Last week, I checked in to see what, if any, promotional deals Disney was running through the remainder of 2013. It is definite now that we won't be returning until 2014 but I still like to keep up to date with promotions. There are two special offers of interest:
- Free dining plan with the purchase of a non-discounted 5-night/6-day Magic Your Way package (includes room and theme park tickets) at select Disney Resort hotels.
- Save up to 30% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels.
Maybe I should have been a travel agent.
Before you book your vacation, I highly suggest running through different scenarios and analyzing the costs. Even if you plan to use a travel agent. We've booked all of our Disney trips through AAA. The last one, they were able to give us a package for less than if we had booked directly through Disney.
Also, keep the following in mind:
- The free dining plan offered when you book at a value resort is the quick service plan, which means that you receive 2 quick service meals and 1 snack per person per night of stay. You also receive the refillable mug. This means that you would have to pay out of pocket for any table service meals or upgrade your dining plan, which is an option.
- Only a certain number of rooms are set aside for promotional offers so if you wait to book, you may find yourself out of luck. From what I've seen, room discounts at the deluxe resorts can sell out fast.
- The room discounts currently being offered are less than those of the past few years. The highest discount for September is 30%. Where in the past (last year, I believe), it was up to 40%.
Okay, now it's time to crunch some numbers. I decided to see what it would cost for my family of six (three adults and three children) to vacation at Disney for September 13th through the 19th. These prices include 5 day park tickets.
Both the family suites and the Little Mermaid rooms at the Art of Animation Resort are extremely popular right now. So much so that the Little Mermaid rooms have been and continue to be excluded from the special offers.
$3,260 - Family suite, 15% off room rate
$3,540 - Family suite, free quick service dining plan
$3,915 - Family suite, free dining (upgrade to "regular" dining plan)
Port Orleans French Quarter, two garden view rooms
$3,600 - 25% off room rate
$4,240 - Free dining plan
Contemporary, two theme park view rooms (I would LOVE to stay here someday.)
$8,675 - Free dining plan
Yeah, I just about choked on my cookie, too. Moving along...
What I found to be most interesting is that there's not that much of a difference between those family suites and the cost of two moderate resort rooms. For a family of four, a family suite isn't cost effective when a package with free dining at a moderate would run you about $2,400. But I can see the appeal in having a suite versus a single room, especially if you are traveling with an infant or very young children. In the past, I've thought that room discounts were the better way to go over free dining, given the choice, but with those discounts lower than before, free dining seems to be a better deal. You have to think about how much you would spend out of pocket on food and this will be different for each family, of course.
So if I was going to book today, what would I pick? Possibly two rooms at a moderate resort with free dining. We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside during our first trip and while it was nice enough, I'd like to try a different moderate. The girls loved Art of Animation and have asked if we can stay there again.
Am I the only one who wants to stay at a different resort each time?