By way of quick recap, the discounts released earlier this week were a tale of two extremes. The awesome side of this was room-only savings of up to 40% off now through Christmas 2020. This included both off-season and peak season holiday travel dates, and is a more aggressive discount than the historic norm for these timeframes. Unfortunately, this discount is targeted and many guests are not eligible.
The ‘Magic is Here’ discount is the general public offer, which sounded decent on its face, with savings of up to $500 off. Unfortunately, that’s not a whole lot over the course of an entire trip when you’re paying $500+ per night for a hotel room plus tickets. Not only that, but the discount was only $100 for Value Resorts and $250 for Moderates. Again, these savings are for the entire package. This new PIN code is essentially a “gap-filler,” offering the great savings of the first deal to those previously only eligible for the second…
Before we get ahead of ourselves, we should probably explain what, exactly, PIN or Unique Offer Codes are for those who are new to the wonderful world of Disney discounts. PIN codes are the most exclusive of Walt Disney World discounts—they are targeted, non-transferrable discount offers sent to a limited number of recipients that offer deep-discounts for select travel dates or early booking of a special offer.
Not only are PIN codes exclusive, but they are elusive. Receiving a PIN code email or mailer can feel like the Golden Ticket landing in your hands. Honestly, part of the allure of PIN codes is the mystery and intrigue. We’ve tried to “demystify” the process with our Hacks & Tips for Receiving PIN Codes for Walt Disney World, which offers our battle-tested strategy for increasing your odds of receiving one.
None of that helped us here. While we normally receive several PIN code offers per year, neither of us received this one. Which is ironic, because this appears to be the widest PIN code release in recent history–if reports we’re hearing are any indication. Assuming Walt Disney World’s targeting system is reasonably sophisticated, the reason we didn’t receive one is simple: we are Annual Passholders and Florida residents who qualified for equal or superior alternatives.
Fortunately, our reputation in the PIN code community as deal-hounds precedes us. (Oh yes, there’s a community–but we prefer to think of ourselves as a ‘money-saving society!’) Six different readers emailed us details of this PIN code, and another two left comments on the blog. For a normal PIN code release, we’ll receive maybe one or two ‘heads up’ messages. (Big thanks to readers John C., Donna D., Charles J., Jane M., Emily W., and Seed S!)
Above is a look at the PIN code email that was sent out. While Disney’s Pop Century Resort is advertised, this offer is virtually identical to the ‘Rediscover the Magic’ offer sent to Florida residents.
Savings range from 25% to 35% off, depending upon the resort tier. That puts it squarely between the Southerner Savings and Annual Passholder deals that were just released. (For the same resort and room categories, this PIN code is 5% better than the Southerner Savings and 5% worse than the AP discounts.)
To reiterate, this is a targeted discount, so if you didn’t receive the email above, you’re not eligible. Probably.
It’s not uncommon for PIN codes to be caught by spam filters, sent to old email addresses, or just not received for one reason or another. So basically, just like all correspondence from Walt Disney World! That’s a big part of why we’re posting this–as a heads up so you can scour through all of your accounts to see if you received this but somehow missed it.
In the last few weeks, we’ve been critical about Walt Disney World’s reticence to release discounts and lack of aggressive offers. Accordingly, we have to give kudos on this one. It’s a really savvy move.
Between the Southerner Savings for guests within driving distance and this targeted PIN code for guests from other states who have previously visited Walt Disney World, exactly the right approach is being taken here. These are strong discounts, and they’re being strategically offered to those who are least likely to be first-time visitors.
We expect that plenty of Walt Disney World fans who do not live in Florida or other Southern states, are not Annual Passholders, and did not receive this PIN code will vehemently disagree with us. To be sure, it is unfortunate that some fans will still “slip through the cracks,” so to speak.
However, this targeted approach is infinitely superior to widespread general public discounts. This is for a multitude of reasons, including capacity and staffing. Most significantly, general public special offers would attract tons of first-time visitors who, in our view, really should be waiting until 2021 for the full Walt Disney World experience. (Clearly, Disney agrees with that perspective.)
Ultimately, we’d anticipate that Walt Disney World will continue fine-tuning its targeted approach. It’s like Disney will roll out more of this kind of discount as long as the parks are operating at lower capacity, with temporary safety measures in place, and without certain entertainment.
If anything, our expectation is that Disney will accelerate discounting and get more competitive with pricing as it becomes increasingly clear that travel is going to take a while to rebound. While 35-40% off hotel rooms is fairly unprecedented for this time of year, the underlying rack rates are still very pricey and Walt Disney World is coming nowhere near its occupancy targets for weeknights (or even non-holiday weekends) right now.
If you did not receive this PIN code and aren’t eligible for the other good room-only rates, consider the following alternatives for saving money:
We understand the allure of being in the Walt Disney World “bubble” and the top 2 options above definitely offer that. The next 2 arguably do, as well. The last one doesn’t, but is probably the very best option in terms of bang for buck.
As we discuss in our “Temporary Abnormal” 2020 Walt Disney World Vacation Planning Guide, we strongly recommend renting a car right now, so driving to the parks not really an issue. Additionally, the more on-site perks are all temporarily suspended—there’s no Disney Dining Plan, Extra Magic Hours, or FastPass+, so no disadvantage in staying off-site.
Did you receive this PIN/Unique Offer Code discount? If so, do you reside outside the South? Do you “normally” receive PIN codes, or is it rare/unprecedented? If you booked this, what did your savings end up being? Happy with the available rates, or hoping for better deals to come? 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!