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The Best Disney World Ticket and Hotel Prices – and the Stories Behind Them

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beach-old-13This past July I paid $253 per night – with tax – for a standard room at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. That’s more than 50% less than the $533 rack rate Disney was asking for similar rooms. It was less than Disney was charging for the same room in 2001 – 15 years ago.  And I didn’t have to listen to a timeshare presentation or be a close, personal friend of Disney CEO Bob Iger to do it.  All I had to do was believe what I read on the internet.

In this case, I’d seen a lot of talk in our Lines Chat forum about a company called Magical Vacations Travel (MVT), whose Disney World room offers were far below the prices we were seeing everywhere else.  And that was unusual, because we have relationships with some very large travel companies, who you’d expect would be able to match any offer a smaller company could come up with. But the big travel companies weren’t matching MVT’s offers. I wanted to find out why.

I also thought it would be a good time to look at a new Disney World ticket vendor called Parksavers.com. We first noticed them in 2014, when Lines Chat folks started mentioning the fantastic deals they were getting on multi-day Disney World tickets – prices far, far below what even the biggest Disney World ticket wholesalers were offering. Disney World ticket scams are legendary, so, as with Magical Vacations Travel, I wanted to make sure Parksavers was a reputable business for the TouringPlans community.

Here’s what I found: Both Magical Vacations Travel and Parksavers.com are legitimate businesses that sell exactly the products they advertise. But the way they can make these great offers to you – the business models behind these companies – are fascinating stories in their own rights. This is how they work.

Group Sales Contracts: The Magical Vacations Travel Model

If you’re a travel agency looking to get the lowest prices for your clients’ Disney World vacations, there are a couple of ways to go. One is to wait for Disney to announce a “special offer” and book your clients at those rates – for my trip, the best rate available to the general public was around $468 per night with tax.  And many clients would be satisfied simply knowing they got the lowest advertised rate for their trip. But there’s another option that often results in even better offers, if your agency is willing to sign a contract with Disney’s “Group Sales” department. But those contacts come with risks.

Here’s how that works: Your travel agency tells Group Sales that you’re going to sell a minimum of 10 rooms for a least 3 nights each, at some Disney hotel, during specific dates in the future. For example, let’s say that you’re willing to commit to selling 30 “room nights” (10 rooms for 3 nights each) at Disney’s Polynesian Resort between November 10 and November 16.

Disney’s Group Sales department has 2 kinds of contracts your travel agency can sign, each with different levels of risk. Your price for the rooms depends on which contract you sign, and thus the risk your travel agency is willing to accept:

  • In one contract, you commit to selling 30 room nights, but Disney gives you the option of “returning” any unsold rooms back to Disney without penalty. Let’s call this the “standard” contract, because it’s the most common one used by far. I’m told that a typical per-night room cost  for the Poly with this contract might be around $300 per night during busy times of the year.
  • In the other contract option, you guarantee to Disney that you will pay for all 30 room nights and give up the option of returning unsold rooms to Disney. In that case, Disney’s willing to provide better offers because you’re guaranteeing Disney the revenue. I’m told that per-room rates for these contracts are similar to the $253/night I got at the Poly. Let’s call this the “risk/reward” contract, because you travel agency now has to sell those rooms or lose money.

There’s one other notable condition on the risk/reward contract: Disney doesn’t allow the contracts to cover certain dates. For example, November 1, 2, 13, and 28-30, 2016, aren’t available on MVT’s Agency-Exclusive Offers. That means that clients have to be willing to take their vacations during the dates that are covered, if they want the best offers. And some resorts or room types may be excluded from the contract.

The vast majority of travel agencies I spoke to, will only sign the standard contract. Why? The smaller agencies typically can’t risk thousands of dollars on clients who might cancel at the last minute. Larger agencies, especially those with hundreds of thousands of clients, say that most of their clients can’t make their vacation dates fit the offer dates, because of work, school, or family commitments. The number of clients who are willing to do this, doesn’t offset the risk that comes with the contract.

