OK, Hotwire deal-watchers, we’ve got a big deal for you this time – literally.
As of a few days ago, Disney resort deals have dropped for dates from now all the way out to the end of 2021. In the past we’ve seen Priceline do this, but as far as I know is a new thing for Hotwire. Perhaps more interestingly, the Disney resorts appearing in these deals have expanded to include several Deluxe resorts.
But, here come the almost inevitable *sad trombone*: Don’t get too excited about all of these deals.
Despite what it says in the Constitution, not all HotRates are created equal. If you weren’t aware, both Priceline and Hotwire tack on their own fees to hidden rates above and beyond taxes and resort fees (if a resort charges them). Looking at a group of the recent Hotwire deals, the fee appears to be about 11-12%, but moves around a little. So, if you see a HotRate that lists itself around 11% off there’s a good chance you’re final room price will be near a regular refundable deal rate.
Also, I crunched a few more scenarios and found that in at least some Value resort cases, even deals marked as 18% off still came within a few dollars of refundable Disney rates. The Moderate and Deluxe resorts fared better (pun intended) with 18% off deals, and some of those better than others. Once you start getting into the more magical HotRates marked as 32-38% off they seem to universally save money over any Disney rate, including those with discounts.
The Usual Warnings
I’m going to post a slightly different version of the Calendar of Deals in this post – as you can imagine, tracking every single day from now until 2022 is a lot of days. Infinite, even.
So, for this post my research contains a sample of days to try to catch which resorts you may find – then I ran searches for entire weeks of bookings to see how consistent they might be. Please don’t take the calendars below as evidence of all the dates with deals, there will be more! I do think I’ve caught most of the resorts you might see – even a rare Beach Club Villas deal, which I will go into in a little more detail.
I noticed that some deals appeared only when you searched multiple days – so as we’ve often suggested for Priceline searching, if you have flexible dates and really want to find a good deal, try sliding your start and end dates around and see if Hotwire offers up any new deals for you.
As you read on, remember: ATDM – Always Do the Math. When you think you’ve identified a hidden resort, compare the rates and everything else to Hotwire’s regular pricing and to Disney before you book. Hidden deals can save you a bundle, but I wouldn’t go for a non-refundable deal that only saves a few tens of dollars. Below I’ll include a few examples of good and not so good deals.
Use the Hotwire app if at all possible. Many of these deals will appear in a desktop browser, but many won’t – plus you’ll get a small discount on rates in the app.
Look for coupon codes. RetailMeNot’s Hotwire page often has an active listing, or just scour the Internets with The Google. A few minutes work can save you some good money! For now, I believe the code RMNSPRINGTRIP might offer you $25 savings off a $200 or higher booking, and RMNBREAK will get you 8% off your overall booking.
Oh, also: If you see any deals that don’t have any guest ratings attached – be sure to scroll down the results and see if you can find a matching non-hidden deal to go with it. One example of this occurring is the 3-Star Homewood Suites by Hilton Flamingo Crossings which is showing up in both types of deals without a guest rating.
Bonus Pro Tip
If you are a Samsung Pay user, that app often will offer you “up to 4% cash back award” if you click through their link to the Hotwire app and then book – and that savings should be independent of the HotRate discounts you find. Every little bit helps!
Before we move on, I’d like to mention a little Priceline Express info: Last week at TouringPlans headquarters (I assume there is one, but I’ve not been invited, hint hint) we ran a little test to check out a Coronado Springs deal – some info in the Express Deal booking page made me suspect the deals might be for a Preferred room. A test booking went through normally, confirmation received, but then they couldn’t link the booking to My Disney Experience. As often happens with Disney and hotel resellers, several back and forth phone calls were made with no resolution occurring until about a week after booking when the room magically linked. This has happened in the past, thankfully not too often – but just be aware this might be the case for some Priceline deals.
The Usual Examples
Let’s start with the aforementioned Beach Club Villas rarity. I noticed a “4-star Condo” deal with a 4.5-guest rating on one day in May – by no means a cheap deal at $677 per night, but intriguing as I had not noticed that kind of listing before.
There are only a few resorts with that combination of ratings, but I’ve never seen Condo attached to them: it could not be the JW Marriott since there was no resort fee on the deal, and this rate is very pricey for that resort.
The other possible resorts are Yacht Club, Boardwalk Inn, and the Beach Club Villas. Hmm, well I suppose Condo could be code for Villa? Using the handy Draw feature in the Hotwire app (see the button at the top right of the map), I zoomed over to the Beach Club and drew a large ham-fisted circle around the Villas. The app updated the results to include all of the resorts in that area and Voila! The only two resort results were the 4-Star Condo deal and the Beach Club Villas. (These were 1 Bedroom Villas – and that supposedly 31% off on this day gets you a whopping $1 in savings. The new math these days is killing me, kids. Other days had better discounts.)
Now, I am personally not a $677 a room night kind of guy – but this works for any deal, so when in doubt use Draw.
Another trick is to pay attention to the Hotwire app room descriptions – on the desktop browser booking page you usually see generic room info, but the app can outright tell you: this deal is a Preferred room!
I noticed that some All-Star Movies hidden deals in the app listed the room types as “Deluxe Room” – which is a bit confusing as Disney does not call Preferred Rooms “Deluxe.” I assume they may be, but I haven’t heard any reports back on those.
Here Be The Math
OK, let’s get to some comparisons to show how the %-off discounts Hotwire lists might fare in the real world. Here are three All-Star Movies hidden deals in May, August, and September as compared to Disney’s rates. Since Disney does not have any discounts running for the summer and fall, I’ve included some estimates in gray for apples to apples comparison in case some are released in the future.
Because the HotRates call the rooms “Deluxe”, I’m going out on a limb above and using the Disney Preferred room rates in the comparisons. You can see in the first and last tables that 32% off can mean a wide range of savings over Disney’s rates – and even that nice percentage might end up being a losing proposition compared to annual pass rates!
Personally, I find the May deal to just be an OK discount and might stick to a refundable deal. I might wait on the September deal since that is far enough away I’d be more worried plans might change than the savings I might get over a non-refundable deal. At this point, I think that August deal is just a looooser of deal if Disney doesn’t release more of their own discounts.
Below are some more comparisons for the various time frames using some Coronado Springs and Grand Floridian hidden deals. It is an interesting study to see how the savings compare over time. For Coronado’s deal on November 1st, I suppose I could make the argument that saving $178 off of Disney’s prices now is pretty darn good – and even if they release discounts later I’d still be ahead. Sure, Hotwire might release some cheaper hidden deals later – but maybe they won’t! (Helpful, ain’t I?)
Calendars of Deals
That is probably enough numbering for today – here’s the calendars with a sample of deals over the next several months. Because there were so many resorts involved, I broke the calendars into a group with deals from Value and Moderate resorts, then another group with Deluxe resorts.
First a few more hidden resort examples…
(Just including a couple of months of these as the resorts are fairly consistent each month – just the pricing fluctuates slightly.)
If you’ve made it this far into the post – go get a coffee or something stiffer to drink, you earned it. And while you’re at it, treat yourself to a nice stay at the Four Seasons.
If you have any questions, or booked any great deals on Hotwire – let us know in the comments!