New Holiday 2021 Hotel Discounts for Disney World
Walt Disney World has released new holiday 2021 resort room-only discounts for Annual Passholders, Florida residents, and Disney Visa credit card holders. 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, general public discounts of up to 25% off rooms at Walt Disney World were released at the beginning of May for stays most nights now through September 29, 2021. That discount is still available to book for the next couple of weeks.
In late June and early July, “Summer Fun” discounts dropped for Annual Passholders and Florida residents. That better deal offered variable savings without specifically advertising percentages, and ran through Labor Day weekend. Obviously, it has ended as that date has passed. Walt Disney World has not released any other new discounts since then, until now…
Before we start, 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. In our searches, we found few options at the Value and Moderate Resorts. Where there is availability, it often requires a room upgrade (e.g. from standard to preferred view…or the dreaded Pirate Rooms), thus at least partially negating the benefit of the discount.
Just something to keep in mind before getting your hopes up here. In any case, we’ve all been “patiently” waiting for more discounts since earlier this summer. Our wait was been rewarded with more abysmal savings for Christmas 2021…
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 December 12 through December 24, 2021.
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, 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 December 12 through December 24, 2021.
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.
With both of these deals, you’ll notice that several resorts aren’t available at all. For us, the lack of Wilderness Lodge is the biggest disappointment. We were really hoping to score a deal at Old Faithful Club during the Christmas season. Obviously, we weren’t alone in wanting to do that stay since it’s fully booked for many dates and now offers zero savings.
Finally, there’s the “DisneyÂ® VisaÂ® Cardmember December Room Offer” which is available to book by calling the Disney Reservation Center beginning at 7:00 am Eastern Time today.
This one isn’t loaded online yet, but it’s facially identical to the above Florida resident offer. Since it’s not searchable online, I can’t speak to actual availability or exclusions. Sorry, but I’m not calling to find out. (Please report in the comments if you inquire and discover a notable distinction between the deals!)
Walt Disney World’s theoretical list of eligible resorts and prices tends to differ from what’s actually available, so we did a few searches to check out actual discounts and availability.
Here’s what we found for best available rates (well, at least for most of these hotels–Grand Floridian and Riviera Resort are odd outliers on this date due to only have their upper echelon rooms available) when searching:
As a reminder, Walt Disney World does not increase resort rates prior to releasing a discount. This is a popular misconception, but it’s absolutely not true. Rack room charts for the entire year are published well 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. Not exactly a hot deal, but we probably didn’t need to tell you that!
Okay, commentary time.
These deals are pretty paltry. This is not a huge surprise–weak discounts are what we expected for October through December 2021. As we’ve written previously, those first few months kicking off Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary could be one of the busiest 3-month stretches in the resort complex’s history.
Nevertheless, this weak of discounts is not precisely what we’ve been expecting. If past precedent and historic trends were any indication, discounts for late September or early October through December 24, 2021 should have been released in mid-July 2021. In other posts, we commented that we wouldn’t be surprised if that discount release occurred about a month later than normal this year.
Instead, the deal drop occurred two full months later than normal, and offered nothing for October, November, or the first two weeks of December. Not quite what we hoped for or even anticipated.
Perhaps we should’ve seen this coming, though. 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?)
That offers an in-depth explanation of the current phenomenon, which I’m not going to rehash here. In a nutshell, it’s a matter of 50th Anniversary demand colliding with low room supply.
With that said, we expressed optimism back when Walt Disney World Announced Reopening Dates for ALL Closed Hotels. The addition of nearly 10,000 more hotel rooms coming online by October 28, 2021 amounted to over 30% of Walt Disney World’s total room inventory.
Our hope was that the combination of the limited lead time between the announced reopening and the return of those resorts coupled with the sheer number of rooms that’ll be returning around the same time would be good news for Walt Disney World vacation planners. At the time, we commented that it might be a recipe for better discounts than what we’ve been seeing. Obviously, that proved not to be the case.
Subsequent to that, there have been low crowds this off-season and a surge of cancellations, which we’ve documented in weekly crowd reports for the last month-plus. The primary causes of cancellations are likely Florida’s record case numbers and Walt Disney World’s reinstated indoor mask rule.
