Walt Disney World has several new discounts for summer, with travel dates between now and August 31, 2020. In this post, we’ll share the details of these discounts, and share some analysis as to how much money you’ll actually save with each. (Updated March 20, 2020.)
We’ll start with the update, which is an extension to the “Bask in the Sun & Fun” room-only discount that was first released at the beginning of the year. This promo originally was scheduled to end by now, but has been extended due to the coronavirus outbreak that has caused the parks to close (see our Walt Disney World Closure FAQ).
Full details of the discount are below, including the new dates and discount tiers. If you’re traveling during the summer dates of the Sun & Fun room discount, it’s worth booking something now to lock-in a deal. However, we are expecting significantly better discounts for whenever Walt Disney World actually reopens through pretty much the end of the year…
There will certainly be some pent-up demand for getting out of the house once the global health crisis is over, which will mean an influx of locals and Annual Passholders in the parks, especially on weekends. However, Walt Disney World will need to get more competitive on pricing to lure tourists back.
Given preliminary unemployment estimates and the growing belief that this will result in a recession (if we’re not already in one), many Americans simply will not be able to afford a vacation–even if they really want (and arguably deserve) one after all of this is said and done.
That means Walt Disney World will have to aggressively discount to entice guests to visit and book vacation packages or hotel rooms. This is hardly a bold prediction–we saw exactly the same scenario play out during the recovery of the Great Recession and post-9/11. Those periods saw some of the most attractive discounts in the history of Walt Disney World.
With the current situation disproportionately impacting the travel & tourism sector, it’s highly likely that Disney will need to offer really great deals to bolster attendance and hotel occupancy. For those ready and financially able to travel later in 2020, there should be some unprecedented discounts. We will be closely monitoring what’s released, and will notify subscribers of our free email newsletter as soon as any Walt Disney World discounts become available!
As for the current discounts, the other special offer was the “Savor Your Summer with a Tasty Kid-Size Package” or Kids Eat Free Deal. This is no longer available for booking. For future reference (as this is likely to return at some point), this offer uses the words “Get a FREE Dining Plan for kids” to promote the offer, and the emphasis should definitely be on the for kids part of that. Although it’s probably obvious, this is not the normal Free Disney Dining Plan promotion. Heck, this isn’t even Half-Free Dining or Free Dining Lite.
With the Kids Eat Free Deal, you get a free Disney Dining Plan for kids ages 3 to 9 when you purchase a non-discounted vacation package that includes any tier of resort room (Value through Deluxe Villa), theme park tickets, and the Disney Dining Plan for all adults in your party. Kids will receive for free whatever Disney Dining Plan adults in the party purchase.
This means that if you purchase a package with the Quick-Service Disney Dining Plan, your kids, will receive the Quick-Service Disney Dining Plan for free. If you purchase the standard Disney Dining Plan, that’s what they get. Ditto the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan.
As with all Walt Disney World discounts, there are potentially ways to leverage this offer to your advantage if your party fits certain narrow parameters or you can hack it. By and large, the “average” family isn’t going to find worthwhile savings with this discount, though. Kids dining plans cost less than half the price of adult Disney Dining Plans, meaning that you’re saving significantly less with this offer than regular Free Dining.
Spring & Summer 2020 Room-Only Discount
Next up is the “Bask in the Sun & Fun” room-only discount. With this offer, you can save up to 25% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels for stays most nights April 1 through August 31, 2020, when you book through August 31, 2020.
This offer excludes the following resorts and room types: all 3-bedroom villas, Fort Wilderness Campsites, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas, and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows.
In addition, you can turn this room-only discount into a package deal, but we don’t normally recommend that. We recommend keeping this as a room-only discount and purchase from one of the options in our Discount Walt Disney World Ticket Tips post–you’ll save more money and come out ahead that way.
Annual Passholders & Florida Residents
Pretty much the exact same offer is available for Florida residents and Annual Passholders, but with an additional 5% or 10% off, respectively. The AP/Florida Resident deal is valid for April 1 to July 9, 2020 travel dates.
The Annual Passholder or Florida Resident offer must be booked by July 9, 2020. It’s always worth crunching the numbers to see if one person in your party should buy an AP to take advantage of the better promos and other discount offers.
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. If you’re at all flexible about your resort choice or room preferences, consider waiting until later this evening or tomorrow when things calm down a bit. You’ll save yourself a lot of headache and frustration!
Overall, some of these room only rates are attractive, especially on the AP and Florida resident end of the spectrum. Animal Kingdom Lodge for 35% off or Caribbean Beach & Coronado Springs Resorts for 30% off are pretty solid deals. The 40% off deal for Visa cardholders at Disney’s Riviera Resort (covering those same dates) is a deeper discount, but that resort has higher rack rates.
Savings elsewhere are more meager. Grand Floridian or Contemporary for only 10% off is a nonstarter, and the same goes for the Value Resorts on select nights. If you’re looking at only a 10-15% discount for your travel dates, are staying at a lower-tier resort, and you have multiple kids, you should definitely do the math. The Kids Eat Free deal might actually be better for you.
With that said, this is about par for the course with summer discounts–and that alone is good to see. We’ve been concerned that the popularity of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance coupled with the debuts of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure would spike bookings and cause Walt Disney World to wean guests off discounts (something CEO Bob Iger indicated was a goal in the past). Given these releases, we’re now doubting that’ll happen. That bodes well for future 2020 Walt Disney World discounts, including a second wave of Free Dining for late fall and holiday season travel dates.
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!
Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of these Spring & Summer 2020 Walt Disney World discounts? Do you disagree with our assessment of the Kids Eat Free deal? Which, if any, will you book? Have any trouble with availability for your travel dates or preferred resort? 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!