Rack rates...do people really pay them?

It appears the newly released Sun & Fun discounts that are available for my May 2020 dates are not available for my room type for my dates (Poly standard room) They are only available for club level, although online the only exclusion listed is the overwater bungalows. I even called to confirm all this.
So here I am, looking at rack rate which is not what I’d anticipated. The CM I spoke with told me about 70% of people pay rack rates when they visit. Would you all say that sounds right? Have you paid rack rates? I can swing the cost if I have to, but I HATE the idea that I’m overpaying for something when I shouldn’t be.
I’m not into switching hotels or dates or even to a less desirable location at Poly (I asked for a pool view). My heart is set on this as it is. I guess I’m just wondering if I just need to take deep breath and practice acceptance…which I could do if I knew that others have also paid rack rates (at any resort)…but not because they didn’t even look for a better rate but because it wasn’t an available option.

The footnote is that there are limited number of rooms at those prices. So, they might not exclusive, say, Theme Park view Contemporary room, they might only offer the discount on a single room of that type. :slight_smile:

We have paid rack rate a few times, twice for free dining (though that was in 2011 and room rates were much cheaper then). We also just finished a trip where we paid rack rate for 8 out of 12 nights (4 at WDW at Gran Destino CL and 4 at Portofino Bay at Universal where we have always gotten a 40% annual pass discount) because there were no discounts that worked for us over the holidays. It is painful, but necessary if you want a specific place and there is no discount.

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I’m totally with you on this, @mell193. I was shocked when discounts came out for our March trip, and nothing available for the location I wanted.

I stalked the Disney site for a while (daily, for a couple weeks, maybe), and then started looking for other options. In my case, a better room, same location came up one day via Undercover Tourist, so I snatched it up. It’s not quite as great a deal as what I was hoping for, but certainly MUCH better than rack rates.

For you, it might be worth looking at renting DVC points at the Poly? This close, it might be hard to find points, but certainly worth looking.


Prior to my 2012 trip, I never paid rack rates and was always able to get a discount on a regular room at a monorail deluxe resort. Since 2012, I have paid rack rates (Grand Floridian, Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower) for 4 trips. From my experience, I have not been able to find regular rooms with the discount during the dates of my trips. I have seen discounts on some of the more expensive rooms, but the total price was still more than the rack rate for the regular room I previously booked. It seems the past 8 years or so, the discounts have been available on fewer monorail deluxe resort rooms.

We paid rack rate only once for our most recent trip last September to CSR. We stayed six nights in a Standard View room in the new Gran Destino Tower. There were no available discounts when we booked in June and I was hoping to adjust to a lower rate later when the Fall discounts came out but I was too slow and all the available discounted rooms went extremely fast.

That said, we loved our stay there better than our previous stay at the CR. I felt that the full rack rate for a Gran Destino Tower room is a pretty good value, it is Deluxe Resort quality at a Moderate price.

This morning, I booked our next trip to the AKL for this June. Using a 35% AP discount rate, I am only paying $14 more for these six nights than our full rack rate stay at the moderate CSR.

Is that rack rate? It’s all the same money, and a person’s gotta eat. :grin:

We booked our room for last May planning for no discount- but had I known for sure there’d be one we’d have stayed longer (it was a very expensive room) as there was no availability to add days after the discounts came out. I was deliriously happy to get the discount, but Disney didn’t profit by offering me a discount later.

If there are many like me, the discounts are not working as intended (to fill otherwise empty rooms). They’re just giving a break to people who are coming anyway. The further and further out that people have to plan, the more this is going to happen.

To be honest…for my last visit in May 2019, I’m not sure if I paid “rack rates” or not. I haven’t heard that term in ages. If you mean that you didn’t book a room without some type of WDW promotion, I probably paid the rack rate last year that I bought as a package on the WDW site… Another reason is I can’t book too far in advance not more than 75-90 days because that’s just how my family rolls). My belief is, if you got the resort and room you wanted during the time you wanted to go, all’s good.

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I think a lot of people do. People like you and I who are in the know are few and far between in reality. I think most people price it and book it and never think about it again.

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We rented dvc points but had to book an extra night. Originally booked at rack rate but I kept stalking. Someone must have canceled because i found it at the discount rate a couple weeks later. So maybe keep watching unless it says the room category is excluded.

It’s probably not really rack rate with free dining, I guess. Okay so we have only done it this trip then. :rofl:
I totally agree with you, all Disney is doing is giving discounts to people who would already go. I think it is a good excuse to upgrade your resort as well. “I booked POR for $220 a night, but now it is $160 but I can get AKL for 260, so let’s upgrade!” That’s a made up example but I tend to look at deluxe resorts when I see that they aren’t much more with the discount than rack rate of moderates. Disney always seems to get more from me than I originally intended.


This is how my DH does vacation. He doesn’t look for a deal, just puts minimal time and books it for whatever it costs. He never considers he could get a better deal.

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I don’t think we have ever paid rack rates (but we qualify for a number of discounts–military, AP). Saying that 70% of people pay rack rates seems high to me.

OK. Thanks to all who’ve replied so far. Although I’m slightly bummed that I’m not really likely to get any better/special rate, I am feeling better now that at least it’s not a lonely full price island I’m sitting on. I’d been assuming it was a given that SOME kind of discount would arrive, but we all know what they say about assuming things…

Poly standards are tough to get a discounted room, always the higher priced categories. Esp since they increased the prices last year…

I had to do rack rate over thanksgiving. Sucked, but nothing else was available at the time.

But no, you’re not a chump for paying rack or anything, you value your hotel experience and refuse to compromise on it. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that.


That’s what I needed to hear :grin:


I’ve always held out for the military discount. The first 2 of 3 trips I just took whatever value resort I was able to get the discount for, but this time I really wanted AOA. So I called back multiple times (maybe about 4?) until something opened up. I had a list of my top 4 hotels and I went through all of them until I got to #1. It was worth it b/c it really didn’t take that much time on the phone with Disney (I call late at night) and we planned 1.5 yrs in advance so there was plenty of time to adjust. I will do the same thing again next time. I understand that some of the other discounts equal or exceed the military one, but when I’ve gone it’s been the best one I could get. We’ve never done the dining plan b/c we don’t think it makes sense moneywise for our particular group, so there is no reason to go after free dining and give up the room discount.

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This would drive me NUTS. This is why my dh does none of the planning.


I think we paid rack rate for our honeymoon at Pop (just going to Disney was a splurge for us). But we had no idea about discounts and I have no idea if there were any, as we used a TA. We also did AAA for our TA, so there may have been discounts through them back in 2007. But our trips after that have all been discounted. 2016 was free dining. I guess that would be rack rate for CBR, but we saved over $1000 and our 3 kids were all under 9, so it definitely worked for us. In 2018 we got an MVT deal for POR. For this May we are using a pin code for Movies from a few months ago, which works out better than the current Sun and Fun offer.

I can see paying rack rate due to having no knowledge of the offers, like we did in 2007.

But if there no offers available and you want to stay at the Poly, then go ahead and do it.