Periodically, Disney runs vacation package promotions–some of these are well worth it, others end up providing only a negligible benefit. Examples of promotions include dining package discounts (Free dining) , discounts on certain rooms up to 30% off , and even full package discounts known as Play, Stay & Dine, normally 10% off each component of the package.
As expected, Disney typically releases these promotions at slower times. Higher demand rooms (Deluxe Disney Vacation Club rooms, villas, and resorts) are rarely included. Until recently, the Little Mermaid room (the most popular room at the Art of Animation) NEVER qualified for a promotion, but recently Disney offered it during one of its promotions.
Understanding the wording of the promotions and the reality of the ads blasted through the Disney channels is crucial to understanding a significant-savings discount versus more nominal discounts.
The wording or hype of the promotion is always going to look glamorous, which it undoubtedly will be, but the oft-advertised narrative of Mickey personally picking up and hanging out in the park with your daughter (not that you’d let her) or that your family will save thousands of dollars are rarely, if ever, true.
Disney vacations will almost always see the most significant savings when the following two things are met (1) your family is staying at a deluxe resort, and (2) your family or party has multiple children over the age of 10 (for dining discounts).
The villas at any of the resorts will, unfortunately, never qualify for a promotion, as they are kept open for Disney Vacation Club members.
Also, room discounts are Disney’s first attempt to fill the rooms, after which they will apply a more popular, higher-demand promotion like free dining to fill any remaining vacant rooms.