Disney Announces New Discount for Select Dates This Late Summer and Early Fall

This past week, Disney announced a new discount for mid-August to late September. While it doesn’t really discount the rooms, tickets, or dining plan, it does include the Memory Maker for free ($149 value).  Memory Maker is the new version of what was once known as PhotoPass. It’s a convenient way to have Disney photographers take your photos while you are in the parks. When you get home, you can edit the photos and download them for free.
While there will probably be better deals announced for this time period, this is a good freebie to add at this point if you are already traveling during this window. Contact us or Request a Quote to let us help you find the right vacation package for you.
Here are the details from the Disney website:
Get free Memory Maker when you purchase this room and theme park ticket package!For just $899, purchase a 3-night, 2-day package for a family of 3 (2 adults, one child ages 3 to 9) that includes 2-day Magic Your Way theme park tickets and 3 nights in a standard room at a select Disney’s All-Star Resort—valid for stays most nights August 15 through September 30, 2014. Plus, you’ll receivefree Memory Maker—a photo package that makes it easy for you to capture magical family moments and first-time experiences at Walt Disney World Resort.

Take advantage of this offer and enjoy a getaway that’s just the right size for your family! Sample Rates 

View sample rates for stays most nights during the travel dates that are eligible for this offer:

  • April 27 through May 29, 2014: $949
  • May 30 through June 15, 2014: $1,019
  • August 15 through September 30, 2014: $899

Sample package prices are based on 3 nights in a standard room at a Disney All-Star Resort and 2-day theme park tickets for a family of 3 (2 adults, one child ages 3 to 9).

Rates may vary based on Disney Resort hotel, room type and party size. View complete list of Disney Resort hotels included in this offer.

The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Tickets are valid for one theme park per day and must be used within 14 days of first use.

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Can you afford a trip to Disney?

Can YOU afford a trip to Disney?

HammFirst let me say that ONLY YOU can really answer this question.  In order to honestly answer this question, however first you must be informed, which is where DWDads hope we can help.

The first step in deciding on whether you can afford a trip is to find out how much it will cost by answering these 4 simple questions:

  1. Who is going [# of Adults + # of Children (with ages)]?
  2. When do you want to go and for how many days/nights?
  3. Where do you want to stay?
  4. How do you think you’ll eat – table service or counter service meals?

By answering these 4 simple questions DWDads can give you a quote (without discounts) so you can begin saving or budgeting for your trip.

**Note – We will often book/quote clients at “rack rates” knowing there is a strong possibility of a discount coming in the future.  When the discount is released, we then apply the discount and the balance due decreases or a refund is issued.

Here is an example:

  1. Who is going?  2 Adults and 2 Children (ages 8 & 5)
  2. When do you want to go and for how many days/nights? October for 6 nights and 7 days
  3. Where do you want to stay?  Anywhere on property – Value is fine
  4. How do you think you’ll eat – table service or counter service meals?  We like to eat one big sit down meal and the other meals we will eat on the go.

Given the information above the Hotel (Pop Century), Meals (Dining Plan with 24 Table service, 24 Counter Service, 24 Snacks & 4 refillable mugs) and Tickets (7 day base tickets) would cost just about $3,000 before any discounts that might be released.

 So how do I save $3000? 

Here are some ways the DWDads recommend saving:

Simple budgeting 

Put $250 per month or $60 a week in a separate account = $3,000 after 1 year

Household-Budget1

  • *Better yet each month go to Target and purchase $250 in Disney entertainment cards with your Target REDCARD (saving 5% on each purchase) – By the end you’ll have spent $2,850 on $3,000 in Disney Cards a $150 SAVINGS – Stack the REDCARD with a 5% Pharmacy Rewards Card (not valid in NJ) and you will save $300 on the $3,000 in cards.

Use your income tax refund

Many people receive a tax refund when they file their yearly taxes.  What better way to use this “found money” than on a family trip.tax-refund

  • In 2012 my federal and state return totaled – $3,248

Use your credit card cash back or miles balances

  • Disney Visa Card gives you 1%-2% (depending on the card) on all purchases and also saves you 10% on purchases of $50 or more at select locations including the Disneystore and Disneystore.com – Current Disney Visa Balance – $126
  • Discover Cash Back Credit Card – (2% on all purchases and 5% on select purchases each quarter) – Current Discover CASH BACK balance – $1,204

Save pocket change or even every $1 or $5 bills when you break a large bill

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  • Every time you come home, empty your pockets into a jar or milk jug.  You’d be surprised how much you can save over time.
  • DO NOT use Coinstar machines that charge a fee or spend your time rolling your change – many banks (TD Bank in my area) have FREE coin sorting machines and you do not even need to have an account there to use these machines.