Magical Vacations Travel is using the risk/reward contract. They also let clients cancel with refunds using Disney’s standard cancellation policy (i.e., up to 5 or 6 days in advance), not the 30-day policy that they’re being held to in their contract. Again, that’s part of the risk MVT is accepting in return for less expensive rooms.

Here are examples of how much that can affect your vacation price as compared to just booking through Disney’s website yourself.

The first example covers the week of Easter 2017. It assume 2 adults and 2 children (ages 11 and 9) in a standard view room for 5 nights beginning April 15, 2017. The family also gets 5-day Magic Your Way tickets with the Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun and More options. All prices include tax. Disney’s prices come from their website.


That $500 (18%) price difference you can lock in right now at Pop Century is remarkable for Easter 2017 – I’d expect Disney to announce something in the range of 5 to 10% tops, eventually, for a value resort package during a holiday period this far away.

Around $290 of that $500 difference – a little more than half – comes from buying Parksavers tickets. As you move into the Moderate and Deluxe categories, the difference in room rates increases while the ticket price differences stay the same. A $639 (19%) price difference at Port Orleans Riverside seems to be pretty good this far out too. I don’t think a 14% price difference at Animal Kingdom Lodge is as good, in comparison.  It could be that Disney thinks they can sell out AKL to the general public anyway over Easter, so they don’t think they need to offer lower rates to groups.

Here’s the same scenario for the following week, April 22-27, 2017:


The rates are slightly better the week after Easter 2017, probably reflecting the lower demand once most families have to send their kids back to school. Still, it’s a busy time of year and these are decent savings off what Disney is currently offering to the general public.

One last thing about Magical Vacations Travel before we look at Parksavers.com: I think one of the big challenges they’ll face is how to scale their customer service if they find themselves growing very fast. The good news is that they seem to have a core group of solid agents. But it’s something we’ll keep an eye on. If you ask Magic Vacations Travel for a quote, let us know how the process goes.

And now, for some background on Disney World ticket sellers!

Discount Disney Tickets and Third-Party Wholesalers

Disney considers itself a premium brand, especially when it comes to its theme parks. And like other premium brands, such as Apple, Disney rarely offers direct discounts on its core products – in this case, theme park admission. Disney’s reasoning is consumers would eventually start expecting ticket price discounts, and the discounted price would effectively become the normal price people are willing to pay for admission. And, as JC Penney learned, once customers start expecting discounts, it’s almost impossible to stop offering them.  For a company like Disney, whose revenue growth depends in large part on raising prices much faster than inflation, direct discounts on theme park admission are a long-term threat to their stock price.

But Disney knows that finding even slightly discounted tickets can motivate some cost-conscious families to visit a Disney theme park, thereby increasing Disney’s overall theme park revenue. And that’s where third-party ticket wholesalers come in. Many of these wholesalers are small, family-run operations located near Disney’s theme parks. They all have contracts with Disney that allow them to buy thousands of regular theme park tickets, at prices lower than Disney charges at its parks.

The wholesalers add on a small amount – I’m told it’s sometimes as little as $3 on a $390 ticket – and resell the ticket to the public. This arrangement lets Disney capture business from those cost-conscious families without having to offer discounts to everyone. It also provides dozens (possibly hundreds) of jobs in the areas around Disney’s theme parks.

What Disney didn’t count on, according to the people I’ve talked to, is Expedia.com.

Expedia is one of the largest travel sellers in the world.  In fact, only two companies – Expedia and Priceline.comaccount for 95% of the $152 billion online travel market. In 2015, Expedia earned almost $6.7 billion in revenue. That has fueled an aggressive growth strategy, allowing Expedia to acquire competitors including Hotels.com, Orbitz.com, Travelocity.com, and Hotwire.com.

A few years ago, Expedia launched Local Expert, a program that allows Expedia and third-party companies to sell tickets, activities, and tours, through Expedia’s website. The idea behind Local Expert is that once you book airfare or a hotel to a specific destination, Local Expert will offer you an activity to do in the same area, earning Expedia a small commission for each sale.  For example, if you book airfare to Washington DC, you might be offered a guided tour around the city’s monuments from a tour operator, or discounted admission to the Newseum. Buy the tour or ticket, and Expedia makes some money as the middleman.

