“When will Walt Disney World release discounts for Halloween and Christmas 2022?” and “why haven’t new special offers been released yet?” are common reader questions. We’ll try to answer based on what we know based on historical deal drop dates, current resort occupancy trends, other discount options, and more.
As with all of these speculative posts, we’ll start by underscoring the fact that Madame Leota is not employed by this blog, which is to say that we don’t have a crystal ball. No one can give you a definitive answer about when Walt Disney World will drop new discounts. The same holds true for pretty much anything that hasn’t been officially announced, released internally, or leaked.
If you’re not interested in speculative analysis and just want concrete info when deals are released, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter for instant alerts. In fact, you might want to do this regardless. We’ve consistently notified newsletter subscribers on the days that deals go live early in the morning, which is often a significant head start before Disney makes an official announcement. That can make a huge difference when booking–you’ll have better availability and won’t have to wait in a virtual queue or for hours on hold.
With that out of the way, we have some good news: what’s past is prologue.
That expression holds true here, as Walt Disney World often releases special offers and promotions (i.e. discounts) on similar timelines from one year to the next. In fact, Disney releases some discounts on the exact same day each year, or within a two-week window.
The bad news? That hasn’t really been true for the last few years. This trend actually dates back to early 2019, as Walt Disney World was gearing up for the debut of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Due to concerns that consumers would postpone trips until that blockbuster land opened, discounts were released earlier and for a wider range of dates than normal.
Most notably, Free Dining dropped on January 2, which was several months earlier than normal. It actually ended up being released in multiple waves, with holiday season dates added in mid-July of that year. After that chaotic year, discount trends never had a chance to normalize–despite demand and attendance accelerating in early 2020.
Shortly after that, the closure and subsequent phased reopening of Walt Disney World threw another monkey wrench into the mix. That disrupted the release of discounts throughout 2020 as Cast Members in the Call Center (and elsewhere) were furloughed. There was also uncertainty about the types of discounts that could be offered due to the temporary suspension of things like the Disney Dining Plan.
For the first several months post-reopening, attendance was low and demand was weak. Again, not particularly surprising given the real-world circumstances. Optics and a media fixation on Disney operating its theme parks also changed the types of discounts that were released. For example, there was a special offer only for Southern states within driving distance that had never been offered before–and hasn’t since.
Then came last year, which essentially flipped the script on the post-reopening period. Starting in spring, pent-up demand began colliding with closed resorts to create a massive supply and demand imbalance. This is just finally starting to be resolved.
Accordingly, Walt Disney World is reverting to familiar patterns with the release of discounts. This makes predicting when subsequent rounds will be released easier–but not foolproof.
One thing that has not quite normalized is the types of discounts that are released and for whom. For example, a room discount was recently released around the time when we’d expect that to occur…except it was for Disney+ subscribers rather than Annual Passholders, Florida residents or the general public, as would normally be the case.
Another thing that has not returned is the food-centric special offers. With the Disney Dining Plan still on temporary hiatus, we’re not expecting this to change anytime this year. Instead, expect more room-only discounts, maybe with some novel twists as Disney tries new ways to incentivize resort stays.
In any case, our expectation is that the next Walt Disney World discounts will be released in mid-July 2022 for travel dates from September 2022 through Christmas 2022.
The most likely release date for these deals is either July 12 or July 19, 2022. While it’s unlikely to occur before then (that hasn’t happened anytime recently), the release date could slip into August 2022 (that has happened before).
As for potential travel dates, the deal will likely encompass September 1 through December 24, 2022. That would overlap on the front end with existing promos, so the starting date could be later in September.
Another possibility is that a discount is released on that same day (or around then) for immediate bookings between then and late August or September if bookings are slow. Walt Disney World just dropped an AP deal encompassing similar dates and a Florida resident special offer is coming soon, but nothing has been released for the general public. That could happen if gas prices put a damper on late summer or early fall travel.
Following that, it’s likely that the next round of discounts will be released at the end of September or beginning of October for travel dates from early January 2023 through April 2023.
The most likely release date is either September 27, 2022 or October 4, 2022. Prior to 2020, discounts for the following winter/spring were released during one of those two weeks for at least 5 consecutive years. (While only a week apart, these release dates fall in different fiscal years, which is presumably significant.)
We’re not comfortable making predictions beyond that as there’s little consistent historical precedent to offer guidance. In some years, narrow offers would be released in the fall for near-term travel dates. For example, if convention bookings are soft, Fall 2022 special offers for Gran Destino Tower might be released to Disney Visa credit card holders.
Similarly, targeted offers might be released to entice past guests or “window shoppers” to get off the fence. We haven’t seen them leveraged much recently, but Unique Offer Codes or PIN Codes could make a comeback.
Then there are the deals that could be released in early 2023.
Something is likely on January 3, 2023. Whether that’s a return of Free Dining, one of the modified meal offers, or just another room-only offer is anyone’s guess. It’ll almost certainly depend upon whether the Disney Dining Plan has returned by then, supply v. demand at Walt Disney World, and the state of the broader economy. With so many unknowns, speculation about specifics that far out is foolish.
Another aspect of uncertainty is resort exclusions. It used to be a given that room categories–like 3-bedroom villas and Little Mermaid rooms–would be excluded. Sometimes, specific resorts would have limited availability. On occasion, Port Orleans French Quarter might not offer anything at all.
Recently, there have been several entire resorts left out. The most likely to offer nothing at all are Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, Grand Floridian, Beach Club, Wilderness Lodge, and the Polynesian. The first two are due to the popularity of the Skyliner gondolas; the final four are due to a mix of popularity and renovations taking rooms out of inventory. Don’t be surprised if some or all of these hotels are excluded from late 2022 or early 2023 discounts.
Ultimately, a lot remains to be seen and that last point touches upon how that could impact which discounts are released and when in early 2023. However, it could apply in the nearer term, as well. Eligibility for the upcoming Fall 2022 discounts is one such question mark; will these be general public special offers or for Annual Passholders, Floridians, and/or Disney+ subscribers?
That remains to be seen and is likely dependent upon resort occupancy projections, and whether they’re starting to slow or if travel is still booming. There’s a chance this summer will be the “last hurrah” for pent-up demand, with a sharp slowdown starting in Fall 2022.
This could be prompted by any combination of the following: household savings decreases, inflation stinging more, increasing consumer debt, gas prices causing demand destruction, and/or the broader economy slowing down. If some or all of those things occur, it seems increasingly likely that Walt Disney World will experience a corresponding drop in demand–that means increased discounts, ones that are more aggressive, and have expanded eligibility.
Who knows if any of that will actually happen, though. I didn’t think “revenge travel” would run this hot for this long. It’ll be interesting to see how all of this actually plays out. The return of international guests in full force could sustain Walt Disney World’s strong demand even longer, as could special events and conventions (which are usually big business in the fall). That could also be offset by the return of more hotel rooms to the inventory.
No matter how you slice it, there are a ton of unknowns–and also plenty of ways that 2022 differs from 2016-2018, which is largely the historical time period we’re drawing on to determine Walt Disney World’s discount dates precedent. While past is prologue, it’s also true that history doesn’t always repeat itself–sometimes it just rhymes.
When do you expect Walt Disney World to release Fall/Holiday 2022 discounts? What about Winter/Spring 2023 special offers? Think Walt Disney World will bring back the Disney Dining Plan–and Free Dining–by early 2023? Are you expecting more/better deals once pent-up demand fully fizzles out and spending starts decelerating? Would bigger discounts make you more likely to book a Walt Disney World vacation? 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!