“When can I book a 2023 Walt Disney World vacation package?” and “will WDW release rooms for dates next year?” are becoming increasingly common reader questions, especially among planners. We’ll try to answer based on historical precedent, while covering recent anomalies and quirks to how this works.
We’ll preface this by noting that in the 2 years since the closure and reopening, Walt Disney World has not followed a totally predictable schedule. Discounts have often been released much later than they would in a normal year (or not at all), special event ticket sales have been delayed, and other add-ons have been slow to return. About the only thing that has happened on schedule is price increases. Disney does those like clockwork.
This is to say that what you read here concerns when 2023 Walt Disney World vacation packages would be released in a normal year, and the last couple of years have been anything but normal. If you want to save yourself the time, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter for instant alertsabout the release of vacation packages, discounts, and everything else. For now, here’s everything you need to know about when 2023 Walt Disney World vacation packages might be released.
So there are a few quirks to this. The first is recent versus historical precedent. In mid-February of last year, Walt Disney World released 2022 vacation packages for arrivals beginning January 1, 2022 and running through July 1, 2022. This also excluded 6 resorts that were closed at the time and didn’t yet have “firm” reopening dates.
The balance of the year was released in mid-June. Normal terms and conditions for final payments, cancellations, and change fees applied for all 2022 Walt Disney World vacation package bookings.
Impressive as it was that Disney stuck to schedule, this release came with a ton of asterisks. It only went through September 27, a variety of add-ons were unavailable, resorts that wouldn’t end up reopening on time were bookable, and more.
The year before that is when we received the most questions about vacation packages, by far. This was back when hype was building about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there was still excitement about the prospect of Free Dining, and hotel availability was first becoming an issue. (Everything that happened in late 2019 and early 2020 is a blur now, but Walt Disney World was starting to see the sky-high demand that we’re now calling “pent-up.”)
The story is the same for every previous year in this blog’s recorded history–packages have gone live for booking around the 3rd or 4th week of June in normal years. While I’m sure it has happened at some point, I can’t find any instances of packages being released before June 18 or after June 24 in the last decade.
Whether this year is a normal year or abnormal one from the perspective of package releases is anyone’s guess. This isn’t the type of thing that’s rumored or worth speculating on. The information above is literally everything I know about Walt Disney World vacation package releases, and now you know it.
Accordingly, your guess is as good as mine about when 2023 Walt Disney World vacation packages will be released. Just because I oddly enjoy this type of thing: my guess is June 22, 2022. (With a chance of it happening one day earlier.)
But wait, there’s more! While the online booking tool on Disneyworld.com doesn’t offer this option, Walt Disney World resort hotel reservations can be made up to 499 days in advance. This can be done only by calling (407) 939-1936 or via an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.
In order to book this room-only reservation, you’ll pay a deposit of one night’s rack rate with the balance due upon check-in. By contrast, Walt Disney World vacation packages require a $200 deposit with the remaining balance of the package due 30 days prior to arrival.
This is actually a good option for those who want a room-only reservation, as you can potentially lock-in a rate that’s lower than 2023 Walt Disney World rack rates. If you’re going to purchase discounted tickets from an authorized third party and don’t care about the Disney Dining Plan (assuming it returns by 2023), we’d recommend doing this.
You’ll still have the option of applying discounts retroactively, assuming your reservation qualifies (e.g. dates, resort, room category, etc. are among what’s offered in the discount). Or, the special offer might end up being not so special, in which case you can simply stick with what you’ve booked. No harm, no foul.
If you plan on “converting” the room-only reservation to a vacation package, it can be easier said than done. Like all things Disney and technology, the backend system for doing this is archaic and complicated–it’s not simply a matter of the call center Cast Members checking a modify box on your existing reservation to add tickets or whatever else. Because of course it’s not easy.
What we’ve been told is supposed to happen, especially with “rare” room types (e.g. special suites) is that a new package reservation is created and then the room from your existing reservation is moved over to that. (I don’t know the mechanics of how this works, so my description might not be 100% accurate. Regardless, that’s the idea.)
In reality, what often/usually happens is that the call center Cast Member cancels your existing room-only reservation and books a new vacation package reservation. This is apparently the easier way to do it, but one not without “risk” given that the cancelled room returns to the bookable inventory for at least a few minutes.
During that time, another guest could theoretically swoop in and take it out from under you. However, most of the aforementioned “rare rooms” are not bookable online, so this would require someone else calling at the exact same time and inquiring about one of those specific rooms during the same window of time yours is released. Pretty unlikely, but not impossible.
If you’re just looking to book a standard room at Pop Century, there’s no real reason for concern. Although demand is higher for those rooms, so too is supply. It’s not some special suite that is literally one-of-a-kind. When one person books that for specific dates, it’s gone. When one person books a standard room at Pop Century, there are still (literally) over 2,000 more.
It’s more of a hassle and you’re essentially giving Disney an interest-free loan via your deposit, so why bother? There are probably other specific scenarios where booking a room and “converting” makes sense, but they’re all case-by-case. For most normal guests, normal room v. special suite is the key distinction. (I also feel obliged to offer the grandmotherism: “don’t wish your life away!”)
Ultimately, that’s just our perspective on whether it makes sense to book a room now versus waiting until packages are released. It also probably depends on your own peace of mind, excitement of having a trip “officially on the books,” and willingness to hassle with the call center.
Of course, your mileage may vary. As someone with zero tolerance for talking on the phone and being very laid back with trip planning, I’m probably not the ideal person to offer advice to people already asking the titular question. Also, my time is very valuable, and is better spent on highly important tasks, such as watching reruns of The Office on TBS for like the 6th time. 😉
Regardless, hopefully this is useful history on what’s happen in the past that provides the basis for when 2023 Walt Disney World vacation packages might be released. While things aren’t still totally back to normal at Walt Disney World, this strikes us as one thing that’s more likely to return to past precedent. We’ll keep you posted and give you a heads up when 2023 packages are bookable!
Have you booked a 2023 Walt Disney World room-only reservation? Do you typically book a room and “convert” that to a package, or wait? Predictions of your own about when 2023 Walt Disney World vacation packages will be released? Think the Disney Dining Plan will be bookable when they’re released? Will you be booking right away when packages come out, or will you take a wait and see approach with discounts, normalcy, etc? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments here? 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!