Walt Disney World has released new hotel discounts through Fall 2021 with room-only deals. This post shares the details of these special offers, analysis as to how much money you’ll save with each, comparisons to other discounts, and availability info.
There is a tiered discount that’s essentially an “extension” of the previous promotions released for Annual Passholders, Florida residents, and the general public that offered up to 35% Off Hotels at Walt Disney World for Summer 2021. That deal is still available for booking and travel or stays most nights now through July 10, 2021.
There are obvious differences between the deals. The first is that the only discount that has dropped thus far is a general public room-only offer. Annual Passholders and Florida residents will likely see discounts released later, and will be left with the table scraps of unsold options…
Here are the official details: guests can save up to 25% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights July 11, 2021 through September 29, 2021. Walt Disney World’s summer room discount is available for booking through September 29, 2021.
This special 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, 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 Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts and Studios at Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts. Maximum length of stay under this deal is 14 nights.
Here are the resort by resort savings rates:
Note that since reopening, Walt Disney World has been touting its relaxed “book with confidence” cancellation policy. However, this incredibly flexible refund option ended last month and the normal cancellation policy is back in effect. We’re fans of flexibility, but as more returns to normal, it’s probably not necessary to incentivize bookings.
It’s also noteworthy that there is no difference in the discount for weekdays versus Friday and Saturday nights, which has been the case with some of the previous room-only discounts from earlier this year.
The biggest difference between now and when the last Walt Disney World deals dropped is demand. For the first six-plus months after the parks reopened, travel was lethargic and bookings were anemic. That resulted in some above-average deals, but honestly, nothing quite on par with what we anticipated.
Now, travel has heated up–especially in Florida–and hotel bookings are picking up in a big way. Suffice to say, “Revenge Travel” has arrived at Walt Disney World. Not only is it here, but it comes against a backdrop of reduced park capacity and several hotels, literally half of Walt Disney World’s Value and Moderate Resort room inventory, still out of commission.
Low supply and high demand is not exactly a great recipe for scorching deals. That probably also explains why there’s no concurrent release of Annual Passholder and Florida resident rates. Ironically, it’s a reversal of what happened for roughly the same dates last year when Walt Disney World reopened, and there was nothing for the general public but great deals for locals (well, reversal minus the “great deals” part).
Unfortunately, the solution for this–reopening more hotels and in a hurry–is easier said than done. Walt Disney World has already recalled furloughed and previously laid-off Cast Members, and even posted tons of new job listings. They’re still having significant difficulties filling the necessary positions. This trend is hardly unique to Florida or Disney; you’ve probably seen similar stories on your local news.
However, it’s pronounced in Orlando since so many people are transplants, many of whom might’ve left the region when unemployment skyrocketed last spring and job openings dried up. Moreover, the International and College Programs are still on hiatus, so those sources of “renewable” labor are absent. All of that presents significant issues for Walt Disney World, especially given the number of employees needed and its slower pace at hiring than local competitors.
Moving along, in spot-checking availability for this room only discount…it’s not looking great. Granted, our searches are not exhaustive or comprehensive, and usually a clearer picture takes a few days or weeks to emerge.
Right now, we’re seeing plenty of availability at Deluxe Resorts for a variety of dates and room categories. That’s probably not universally true; I don’t search every date and resort combination. (That’s why it’s helpful when readers share their booking success/failures in the comments to these discount posts!)
However, what we’re seeing early on is a dearth of 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.
This is not a huge surprise, and is pretty much what we expected. Pop Century, All Star Movies, Caribbean Beach, and Coronado Springs all have been doing strong numbers since the start of spring break–so much so that they’re overbooked and frequently moving guests from those resorts to Deluxes. There’s also the reality that the lower-tier resorts simply don’t have as good of percentage discounts as the Deluxes & Villas.
Perhaps this is best illustrated with a visual–here’s a look at the lowest rates you’re likely to find, with these prices from the “Value 2” season after Labor Day weekend:
It probably doesn’t need to be said, but nearly $300 per night for Disney’s Caribbean Resort is not a great deal. Ditto the prices at Coronado Springs and Pop Century. (All Star Movies is not available for travel dates on the screenshot above, but it’s typically ~$9 to $16 cheaper per night than Pop Century in our searches.)
Suffice to say, if you’re hoping to book a Value or Moderate, you may want to temper your expectations and/or be flexible with travel dates. Even then, you may not have any luck.
Benchmarking these discounts as compared to historical offers is pretty easy, as a very similar slew of room-only discounts was released two years (we skip last year due to the closure) on April 24 that covered travel dates for May through August 28 with similar hotel options. Even that offer is not a great comparison since it ended prematurely due to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the opening of which was expected to be a big draw.
There are other slight differences since some hotels are currently closed, but you get the idea. That summer & fall discount offered 15%-25% off room-only rates for general public, 20%-30% off room-only rates for Florida Residents, and 25%-35% off room-only rates for Annual Passholders. There was also a free gift card offered to some bookings.
Basically, this discount is identical minus the AP and Florida resident rates, which is obviously a huge difference for those groups. Additionally, Caribbean Beach and All Star Movies have lower percentage savings, and the Art of Animation Family Suites have higher savings. There’s also no gift card (but I honestly don’t remember the circumstances of that, I just have a notation about it).
With that said, the biggest difference between then and now is something not obvious from the face of the deal: availability. I distinctly recall that deal from two years ago having a surplus of options at virtually any resort. I know this because we booked it several times and had no issues whatsoever getting exactly what we wanted, even weeks after the promo was released. That was a slow summer and early fall at Walt Disney World. This almost certainly will not be.
As with most discount release days, Walt Disney World’s phone lines will be jammed and the online system will likely slow to a crawl at peak times, with Stitch eating the occasional page here and there.
Despite that, we’d encourage you to book this deal ASAP, especially if you’re considering one of the Value or Moderate Resorts (see above commentary). Same goes for the Deluxe Villas, simply because Walt Disney World doesn’t have much inventory for those resorts, so those rooms in particular are likely to book quickly.
Keep in mind that if you already have a resort reservation booked under another discount (or no deal at all), you can modify your reservation and apply this deal. However, this requires a direct availability match for your existing booking under the deal, meaning that if there isn’t availability for the combination of your travel dates, resort, and room category, the deal cannot be applied retroactively. You can try modifying your travel dates, resort, and category to see if that’ll work, though.
Based upon reader comments, it would seem more people than normal are experiencing this issue. This is totally normal and happens with all deals, but can be confusing. Think of applying a discount to an existing reservation as somewhat akin to a price match. If the exact product is not in stock at the store that has it on sale, the store where you’re trying to purchase the item may deny the price-match. (Except in this case, both “stores” are Disney, so perhaps that’s still confusing.)
If you want to help determining what discounts are available for your travel dates and which resort will work best for your family, we recommend requesting a quote from Be Our Guest Vacations, a no-fee Authorized Disney Vacation Planner that we recommend. The agents there will book your vacation and help take the stress out of planning.
Ultimately, some of these room-only discounts are fine, but there’s nothing groundbreaking here. A lot of people looking to book a Value or Moderate Resort are probably going to end up disappointed, as the rates and availability leave a lot to be desired for the two lowest tiers.
What do you think of these room only discounts 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 up to 25% off enough to convince you to book a trip, or is too much still missing from the full Walt Disney World experience to justify even those 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!