Walt Disney World has released new resort room-only discounts for the remainder of 2023, covering travel dates this Halloween and Christmas seasons that the general public is eligible to book starting today. This post shares the details of these special offers, a comparison to last year, commentary about availability and the slowdown, sample pricing, analysis & other info.
This isn’t the only new discount to drop. If you’re eligible for them, there are also discounts of up to 35% off for residents of Florida and up to 40% off for Annual Passholders. Of course, many of you don’t reside in Florida or are not an Annual Passholder, so this is your best bet. Thankfully, it’s a good one!
These new discounts for Halloween and Christmas also aren’t the only deals available to book right now–there are over a half-dozen different offers. For everything else, see All Current Walt Disney World Discounts (Summer to Fall 2023). There are promos available for pretty much all dates between now and Christmas 2023, so that’s worth checking out if you’re debating a trip anytime this year, except the week leading up to New Year’s Eve…
When it comes to the current state of discounts at Walt Disney World, the situation has turned a corner in a major way! Improvements started about midway through last year, after many dates prior to that were not discounted at all. Many other dates had nothing for the general public, and only a scattering of savings for Annual Passholders and Floridians. The big change came after the start of the 2023 fiscal year, when 4 different discounts were released in October.
That trend continues with this new special offer, the start of which coincides with the start of the Walt Disney Company’s new fiscal year and comes at a time when crowds typically start increasing as families take Halloween and holiday season trips to Walt Disney World. Even though Disney’s CFO and the Parks Chairman have warned of a slowdown at Walt Disney World starting this summer, we were still wondering to what extent that applied to the final quarter of the calendar year–a time that is pretty resilient, even as dates around it slow down. Well, now we know!
Here are the official details from Walt Disney World…
Stay in the magic this holiday season —and make delightful Disney memories to last a lifetime. Save on rooms at select Disney Resort Hotels:
Save up to 25% on stays most Sunday through Thursday nights from October 2 to November 18, 2023, and most nights November 19 to December 9, 2023
Save up to 30% on stays most nights December 10 to December 25, 2023
Here’s the resort by resort savings chart provided by Walt Disney World:
Offer excludes the following: 3-bedroom villas, Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, and The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness 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. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion.
Reservations may be made online, by phone, or via your Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. If you’re looking online, expect to encounter the “We’re Almost in Orbit” virtual queue page; if calling, you’ll likewise encounter a wait time. This is because there are 4 different discounts being released today, and as discussed below, it’s the first time in a while that Walt Disney World has been this aggressive with deals during the popular holiday season.
If you want to help determining which discounts are available for your travel dates and which resort will work best for your family, we highly recommend requesting a quote from Be Our Guest Vacations, a no-fee Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. The agents there will do the math for you, booking your vacation with the best-available special offer, and monitoring your package for future discounts that can be applied retroactively. Beyond that, they help take the stress out of planning and will assist with itineraries, dining reservations, and much more.
Here’s what we found for best available rates for this discount:
This search is for the night of November 27, 2023, which is part of the “Fall” rate season at Walt Disney World. On the rack rate chart spectrum, this is the least expensive time to visit Walt Disney World in October to December 2023. Similarly-priced dates can be found most Mondays to Thursdays from October into early December 2023, and slightly higher (but still relatively reasonable) rates are available until mid-December.
Friday through Sunday nights are all going to be more expensive, and less consistent. In general, Friday and Saturday will be the most expensive days of the week, with Sunday through Thursday costing less–but still more than Monday through Wednesday nights. Holiday weeks–and dates closer to Christmas–are also more expensive. Basically, room rates are higher any time when kids are out of school.
One very pleasant surprise here is that all of the Value Resorts, including Pop Century, are in the 15% or 20% off tier, and Animal Kingdom Lodge (the cheapest Deluxe Resort and a great option at Christmas) is in the highest tier.
Total prices can end up being as low as ~$127 for the All Star Resorts and ~$164 per night for Pop Century. At $361 per night, Animal Kingdom Lodge is also an excellent option. I’m less inclined to book Caribbean Beach Resort this time, but another sleeper in the Moderate Resort tier at Christmas is Coronado Springs–Gran Destino Tower looks fantastic, and is great for a proper holiday season date night.