Make a sacrifice for Disney

  • Quit smoking – $8 per pack per day = $2,920 in one year. Not only can you save the money, but you’ll be healthier and touring the parks will be easier too.
  • Give up Dunkin Donuts/Starbucks for daily coffee – $3-$5 or more per day
  • Pack your lunch daily – Lunch can cost you $5-$10 or more per day and those savings add up

Disney World Spring 2014 Discounts

Disney just released a new discount that is valid for a good chunk of this spring. Check out the details below, then check out our homepage or request a quote to find out how we can help you book your last-minute Disney vacation!

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Walt Disney World Spring 2014 Room-Only Discount

The discount is considered room-only and the bulk of the discount will be on the room portion of any stay that you book; however, there is also a ticket discount that can be combined to make this a vacation package.

The dates for the discount are 2/24/14 – 3/5/14, 3/14/14 – 4/12/14 and 4/20/14 – 6/15/14.

The room discounts are:

Value resorts: 20 % (except All-Star Movies: 5%, Art of Animation Suites: 15%, and Art of Animation Little Mermaid rooms: excluded)

Moderate resorts: 25% (except Port Orleans French Quarter: 5%, Coronado Springs: 5%, and campsite: excluded)

Deluxe resorts: 30% (except suites: 5%, Animal Kingdom Lodge Club Level or Savanna View: 20%, Contemporary Resort: 20 %, Grand Floridian: 20%, and Wilderness Lodge Club Level and Courtyard View: 20%)

Villas:
30% (Boardwalk Villas, Old Key West Villas, and Saratoga Springs)
20% (Animal Kingdom Villas, Beach Club Villas, and Villas at Wilderness Lodge)
5% (Bay Lake Tower)
(excludes Villas at Grand Floridian and 3-bedroom villas)

If you add a ticket  (of at least 4 days), you will get one more day free, making your reservation a vacation package (room plus tickets).

Here is a link to an article with general information about Disney World discounts.

As much of the country deals with record low temperatures, doesn’t a vacation to balmy Florida sound like a good idea? Let us know how DW Dads can help you make it happen!

DW Dads Best of 2013: Disney World Discounts

Happy Holidays!

As we wind down 2013, we are taking a look back at some of our most popular articles from the past several months. Over the next couple of weeks, we will re-share these tips and tricks, so our newest fans can check them out, or so those of you who have been with us from the beginning can check them out again!

Today’s article comes from August 7 and it gives an overview of how Disney World offers their discounts. Enjoy!

Going on any vacation, especially a Disney vacation, is a major investment, both of time and money.  If there is a way to save money on our Disney vacation, we will all happily take advantage of it.  There are times, however, when Disney runs multiple discounts or discounts that are not available to everyone at the same time.  How do you know when or how to get the best deal?  Here are some basics on how Disney offers discounts and how you can take advantage of them.

First, we should define a few terms:
Vacation Package is when you combine a stay at a Disney World resort hotel with tickets to get into the theme parks.  Packages can also include the Disney Dining Plan, but they do not have to.  The tickets in your package can also include optional upgrades, such as the ability to hop from park to park.
Room Only reservation is just what it sounds like: a reservation for a room at one of the Disney World resort hotels.  Tickets can then be added to this, thereby essentially making it a Vacation Package; but, it is important to note that this type of reservation started as Room Only.

Right now, Disney is offering Free Dining and Room Only Discounts for this fall.
Right now, Disney is offering Free Dining and Room Only Discounts for this fall.

Types of Discounts

Disney likes to offer two main types of discounts: Free Dining and Percentage-Off Room Only

Free Dining: This discount would add one of the Disney Dining Plans to your reservation for free if you book a Vacation Package at the rack rate.  The level of the Dining Plan depends on the level of resort you book.
% Off Room Only: This is a certain percentage off the Room Rate.  The percentage tends to go up as the level of hotel goes up.  As mentioned above, you can then add tickets and dining, usually at full price.