Expedia’s Local Expert Program

Expedia’s Local Expert program offers discounted tickets to Walt Disney World too, in the form of electronic vouchers. These are different from the park tickets sold by Disney and most third-party wholesalers, in a couple of minor areas.  But in every meaningful way – admission, Fastpass+ reservations, and linking to My Disney Experience, the vouchers are essentially identical to a ticket you buy directly from Disney.

What’s Behind That Great Deal on Disney World Tickets?

Here’s where things get interesting. Parksavers’ website confirms that they’re reselling Expedia’s Walt Disney World ticket. And in many cases, Parksaver’s prices are lower than Expedia’s own prices for the same ticket: a 7-day Adult Park Hopper is currently $394.10, while Expedia wants $410.03. For comparison, long-time Disney ticket vendors such as Official Ticket Center and Undercover Tourist are asking just under $450 for the same ticket.

In fact, Parksavers’ and Expedia’s prices are so low, according to industry people I spoke to, that third party wholesalers can’t even buy those tickets from Disney for the prices Parksavers and Expedia are selling them.

How are Expedia and Parksavers able to sell tickets at those prices? There are only a couple of likely explanations:

  1. Expedia negotiated a fantastic one-off contract with Disney
  2. Expedia is intentionally losing money on each ticket as part of a long-term strategy

The industry people I’ve spoken to think it’s the latter. Their opinions, all seemingly arrived at independently, is that Expedia is using some of its $6.7 billion in profits to sell Disney tickets at a loss, in order to drive third-party ticket wholesalers out of the market. Just as Expedia’s purchase of other travel websites reduced competition, this would eliminate most competition in the Local Experts ticket market for Orlando. And with other ticket wholesalers out of the way, it might allow Expedia more leverage with Disney when it comes to setting ticket prices.

Disney, I’m told, thinks Expedia is playing the long-term strategy too. And they’re not at all happy about it. Some of that unhappiness is because Disney really wants these small, family-run ticket wholesalers to stick around.  That’s partly for altruistic reasons – Disney seems to understand (in this case, anyway) its role in the local economy includes supporting the tourism industry. It’s also partly selfish, because Disney knows that any one of that small group of mom-and-pop vendors is never going to have enough bargaining power to tell Disney how to set ticket prices. But Disney’s concerned that Expedia might.

One hurdle with Expedia’s strategy is, I’m told, that Expedia’s contract with Disney expires at the end of 2016 and has not yet been extended for 2017. It’s almost certain that ticket pricing is one of the main discussions in that renewal, and I’m sure Disney is pushing for restrictions on how low Expedia can set its prices. In the meantime, you can still buy those ticket vouchers for dates in 2016, and use them in 2017.

Disclaimer: Neither TouringPlans nor its staff have any relationship of any kind with Magical Vacations Travel or ParkSavers.com. Our requests to Expedia’s affiliate and travel agency divisions, and to Parksavers.com,  for clarification on their voucher pricing, got no response.

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Len Testa

Len Testa is the co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and has contributed to the Disneyland and Las Vegas Unofficial Guides. Most of his time is spent trying to keep up with the team. Len's email address is len@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @lentesta.

94 thoughts on “The Best Disney World Ticket and Hotel Prices – and the Stories Behind Them

  • I booked the Beach Club for my upcoming trip in February for the Princess Half-Marathon through Magical Vacations Travel. Service has been great. I really like my agent. Best of all, I figured the discount at over 35% off rack rate. This past week, my agent contacted me and said Disney was offering to move me to the Grand Floridian or the Polynesian due to construction for the same price. I chose the Grand Floridian and based on my calculations I now have a discount that is over 52% rack rate.

    • Wow – that’s fantastic! Thanks for the note, Nancy! Let us know how your trip goes, please.