When it comes to the heart of the Halloween and holiday seasons, these rates are the best prices we’ve seen since late 2020–and a sharp contrast to what was available the last two years when there were no general public discounts between October and December.
For the last year-plus, we’ve offered commentary questioning whether the discounts are truly good or if it’s a matter of moving the goalposts and being conditioned to expect higher prices over the last two years. Barring a dramatic reversion, this is the last time you’ll read that particular line of analysis, as that debate can be fully and finally settled: these are truly good deals.
Some Walt Disney World fans may dispute that, thinking back to 2013, 2008, or some year in the distant past. They may also point to add-ons like Genie+ replacing free FastPass, the end of Disney’s Magical Express, or other guest unfriendly changes. All of those are valid complaints, but they also don’t negate any and everything good that happens. (If it’s your outlook that they do…well, you might as well give up on Walt Disney World.)
It is true that rack rates at the resorts have gone up in the last several years. It’s also true that all resorts except those on the Skyliner have increased a lower rate than the historical average, which is well below both other price increases on pretty much everything else at Walt Disney World and inflation.
More to the point, this is the first time that Walt Disney World has released a general public discount for October through December since 2019. There have been Annual Passholder, Florida resident, Disney+ subscriber, Disney Visa cardholder, and Southern state resident deals between 2020 and 2022, but this is the first time we’ve seen a broad general public special offer encompassing these dates since 2019.
For those keeping score at home, there was a Save Up to 20% Room Discount for Fall & Holidays 2019 that covered stays most nights September 1 through December 24, 2019. That special offer was released later (July 16), offered 5% off less than this, and excluded many weekends. This was all against the backdrop of weaker than expected reservations following the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which left Walt Disney World scrambling to entice guests to visit. (Sound vaguely familiar?)
So objectively speaking, this is a good discount relative to the same dates between October and December over the course of the last three years. If you’re a member of the general public pricing out an on-site Walt Disney World vacation for the last three months of 2023, there’s a near certainty you’ll pay less for an apples to apples vacation than you would’ve in 2021 or 2022. About the only way that’s not the case is if you’re dead-set on a resort or room type that’s excluded from the special offer (in which case…don’t be so dead-set?).
In fact, you can actually take that a step further–this general public special offer surpasses or is equivalent to all affiliation discounts for October through December since 2021. (The deals in 2020 were much better, but also more narrowly targeted since Walt Disney World didn’t want to be perceived as “encouraging” people to travel.)
Another thing to keep in mind is the restoration of free parking at Walt Disney World resorts. For those who are driving or renting a car, there’s also the added bonus of not having to pay for parking. That should amount to a fairly hefty year-over-year decrease in total prices, which is exceedingly rare for Walt Disney World!
With that said, there will almost certainly be issues here with availability. We haven’t had the chance to do thorough searches to confirm or refute this, and really, the true test is what resort and room options remain bookable a few days or weeks from now–not what’s available on drop day.
Instead, we’re speaking from extensive experience with October through December general public discounts over the course of the last decade or so (obviously minus the last few years). It wasn’t just a matter of revenge travel–normal demand is one of the big reasons why Walt Disney World didn’t offer deals for these months the last couple years. It’s also why Free Dining frequently excluded the entire month of October and large swaths of the holiday season.
There are a lot of times when we advise you to not be part of the ‘drop day’ madness, and instead sit back and wait out the chaos. This is not one of those occasions. For the best resort and room availability, we highly recommend booking ASAP. We could be wrong and reservations could be even softer than expected, but it’s better to be safe than sorry here. We’ve had too many negative experiences–and heard from many readers over the years–who got ‘shut out’ of deals for October through December.
The final quarter of the calendar year is a big one for Walt Disney World, between group events and fans who disproportionately do their annual trips this time of year. Obviously, not all dates are equally popular and occupancy does fluctuate–but it’s not in tandem with crowd levels. When it comes to Walt Disney World regulars, in particular, there are weeks that are fan-favorites precisely because they’re less busy.
In fact, I’d hazard a guess that this is the time of year when there’s the biggest disconnect between occupancy levels and crowd levels. That’s just a hunch on my part, but it’s reinforced by years of experience. (As always, most park attendees come from off-site, so the Walt Disney World resorts being busier is not conclusive of the parks being busier. There’s usually correlation, but not causation.)