While low off-season crowds would have little bearing on deals for October through December, we had heard that cancellations extended beyond the off-season. In talking with travel agents and third party vendors we know, all anecdotally stated that they were seeing cancellations through the end of the year. Again, this seemed to bode well for discounts. Also again, that proved not to be the case.
Despite this, room availability has still been scarce for October through December, with many readers reporting that they’ve been unable to find anything at all for their resort of choice. Others have had to do forced split stays at Walt Disney World resorts just to secure their desired dates. We’ve had similar issues when searching for rooms.
At times, this has felt somewhat random, with nothing for the first week of December but plenty of options for the week of Christmas when the parks are notoriously busier. Although we hadn’t covered it in a post, we’ve actually wondered if something has been up with the online room inventory. If these discounts (or rather, lack thereof) are any indication, our suspicions were unfounded.
After all of that, it’s likely the simplest explanation: bookings are still really, really strong for October 1, 2021 through the end of the year at Walt Disney World. To whatever extent that people are cancelling, they’re being replaced by new bookings.
Obviously, these Christmas 2021 discounts–and the lack of deals for October, November, and the beginning of December 2021–are going to be disappointing to many of you. Most of the dates offering savings are among the highest season in resort rate charts, so prices are still very high even post-discount.
Beyond those traveling in the last quarter of the calendar year, the strong resort bookings might be disheartening for those who have been upset by recent announcements about Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, among other things.
However, as we’ve said repeatedly, any potential downturn in attendance or resort reservations driven by those practices or pricing probably wouldn’t be visible until early 2022.
October through December 2021 were always going to be busy due to a mix of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, Halloween, and Christmas. (Different topic for a different day, but this doesn’t necessarily mean crowds will be sky high for all 3 months–fans focused on the fiftieth are disproportionately likely to stay on-site.)
Nevertheless, if you’re an Annual Passholder or Florida resident who is eager for an escape to Walt Disney World this holiday season and you don’t mind overpaying a bit, can’t find any better options via Disney Vacation Club Point Rentals (it’s pretty much only confirmed reservations now) or Priceline Express Deals (more of those have been coming out lately, so perhaps that’s how WDW will unload unsold rooms this holiday season), this might be as good as it’ll get for you.
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, Florida residents, and Disney Visa credit card holders? Disappointed that there’s nothing for the general public, or for October and November? 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!
I spent two hours on the phone this morning (1st call was dropped 55 min in). The Visa card offer was just loaded and they aren’t able to apply it yet.
Something doesn’t make sense here.
We were looking for rooms at POR for 12/2-/12-7, and there *literarily* are no rooms available at ANY onsite Disney hotel for that time.
Swan and Dolphin have room, Four Seasons has room.
Park reservations for ALL parks are available for ALL days in that timeframe…. if this was about revenge or 50th anniversary travel, then surely the Magic Kingdom would not have reservations available?
I still think something might be up with not all of the hotel inventory showing online, simply because it seems unlikely bookings would still be so strong given all of the cancellations.
However, it’s entirely possible all on-site rooms could be booked and no parks ‘sold out’ of Park Passes. The overwhelming majority of guests come from off-site, so if those bookings aren’t as strong (or if people simply haven’t booked park reservations yet) that would explain it.
Discounted rates are still ridiculously high. No way would I spend $200 (when you add taxes) on an All-Star Resort. I’ve started staying off site more. Just paid $69 for a room at Universal Endless Summer. Room was clean, bright and well themed. Food was decent and at a much better price point than Disney. Things will not change unless guests stop booking Disney Resorts and spend their money elsewhere.
Got the email this afternoon for Disney Visa Cardholders:
25% at Animal Kingdom Lodge
20% at Art of Animation Suites
20% at Port Orleans-Riverside
and ask about “other great rates” at
Port Orleans-French Quarter
Yeah, these are weak. 2 weeks only, ending Christmas Day. The summer offers were terrible, with rack room rates better than most of the “savings” offers, due to the rooms being discounted. Ah, the glory of last Christmas’s offers! Long will they live on in our memory!
