New “Magic Is Here” Disney World Discount
Walt Disney World has released the new Magic is Here “discount,” which offers savings on vacation packages with travel dates between September and Christmas 2020. In this post, we’ll share the deal details and offer analysis about whether it’s worth booking.
Here are the official details: save up to $500 on a 4-night, 4-day Walt Disney World hotel room-and-ticket package at select Disney Resorts, valid for stays most nights September 4, 2020 through December 25, 2020. The “Magic is Here” discount is available for booking through December 25, 2020.
Offer excludes the following room types: 3-bedroom villas, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. Theme park tickets are valid for admission beginning on date of check-in and must be used within a limited number of days, depending on length of stay and ticket.
Sample savings below are based on a 4-night, 4-day room and ticket package at the following select Disney Resort hotels that includes a room and a theme park ticket, for stays most nights September 4 through December 25, 2020. The actual amount of the discount goes up for longer stays.
Here are those details:
Walt Disney World is touting that guests can “book with confidence.” For extra peace of mind, know that if your plans change, any Disney-imposed change and cancellation fees will be waived up to the date of check-in for reservations with arrivals through December 31, 2020.
This is consistent with Walt Disney World’s temporary new cancellation policy, applicable to anything booked. It’s not unique to the “Magic Is Here” package.
Normally, when analyzing Walt Disney World discounts, we can find a scenario where it’s a good value for at least some use cases. There are usually specific ways to leverage pretty much any special offer that make it at least a decent deal for a subset of travelers.
Not so with the “Magic Is Here” discount. At least, nothing that we can find in our spot-checking and analysis against Walt Disney World hotel rate charts. Depending upon when you travel, how many people are in your party, and where you stay, this amounts to a savings of around 8% to 13% off. There are probably scenarios where it’s above 15% off, but we’re not seeing them.
Suffice to say, this is a pretty paltry discount at a time when Walt Disney World is seeing historically low demand and attendance. The argument could be made that Walt Disney World has less “space to fill” due to the Disney Park Pass theme park reservation system and reduced capacity parks.
However, even if Walt Disney World filled all of its reduced slate of resort hotels that will be open this fall to their full capacity and all of those guests visited on the same day, that still wouldn’t put the parks at or near their reduced capacity. Moreover, Walt Disney World is offering plenty of better discounts to Annual Passholders, Florida residents, as well as those living in other states in the South.
It’s possible that Walt Disney World is still reluctant to target guests outside of the South, for fear of backlash or negative headlines. That would be sensible, albeit very conservative as compared to what other companies in the travel sector are doing.
It’s also possible Disney’s calculus is that anyone from the Midwest, North, or West who wants to visit this fall or Christmas season despite all of the changes, cutbacks, etc., is really determined or a diehard fan that won’t be dissuaded from visiting no matter the cost.
Ultimately, we would not recommend taking advantage of this “deal” even if you’re the most diehard Walt Disney World fan who feels compelled to visit this year. For one, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to recommend a trip for the remainder of 2020 given the value proposition.
To the contrary, our advice to almost everyone is waiting until next year–aside from residents of Southern states and Annual Passholders, both of whom are eligible for a far superior offer that just dropped. (Basically, those who have not experienced Walt Disney World before should postpone–those who have been before still might want to delay, but it’s not as imperative.)
For another thing, there are far better ways to save money at Walt Disney World. Anyone who still feels the pull despite everything, consider the following alternatives for saving money:
- Priceline Express Deals for Walt Disney World Hotels
- Renting DVC Points (only do this if absolutely certain you will not be cancelling)
- Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels (walking distance of Disney Springs)
- Swan & Dolphin Resorts (walking distance of EPCOT and DHS)
- Other Best Third Party Hotels Near WDW
- Vacation Home or Airbnb Rentals Near WDW
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. This has been a gradual erosion over the last few years (as we covered in “Is Walt Disney World’s On-Site Advantage Disappearing?”) that was dramatically accelerated this summer.
