney Visa cardholder and have a reservation at AKL for MLK weekend. We booked it at rack rate in anticipation that discounts would come. They did, but when I called the day they were announced the savannah view rooms, which is nonnegotiable for us on this trip, were already booked. The CM told me to keep checking back, but I was skeptical. Two days before our payment was due, I checked, and a FL resident rate room had opened up! I’m not sure if someone else canceled or if bookings were low so they made more rooms available, but it knocked a solid grand off our trip!
Absolutely agreed about checking back! A lot of travel agents place holds on rooms that expire after a couple of days, and Disney often later adds more inventory to the deals if/when it becomes clear bookings are still low.
We’ve planned a late January 2021 trip to WDW. What are best options for dining with so many favorites (aka Ohana, Cape May) closed?
Summer Nightastic!!! Still the best nightly fireworks show ever!