  • Great article Len. I also learned about MVT on Lines Chat and was very skeptical about the “great deals” I had always read about so I booked my trips through my regular DIsney travel agent and used whatever room only discounts were available at the time. This past August, my family went on the Disney Fantasy for a 7 day cruise and decided to stay overnight for 2 nights at Disney prior to the cruise. I decided this would be a good time to give MVT a try so I emailed them asking for quotes for all the Deluxes for August 25th and 26th. I was shocked at the prices when I received the quote and more than a little ticked off at myself for not trying them earlier! We ended up with a standard room at the Poly in Fiji with a gorgeous view of the beach and the Grand Flo at $234/night! The entire process could not have been easier and the agent I dealt with was absolutely amazing and always got back to me within hours when I had questions. I can’t say enough good things about them and now I’m going to be booking the Poly for an entire week next August! I can’t wait!!

  • Hi Len,

    Thank you so very much for the article you wrote for your Touring Plans blog.

    I contacted Magical Vacations Travel after reading it and sent in my travel information. My dates were locked in due to travelling over New Years and flights being already purchased but they were able to save me money while also upgrading my room from a Value resort to a Moderate!

    I originally had a room only reservation for December 28, 2016- January 1, 2017 at Pop Century for $891.00.

    The quote from Magical Vacation Travels was…
    Disney’s Pop Century
    Total: $597.75

    Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter
    Total: $783.80

    Needless to say, I moved our reservation to POFQ and my family is happy to know they will have larger beds and that we are staying at our favourite resort.

    I am an annual subscriber to Touring Plans and Lines and am looking forward to using them both to help us navigate the New Years craziness at WDW. (this should be an adventure!) If you are at WDW for New Years, let me know and I will happily buy you a drink to thank you!!

    Thanks again,
    Mary Beth Caliciuri

  • This is certainly an example of “your mileage may vary”. I contacted an agent at MVT for a quote for our upcoming 4 night trip at the end March 2017. She quoted me only $100 less than the rack rate with their agency exclusive discount. Disney offered their 10% discount on POFQ with the Gift of Magic sale and that was $133 less than rack rate. Needless to say, I reserved with Disney directly then.

    Len- here is a thread on the DIS where MVT is talked about/hinted about- http://www.disboards.com/threads/do-disney-travel-agents-get-you-better-deals.3534096/

  • This agency sounds wonderful. Do they ever have access to Studio rooms such as those at the Poly? Or is only to regular rooms or Club Level rooms?

  • For many years, I used a Disney specialist travel agent and was very pleased. Last year, we planned a spur of the moment trip, past the dates where Disney offers applied. After some extensive research, I contacted MVT (specifically choosing and agent). I was contacted within a day and was able to get a standard Polynesian room for my three day stay. The price was wonderful, and everything worked just as it always had. I have chosen to use them again for this trip. I am saving on Beach Club and Poly CL rooms… a total of about $800 from a similar trip two years ago. I also got tickets through MVT at a discount. I have been very pleased with their service!

    • Thanks Tim! I wonder if, in this case, the FTC would consider Disney to be competition enough for Expedia. For example, even if Expedia got rid of all other ticket sellers, they still couldn’t raise prices *above* what Disney charges. The FTC page linked to above, seems to say that that outcome might be okay.

      • That’s what merger/antitrust/anticompetitive litigation is often about: how to define a market and who is the competition.* Are third party resellers their own market, or should Disney selling its tickets itself be counted? The bottom line is that explicitly underpricing to drive competition out of business is usually a risky strategy that large companies (ones with a general counsel as a senior officer) generally avoid.

        *The government once sued to stop Gillette from acquiring Parker Pens, as Gillette would have a near monopoly on fountain pens priced over $50 but under $400. In court, Gillette successfully argued the market was all luxury pens, but they still had to litigate it.

  • We have used MVT to book at the Poly twice and Beach Club once. Have had a great experience with them. Our agent even responded to one of our questions while she was on vacation herself. We bought our park tickets through them also. Only issue we had was trying to add a day to the park ticket while we were there. We had a five day park hopper and thought adding a day would cost us about $20 a ticket. Actual cost was closer to $60 a ticket. If you use MVT to buy your park tickets, err on adding the extra days if undecided.

    • Not sure if it is still true, but…
      used to be if you added a day or upgraded at ticket AFTER you had already used the ticket at the gate, then your ticket looks like it is the current Disney ticket price, and you only pay the difference. If you have not already used the ticket for at least one entrance, then you pay the entire difference in price (negating any discount you thought you had secured).