Beyond that, there’s also no downside from the perspective of the Disney Park Pass system–if you’re considering this deal it means you’re purchasing multi-day theme park tickets regardless of where you stay, and the Park Pass “bucket” for those guests seldom has any shortage of availability.
Hopefully, Walt Disney World will release more 2020 discounts for the general public in the coming weeks. If Florida’s case numbers continue to fall and occupancy remains low, that seems likely. We will be closely monitoring what’s released and will notify subscribers of our free email newsletter when any general public Walt Disney World discounts become available!
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 this “Magic Is Here” Walt Disney World discount? If you booked this, what did your savings (percentage) end up being? Can you think of any circumstances that would make this a “good” discount, or is it a dud across the board? Any explanation you can think of for why Walt Disney World isn’t getting more aggressive with deals? 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 called and they do t gave ANY discounts if you come from New Jersey EXCEPT if you book new reservation AND new tickets. Well I bought tickets before COVID. So I cant get jack. We made December reservations but I’m thinking of cancelling. I dont think it’s fair NJ left out. We have lowest COVID in the nation right now.
Has anyone stayed at Wilderness Lodge recently? We are trying to decide between Copper Creek where we are booked beginning September 13th or should we move to Bay Lake Tower due to worry about buses and boats not running often. Also concerned about elevator capacities! Thank you!
Hi Beth, I just ended a stay at Wilderness Lodge. I’d had a rental car booked but it fell through so we ended up using transportation the entire time. I didn’t run into any issues…I think the longest we waited was 15 minutes for a bus. So long as you’re leaving in plenty of time to get where you are going (for instance we’d line up for a bus at 9am to make it to Hollywood Studios by 10am– both times we actually got there at 9:30) then you’ll be fine.
Maggie, thank you and very good to hear!
I have had my tickets bought from 3rd party vendor for a year now. Wish WWD would give some kind of a break for that
I have an existing reservation but see no option to modify the booking in My Disney Experience. The only options that I have under the itinerary are “Cancel Reservation” and “Make a Payment.” Do I really need to call to modify my reservation? Ugh.
Yeah, sometimes that button arbitrarily disappears. (I think it’s been gone for a couple of months now, but am not totally sure.)
I’d personally wait a few days for the phone wait times to die down.
Do you think Disney will offer discounts on tickets only? We rented DVC points (going early December) before COVID hit, and still plan on going. I’ve held off on buying tickets just in case. I’ve been planning this trip for awhile, so definitely bummed about the current circumstances. BUT still excited about the trip (and have been reading your blog for the past two years getting ready for it, so thank you for all of the updates)!
Thank you for this post! You just saved me $$$. Went into my plans and updated our trip to This deal for our November visit, not a huge savings but a savings still!
Just added the Magic is Here discount to our existing reservation in November. Saved us $600 (20%), so I’m not complaining. The big downside of the discount, though, is that park tickets in the package max out at 7 days. We originally had 8 days, but decided downgrading to a 7 day ticket was worth the savings (on our last day, we’d only have a few hours in the park before our flight anyway). So if you’re staying longer than a week, your discount is severely reduced once you start adding extra park tickets to your order. I’ve been on hold with Reservations for almost 3 hours to see if they can overwrite the 7 day max, and I’ll update if there’s any good news. Oh, Disney… Just wanted to share this tidbit of information for those looking at using this discount.
I was was in pretty much the same situation, I was able to modify my November-December trip and saved about $700. We also had an 8 day ticket that was modified to 7 days and I plan on calling in a few days to see if I can switch it back but I figured the phones would be crazy today. Good Luck!
Hey Shannon, I was finally able to get through after 2.5 hours on hold. I was told all remaining packages for 2020 will only include a max 7 day ticket, so the CM was not change it back to an 8 day ticket. The discount is a trade off for the limited number of park days. You can purchase a single day (or however many days you want to add) ticket in addition, but then you’re looking at $125+ per person. Guess we’ll go spend some money at Disney Springs or have lunch over at Animal Kingdom Lodge and watch the animals before flying out.
