Walt Disney World has released new late 2022 resort room-only discounts for Annual Passholders during the Halloween and Christmas seasons. 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 for APs and FL residents have already been released for now through September 8, 2022. There’s also the Summer & Early Fall for Disney+ Subscribers. That promotion is still available to book, and runs through September 30, 2022.
Those aren’t the only deals available for booking right now. For everything else, see All Current Walt Disney World Discounts (Summer to Fall 2022). With that said, these are the first special offers available after September, and they encompass select dates from late October through December 2022…
The second half of last year was rough for general public discounts, but improved significantly this spring and summer. We’re still not seeing the range or quality of normal discounts, but it’s a marked improvement as compared to the same time last year.
We’ve 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 (although no longer to the Pirate Rooms!), thus at least partially negating the benefit of the discount. Just something to keep in mind before getting your hopes up here.
To that point, there weren’t really discounts for these same months then due to the start of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. When discounts were finally released, they encompassed only December 12-24, and only Floridians, Annual Passholders, and Disney Visa Cardholders were eligible. Options were limited, and even most eligible resorts only offered 10-15% off.
Even since then, the combination of pent-up demand and reduced resort operations has caused problems for Walt Disney World dealhounds in 2022. We’ll circle back to those subjects in the commentary, but it’s nevertheless worth keeping in mind as we run through Walt Disney World’s new special offer.
Let’s start with the official details for the new AP discount. Per Walt Disney World, Annual Passholders can delight in great holiday rates on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights October 23 through December 25, 2022.
Here’s the resort by resort AP savings chart provided by Walt Disney World:
Annual Passholders must present a valid Walt Disney World AP at check-in.
This special offer for Annual Passholders excludes the following room types: Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Art of Animation – Little Mermaid Standard Rooms, 3-Bedroom Villas and Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Cabins.
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.
Here’s what we found for best available rates for this Fall & Christmas 2022 discount:
This search is for the night of November 2, 2022, which is part of the “Fall 2” season at Walt Disney World. On the rack rate chart spectrum, this is one of the least expensive times to visit Walt Disney World.
This season occurs throughout the month of November and into early December, as illustrated below in the rate chart for Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort:
We’ve had readers ask about finding these rate charts whenever we post them. Rather than going off-topic here, refer to 2023 Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Price Increases (the step-by-step process is towards the bottom).
While this AP discount is better than what was offered last year for most of these dates (absolutely nothing), it is worth noting that availability is incredibly limited. Here’s a look at what we found for a 1-night stay just over a week later:
The longer your trip, the more likely you’re going to see results like this. Even prior to this discount being released, we had been searching for ~3 night stays throughout November and December and were having difficulty finding decent options at our resorts of choice.
This was something covered recently in Don’t Wait for Discounts to Book Fall & Christmas Stays at Walt Disney World. The title pretty much says it all. Despite a temporary reprieve, pent-up demand appears to still be going strong for the most popular time of year to stay at Walt Disney World.
To that point, if you’re not an Annual Passholder and are wondering when deals might be released for the general public for October through December 2022, our best guess is not at all. Resort reservations are already strong at rack rates, and offering something to APs (and perhaps Florida residents in a couple weeks if this doesn’t do the trick) is almost certainly sufficient to hit internal occupancy targets.
When Walt Disney World offers discounts, it’s out of necessity, not corporate benevolence. Walt Disney World is an extremely savvy business—they maximize profits to the greatest degree economically feasible. Discounts are offered out of necessity to fill rooms that would otherwise sit empty. When occupancy rates are high and there aren’t many unsold rooms, as is the case here, discounts are not offered.
Another that jumps out at me is that there are no discounts offered October 1-22, 2022. In fact, there are no deals for APs starting September 9, 2022 (the Disney+ deal runs until September 30, 2022).
This likely is not an oversight. Rather, it’s a sign that October is once again going to be group events and convention “season” at Walt Disney World. After a two-year reprieve, this is likely bouncing back in full form. It was very common for Free Dining and other deals to be blocked out for all or most of October in past years for this reason, so it’s no surprise to see that happening again. (Note that this is not necessarily indicative of attendance or crowds; the majority of Walt Disney World visitors come from off-site and convention-goers often don’t do the parks.)
The simplest explanation for sold out resorts at Walt Disney World is the most straightforward: pent-up demand. You’re probably sick of hearing about this, but the travel industry continues to see strong bookings due to consumers shifting their spending from goods to services to make up for lost time.