There have been other discounts, of course.  Kids Stay and Play Free basically gives your kids free park tickets.  In the past, there have been gift cards given out or free nights added, but these are a lot less common today.

Who Gets Discounts?
General Public
: Many of the discounts are available to the general public; however, there are a few groups that sometimes get to take advantage of them first:
Disney Visa Cardholders: Sometimes get to book with a discount a few days earlier than the general public.
Annual Passholders: They also get to book a few days early.  AP holders also get many discounts offered to them exclusively throughout the year, including special room rates.
Florida Residents: If you live in Florida, you can often get special room rates.
Pin Code Recipients: Many times, Disney sends out personalized postcards or e-mails that include a unique code.  This code allows the recipient to take advantage of an unpublished discount (free dining, room only, etc.).  Who gets these codes and why? That is a mystery only Disney knows the answer to!

This year's Food and Wine Festival is included among the dates for this Fall's discounts.
This year’s Food and Wine Festival is included among the dates for this Fall’s discounts.

What You Need To Know
1. You can only take advantage of one discount at a time; no double dipping!
2. Most discounts require you to pay for some of your vacation at rack rate.  Often, two discounts are offered at the same time, so do the math to see which is the better deal for you.
3. There are only a certain number of rooms at each resort earmarked for each discount.  So, the discounted rooms will sell out before the actual resort runs out of rooms.
4. If you book a vacation at rack rate, then a discount comes out, you can call and have them apply the discount to your reservation, as long as your room type is still available under the discount.
5. If the room you want is sold out under a discount, keep calling back.  It may become available as others change their vacation plans.
6. Let a Disney Vacation Specialist do the work for you! DW Dads are Disney Vacation Specialists. At no cost to you, we will find you the best discount available for your family.  If one is not currently available, we will keep in constant contact with Disney to apply a discount to your reservation as soon as it is released.  Let us crunch the numbers and make the phone calls; you can just focus on making great vacation memories! Click here to request a quote.

Related articles

 

DW Dads Best of 2013: Packing for Disney – I SHIPPED My Pants!

Happy Holidays!

As we wind down 2013, we are taking a look back at some of our most popular articles from the past several months. Over the next couple of weeks, we will re-share these tips and tricks, so our newest fans can check them out, or so those of you who have been with us from the beginning can check them out again!

Today’s article comes from August 9 and it offers some great tips about packing for your Disney World vacation. Enjoy!

If you have ever packed a bag for a week of vacation anywhere, you are well aware of the joys of trying to fit everything you need for your whole trip into 1 bag that cannot weigh more than 50 lbs.  One DWDads suggestion to alleviate some of this headache is to ship some items directly to your resort and pick them up at check in.  So you ask what can I ship?

Just as Kmart states in their commercial, you can basically ship ANYTHING to your resort (including your pants) within a few days of your arrival and it will be waiting for you when you check in.  For our last trip our family shipped many items including 2 cases of bottled water (about $10 shipped for 24 bottles on Amazon.com) which makes them about .40 each vs. $2.50 in the parks – SAVINGS $2+ per bottle.

Mickey Box

Other items which are great for shipping are baby items.  For a 10 day stay we needed 40-50 diapers and wipes for our 2 year old.  Since the volume of that box is so large and most airlines charge for bags these days, why not buy a small case from an online retailer and ship directly to the resort.   We are PRIME members of Amazon.com so we get 2 day shipping on all Prime items to any location in the continental US for free.

Here are some items I found useful from Amazon.com:

Glow sticks $9.49 (100 glow sticks @ < $.10 each)

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http://www.amazon.com/LumiStick-Brand-Glowsticks-Bracelets-Colors/dp/B000IZ9N78/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376009789&sr=8-1&keywords=glow+sticks

NutriGrain Bars – $15 (48 bars for .31 each)

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http://www.amazon.com/Nutri-Grain-Cereal-Bars-Cherry-8-Count/dp/B000AYFCHW/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1375978342&sr=8-5&keywords=cereal+bars

Bottled water, snacks, and baby items, are popular items to ship to your resort, but just about anything can be shipped to Disney.   In 2010 we were in Disney for my wife’s birthday, and I shopped online for her birthday gifts – new sandals, and a necklace and had them shipped to the resort.  Once we arrived, I slipped them into a gift bag with some tissue and Presto she had birthday presents.  Another idea is to ship some Disney book/toy/stickers to the resort to have waiting for your child when they check-in.  There really is no limit to how you can use online shopping to enhance your trip.

