Priceline Express: A Sportier December

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Welcome back to another Priceline Express deal update – let’s block this one out for easy reading:

Good News: Amazingly, the previous All-Star Movies and Animal Kingdom Lodge December deals are still out there for the taking.

Better News: We have some new and incredibly priced All-Star Sports deals to share if you are looking for a quick trip in the short term.

Time-Sensitive News: The Sports deals are as low as a *family friendly expletive* $58, but are only available on limited days and are for NEXT WEEK so START CLICKING PEOPLE.

Let’s jump right to a calendar for your data-intensive deal perusal, then we’ll follow up with some helpful info and some more Express Deal amenity change information.

First, A Quick Recap

Last month we pointed out the Movies and Animal Kingdom Lodge deals ran from December 14-24. Also, the AK Lodge deals only appeared if you searched for multiple dates and used some slightly tricky sliding date windows. They may not show up for all multiple date windows you try.

My scientifically devised investigations (read: I searched a LOT of date windows) tells me the following for the AK Lodge deals: If your starting search date is…

  • December 14, you can find deals appear all the way to an ending check-in date of December 22.
  • December 15, you can find deals all the way to an ending check-in date of December 23.
  • December 16, the deals go appear all the way to check-in of December 24.

Why is this? I dunno.
The Priceline Gods are fickle and enigmatic. (Note to self: Check enigmatic off on words to use calendar.)

For some more info on the search window topic, check out the previous post Priceline December Updates and Amenity Changes.

Amenities Shmenities

If you do, you’ll see that I discussed how Priceline has changed the amenities found on at least some Disney resorts when they appear in Express Deals. Almost all of the Disney resorts used to appear with Free Internet, Restaurant, and Swimming Pool – but now Free Internet has been replaced by both Handicapped Rooms and No Smoking Rooms.

This week, I spotted a few more changes. First I noticed one of their high-priced Express deals that I firmly believe is for the Wilderness Lodge. Can you guess what the amenities were?

NO YOU CAN’T BECAUSE THERE WEREN’T ANY!

Sorry for all the shouting, but what’s up with that?

There were some other deals that popped up when I clicked the Wilderness Lodge result, but Priceline has once again broken their own site and additional pop-ups aren’t clickable at this time. However, my tingly Priceline-sense makes me think both of those were Disney resorts as well and still have the “old” amenities listed on them.

To add insult to enmity (check another word calendar word off!) I later noticed a non-deal Express deal that I believe was for Yacht Club – with a whole ‘nother set of amenities. So, just be aware moving forward: our old rule of thumb regarding Disney resort amenities seems to be turning into thumbthing else.

If you’re excited about a $58 Sports deal or have seen any other odd amenity combinations, please let us know in the comments!

John Tierney

Security. Genealogy. Dad. Husband. Securigenealodadsband. Also: Disney fan who likes deals. and numbers. and churros. You can find his tweeter @JJT and his Instagram is @johnjtierney

7 thoughts on “Priceline Express: A Sportier December

  • December 6, 2019 at 10:23 am
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    Any tips for finding the Dolphin / Swan on Priceline Express?

    Reply
  • December 6, 2019 at 5:16 pm
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    Howdy! Sure, let’s start with the Swan as that one is much easier to spot is it is only one of three 4.5* resorts in Bonnet Creek. The other two resorts are the Grand Floridian (doesn’t appear much on Priceline Express) and Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House.

    First difference to look for: Swan will be the only resort deal with a mandatory (aka resort) fee on the booking page.
    Priceline likes to randomize those fees to confuse people, so it can change (or even occasionally be left off a deal completely) but is most often $33.75. (And note: Even if they leave it off the deal, you are liable to pay it according to Priceline’s terms of service.)

    You can identify AKL Jambo House quickly because it is a 9-guest rated hotel. Grand Floridian right now is 8.9-guest rated.

    Amenities are the other way to identify resorts – these days most Disney resorts have the amenities mentioned up in the post. (Jambo is one of the rule-breakers, it has a different set of amenities.)

    Swan has the following amenities: Outdoor Swimming Pool, Fitness Center, Business Center, Restaurant, No Smoking Rooms, Handicapped Rooms, Spa, Swimming Pool.

    Long story short: If you see a 4.5* resort in Bonnet Creek, it is almost always Swan. I think I’ve seen Grand Floridian only a couple of times, and AKL Jambo almost as rarely, except for a large deal drop of them last year.

    Hope that helps!

    Reply
  • December 30, 2019 at 9:12 am
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    Hi John,

    Any tips you can provide on getting a room at a Disney resort January 25-28th, 2020? We are bringing our daughter down to start the college program but we are having trouble finding a room during that time and we want to stay on property to make it easier to get her setup. Thanks for your hard work.

    Brian

    Reply
  • December 30, 2019 at 9:42 am
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    Sorry, From what I’ve seen it looks like the inventory for the start of the year at least is pretty booked. My go-to tricks when that happens is to try all of the 3rd party resellers – regular Priceline, Orbitz, Expedia, Hotwire and see if you get lucky.

    Also, sites like Undercover Tourist sometimes have inventory when Disney doesn’t, but I don’t see anything on your dates.

    In the past I’ve heard people say they’ve had success with things like Costco Travel, but a quick peek over there and the best option I saw was for a partner hotel that would get you EMH etc – the price didn’t seem like anything terrific though.

    You don’t have much time to play with, but if it were me I’d get in the habit of checking a couple of sites and Disney itself a couple of times a day and hope to get lucky. I hope you do!

    For what it’s worth: I just received the latest Mousesavers newsletter that has a B Resort deal for 20% off rates plus waived resort fees (which is great, I no like resort fees.) While not on site, I’d keep that possibility in my back pocket jut in case.

    Reply
  • December 30, 2019 at 9:45 am
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    Quasi-Newbie here (have always tried to figure some of these things out on my own with non-Disney trips with pretty good success) so I was wondering if there like an earlier article with top tips (like how far in advance to look, which neighborhoods I should look at/ignore, etc.) We have a trip planned for August 2020 and I want to do my due diligence. Thanks!

    Reply
    • December 30, 2019 at 10:10 am
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      Hi Ian,

      I’ve tried to sprinkle tips throughout all of my posts, so if you’re a glutton for punishment you can flip through those to see info on how to compare various facets of deals etc.

      But, as a TL;DR, here’s some basics to get you going:

      *Set Priceline Express to search *only* in Bonnet Creek and Disney Springs. That is where all of the Disney resorts are located. Just remember there are also non-Disney resorts in those locations as well, so finding a deal there does not guarantee it is Disney on its own.

      *Historically most Disney resorts had a unique set of amenities listed on Express Deals. Those began to change recently, so in the absence of deals to check lately we haven’t verified many resorts yet to see if all of them changed in the same way. But, as I mentioned in the post: if you see an Express Deal with *just* Restaurant, Handicapped/Accessible Rooms, No Smoking Rooms, and Swimming Pool it is a pretty good chance to be Disney. (There can be some odd resorts with odd amenities, so that is not written in stone yet.)

      *Use the star and guest ratings along with the number of reviews to zero in on the likely resorts. You can check all of those on the regular Priceline site and make a note of them (Personally, I have a handy dandy spreadsheet I try to keep up to date.) On Express Deals the ratings will match the regular PL resort page – but the number of reviews shown on an Express Deal will be rounded *down* to the nearest hundred.

      In many cases you’ll find that just those 3 factors together will pretty much tell you what resort it is.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • December 30, 2019 at 10:01 am
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    Thanks for the help John, I’ll keep watching the sites

    Reply

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