You can successfully “guess” which on-site Walt Disney World resorts are discounted via Priceline Express Deals and Hotwire Hot Rates with these tips & tricks. We’ll cover how to save a ton of money on Orlando, Florida hotels thanks to some hacks and matching tips. (Updated April 3, 2021.)
Priceline Express Deals and Hotwire Hot Rates are similar to the popular “Name Your Own Price” feature or bidding on hotels based upon amenities and a general area. You can score a deep discount on a great hotel (or not-so-great one, if that’s more your style), but the tradeoff is that don’t know the name of the hotel until you pay. In other words, it’s a surprise…but like children snooping under the Christmas tree, there are certain ways to ‘spoil’ that surprise!
Hotel chains, including Walt Disney World, do this to dump unsold inventory at the last minute while concealing to the general public that they’re unloading rooms at such a cheap rate, which might tarnish their brand or irritate guests who paid significantly more. Let’s start by taking a look at the current Priceline Express Deals for Walt Disney World…
At their best, Priceline Express Deals and Hotwire Hot Rates offer deep discounts of up to 60% off, not just a “deal” of 10-15% off a room-only rate. We’re talking $60 per night or less for Values, ~$100/night for Moderates, and ~$200/night for Deluxe Resorts. We primarily focus our searches to Priceline here (which often has more availability), but the below deals can often be replicated on Hotwire with the same strategy…
Inventory Update: Spring – Fall 2021
For pretty much the remainder of 2021, we have a fresh batch of Hotwire and Priceline deals. Walt Disney World and third party hotels, including on-site options and nearby off-site ones, have dumped a ton of options–especially on Hotwire–through pretty much the end of the year.
Before you get too excited, we should warn you: many of these deals are not as good as historical averages. You’re certainly not going to save the 60% touted above, and you may not even save more with these discounts than standard Walt Disney World promotions. To the contrary, these are somewhat illusory, a test of whether Disney deal hounds will bite even at something subpar. On the plus side, we do have some good deals.
Anyway, here’s the latest batch of Priceline Express Deals and Hotwire Hot Rates…
First off, we have Disney’s Pop Century Resort. This is available on both sites with nightly rates through at least May 2021 in the $85 to $170 per night range. The more expensive nights are not a deal at all. The lower end of that spectrum isn’t too shabby, but it is still over $20 more expensive per night than what we were seeing a few months ago.
There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to the per date pricing–some of the more expensive dates are during what’s historically off-season and some of the cheaper rates are the days immediately before or after. It’s literally like a monkey threw darts to determine prices.
That’s not the only Value Resort available. Now that All Star Movies has reopened, it is also making appearances on Hotwire and Priceline through much of the spring, summer, and fall.
However, not much of a deal. In fact, we can’t find a single night that All Star Movies is below $108 per night. (Some nights are $185!) After fees, this is very much not a deal.
Next, we’re seeing deals for Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort pop up with regularity for pretty much the remainder of 2021. Again, it’s a similar story, with rates starting at $130 per night and eclipsing $200/night for some dates. Contrast that with the $85 nightly rates earlier this year, and that’s quite the increase!
It’s even worse with Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, which has a range of availability…but also prices that start at $180 per night and regularly exceed $200 per night. It should go without saying, but don’t book these “deals.” You can do better with the eventual discounts that Walt Disney World releases.
In some good news, we’re starting to see more availability for the Deluxe Resorts. The best and big one here is Disney’s Yacht Club Resort starting at $267 per night, depending upon your travel dates through May 2021. This is an increase of about $50 per night over where it was for the winter off-season, but those deals are likely a thing of the past.
There’s also scattered availability for other Deluxe Resorts. We’re seeing Wilderness Lodge in the low $200s, Old Key West for around $300, and Grand Floridian for $400. Fort Wilderness Cabins also have select dates in the $250 per night neighborhood.
Some of those deals for Deluxe Resorts are attractive, particularly if you’re comparing rack rates to Priceline or Hotwire deals. However, keep in mind that Walt Disney World will likely release 30-35% off discounts (based upon historical precedent) for those same resorts and travel dates, meaning you’re not saving and taking on more risk by booking via the third party sites.
As for the cause of the deals drying up, we’re now seeing pent-up demand starting to play out in Florida, and that’ll likely accelerate through this summer and really kick into high gear on October 1, 2021 when Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary celebration begins. There’s also the issue of hotel room inventory–there are still several resorts that have not yet reopened at Walt Disney World, so even as demand increases, supply remains low.
If you’re looking at Summer 2021 or beyond, we’d recommend taking a wait & see approach rather than booking anything here. If Walt Disney World reopens more resorts, that should help with deals.
In addition to Disney-owned options, there are on-site third party picks at Walt Disney World available at great rates. Far and away the best deal of these right now are the Swan & Dolphin Resorts. One or both of these are available throughout the next few months. Keep in mind that there’s also a mandatory resort fee, so what you see is not the final price–but both of these resorts still tend to be far cheaper than anything else in the Crescent Lake area.
We love the Swan & Dolphin for a few reasons. Namely, they’re within walking distance of both Epcot and Hollywood Studios–perfect for rope dropping Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance before going back to the pool for a mid-morning break. There’s also little benefit to staying in a Disney-owned resort right now. With the Disney Dining Plan, Extra Magic Hours, and FastPass+ all suspended, so Swan & Dolphin guests have all the same advantages of guests staying in Disney hotels.
As usual, there are also scattered options at Bonnet Creek and Disney Springs. We didn’t do extensive research into these, but they’re probably the usual suspects–B Resort & Spa, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, etc. Additionally, we’re seeing scattered availability for the new JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa.