 

Here are some simple rules for shipping to your resort:

  1. Make sure you have the correct physical address of your resort (LINK), and your name arrival date are clearly labeled.
  2. Shipments must be sent via courier services (UPS, FedEx, DHL) since US Postal Service (USPS) won’t deliver to the property
  3. Do the research ahead of time and schedule your deliveries to arrive a few days before your check-in date so that the items are waiting for you upon arrival.

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/mail-services/

EXAMPLE
J.R.Longino – GUEST
C/O Disney’s Pop Century Front Desk
Hold for guest arrival 11/06
1050 Century Drive
LakeBuena Vista, Fl 32830
 

Here is a list of the resort addresses (again this can ONLY be used for courier services, US Post office will not deliver to the property directly)

 
*All hotels are in Lake Buena Vista, FL32830 (Except Animal Kingdom Lodge which is Bay   Lake, FL 32830).
Disney’s All Star Movies Resort 1991 West Buena Vista Drive
Disney’s All Star Music Resort 1801 West Buena Vista Drive
Disney’s All Star Sports Resort 1701 West Buena Vista Drive
Disney’s Art of Animation address: 1850 Animation Way
Disney’s Pop Century Resort 1050 Century Drive
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort 900 Cayman Way
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort 1000 West Buena Vista Drive
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter 2201 Orleans Drive
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside 1251 Riverside Drive
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge 2901 Osceola Pkwy.*
Disney’s Contemporary Resort 4600 North World Drive
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa 4401 Floridian Way
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge 901 Timberline Dr.
Disney’s Polynesian Resort 1600 Seven Seas Drive
Disney’s Beach Club Resort 1800 West Epcot Resort Blvd.
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort 1700 Epcot Resort Blvd.
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn 2101 North W Epcot Resort Blvd.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort/Campground 4510 N Ft. Wilderness Trail
Disney’s Old Key West Resort 1510 North Cove Rd.
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort 1960 Broadway
WaltDisney World Dolphin 1500 Epcot Resort Blvd.
WaltDisney World Swan 1200 Epcot Resort Blvd.
Shades of Green 1950   W. Magnolia Palm Dr.

Save an Extra 10% on Every Disney Vacation

Frequent Disney travelers have become accustomed to Disney running regular special offers throughout the year.  With the right amount of planning, patience and luck, most visitors will not need to pay rack rate for their vacation. But, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to save a few extra bucks? Here is a relatively easy way to save an extra 10% on your Disney vacations.

The key to your savings is that you live near a Target store.  One of the items that Target sells by the registers is Disney gift cards; they are usually sold in $50 and $25 amounts.

disneygiftcard

These cards can essentially be used for anything related to Disney, including at the Disney Store, Disney World, Disneyland or Disney Cruise Line.  Since Target technically categorizes these as “entertainment” cards, there are a couple of discounts that can be used to purchase them:

1. Target REDCard 5% Discount

REDcards

 

If you use a Target REDCard on any purchases at Target, you get an automatic 5% discount.  The REDCard is available as both a Debit card and a Credit card, and you can use it as soon as you apply in store for it and are approved. While this 5% discount does NOT apply to Target gift cards, it will apply to the other gift cards (“entertainment” cards) that Target sells, including the Disney cards.

EDITED – Target still allows the 5% discount using a REDCard, but has changed it’s policy regarding the Pharmacy Rewards Coupon, originally posted below.

2. Target Pharmacy Rewards 5% Coupon

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Target runs a Pharmacy Rewards program that offers an additional 5% savings, if you’ve earned it.  To earn the 5%, you must enroll in the program and get 5 prescriptions filled. Once your fifth prescription is filled, you will receive a coupon for 5% off a shopping trip.  This coupon can be combined with the REDCard discount, effectively saving you 10%.

Since the cards are in $50 increments, you will need quite a few to pay off an entire vacation.  While it is certainly possible to purchase thousands of dollars worth of these cards, it may require several trips to Target, which in turn would necessitate several pharmacy reward coupons. So, it is best to give yourself plenty of time to purchase all the cards.  Then, it’s the fun part: paying for your trip with dozens of gift cards.  Disney cast members will sit patiently on the phone with you while you read each gift card number, but here’ s a better idea: let DW Dads book your trip and we can take care of this part for you!

