Walt Disney World has released new early 2022 resort room-only discounts for Floridians and APs. This post shares the details of these special offers, commentary about why there’s such a shortage of savings, plus sample pricing, analysis & other info.
In case you’ve forgotten, discounts of up to 25% off rooms at Walt Disney World were released in September for a limited number of travel dates in the weeks leading up to Christmas 2021. Like this, that discount was only for Floridians and APs, plus Disney Visa cardholders (there might also be a Disney Visa option here–they sometimes are announced later).
While it’s been a weak year for general public discounts, we were hoping that trend would turn around with the start of next year and the winter off-season. However, as discussed elsewhere, it’s possible that some pent-up demand is going to spillover into early 2022. Or, it’s possible that general public discounts will be released at a later date. We’ll circle back to those subjects in the commentary…
Before starting, we’ll preface this with a reminder that availability was weak for the last round of deals…and the round before that. We had many readers report finding nothing at all–or higher prices–for their travel dates. Where there is availability, it often requires a room upgrade (e.g. from standard to preferred view, Pirate Rooms, etc.), thus at least partially negating the benefit of the discount. Just something to keep in mind before getting your hopes up here.
On a different note, if you’re not an Annual Passholder or Floridian, you still might want to check out these discounts. It’s worth crunching the numbers on an AP to see if you would save more by one member of your party purchasing one, rather than regular tickets and hotels at rack rate. Just be warned that once you buy an Annual Pass to “save money,” it’s likely you’ll end up booking more quick trips or long weekends throughout the year. Not that we speak from experience or anything!
Let’s start with the official details for the new AP discount: Annual Passholders can save up to 25% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights January 2, 2022 through March 10, 2022.
Here are resort by resort AP savings rates:
This special offer for Annual Passholders excludes the following room types: 3-bedroom villas, campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Little Mermaid Standard Rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
Additional per-adult charges may apply if more than 2 adults per room at Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts and Studios at Deluxe Villa Resorts. Maximum length of stay under this deal is 14 nights.
Next, Florida Residents can save up to 20% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels for stays most nights January 2, 2022 through March 10, 2022.
Details are mostly the same, but with ~5% less off at some tiers of resorts. Here are the specifics:
Proof of Florida residency is required at check-in. Otherwise, the terms & conditions are identical, with the same room exclusions and so forth.
As a reminder, Walt Disney World does not increase resort rates prior to releasing a discount. This is a popular misconception, but it’s false. Rack room charts for the entire year are published in advance, and can be found in multiple places online.
If you see higher prices now as compared to what you’re already paying, the first thing to do is check the room category. Make sure it’s an apples to apples comparison. The reason Grand Floridian’s “discounted” rate above is $2,995 is because literally the only available room category on that date is a 2-bedroom suite. That’s a more patently obvious example–usually it’s something like having to upgrade from a standard to garden or pool view.
In other words, Walt Disney World’s theoretical list of eligible resorts and prices tends to differ from what’s actually available. We always do several searches to check out actual discounts and availability. Here’s what we found for best available rates for this early 2022 discount:
I don’t know if this is a matter of moving the goalposts or being conditioned to expect higher prices over the last few months, but I look at some of those rates and think “not too shabby!” Then I remember back to last winter when deals were much more aggressive, and realize these are nothing particularly special.
Nevertheless, it’s been a while since I’ve seen anything under $100 per night, Moderates at less than $200 per night, or Yacht Club for under $350. These are among the best rates we’ve seen directly from Walt Disney World since early this year. But that really speaks more to how weak discounts have been since–not these being particularly good.
To the contrary, these rates are pretty weak by objective historical standards. Normally, the winter off-season is when Walt Disney World has some of its best pricing, by virtue of lower rate charts and better discounts.
With that said, this isn’t tremendously surprising. We’ve been covering the dearth of deals for months, as well as the lack of hotel availability for the end of the year. (If you haven’t already read it, we’d recommend What’s Up with Sold Out Hotels at Walt Disney World?)
Although we haven’t followed up on that post yet about limited hotel availability through December 2021, we’re starting to see it spillover into early 2022. At first, we figured this was a matter of Marathon Weekend and the scattering of holidays in January and February.
Mid-January through mid-February was the slowest stretch of this year at Walt Disney World—until a similar scenario played out in August and September. However, certain hotels are starting to show as unavailable on other dates, too. It’s likely that 2022 will be a very different story than this year.
On top of that, there are domestic guests who haven’t been able to book hotel reservations or score discounts for the first three months of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. Others might remember how attractive January and February were this year, and expect a repeat of that without considering why 2022 will probably be different.
As noted above, runDisney is back with races in January, and also February. More significantly than that, conventions are returning, as are youth sporting events at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Guests who postponed trips during Florida’s delta wave or due to face mask rules might’ve looked towards early 2022 when things would “calm down.”
Right now, it doesn’t seem like what’s normally the winter off-season will be particularly “calm.” Crowds have been notoriously unpredictable for the last year-plus, but all signs point to January and February 2022 being unexpectedly busy.
About the only thing that could dampen bookings would be another holiday wave of cases. Florida got hit so hard with its late summer wave that things getting really bad yet again seems unlikely. High levels of natural infections plus vaccinations will hopefully form a wall of immunity and a less pronounced holiday spike in Florida. Other states are a potentially different story, but people cancel on headlines about Florida. Of course, this isn’t a post about crowds or case numbers, but there’s a direct link between both and Walt Disney World’s discounting.
Regardless of the cause, it’s likely that these early 2022 discounts are going to be disappointing to many of you. Beyond those traveling in the first quarter of the calendar year, the ongoing pent-up demand and lack of discounting might be disheartening for those who have been upset by recent announcements about Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, among other things.
On the plus side, availability for the dates we spot-checked is pretty good at most resorts. This suggests to us that either Walt Disney World is increasing guest loads at the resorts or bookings aren’t nearly as strong for a lot of dates as they have been this fall and holiday season. If that anecdotal observation is accurate–and it may not be–we still might see a general public discount for early 2022, or at least more rooms unloaded on Priceline or Hotwire. Walt Disney World also might take a wait and see approach to releasing more deals given that international travel is just about to resume.
Ultimately, if you’re an Annual Passholder or Florida resident who is eager for an escape to Walt Disney World this coming winter, these deals are among the best we’ve seen for most of this calendar year. You can still do better with Disney Vacation Club Point Rentals (although it’s pretty much only confirmed reservations now) or Hotwire & Priceline Express Deals for Walt Disney World (more of those have been coming out lately, so perhaps that’s how WDW will unload unsold rooms this holiday season), but this still might be as good as it’ll get for you.
What do you think of these room only discounts for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders and Florida residents? Disappointed that there’s nothing for the general public? If you booked this, do you think you ended up with a good price or do you feel like you’re overpaying? What was available or unavailable for your dates? Is this deal enough to convince you to book a trip, or can you not justify these prices? 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!