If you’re going in late November or December, you can always spend a non-park day touring the Deluxe resorts. They have awesome Christmas decorations! Grand Floridian has a HUGE gingerbread house in their lobby. Beach Club has a life-size, working carousel in their lobby made from gingerbread & chocolate. Yacht Club has a train set with tons of hidden Mickeys (we never could find them all!).
And definitely go to Disney Springs to see the Christmas tree trail. It’s at the far end of Marketplace behind the Earl of Sandwich building. Each tree is decorated/themed to a specific Disney movie. There’s actually quite a few of them, too. And it’s free.
Thanks so much for the information Christy, You saved me a call! I guess we will have an extra pool day, my husband will be happy. The kids, not so much.
You are so welcome – glad I could help (and save you some sanity from holding for hours)! Sometimes it’s not such a bad thing to have a relaxing, lazy day when you’re on vacation. 😉
PegP, our last day is November 18. I know this is an unusual year, but are Christmas decorations typically up by then or is that still too early?
Christy – These are unusual times, so there’s no saying how Disney will do them this year. Traditionally, though, the parks are decorated in the 1st week of November. Resorts take longer & aren’t all done on the same night. The Christmas Tree Trail (you can find a blog entry by Tom regarding it to see what I’m talking about! https://www.disneytouristblog.com/christmas-disney-springs/ ) should be up & running by then.
I am so frustrated, annoyed and truly upset by Disney giving discounts to only one part of the country. I would have seriously thought about a getaway if Florida’s numbers come down and I don’t have to quarantine when I get back. I would have even made air and Disney hotel reservations, banking on everything being fine — but not anymore.
I will take a road trip to New England–see the foliage.
As someone who lives in the north, first thing I thought when I read about the southern-only discount was that it’s because Disney knows the northern states aren’t going to risk going to a state spiking as badly as Florida’s been spiking & many northern states have imposed a 2-week self quarantine for anyone entering the state from Florida. They’re probably figuring the best demographic was the states that could easily drive (instead of fly) and whose case numbers reflect those of Florida.
PegP: Florida’s rates have been dropping for weeks. You may still have to quarantine when you get back, but that one is up to your Gov.
Deb C – The rates have been dropping, but they’re still pretty high. Florida had 3,434 new cases on Aug 28th & 2,555 new cases on Aug 30th (which is only marginally lower than CA), compared to CT’s 128 new cases, NY’s 570, NJ’s 329, NH’s 19, and so on. That’s why many governors have implemented the travel restrictions.
We will be staying at Universal for our second time this year (July and Oct) because even with the discount the room only portion is hundreds of dollars above a family suite at Cabana Bay. For fairness we priced a standard room at Coronado Springs vs a interior entry family suite at Cabana Bay.
Cabana Bay is a amazing. If it was on Disney Property its the only hotel I would stay at! Im jealous!
We are going Dec 6 -11 staying at Caribbean Beach Resort. Our Authorized Disney Vacation Planner (who is GREAT BTW and I can send over his info to anyone!) already updated the reservation with the “discount” and it came to…. 7.2% off. We are holding steady, assuming better discounts are coming. If we did not have this trip planned, I can tell you $250 off would not be enough to push me over the edge to book a new one.
I don’t think you have to be a rocket scientist or member of MENSA to figure out why Disney is providing this level of a discount. They want to provide a discount for the few people that are just on the fence enough that this might dissuade them enough to head to WDW. On the other hand they don’t want to entice too many people. This is a token discount…nothing more, nothing less.
There’s no downside to Walt Disney World filling as many hotel rooms as possible. It’s only upside as that greatly increases per guest revenue.
People can (and will) come regardless–they’ll just stay off-site, spending less in the process.
Why can’t Disney give the discount to anyone? I’m coming from Illinois,,,I want a discount too, expecially since I’m paying almost ?200 a night at POP Century.
You could rent DVC points and get a Deluxe Resort for almost what you’re paying for a value.
