Every once in a while a light bulb goes off and something you “knew” in one context makes life better in another. A simple trick I’ve known for years just became that best Disney World hotel hack I’ve ever seen!
The hack involves Priceline Express Deals. If you’re not familiar, Priceline has two “opaque” pricing models. The traditional one is where you bid on a hotel. The hack for Priceline involves researching sites such as Bidding for Travel to see what others have won. Priceline provides limited information and you have to take a chance on the rest.
However, With Express Deals you see the retail price, the percentage off, and all of the hotel’s specific amenities.
Do you see where I’m going yet?
With Priceline Express Deals it is remarkably easy to suss out the details to figure out which hotel the deal references. Even better, Disney World Hotels are limited to two very specific neighborhoods and all have free parking. Between those two criteria the list of possibilities gets very short. Basic math lets you figure out the rest!
To make life easier for you (and myself) I edited both these searches down to remove any criteria that wouldn’t fit a Disney resort: Walt Disney World-Bonnet Creek and Walt Disney World- Disney Springs.
If the search resets, click the following:
- Neighborhood: Walt Disney World- Bonnet Creek and/or Walt Disney World-Disney Springs
- Ameneties: Free Parking
This is how the Disney World Hotel hack works in real life
I’m looking for a room on property for April 29. A Priceline search for Walt Disney World-Bonnet Creek (using my limited search) returned the following:
Now not every search will be this straightforward. However, by comparing the percentage off (in this case 62% off of $296 is $112) it just takes a bit of sleuthing to figure out what you’re looking at. Even better, this prices into a preferred category room so we might even get one of the Pirate rooms!
Completing my booking, here’s what I see:
A reminder: Booking via 3rd Party at Disney is just like booking via a travel agent or over Disney’s site. You get all the same benefits.
The Disney reservation number takes 24- 48 hours to show up, especially over the weekend. After a couple of days go onto chat and type the following: “Hi there, I booked a Disney reservation and need to get their number which starts with 4. The priceline number is XXXXXXXX.”
Conversely you can call Disney. DO NOT SAY “I booked through Priceline” or they will just shut down and tell you to call Priceline. Say “I need to get my reservation number” and they’ll look it up for you. If you don’t get a helpful cast member the first time, Hang Up and Call Again (AKA HUCA).
I see three risks with booking via Priceline Express Deals so they won’t be for every situation:
- There’s a chance you won’t get the hotel you think. If you do the math the risk is pretty low, but with any opaque site it’s possible they’ll put you into a “higher star” property that might not be Disney owned. You might not want to go this route if you need Magical Express transportation. However, it will have free parking- which in Lake Buena Vista greatly limits the non-Disney options. If you want the absolute least risk, look only in Bonnet Creek and not in Disney Springs. I don’t see any 3 or 4 star hotels in Bonnet Creek with free parking.
- Bed type may not be guaranteed. Fortunately most Disney Resorts at the Moderate category or larger have two queen beds and sleep at least four. If you need a specific bed type be sure to check the options available before booking.
- Just like DVC Points rental your reservation is non-refundable.
UPDATE: I’m hearing that this may work with Hotwire as well, but haven’t tested it yet. “Free airport shuttle” in addition to “Free parking” will be the big tell over there as no one but Disney has a free shuttle to Bonnet Creek or Disney Springs.
You can enter Priceline through Ebates to get extra cash back.
Have you used Priceline Express Deals? Was it this easy for you? Please share in the comments.
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