Last year, the expectation was that the start of the World’s Most Magical Celebration would be incredibly busy. Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary would take years-in-the-making “homecoming” trips last October through December, adding another wrinkle to pent-up demand. Cancellations caused by the delta variant and reinstated mask rules resulted in October being one of the slowest months of the year, with crowds not really recovering. The weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas were still busy, but otherwise, crowds were relatively muted.
This is relevant because the last three months of the year are popular with Walt Disney World fans and repeat visitors. It’s possible that many of them had trips planned for last October through December for the start of the 50th Anniversary, and ended up cancelling or postponing. That’s on top of those who didn’t travel the previous holiday season.
Some of these people now might be booking make-up trips for late 2022. That’s in addition to the first-timers and everyone else who would otherwise book for the holiday season. October through December is normally busy for a reason–it’s a desirable time to visit Florida. There are other reasons for the lack of availability–including the ongoing housekeeper shortage–but we’ve discussed all of those elsewhere ad nauseam.
As always, it all depends on your desired resort, room categories, and travel dates. If you’re already locked-in and don’t have much flexibility, the options might not appear so hot.
Additionally, if you’re looking for rooms at the All Star Resorts, Animal Kingdom Lodge, BoardWalk Inn, or either Port Orleans Resort, your perception of this discount will be superior to those searching for discounts at one of the popular hotels. This discount doesn’t have more exclusions than past offers, but that doesn’t really matter in some cases. Even though Wilderness Lodge, Pop Century, and other popular resorts are included doesn’t matter if they’re already sold out for your dates.
In the near-term, many dates between October and December 2022 have few options at Walt Disney World. When trying to assess “real” demand levels, it’s also worth point out that the lack of availability often does not extend to third party resorts to nearly the same degree. Sure, there are the dates when the price of the Swan & Dolphin or Four Seasons randomly skyrockets to absurd territory, but that’s not all that abnormal.
Many other times, there’s no availability at Disney-owned hotels but there’s no shortage of reasonably priced third party alternatives. Suffice to say, if Walt Disney World doesn’t have hotel availability or the rack rates you’re seeing are too pricey or beyond your comfort zone, consider booking a refundable rate at third party properties.
We’re seeing availability at the Swan & Dolphin, Bonnet Creek, Disney Springs, Grand Cypress, Universal, and Flamingo Crossing hotels. Of those, the best rates that we’ve seen are at the Disney Springs and Flamingo Crossings hotels.
For those who are unfamiliar with Flamingo Crossings, this is actually an up-and-coming area of Walt Disney World and Central Florida. It’s like a budget version of Disney Springs, both literally and figuratively. None of the retailers are overtly Disney and there’s no Imagineering to speak of. Rather, it looks very much like a slightly upmarket suburban strip mall. It’s one populated by tourists and Disney Programs participants, thanks to the student housing nearby. If you’re curious about this area, read more in our Guide to Flamingo Crossings at Walt Disney World.
In other cases, you’re going to be hard-pressed to do better than the rates Walt Disney World is offering if you can find availability for your travel dates. Relative to what I’ve been seeing for this holiday season, $120 per night for All Star Music–with the new rooms, perks, and transportation–is a downright steal. (If you can find it, Pop Century is a great pick…but good luck with that!)
Of course, it’s not as cheap as what you would’ve paid this same time in 2019, let alone 2016. Back in my day, the All Stars had off-season rates that were routinely $79 per night or less! Unfortunately, absent a time machine, it’s impossible to book those prices. Even with that in mind, this isn’t too far from that when adjusted for inflation.
As we’ve written several times in the last few weeks, we’re optimistic that there will be better Walt Disney World discounts come early 2023. There’s a chance this holiday season will be the “last hurrah” for pent-up demand; as that starts to fizzle out, household savings decreases, inflation starts stinging more, and the economy slows down, it seems increasingly likely that Walt Disney World will experience its own slowdown.
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. That could also be offset by the return of more hotel rooms to the inventory. No one knows how many rooms are currently out of commission at the operational resorts, but at some of them, it’s a lot.
Ultimately, if you’re an Annual Passholder who is eager for an escape to Walt Disney World this holiday season, these deals might be as good as it gets–at least, until pent-up demand fizzles out or Disney is able to operate its resorts at 100% occupancy.
If you’re on the fence, definitely do NOT wait for something better. Availability is already limited, and it’s much more likely that rooms will sell out rather than better discounts will be released. With that said, we will be 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 these room only discounts for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders? 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!