      Does anyone know if this is still true?

      • My wife and I tried to add the extra day after we had first used our tickets on two different occasions. Both times we were told $60 per ticket. We were told the policy recently changed in which they had to charge the difference between what we originally paid (at a discount) and the daily ticket price. I thought that was the policy all the time.

        MVT was able to add an extra day about a month before our vacation for about $15 with no issues for two of our tickets. (We were trying to add the extra day to the other two tickets after we had used them.)

      • Good to know. Sorry it has changed, but appreciate the update!

  • Wow, these prices are amazing! Super helpful, thanks for sharing Len!

  • I love MTV. I’ve used them multiple times in the last 3 years. I also want to point out that if buying park tickets from MTV during their agency exclusive times it is even cheaper than your parksavers prices. During exclusive times, 7 day park hoppers are $384– now granted these tickets can’t typically be upgraded to APs, (I already have AP) but others in my group just wanted to visit, not upgrade to AP. We’ve stayed BC 2x, PORS 3 x, CSR and doing CR and BW in December. Very pleased with the prices– and being able to stay deluxe at a great price– and moderate at an amazing price. Highly recommend.

    • Also, the MVT tickets are (I am 99% sure) technically the same as ‘convention tickets’ and attached to each ticket is one “Bonus Feature.” We use it to do one of the water parks. Info posted below.

      *Bonus Feature – receive One (1) complimentary visit to your choice of the following: DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, or One (1) round of golf at Disney’s Oak Trail 9-hole Golf Course (tee times are required and subject to availability; clubs not included).

      *PLEASE NOTE: The Complimentary Bonus Feature only applies to packages with a minimum 2-Day Base Park Pass. Room only reservation and packages with 1-Day Base passes or less are not applicable.

      • I think this is true too. Thanks!

      • We received the bonus feature all three times we have booked with MVT.

  • Has anyone ever used MVT for a last-minute booking (a couple weeks or a month out, for example)? Do they usually have availabilities?

    • You would have to contact them to find out. A few times I’ve had luck getting rooms with short notice (not what I’d call ‘last minute’ though). It just depends on the time of year, special events, etc. For example, it’s really hard to get Epcot resorts during F&W with their agency promos unless you book months out. The best you can do is contact them and try.

    • I don’t know if this qualifies as “last minute” but essentially about a month back my wife and I decided we wanted to book a spur of the moment fall trip and surveyed some school break options – We were about 10 days out from the Rosh Hashanah holiday and they had AKL available (that was it for deluxes) for a 4 night stay. We decided it was too much to try to put together that quickly after quickly researching flights/ADR/FP availability, so we then asked about TGiving at 61 days out (I know it was 61 because I booked our FP+’s the next morning). So obviously a peak time – they had GF available for deluxes and then POFR and I think POR. So limited, but again, some options. As I noted above, we got GF at about $400/night whereas Rack for that week is I think > $700. So it was a really good deal, what I would consider pretty last minute, at an in-demand (I would think) resort at a peak time. Impressed me.

  • I emailed an agent last weekend for a quote. I was very clear I was not in any hurry since I was asking about April 2017. I received a quote that included four different resorts and the cost within hours.

  • I had trouble believing the prices for Parksavers. But the order was handled great. I talked to their support, chatted via email, and got the right answers quickly. I was able to buy the tickets at the end of the week and before Monday, I had the tickets on my DVC reservations and able to get my reservations for the rides on the 60 day mark. Saved a lot of $$ and got 7 day park hopper for less then others got a 5 day park hopper. I am looking to maybe upgrade to AP but not sure what $$ will be discounted from the AP price?

    • It’s my understanding that you are given credit for what you would have paid Disney when you upgrade to an AP. Tom Bricker had a great blog about this recently.

  • I have used MVT 6 times since 2013. I have always received great service from them. They work great for me because I have to travel during busy times of the year and they usually have agency exclusive offers during these times. All of the transactions have gone smoothly, even trips I have had to cancel. I have always received prompt refunds with no issues. I just have the agents book my room only stay and I make my own fast pass and dining reservations so I can’t comment on that part. They have a handled my Magical Express transfers and all went smooth. I also found purchasing tickets thru them is also a bit cheaper.