Staying off-site might save you money on your lodging, but you’ll pay the fee to park at the theme parks. Unless your off-site location offers free transportation to the parks. Or you are fortunate to have an AP in you vehicle.
Meh, nope this is so not enough of a discount
To Kathy – AP is Annual Passholder
AP is Annual Pass.
Universal much better option right now if you feel need to travel to Orlando….Hotels are cheaper………Tickets are cheaper (offering buy 2 days get 2 free) and you get Express Pass to skip all the lines in the parks (vs no FP+), along with the ability to travel to all the parks (vs no park hopping at Disney)……………Disney needs to return these perks no matter what the discount is
Just as a side-note: I just got a Hotwire express deal for Pop Century for $82 plus tax and also saw the Dolphin for $119 plus tax.
Awesome, thanks for the heads up! I knew both of those were on there previously, but haven’t checked in the last couple of weeks.
I’ve bookdg Pop Century for almost $200 a night arriving next week. are dates available for next week?
Hi Kathy – just checked and looks like it’s $79/night for next week – I put in 9/8-9/11 and it came up. It’s under 3 star in Bonnet Creek area.
Disney is making the wrong decision, here. I think they were feeling the pressure to provide a discount, but this is an insult. The value resort discount is extremely bad. In addition, there’s no mention of what to expect for the holiday season at Disney World.
I’m being very careful with where I’m going these days and this doesn’t entice me at all.
Disney needs to get real.
Going to Disney (for us) is more expensive than going to Hawaii, even with the military discount we get, but we’ve always loved Disney & the many things to do there. But we canceled our trip to Disney this fall because we’d be getting way less in return for our money. Over half of the restaurants are closed, limited menus at some of the restaurants that are open, no meet-n-greets, no character meals, some rides & attractions not operating, no park hopper option, no parades, no fireworks, and no special events. We’d be missing out on a lot of what makes Disney Disney, but still be required to pay for the amenities we wouldn’t be getting. No thanks. We’re not even rescheduling until Disney figures out what they’re doing for next year.
Hawaii is probably not the most apt comparison right now given the stringent entry requirements, but I otherwise agree.
It’s a good fall to visit the National Parks–see some fall colors, go hiking, and be outdoors!
I totally agree, there is not much MAGIC to be found at WDW these days.
I only used Hawaii as a cost comparison because a trip to Hawaii costs a lot, just with the air fare alone. I was trying to make the point that a trip to Disney is super expensive. I’ve never minded (sort of) paying it because of what we’d get in return.
But out of curiosity, I’ve seen on Yelp that a lot of the Disney restaurants are scheduled to reopen on November 1st. I don’t know where Yelp got that information from. Have you heard anything like that? I’m kind of curious because one of the ones scheduled to reopen on 11/1 is Cape May Cafe which I found rather surprising since it’s a buffet. Any news on restaurants?
Heading into a time of year when room and ticket rates are fairly well at their absolute peak, $500 off didn’t seem like much of an offer to me when I first saw the announcement. Glad to see your opinion as well of “paltry”. However, December probably often sees little to no discounting, so maybe it is more than normal.
I’m tempted to want to visit because I’ve always wanted to be at Disney around Christmas. The lower crowds of this year is appealing, but $500 off isn’t enough to move me towards seriously considering a booking.
The first two weeks of December aren’t that expensive & crowd levels aren’t bad. It’s only the week of Thanksgiving and the week before, of, and after Christmas that’s expensive & crowded. And even with lower crowds, just having a park ticket doesn’t guarantee park admittance since you have to reserve a park day. It’s one thing to not be able to get the dining reservation you really want. It’s quite another thing to pay hundreds of dollars for park tickets & not be able to get a park reservation.
“These are NOT the discounts you are looking for. Move along!!”
In the article title, instead of putting quotations around “Magic Is Here”, you should have put them around “discount”.
Funny you mention it, as I almost did exactly that. Another option was “New Walt Disney World Discount: Magic Is Here?” I thought both options might be more confusing than anything.