There are certain risks associated with this plan. For example, while you should be able to return the gift cards (as they are considered merchandise), you will have abide by the Target return policy.  If you are outside of the return window, and you have to cancel your Disney trip, you may be stuck with hundreds or thousands of dollars in Disney gift cards.  Some guests have started small, only buying enough gift cards to pay for souvenirs and food.  Even that is a great way to save a little extra money on your next Disney vacation.

Disney Dining Plans 101

One of the most popular add-ons to a Walt Disney World vacation package is one of the three Disney Dining Plans.  As popular as they are, the most frequent question we get at DW Dads is: Are the Dining Plans worth it? Let’s try to answer that question today!

Here is some general info to keep in mind:

  • Dining plans can only be added onto a vacation package, which is defined as a reservation that includes both a room and tickets. Annual Passholders do not have to purchase tickets in order to purchase the Dining Plan, as long as they are staying on property.
  • Everyone in the room has to be on the same plan.
  • Dining Plan meal/snack credits are per night, not per day.
  • There are some ways that the plans can be used – ahem – beyond the stated policies. For the purposes of this article, however, we will play strictly by the rules!
  • Meal and snack credits are issued all at once to every member of your party at check-in; they can be used whenever you’d like.  For example, 2 adults checking in for 5 nights on the quick service plan would immediately have 20 quick service credits (2 per night per person for 5 nights) and 10 snack credits available. Theoretically, they could go and use all of them on day one.
  • Some meals, like Signature restaurants and Dinner Shows, require 2 table service credits for 1 meal.

The Plans

There are three common plans available (plus Premium and Platinum plans that include more than dining; we’ll cover them another time).

Quick Service:
Includes 2 quick service meals per night, 1 snack per night and a refillable resort mug
Adults: $39.64 per night, Children: $15.75 per night

Basic Dining Plan:
Includes 1 table service, 1 quick service and 1 snack per night and a refillable resort mug
Adults: $58.66 per night, Children: $18.88 per night

Deluxe Dining Plan:
Includes 3 meal credits per night (can be used at quick service or table service; Signature and Dinner Shows still require 2 credits), 2 snacks per night and a refillable resort mug
Adults: $102.94-$104 per night (depending on season), Children: $28-$29.50 per night (depending on season)

Are They Worth It?

The value of the Dining Plan is going to vary wildly by person.  A lot of it depends on, of course, what and where you plan on eating; some of it, however, is a little more intangible. There are a couple of ways to figure out if a plan  would be worth it for you: the thorough way, and the rounded way (that is not a reference, by the way, of the way you feel after a week on the Deluxe Dining Plan!).

Eating whole chickens will greatly improve your chances of breaking even on the Dining Plan.

Eating whole chickens will greatly improve your chances of breaking even on the Dining Plan.

The Thorough Approach

The best way to know if the plans are worth it is to do the following:

  • Plan your meals
  • Visit a site, like allears.net, and check the menus for all of your restaurants
  • Put together sample “orders” and total the costs
  • Compare it to the price of the plan

The problem with this approach is having to know what you may eat months from now.

The Rounded Approach

OK, let’s break a few things down and use some rounding.

Every plan comes with a refillable mug, which is worth about $18. Since the value per night is so dependent on the number of nights you’ll be there, let’s consider this a bonus.

Snacks are valued at about $4 each.  So, that brings the cost of the quick service to $36 and the Basic to $55.

Every meal comes with a drink and a dessert. For quick service meals, that’s worth about $6.50. So that brings the cost of the quick service plan down to $23 and the cost of the basic down to $48.50. Table service drink and dessert is worth about $11, so that brings the basic down to $37.50.

Where does that leave us?
Quick Service: You would order entrees valued at approximately $11.50 each to break even.
Basic Plan: Your quick service entree and your table service entree would have to equal $37.50.

That’s going to be real close. Quick service meals hover around $10 each, but there are some that are closer to $14-15; then there are some that are around $8. Table service meals also range, but if you’re committed to eating steak and ribs at every meal, you should fine!

The Intangible

There is one main intangible most people cite as the reason they ultimately decided to get a dining plan: convenience. Many people can put some value on the idea that your meals are paid for in advance and there won’t be any surprises while you are there.  If that is worth even a couple bucks a night to you, then the dining plan sounds like it may be a good choice for you.