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Hotwire Deals: An April Reset

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Wouldn’t you know it, having finally un-carpalled my tunnels after all of the keyboard gymnastics I went through for Hotwire’s April Bonanza drop – now we’re back at it!

All-Star Movies $67 HotRate Dal

During yesterday morning’s daily Hotwire sampling I noticed a few really nice hidden deals for All-Star Movies: a deeply discounted $67 a night!

As I searched I also began to notice that other changes were afoot as deals seemed to come and go – and eventually all of the Disney resorts went *poof* for a time and disappeared from Hotwire entirely, including the precious Movies deals.

After a moment of silence, I went on with my day and happily later found the Disney resorts had returned to Hotwire again.

In general, there seem to be a fair number of changes to the April and May deals, but ones later in the year appear the same as before. You may notice prices shifting around a little if you check often enough, but only a few changes I’ve seen have been very dramatic.

First: Some Tips!

We’ll include the usual Calendar of Deals below for reference – but once again want to point out that with deals running all the way to the end of 2021, there will be many others out there we haven’t listed here. So, let’s start with a few tips to help you learn some of the latest ins and outs of Hotwire.

If you’re new around Priceline and Hotwire, you might want to refer to some of my previous posts for various tips on identifying resorts and doing #vacationmath.

You know what they say: Teach a man to fish and he won’t have to go down to Cooke’s of Dublin to get fish and chips and a Guinness and WAIT is that better? I don’t think so. Forget all that.

Apps vs Browser

If you use the Hotwire app on your devices (as opposed to visiting the site in a web browser), you’ll likely notice there are deals marked as “app-only .” And they ain’t kidding – many of the Disney resort deals we’re finding are only showing up in the app. Also, I ran a little test this week by checking a sample of dates with a desktop browser as well as the Android and iPad apps. Oddly enough, I found that even between the two apps you may see different deals show up on one and not the other. So, if you have access to a couple of devices, it might be worth checking each for your dates and see if anything good turns up.

Priceline Express Aside

Jumping over to Priceline Express for a minute: lately the deals over there are few and far between for Disney resorts.  When you do find something you believe is a Disney resort over there, you may want to visit Disney’s own page listing all of the currently open resorts, because Priceline has a bad habit of posting deals for resorts that are currently closed!

Priceline Port Orleans dealsFor example, last week I kept seeing $243 deals for a pair of 3.5-star resorts in Disney Springs – one of them with a 9-guest rating. The only resort with that rating is Port Orleans French Quarter – which is decidedly not open and has no opening date set.

So, of course when I mentioned these deals to Len Testa, his first response was “Let’s book them and see what happens!

He tried, but sadly it was not meant to be.

On a similar note, I also found some Art of Animation deals that did seem active, but interspersed were ones where the crossed-out full price on the hidden deal matched a Suite deal at the resort. (They were not bookable either.) So, I guess my warning is: I wouldn’t worry about these ghost deals on Priceline – if the resort is not open I don’t think the non-refundable part of the deal would hold up. But, don’t get discouraged or confused if you see them – just do your homework, note the star and guest ratings and the location to help identify the resort, and then head over to check the Disney site.

Take a Look At Your Windows

Perhaps the most useful tip I’ve found lately is that Hotwire now mimics Priceline in one respect: it offers different hidden deals based on the window of dates you select, and may even rely on a particular starting date for some to show at all. Also, the window you select may influence the price you are given – and not in the manner I expected.

To refer to Priceline Express for the third time, their pricing is fairly simple: Say you you checked for deals on two consecutive days and see a deal for Pop Century each day. Let’s say the first day is $100 and the second is $120. If you booked both days in a single reservation, the Priceline rate will end up being the simple average of the two, so $110.

That doesn’t seem to be the case on Hotwire. For example, while checking day by day for those wonderful $67 All-Star Movies deals, I noticed they only showed up on Mondays in May. The deals on the days surrounding them were often priced significantly higher at $97 or more. But, if you searched for a group of days, you aren’t necessarily presented with an average of those prices.

Movies results table for different date windows

In this table the white rows are the HotRates I found when searching each day individually. The red rows are multiple day searches. Notice the rate I was given for the first 2 days together was essentially the second day’s rate, but when I searched for all 3 days together the rate dropped back down to the awesome $67 rate!