  • I have been using Magical Vacations Travel since 2007 and will likely never NOT use them. We stay at the Polynesian and their rates cannot be beat, especially for club level. I even used them once while I was a TA with another agency because the TA rate at the resort I wanted was sold out.

  • I used MVT and Parksavers for our trip over Labor Day this year. I got a garden view room at the GF for $259/not including tax! I don’t recall what my savings were on the park tickets. It was a great way to add onto our 7 night DCL sailing!

    • I meant $259 per night INcLUDING tax!

  • I have a trip I booked directly through Disney and after reading this post, Len, decided to send in a quote request. I heard back within a few hours and it looks like I will be saving A LOT of money! FYI: Our trip is scheduled for 4/6-4/14/2017. I will update as soon as I get things confirmed. I anticipate making our own arrangements since we’ve been so many times, but I had to see if the savings are as good as I’ve been reading on chat and here.

    • Thank you, Marie! Let me know how this goes, please.

      • You’re welcome! Unfortunately, I saw the hints for MVT about 2 years ago. I haven’t been on Disboards since I discovered Touring Plans and Lines!

      • Update:

        I originally booked 8 nights (4/6/17-4/18/17) w/ 6 day PH directly with Disney at ASMovies for $2,506.86. Preferred Room. 2 adults.

        MVT got right back to me when I submitted request – within a few hours and let me know they didn’t have anything at ASMovies. Here are the alternatives they provided for the same dates/tickets:

        Pop Century (standard room): $2,036.05 – Savings of $470.81 (18.78% savings)
        Coronado Springs (standard room): $2,505.90 – Savings of $0.96 (.04% savings) – hey every little bit counts, especially if you’re moving up a resort category, right?
        Port Orleans Riverside: $2,587.15 – Increase of $80.29

        We upgraded to POR from ASMovies. We’ve never stayed there and the queen beds will be a big plus. My husband and I will be celebrating our 20 year anniversary (a little late) and our daughter will join us the last few days of the trip (she’s participating in a Disney Sings program with her HS choir)- we’re buying her ticket separately and adding her as a day guest.

        So far, I’m pleased with response time and service–and prices!!

  • I’ve used MVT two times now and am waiting for their Labor Day 2017 rates to be released. I too found them by the hints on Disboards. My agent was quick with replies to my many questions. I have 3 friends who have also used their services.

    • Thanks Karen! Can you post a link to one of the discussions? I’d like to see what’s being written, but my search skills aren’t working there.

      • The DIS started deleting most threads that so much as alluded to MVT, and the admins said they’d be banning anyone who mentioned them. It maybe that the threads have poofed into thin air.

      • Ahhh, that explains my lack of search results. Thanks.

  • The mention of JC Penney made me wonder how many clients go to MVT to book their trip if one of their exclusive offers *isn’t* available for their travel dates?

  • We used MVT for our early October trip. We however were due to arrive 10/6, the day WDW closed down at 5pm to prepare for Hurrucane Matthew. We were in contact with our MVT agent and cancelled Wednesday evening. Great customer service and had our refund back on our card within 24 hours. Will not hesitate to use them again to take advantage of their agency exclusive offers. The only downfall was that we re-booked for early December and no agency exclusive offers were available for our dates. It appears that they go fast so people definitely should plan ahead if wanting to take advantage of the great deals.
    Thanks Len for the great article and efforts you put into the TP site!

  • We used MVT last June for a stay at the Beach Club for 5 nights, which cost us just over $1,000, all taxes and fees included. 5 nights in late June at $200 per night is fantastic, especially because the rack rates were about $450 (before taxes). We had a Disney reservation number that showed up immediately in MDE, and had no issues booking FP, 180+10 dining reservations, etc.

    The only ‘negative’ was that we were only able to book a standard room, or a standard club room. We would have preferred to book a garden view, but for the money we saved, we had no regrets whatsoever. I highly recommend MVT.

    • Thanks Helen! Do you mind if I use this as an example in my “some room types might not be available” explanation above?

