Booking hotel before rates available on Disney website

We are considering a trip in February 2017, probably staying at the Poly. I wanted to get a feel for the room rates, but those dates aren’t available yet on Disney’s website. I learned, though, that you can book these dates through a Disney travel agent or by calling Disney now. Is there any advantage to booking something now, so far out, or should I just wait a few months until I can do it online?

Honestly, there’s really no advantage to booking this far out, unless you don’t plan to make ANY changes to your room only reservation (like add tickets or dining which would force a cancel/rebook situation).

Packages will likely be out well in time for Dining reservations.

Of course, you can still use a TA for all of it anyway and they can also keep an eye on the promotions and packages for you when they DO come out.

I usually estimate about a 15% increase over this year’s cost for the next year.

Was wondering the same thing. Want to book April 2017 for the Star Wars race.
Really wanna get ahead of it, but I didn’t know that if you go ta better rate you couldn’t just call and get that. You have to cancel?

You do not have to cancel your reservation if you want to add a new promotion that has come out for room only, or for applying a new promotion to a package reservation that you already have. You will keep the same reservation number. I don’t know about changing from room only to package reservations. Many TA’s will apply new promotions to your reservation automatically for you if you tell them to, and sometimes they get advance knowledge of this. My TA does this. The advice for TA’s (I used to be one) is always to book now to lock in availability. The deposit is fully refundable up to 45 days out, even longer for room only reservations. If you already have the reservation and then the promotion comes out, you stand a better chance of getting it than if you wait to book at all until you hear about it. In most cases, TA’s do not charge the client for their services, they receive the commission from the vendor (WDW).

It’s complicated to explain because there’s all kinds of internal Disney codes and restrictions that even the most experienced TA or CM can’t understand. Room only reservations and packages each have their own booking codes. One just can’t be converted to the other.

So, when you book a room that early in advance, it’s Room Only, meaning that there are no tickets attached to it. Once you call and add tickets to it, it becomes a Package. So it becomes a cancel/rebook situation. The first reservation is cancelled and rebooked as a Package. Because it’s a cancel/rebook, you are subject to any price increases/changes incurred at the time of the rebooking.

For instance and these numbers are just for example (I’m pulling them out of thin air): you book now at $198/night at POP. A few months later, Disney increases room rates to $225/night. A few months later, packages are released. So when you go to add tickets to your reservation and make it a package, you’re now subject to the new room rate because your original reservation needs to be cancelled and the new reservation is subject to the new rates and policies.

That’s why I don’t think it’s necessary to book THIS far out. I think you’ll still be fine booking 7-9 months in advance.

Then we move into the Promotional rates. This also gets difficult to explain. I try to describe it like there’s different “groups” of rooms that Disney separates.

Group A: rack rate rooms, non discounted/non promotional rooms: usually lots of availability
Group B: Promotional Rate rooms (often based on where they need to fill)

Each of these tracts have their own internal Disney codes and their own availability.

The room you currently have booked is part of Group A.

Now when you call to get the Promotion, the room availability is pulled from Group B, which is limited based on length of stay, resort, and maybe even ticket type (last year, free dining required not only a minimum length of stay, but also the purchase of Park Hoppers).

so for example, Group B will have 5 rooms available at POP for 7 night stays. But nothing for a 5 night stay. I know, it seems silly, but that’s how they work it. And there is NO way to know what’s available ahead of time.

Therefore, even if a promotion comes out there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to get it for your dates or for your resort. And even if it IS available for your resort, it’s not just automatically applied. Since it’s a different code, it’s technically a cancel/rebook situation.

Disney is great though and makes it quite seamless.

Point is, is that the promotion is not necessarily “applied” to a current reservation and isn’t guaranteed to happen just because you booked early.

1 Like

whether you book it yourself or through a TA, you stand the same chance of getting the promotion because it’s based on that Group B availability.

A TA can be helpful because it’s their job to stay on top of when the promos come out and to be the ones calling Disney for you (rather than you finding out 3 hours too late because you’re at work or otherwise busy)

Thanks for that great explanation!

I was hoping I didn’t put anyone to sleep with that. LOL.

1 Like

Nope! I knew some of that, but not all. I appreciate the info.

1 Like

when are the next year rates usually released? We are going in May of next year.

Usually by June or July

Thank you for all the helpful information! Right now I’m not sure if we’ll do just room only or not. I’ve read that you sometimes actually pay more by doing a package through Disney (especially getting tickets elsewhere). Last time we went we stayed offsite and bought 5 day park hoppers separately. This time we want to do the on site experience, but I don’t think we need the dining package (we’d rather be doing attractions than having longer meals). I’m actually hoping for just a room-only discount. Do you think it’s better to get the park tickets as part of a package vs. separately through an authorized dealer? We were really pleased with how it went last time.

Very good post. I have always wondered if I can do a better job than some packages.
The room only discounts give you a baseline cost of the room…and you can add other things as you see it.

Check out mousesavers also for past discount release dates. A good time line for “deals”.I believe they cover from 2012 til now. Though no guarantee any of them will be offered again.