All of the third party Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels as well as the Bonnet Creek Resorts are also eligible to book Disney Park Pass reservations from the on-site ‘bucket’. We have Hotel Rankings for the Disney Springs Resort Area if you need further resources to help you choose one of those properties.
We’ve also seen availability at Flamingo Crossing, which is about a 10-minute drive from Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. These hotels are pretty attractive because they’re all brand-new. Two of them opened at the end of last year and two more open in later in 2021.
Keep in mind that Priceline Express Deals inventory changes frequently, meaning you might find hotels we didn’t list if you search later today or next week, and you might not see what we’ve found. We’ll keep you posted as we continue to scour Priceline for new Express Deals! For now, here’s everything else you need to know about booking these discounted rooms…
How to Book Priceline & Hotwire Deals at WDW
For starters, Hotwire and Priceline Express Deals really can amount to substantial savings at Walt Disney World–that’s not just marketing fluff. Priceline advertises the service as offering savings of “up to 60% off” but we’ve saved more than that on Deluxe Resorts (and, to be fair, significantly less than that on others).
In fact, for a few weeks around our stay at the Poly, during which we received a free upgrade to the King Kamehameha Club Level, the Polynesian was under $300/night via Priceline Express Deals…and the rack rate ‘value’ of our room was over $800/night. Obviously, that’s an extreme example with tremendous luck involved, but even “just” 60% off is not uncommon.
With the reward of substantial savings comes risk. Priceline Express Deals is a “semi-opaque” booking site, meaning certain details and amenities are revealed in advance, but not the hotel name. Fortunately, those details narrow things down considerably, to the point that internet sleuths have made the process pretty predictable for anyone willing to do their homework.
Of course, there still are no guarantees. You’re locked in to a non-refundable hotel before knowing the exact property for sure. That means there is some risk and uncertainty inherent to the process. It’s certainly not for everyone. Another drawback is that these deals are mostly last-minute. I’m not entirely sure when Walt Disney World hotels are added to Hotwire or Priceline’s Express Deals, but it’s normally around 1-2 months prior to travel dates, sometimes a bit longer.
Finally and along those lines, Priceline Express Deals are offered to fill unsold rooms. If you’re trying to book a Christmas stay, you’re unlikely to have success. You’ll have a tough time finding good rates for multi-night stays during peak tourist seasons; the best options tend to be short, weeknight stays in the off-season.
It should also be noted that the ‘hacks’ for revealing hotels are constantly in flux. Internet deal spotters have been great in helping to uncover which hotel corresponds with which amenity sets and descriptions. Unfortunately, Priceline (and other bulk wholesaler sites) are always one step behind, meaning that successful strategy for uncovering a deal might work one day and stop working the next.
As of right now, the best options for narrowing hotel choices yourself is deselecting each “Neighborhood” except “Walt Disney World – Bonnet Creek” and “Walt Disney World – Disney Springs.” Every official Walt Disney World resort is located within those areas on the Priceline map.
Additionally, Walt Disney World hotels will have an amenity set of only Free Internet Access, Restaurant, and Swimming Pool. To my knowledge, this amenity set is a recent change (and inaccurate as compared to what WDW resorts actually offer).
In terms of star rating, Values are 3-star, Moderates are 3.5-star, and Deluxes are usually 4 or 4.5-star.
The big bummer is Priceline’s removal of the one-line descriptions, such as “enjoy jazzy evening entertainment at this well-designed resort” for Port Orleans French Quarter. These were the decisive ‘clue’ in determining which hotel you were booking. With the description, accuracy was 100%. The Hotel Canary extension no longer works, which is another big blow.
Now, you’ll need to do a bit more legwork to match hotels on your own. Consequently, the confidence rate is far lower. You’ll want to match up reviews, rack rates, and other clues in conjunction with the amenity set and location. Basically, this means comparing the normal Priceline listing for a particular hotel with the listing. If you aren’t comfortable doing this on your own, resources like BetterBidding.com can help–but even then, know that you’ll be rolling the dice a bit.
Here are some observations I’ve noticed while searching recently. First, all Moderate Resorts are pretty common, but Coronado Springs is the most prevalent, especially now that it’s no longer peak convention season. While prices fluctuate highly based upon season and occupancy rates, I’d say a “good” rate for a Moderate is $130/night or less.
Second, the Deluxe Resort you’ll see most frequently is Animal Kingdom Lodge, with rates in the neighborhood of $165-$225. Other Deluxe Resorts have appeared on Priceline Express Deals. I’ve seen almost every single one, including the Polynesian and Grand Floridian.
Finally, Value Resorts also have appeared on Priceline Express Deals with some degree of regularity, with common options including the Little Mermaid Rooms at Art of Animation and All Star Sports (during their refurbishments, Movies and Music have been less common). Of all resorts, the All Stars appear most commonly, and we’ve seen them for prices as low as the mid-$40 per night range.
Overall, Priceline Express Deals is a great option for saving a lot of money on Walt Disney World hotels, but it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s no longer the ‘sure thing’ that it once was, but with a bit of legwork, you can narrow down the possibilities and still have a high degree of certainty before booking. If you’re willing to gamble and don’t mind the possibility of getting a third party hotel like the Dolphin or Wyndham Bonnet Creek (both great options that are on par with Walt Disney World Deluxes), we’d highly recommend using Priceline Express Deals for savings that are far superior to room-only discounts directly from Disney.
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!
Have you tried any of these hacks or tools to book on Priceline Express Deals? Any other strategies you use? If you’ve used it, what’s the best rate you’ve scored? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? If you’ve yet to book, 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!