      • No problem! Feel free to use my data point. I hope that your support allows MVT to grow and make more great offers to its customers!

  • We used MVT for our trip to Disney this year. Booking was simple and had a great agent (Darcy) willing to help with planning, tickets, Fastpass+, etc. I didn’t really need any help on that so can’t judge the quality of the assistance.

    BUT…awesome deal:

    June 3-6 2016 (3 nights) at Garden room Contemporary for $878.16
    Rack rate is 1332
    Saved 34% on a room only booking!

    No pressure to add tickets or dining and a reasonable cancellation policy

    • I just booked my trip yesterday after reading this article and I had Darcy as well! Fabulous agent!!

  • Parksavers isn’t sellling tickets for that price anymore.Their 7 day hoppers are now $419. Apparently, the price increased towards the end of last week. According to a Disboards poster who contacted them, the price will not be going back down, and the current price is only good through December.

  • Follow-up on the above – 30% OFF rack rate last year. Just wanted to clarify!

  • What are the downsides to purchasing this way? Do you still get access to dining at 180+10 and Fastpass + reservations at 60 days out if you book through these sites?

    • We literally did everything for our vacation as we normally would have – I know they offer the services such that the agent can book your reservations, but I’m the type who does 6 am wake ups, etc. so I just kept control of all of that. The only thing different for me was I just paid through MVT rather than contacting Disney directly (so I had to make sure I alerted my agent when my balance was due and authorize her to charge my card) and she set up our DME (so had to send her my flight info). Also, for magic band orders, you have to go in and change the shipping address as the default will be the agencies PO Box otherwise. They tell you all of this with your confirmation of reservation.

    • Yes, all of the usual MDE stuff and Disney perks still apply. Thanks for theq question!

  • I found Magical Vacations through the disboards. You’re not allowed to directly recommend businesses that aren’t sponsors there so people just kept referencing “magical” offers through a “vacation” company and you had to put 2+2 together. Apparently they are most known for their fall Poly offers – basically after Labor Day through early October during the lightest crowd months, they have ridiculous Poly rates. Don’t know how/why as thats never a time I can travel (wife is a teacher so we are beholden to school breaks). However, I figured I’d reach out and ask if they had deals for other times – which they of course do. I booked them for the Beach Club last spring break at about 30% rack rate (booked in the fall 2015 for April 2016) and just booked them for GF for Thanksgiving week only about 8 weeks out for about $400/night which I *think* is even a better deal than we got last year. I’ve used Jodi Evanoff twice now. Everything went smoothly and at least for now, won’t book through Disney directly ever again.

    The only caveat is they have a bit of a weird selection at times depending on year which doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason – for example, you’d think GF at the winter holidays would be among the most crowded whereby I got BC last year during Flower and Garden – again, you’d assume Disney doesn’t have any issues selling these spots out at those times of year. We also asked for quotes for Jewish Holidays this year and all they had was AKL. Last year, our alternatives for Spring Break included Poly, which we asked about this year for TGiving, and they had nothing at.

    As a bonus, if you buy your tickets through them (I think its a bit cheaper than Disney direct, but probably not as cheap as some of the re-sellers) you get a free “bonus” day – so if you plan on doing TL or BB once, it replaces the need to get the water park option or day passes. Which is a nice throw-in during the warmer times of year (not sure what we’re going to use it on during Thanksgiving, maybe one last Quest visit).

  • Just used MVT last week for a trip from Dec. 29-Jan.1 @ POP. Paying $1,003 vs $1,508 from Disney fro standard room only reservation. Used Jason – Excellent follow thru. Highly recommend him.

  • I booked a room last April at POFQ through MVT since many of the Disney discounts don’t apply to that resort. I had a great experience working with them!

  • Also meant to say – great article, very interesting & informative.

    • Thanks Elizabeth! If you try MVT again, let me know how they respond, please. I’m considering adapting this blog post to the next edition of the book, so your feedback on that is important.

  • I also requested a quote from MVT after reading rave reviews on Lines chat. I was never contacted by an agent. I even checked my junk mail for awhile hoping the response had been misdirected. I’ve read other Lines chat users reporting the same problem. I was disappointed as it seems like a great money saving option.