You can see a similar example (but less dramatic savings) with these Coronado Springs deals.  Individually, each day is $130, but when you book the multiple day windows shown in the red rows, the price per night drops. Odd, but true.

Coronado Springs table deal windows

My takeaway for this tip is an oldie but a goodie: If your vacation dates are flexible, it is often worth checking various start and end dates to see if you can save even more money with hidden deals.

Good News/Bad News: Mostly Invisible Deals

This tip is similar to the previous one, but with a slight twist.

I know from experience that people love their Yacht Club deals. There have been some good runs of them in the recent past and people tend to get pretty excited about them. Sadly, Yacht Club has been appearing less often lately. While researching this post, I was happy to find some deals for the resort in the upcoming weeks – but they are particularly ghosty and have come and gone several times now. As you will see in the calendars below, Yacht Club was showing up with a rate in the $300s in the middle of April. (You may see them now, you may not – all I can say is keep checking if you are interested.)

After they disappeared for the second time, I happened to find that I was able to make them re-appear with this little trick: if you were lucky enough to want to start your trip on April 17th, you could get Yacht Club to show up at by searching with that starting date and ending on either 23rd or 24th – and at a pretty nice discount.

Yacht Ckub table deal windows

Yacht Club Hotwire Example

If you don’t recall from previous posts, you can identify Yacht Club by looking for a 4-star, 4.5-guest hotel in Bonnet Creek that will say “New to Hotwire Hotel.”

While there are a few resorts with that same rating and location, these deals are very likely Yacht Club due to reasons.

If you are not sold on my assessment – you can use the Draw function in the Hotwire apps and draw a circle around the resort on the map to see if the deal you are looking at is in that area.

Okay, on to the Calendars!

A Final Deal for You

If one of your life goals is to stay at the Waldorf Astoria – you may want to go out and check some dates in mid July. I spotted it one week for about the same price as the Coronado Springs hidden deal! Pretty nice for a 5-star resort.

If you’ve booked any of these deals, or just like saying the name “Waldorf” like I do, let us know in the comments!


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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

11 thoughts on “Hotwire Deals: An April Reset

  • Looking for assistance for dates of 11/14-11/20 willing to do split it up and book half as hotwire deal and another half directly with Disney. Was thinking of try two resorts anyways. Any tips? Currently, I see for 11/14-11/17 $173 for a 3.5-star Resort in Walt Disney World – Bonnet Creek area and states airport shuttle which I know was a clue.

    • Hello!

      First: A lot of people like to use Airport Shuttle as their first filter to find Disney resorts on Hotwire, but I’m not too much of a fan of using the amenities unless I somehow need them as a tie breaker. There are some Disney resorts that do not have shuttle as an amenity on hidden deals (Grand Flo for one) and there are some non-Disney resorts that do. Also, both Priceline and Hotwire like to change amenities over time and add some that don’t make sense. (Yacht Club is apparently Beach Front!) That makes amenities too much work for me.

      I like to stick to Stars, guest rating, location, review count, and sub-amenities (if the last 2 are showing on the deal.) Also, when search results are normal as they are again now, you can note the crossed out “full” price on a hidden deal and scroll down the results to find a non-hidden deal that has the same ratings and is within $1 of that price.

      I don’t see anything for all of your dates together, but I also see that 3.5* resort on 11/14-11/17 (it extends to 11/14 – 11/18 as well) – it is $168 on my iPad app. That is very likely Coronado Springs. You can verify it by checking the 4 sub-amenities when you click on the deal: all will be 4.5 except Room cleanliness which is currently 4.6. Plus if you see a couple of reviews they’ll say “Shopping restaurants, bars, Manila bay” – which makes no sense, what is Manila bay? But, I just booked CSR myself and that was on it and has been for a long time. Finally, you can use the Draw technique in the app and draw a circle just around Coronado and the deal should be the only thing that shows up in results.

      The room types on the CSR deal I saw were Standard View ($169) and 1 King Bed (Tower View) ($335) – which I’d guess are a regular resort room and a Gran Destino Tower room respectively.
      Note, you’ll usually want to book these deals with 2 adults and call Disney Wholesale (1-407-939-7671) to add kids later if you need to. If you search for more than 2 people, Hotwire will increase the price or the deal could just go away. (Is there a risk to getting assigned a King and then have to make some calls to get Wholesale and Hotwire clear things up? Sure – but a small one since the vast majority of Disney rooms accommodate 4 people. But in the years I’ve been doing I don’t know of anyone who didn’t get what they needed in the end.)

