So… I’ve been missing Disney World pretty badly. It’s been a little more than 3 months since we were there. I’ve been trying to sell my house for 8 months and just feel like it’s a good time to GET AWAY from HERE!!!
My friend, who is at Disney World right now, sent me an email with a good flight rate she had found. I clicked on her email only to find an even better one! The airport that is about 1.5 hours from my house has an Airline (Allegiant Air) that is running a rate of, I kid you not, $35.00 each way. Now they will hammer you with fee upgrades, so don’t get too excited. We wont be checking a single bag for our 3 day trip, or “choosing our seats”. None the less, with taxes my family of four will be heading to Orlando and returning for $508 TOTAL ROUND TRIP!!! That’s with taxes!! The best rate I could find out of our area was 1,012 for the 4 of us. So total savings…$504.00 by being willing to go Sanford instead of MCO.
The downside? It flies us into Sanford instead of MCO airport, which is about 30 miles from Lake Buena Vista. Which means you must have a rental car. Allegiant offered a “discounted” car rental with its flight, but I suspected I could get one much cheaper than the $215 (for three days).
In fact the thought occurred to me that I shouldn’t be a “namby pamby” and “go lower”.
I’m not going to lie… these commercials make me Caaaa-raaaz-zzyy. I’ve not visited Priceline.com in a very long time, and quite honestly I suspect it is because I despise the commercials so very much.
But we were looking to enjoy this trip with minimal damage to our pocketbooks. So I decided to give it a try again.
First I went to the “cars” tab. Chose SFB (Sanford airports code) and my dates to see what offers were out there. Most cars were between $30-$40 a day.
But I heard the Priceline Negotiator taunting me, telling me I could get a better deal.
So I decided to “name my own price”.
Take a shot, how ‘bout….. $15.00 a day.
GOT IT!!! Bam! They also had a little thing there that said “add $2.00 more a day to this price and go to a mid-size, unlimited mileage. DONE!
So $17.00/ day for 3 days cost me $83.25 with taxes & fees. SAVINGS from original discounted offer = $131.75
So with a nice start on flights & rental cars it was time to see what discounts I can get on a room.
My first impulse is ALWAYS to stay on property so I can use the Disney Transport and not have to drive if I’m really tired. But we did already have a rental car so that opened up a few possibilities.
First stop? The Mouse for Less is a great site with tons of information about Disney news and deals and they also assemble links to some of the great Disney blogs out there (including mine, which is a real honor let me say!) My exploration on The Mouse for Less led me to a site that had an Annual Passholder discount code, so I decided to give Disney a call and see what kind of rates we were talking about here.
Apparently the Value Resort rooms had all been reserved during the days we wanted to go, partially because Pop Century is in refurbishment which is taking a lot of their rooms off the market. The best rate I was offered was a moderate at $137 a night, which was actually a “flex offer” which is a random pop-up rate that comes across to Reservation specialist computer. The discount code rate was not as good as the actual Annual Passholder rate was even. Total with Resort tax + sales tax added? $493.20 dollars
I tell you all this to demonstrate that there are many, many, different rates that you can get by placing a call to the Reservation specialist instead of just using their website. If you want to get a good on-property rate give the WDW reservationist a call at 407-939-7429.
The $137/ night rate for Coronado Springs not a bad rate to be sure, but I thought I could do better (and, as I said, we do have a rental car). Time to make another visit to Priceline Negotiator.
So I click on the hotels tab in the US. Click the drop down menu that says search for a hotel near a landmark. Then type in Downtown Disney, Orlando. Enter my check in/ check out dates to see the range of prices available. I want to be in the Downtown Disney village because even though I have a car I don’t want to have to drive 15+ minutes to get to a park.
After seeing the range that existed I KNEW I could get that $137/ night on property at a Moderate resort. So I clicked on the best deal “name your own price” tab and checked #4, which was going to make sure that the hotel I “named my own price” on would be in the Downtown Disney Area.
I then checked 2.5 star moderate resort because it includes hotels such as Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn by Marriott, Marriott Springhill Suites & Holiday Inn’s so I knew that the hotels would be no lower than that quality I have come to expect from those hotels.
And then, I decided to name my price. It showed that the Median Retail price for a 2.5 star hotel in that are was $110.00. So I think to myself “If I know I can stay in a moderate, on property resort for $137.00 I should be able to get a great deal at an off-property hotel-style room. WHAT is the kind of deal I would HAVE to have to choose to stay off property”. So I take a shot, how about $50.00 a night?
Then I hold my breath…. DONEEEEEE!
Staying in a nice Country Inn and Suites, 2.2 miles from Downtown Disney for 3 nights for a grand total of $178.59 (that’s with taxes). Total hotel savings was $314.61
Is it worth it to check out Priceline? I’d say ABSOLUTELY! I think what you have to decide is what is the kind of rate you would HAVE to have + the star rating to totally justify staying off property. And, of course, you also have to consider car rental.
Total price of our 3 day Disney get away? $814.34!!!!!!!!! Now remember, we have annual passes, so our tickets are already paid for, but basically because we are on trip #4 this year our passes have already paid for themselves (annual passes cost approx as much in tickets as TWO 7-day trips) so this makes the trip practical as a get away since tickets are also basically free.
We’ve sat down and planned out our meals. By bringing breakfast foods with us to save on cash, we estimate approx $105/day on food.
Our goal? To keep our entire 3-day vacation for under $1,000.00. We will keep you posted!
Priceline.com, don’t forget it while planning your next Disney get away.