Generally speaking, the discounts that Walt Disney World has released thus far in 2023 have had better availability than pretty much all special offers last year and the year before. That may not be the case with the most popular spots (e.g. Magic Kingdom or Skyliner resorts) or peak travel dates, but options are generally better if you book early.
This is especially true if you’re flexible, or are simply looking to take advantage of a targeted offer at the the cheapest resorts in each tier, such as the All Stars or Coronado Springs. It’s also true if you’re willing to upgrade room categories. (Had I known this discount was going to drop early, I would’ve had my Caribbean Beach “Under the Sea” room review done by today. The short of it is that I highly recommend the 5th sleeper category there. These are nothing like the infamous pirate rooms!)
It’s possible that being flexible will pay dividends here. Don’t get your heart set on anything and be stuck paying full price as a result. Trust me, it is not worth it. While I don’t love them all equally, I also don’t love any of them enough to pay full price when alternatives are 25% off. Every single hotel at Walt Disney World has strengths and selling points…they all also have weaknesses and drawbacks. None are perfect, yet they all are. Unnecessary poetic sappiness in a post about discounts? You bet. But it’s also true!
In many 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. For instance, under $130 per night for the All Stars–with the new rooms, perks, transportation, and free parking–is a very fair price, in our view.
Of course, rooms are 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, it’s impossible to book those past prices. (If you do have the means to time travel, I hope you’re using it for something better than saving an extra ~$20 on a Value Resort!) Even with that in mind, this isn’t too far from that when adjusted for inflation.
Speaking of on-site perks, don’t underestimate the value of Early Entry and (potentially) Extended Evening Hours. We’ve found that many fans dismiss the former due to it being “only” 30 minutes, but we’ve found Early Entry to be incredibly advantageous (see our Guide to Early Entry at Walt Disney World). For those who are eligible, Extended Evening Hours is absolutely fantastic (see our Guide to Extended Evening Hours at Walt Disney World for strategy and other info).
If your travel dates are flexible and you’re wondering which dates are best, check out our NEW Best & Worst Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World in 2023 to 2025. Four of our top 10 weeks of the entire year are covered by this promo, and as we explain in those rankings, another week during the holiday season would’ve probably made the list if we weren’t trying to spread out the dates a bit more.
That should underscore precisely why and how these dates between October and December are popular with longtime fans. These are qualitatively the best times of the year to visit Walt Disney World, and can be from a quantitative (crowds) perspective if you plan wisely. But I’m probably preaching to the choir–you are reading a Walt Disney World fan site, after all! (If anything, some of you are probably shouting “don’t give away our secret” at the screens with posts like these. 😉 )
Ultimately, there are some pretty good savings at Walt Disney World between now and Christmas 2023, with these deals continuing the trend of increasingly good discounts–especially for the general public. You can still do better with Disney Vacation Club Point Rentals, but the gap is closing. 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.
Walt Disney World offering more discounts to the general public is great news, and definitively demonstrates that travel trends are normalizing now after running hot for way too long. During that period of pent-up demand, Walt Disney World was able to ‘get away’ with pretty much anything and still see record guest spending and insatiable demand. Consumers now appear to once again have more leverage, and companies need to entice them to visit.
This should be an interesting saga to follow, and it’s almost certain that we haven’t seen the end of Walt Disney World’s efforts to woo back former fans and pull “levers” to incentivize more demand and guest spending. It’s still premature to predict the return of Free Dining in 2024, but between Walt Disney World releasing a general public deal for October through December for the first time since 2019 and the return of the Disney Dining Plan…it sure feels like things are trending in the right direction for that. (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!)
More broadly speaking, this normalization is obviously good thing for fans and Walt Disney World. Revenge travel was a distortion that had unhealthy consequences at Walt Disney World and beyond. Putting that in the rearview mirror is good for consumers and the long-term health of the company–especially its reputation and guest goodwill. Walt Disney World not doing record-breaking numbers regardless of the guest-unfriendly decisions and changes they make–and instead having to actually compete for customers–is a good thing.
What do you think of these Walt Disney World resort room discounts for October through Christmas 2023? 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!