    • I have used Magical Vacations Travel for years, as their club level rates really can’t be beat (we stay at the Polynesian). I’ve recommended them to several friends and a few of them had issues with getting responses back from them. My advice is always to contact the owner directly, as she has always gone out of her way to ensure that the non-response issue is addressed and remedied. It sucks to get an agent who doesn’t reply promptly, especially when you depend on them to secure these rates for you before they sell out. If you decide to give them another go, email the owner and explain what happened in the past and ask her to refer you to one of her agents that she knows will be a good communicator. 🙂

  • Excellent look at how the discount sausage is made!

    • I’m totally going to make that the title of this article in the book.

  • I thought there would be no math on the Internet! Great post.

  • I’ve tried to get quotes from MVT several times and only once have I gotten a response.

    • You can email many of the agents directly. Many of them have their own Facebook pages with their email addresses if you don’t want to go through the quote form online.

  • Do they do anything with Aulani rooms?

    • I haven’t asked. Let me know if you do, please, Kristen.

  • Great article…but I am more interested in which travel agencies, etc. would have more access to premium rooms, rather than the lowest price. Would any of these other companies (besides Mouse Fan) be holding premium-type rooms (suites, deluxe, etc.) that don’t show up as available through Disney?

    • Interesting question. I’ll ask around. That seems like something Disney would want a contract for.

    • Everyone has access to the same room types. One agency does not have access to “premium rooms” vs. another or for consumers for that matter. Some just don’t appear on the Walt Disney World website and you have to call.

    • They do have Club Level rooms in most of the offers (most of the time at the Poly)

  • Do you know if MVT offers such great deals on Disney cruises as they do on the hotel rooms?

    • I didn’t ask, Shirley, but let me know if you check on that, please.

      That said, I think DCL got rid of its “group discount” program a while back, so maybe not. (I seem to recall another agency telling me this.) But let me know, please.

    • I had the same thought, then realized that Disney already sells 99+% of cabins on cruises and don’t need to use group rates to get occupancy up.

    • Disney Cruise Line ended group discount years ago.

  • Great information! Thank you, Len!

  • Out of curiosity, can you turn MVT rooms into packages with a dining plan?

    • Yes, most of the time. There are a couple of offers for which the DDP hasn’t been available in the past. But most of the time, yeah.

  • I have used both in the past and saved a lot of money. We booked our room and dining plan for 2017 through Magical Vacations Travel, but will it will actually be more economical for us to buy park tickets directly from Disney with the 25% discount they are offering Canadian citizens. I wonder if parksavers.com is part of Disney’s motivation to offer such a discount?

    • Ah, that’s an interesting piece of information, Sean. Let me ask around. Thanks!

    • Up until a few days ago, Park Savers was offering the discounted Canadian ticket but only with the Park Hopper option. Their price was cheaper than Disney’s CDN resident 25% off offer? For us, it was cheaper to book through Park Savers and then get a discount on our room. Had we booked the tickets through Disney, we would have had to have made a choice between a discount on either the room or the tickets, as Disney don’t combine promos.

      • With ParkSavers the thing is it makes sense, even if you are only going to the parks 5 or 6 days, to buy the 7 day ticket as it was still cheaper than Disney prices. 25% off a 5 day is better than a 7 day park hopper from ParkSavers. As a consumer, it’s nice to have options, which is rare in the world of Disney!

  • Do the ticket prices already include taxes?

    • Yes, and delivery (which is electronic, in this case).

  • It’s funny that you mention time share presentations in your intro–that’s almost how this reads, especially the first part.

    • Ha! I need a golf shirt and a golf cart. Plus you can’t read any other blogs for the next 4 hours. 🙂

    • If only TouringPlans got something out of it! Thanks for the great information, Len. This is why I’ve been subscribing to TP for 12 years!

      • TP has commercial relationships with other travel agencies, ironically.

  • Are these companies only for US citizens or are they available for international people too?

    • I believe they’re available to international people as well. If not, let me know, please, Lisa.

    • I’m from Norway and have booked twice with Magical Vacations Travel. Highly recommended!


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