Secrets to Staying at a Disney Resort for a Cheap Rate

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Disney's Yacht Club and Scrooge McDuck_Feature Image_Staying_Cheap

Credit: ITM

A Disney vacation never comes cheap.

Furthermore, there aren’t actually any cheap Disney hotels, at least not in the traditional sense of what can be considered cheap. Sure, all the inclusive benefits of staying at Disney Resort hotels more than compensate for the final cost, but who doesn’t want to save money when there are opportunities to do so?

Here at Inside the Magic, we’re sharing some of our best money-saving secrets for booking Disney Resort accommodations at a reduced rate.

Aerial view of the Grand Floridian at Disney World
Credit: Disney

Check Official Disney Websites

Disney vacation planning should always start at the source. Check the official Disney website for the location you’re looking to stay at. Whether you’re visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Disneyland in Anaheim, California, or even an international location like Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, or Shanghai, official Disney promos and specials are always posted here first.

Hollywood Hotel in Hong Kong Disney
Credit: Disney

Related: Where in the World Are All Nine Disney Resorts?

Off Season Travel

Many travelers know that visiting a popular destination during an off-season often results in cheaper hotel rates. The same is true for Disney Resorts. That’s right, even your favorite Disney destinations have leaner seasons throughout the year—with such times varying based on location. But during less-crowded seasons, Disney looks to fill rooms at Resorts by offering cheaper going rates. These are the times when you can really luck out on deals at Moderate and Deluxe Resorts specifically.

Related: Reasons Why Disney World is Better in the Winter

Remember, There Are Value Resorts

Don’t shy away from the idea of staying at a Disney Value Resort, especially if you’re traveling with a small group or staying for a shorter duration. These “cheaper” accommodations are still head and shoulders above most other non-Disney Resorts. Furthermore, there are some, like Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s All-Star Music Resort (both at Disney World), that even boast Family Suites!

Family Suite at Disney's Art of Animation
Credit: Disney

Stay Longer

It’s a little-known fact that deciding to stay longer at a Disney Resort may actually result in a reduction to your overall nightly rate. Not only will you enjoy the benefits of a longer stay, but it also makes opting for a higher Resort category more doable.

Disney Pass Perks

Did you know that Annual Passholders living in Florida and Magic Key Passholders from Southern California can save money on accommodations? On average, those enrolled in one of Disney’s existing annual pass programs get 25% to 30% discounts on select hotels. Sometimes the discount is more.

Related: Annual Passes Return to Walt Disney World

Inclusive Vacation Packages

While not always the case, most Guests visiting Disney theme park locations plan to spend on both Park tickets and hotel accommodations. That’s why bundling the cost is a great suggestion. Certain travel companies offer inclusive vacation packages that not only provide discounted Disney Park tickets but also discounted hotel rate combos. Costco Travel, in particular, is known for offering some excellent packages to Club Members.

Family enjoying BoardWalk at Disney World
Credit: Disney

Related: Save Your Money: Here’s How to Find Discount Disney Tickets

Promo Codes

Travel websites like Orbitz frequently feature promo codes advertising a percentage (usually 10% to 20%) off certain hotel reservations when booked through them directly. The catch is that these promos are only sometimes applicable to major hotel chains. They can, however, almost always be used on Disney-owned and operated Resorts. You can even use these promo codes on top of already-utilized discounts you may have accrued. Play your cards right; this could save you up to 50% on your regular hotel rate. 

Credit Card Travel Rewards

If you earn travel rewards through a credit card, certain redemptions can get you Disney hotel discounts. Capital One is an excellent example in which you can redeem your travel points at a rate of one cent per point via the Capital One Travel Portal. This portal lists many available Disney hotel options, ranging from Value Resorts to even Deluxe Villas.

Good Neighbor Resort Perks

Those who belong to a hotel rewards program, like Choice Hotels, Marriott Bonvoy, or one of several others, may be out of luck when choosing to stay at a Disney Resort specifically. But the good news is that some reputed Good Neighbor Hotels in a greater surrounding Disney Park area are actually owned by chain hotel brands that do participate in such programs. Disneyland in Anaheim, for instance, only has three official Disney Resorts and otherwise relies on outside accommodations for the bulk of its Guests. Likewise, Disney Springs in Disney World, the Bonnet Creek area, and many other locales are great secondary suggestions.

While the point is to stay in an official Disney Resort, let it be known that some Good Neighbor Hotels at Disney destinations actually do extend Disney Resort benefits to Guests, including complimentary shuttle services and early Park admission. The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels, as well as the Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort (all owned by Marriott), are pretty much honorary Disney Resorts, for instance.

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin
Credit: Swan and Dolphin

Related: Disney World Good Neighbor Luxury Hotels You May Not Know About

Discount Websites

Whether you’re opting for a Disney Resort specifically or one of the Good Neighbor Hotels highlighted previously, you can really find some fantastic deals on credible discount sites like Priceline and Hotwire. Strangely enough, many folks overlook such options for Disney discounts. But let it be known that these sites have so many discounted deals you wouldn’t expect!

There are several other ways to save on your stay at any given Disney Resort. And again, if you’re open to off-property options, you have even more viable discounts up for grabs. Another idea is to look into a Disney-themed Airbnb in the greater area of where you will be visiting, many of which come at an affordable rate and all the home-away-from-home comforts of staying in a house!

Do you have any other money-saving tips for staying at a Disney Resort to share? We at Inside the Magic want to know!

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