These, not so much. But a savings is a savings, so good luck to those who can get them!
I was able to shave off about $300 on a 2 night stay mid Dec at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Thank you for this article!
We were booked for a family suite at AoA for 2 nights Dec 17-19, so I was able to rebook with the Visa discount. Saved me about $300 for those 2 nights. So while not earth shattering, I guess it is something?
We’ll be at WDW Dec 9 -16, staying at the Coronado Springs, Disney Visa offering 15% for stays between Dec 12-24. Very disappointing. This , more than likely, will be our final stay on property. What happened to Nov and beginning of Dec discounts? Very disappointing.
This is why we continue to stay off property. We have access to a timeshare, and while we have stayed on property in the past, we didn’t see the benefit to doing so. It kind of looks like they will keep killing off that benefit and we will continue to not pay anything extra to stay on property.
You can book the Disney Visa cardmember discount from this link:
I had been waiting for a deal for our Dec vacation and got some discount, which is better than nothing, i guess.
We have Military discount room at Port Orleans riverside booked for December. We were gonna b at POP in September, but had to push trip back. Nothing available at POP in December!!! 🙁
Hoping everything works out for my trip in December!! I need to Escape!! With Hurricane IDA Destroying my Son’s room etc
Skimpy discounts and nothing for November. With Disney tacking on up charges to things that were once free we have decided it will be our last trip. Too many other places to visit that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
I get that their holiday bookings are holding steady enough that they apparently feel they don’t need more expansive discounts, and I think an earlier article mentioned WDW’s concern that the discounts wouldn’t necessarily spur more holiday travel for new bookings and would instead get those who already made reservations to re-book for a discounted package. But I sincerely wonder if this will cause a bump in cancellations/move to a lower tier hotel or offsite because people made their reservations with the expectation that they wouldn’t ultimately pay rack rate. Especially with the relatively low $200 deposit, the 30 day cancellation window, and the ability to make park reservations right away, people are incentivized to make hotel reservations they’re not set on keeping. Maybe if there are enough cancellations WDW will have to reconsider and expand these a little more to try and keep their current bookings locked in. This is Disney . . . a girl can dream!
I just called to try and apply the Disney Visa discount to my existing reservations. I am booked at Wilderness Lodge in December. Unfortunately, WL is not included in this promotion. Here is the info I was given: AKL 25%; BI and YC 20%; BC and GF 10%.
I had them go ahead and price out the Yacht Club for me. There was only a $57 difference between the discounted room at YC and non discounted room at WL. Not nearly enough to make me give up the ambiance of WL at Christmas.
Called re. the Disney Chase Visa Discount for an already-booked preferred room at All-Star Movies 12/15 – 12/19 and there nothing for that resort. They offered Sports or Music, but we want Movies or Pop Century (also nothing for PC), so no discounts for us.
Thank you for this info – we are Disney Visa card holders and did not receive any notification about this discount, and I check my account online almost daily! (Can’t go this Dec, but would love to get notifications from Visa about the promotion in advance)
very disappointed that there are no discounts for October plus they are going to start the Genie+ If I wasn’t celebrating my 50th birthday in the park, I would have cancelled or rescheduled to a time with discounts. This is the last Disney vacation for me and the fam.
Ah, the problems with a lenient cancellation policy. I wonder what actual occupancy is at? I suspect the numbers to fluctuate a lot at the end of the year as other states spike with delta as the cold weather drives people indoors.
I bet plenty of rooms are only booked “in theory”.
soooo disappointed in this lackluster discount. Can someone tell me why the discount for the CBC is 10% but Port Orleans is 20%? Are they not the same level resort? We are one of the lucky ones that got “stuck” with a pirate room due to no other rooms available (this reservation was made in July!). I need to call anyway for the discount to be applied, but can anyone tell me why I should not switch besides convenience of the skyliner at CBC so I can get the better discount?
Oh, any news on dining plans coming back would be great. This xmas trip is the only time we get the dining plan.
Kelly, I received a unique offer code as well! I hadn’t received one in quite awhile either so I was surprised too.
Thanks Disney for the AP discount! I hold a gold pass and the discount is useless as most of those dates are blacked out.