      For what it’s worth, I also see a 4-star, 4.4-guest deal on 11/14-11/17 for $263 with a crossed out full price of $518 – when I scroll down I see Saratoga is $519, so that’s a match. (Room types are Studio and 1BR Villa. I’m guessing most people are getting the studio on that one!)

      I don’t see anything good for the 11/17 – 11/20 range. You may see some deals that are listed as “11% off” or so – usually you should avoid those as the hidden deal fees eat up any savings. You ideally want a discount well above that to make a non-refundable deal worth getting IMHO.

  • Are you going to create a new report for the Summer. I’m looking for June 18 to June 23. New to Hotwire and Disney direct only has standard pricing left. Thank you. Learning a lot.

    • Hi Joseph, I’m always looking out for a new drop of deals, but lately it has mostly been more of the same. Priceline continues to be a dead zone for Disney resort deals. Some of the Hotwire deals I’ve reported on have shifted around over time, but until now nothing I felt a big enough deal to update with. May and June have had surprisingly less deals than I would have expected at this point and sadly I see nothing Disney around your dates.

      Right now I’m checking into a smallish Pop drop in August, but haven’t had time to check it all out yet.
      I’ll keep checking and suggest you do too – you never know when a new drop will happen for your dates!

  • Hi John,
    I’ve gotten pretty good at identifying which hotel the hot rates are on Hotwire, but this one is stumping me. Our night is August 4-5. It is a Bonnet Creek hotel, with 3.5 stars, 4.4/5 rating. The price is $253 for a Studio. Amenities include airport shuttle. I thought only Disney Deluxe Hotels have studios? And they are 4 or 4.5 stars. So what hotel is this?

    • Hi Kerri,
      I’d say that deal is very likely Old Key West, which is one of the four 3.5-star, 4.4-guest resorts in Bonnet Creek. OKW hidden deals are often around that price point.
      Aside from the Studio clue helping identify the deal as likely Old Key West:

      Coronado Springs deals tend to be in the mid $100s to low $200s and I see a Coronado hidden deal on that date for $155.
      Wyndham Bonnet Creek will appear as 3.5-star CONDO in hidden deals.
      Silver Lake Resort will often show the review count (now around 984) which will give it away – plus the deals for that resort will typically be much lower if any appear.

      Good luck!

      • Thank you! I thought all Deluxe resorts were 4 or 4.5 stars, so this is great info for me.

  • Hi, Sorry if this has been asked on another post, but when comparing the hotwire website vs app, I usually get fewer hot rate deals on app. In fact, I rarely identify any Disney resorts on app, when for the same dates I get Disney resorts on website. Could I possibly be inadvertently adding a filter on the app which would exclude some hot rate deals? Thank you for all of your work & explanations!

    • It’s not you, it’s them. 🙂

      Since they reset the deals a few weeks back, Hotwire’s results have been very hit and miss. I was getting deals on my desktop browser as usual, but since I happened to clear the cookies there I get almost no deals in the browser, not even non-Disney. (They really want me to stay at the Waldorf.)

      My iPad app and my Android app were getting similar search results after the reset, but the resort ratings were different. During the reset it looks like Hotwire also finally synced up their resort pages with their deals database. (That usually happens every few days, but hadn’t occurred since January as far as I can tell.) I assumed my Android app was using older data, so I cleared cache on that and then no Disney resort deals at all showed up there – until I logged into the app and searched. (After I logged back out they still showed up.)

      It seems like a few different things may be going on, but I can’t tell if they are trying some sort of targeted results thing or they just broke something. I do suspect a broken site is more likely, but they also seem to want to drive people to use the app, since some deals are advertised as app-only.

      So, you might try logging into the app if you haven’t already and see if that changes your results. If not, maybe both clearing cache and logging back in after?
      Please let me know if anything works so I can make a mental note of it for the future if it happens to anyone else. 🙂

  • Wow, this is amazing! Good work JJT!

    • Thanks, @Star!


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