There are many ways to go about booking a Walt Disney World vacation. Travel agents, renting DVC points, or booking directly through Disney are all common ways to get you down to the vacation kingdom. All of those have their place and are good ways to go but there is another option out there for bargain hunters! In this post, we’ll break down how to search for deals on Disney owned resorts on Hotwire and Priceline.
Before putting on our trench coats and pulling out our magnifying glass to search out some deals, let’s start with a few caveats. As I mentioned, there is nothing wrong with booking with a travel agent or going through Disney. While they might not end up in the most amount of money saved, it is simpler and less steps. We are proponents of staying on-site at Walt Disney World, although that has lost some of its value over the years. Booking through third parties, like Hotwire and Priceline, will add some mystery to the booking. For some people, mystery certainly means stress and the time taken to save a few dollars just isn’t worth it. Make Socrates proud and know thyself.
There are a few drawbacks that come with booking a Walt Disney World Hotel on a third party site. Most of them have to do with convenience. My Disney Experience has ways to add in your reservation number and then you can make plans from there, it’s just a small inconvenience. In that same vein, guests can’t add the Disney Dining Plan to reservations if booking with a third party. From what we’ve experienced, those are the only significant drawbacks of booking on a different website outside of the stress and inconvenience of putting in a little more work.
So how’s this done? Let’s start by taking a look at Priceline.
Priceline has a pretty straightforward approach to booking hotels. Put in the area and dates you’re looking for and then results pop up. Generally, the results that pop up for Disney Hotels are more expensive than what you’ll find on the Disney website. Where we start to find bargains are in the Express Deals. This will list hotels without giving a name (instead listing the star rating of the hotel) and then will give a much lower price. I’ve found many Disney hotels this way over the years including Animal Kingdom Lodge, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach Resort and more. While not Disney Hotels, the Swan and Dolphin are regularly featured as Express Deals.
What will scare people off is not knowing what hotel they’re booking. There are ways around this though. If you’re specifically looking for a Disney Resort, start by setting the location as Bonnet Creek. This is where most official hotels are located. From there it’s a game of comparing and looking through amenities offered. One of the clearest signs is that Disney Hotels offer airport shuttles under the amenities.
Another way to tell is through the reviews on Priceline. The Express Deals will list the rating it’s received and the number of reviews, although it won’t get as specific as the actual hotel listing. For example, Caribbean Beach Resort has 325 reviews for an overall score of 8.1. The Express Deal listing has 300+ reviews and an 8+ rating. Knowing that it’s a 3.5 star hotel in Bonnet Creek that offers an airport shuttle narrows the field to the point where I can tell it’s Caribbean Beach based on those review numbers. The prices often are a giveaway, as well. This sleuthing works for nearly all of the Express Deals. Just double check, compare and contrast and eventually you’ll come up with what hotel it is!
Moving over to Hotwire, the optics and strategy are largely the same. Instead of Express Deals, on Hotwire they are called Hot Rates. Just like Priceline, stick to the Bonnet Creek Area. From there you can narrow down but it’s a little trickier than on Priceline. Well, sort of. Hot Rate Deals on Disney World Resorts will give you their review rating but won’t typically tell you how many reviews there are. This seems like it would make the detective work a little harder but most other Hot Rate Deals do tell you how many reviews they have so simply by not putting that kind of narrows down the field.
The easiest way to tell if it’s an official Disney Hotel on Hotwire is again going by the Airport Shuttle listing on the amenities. No other hotel in Bonnet Creek offers that. From there, it again comes down to comparing the review and star ratings of each hotel to figure it out before booking.
Hotwire does offer different hotel deals than Priceline regularly so it’s good to check both sites. Hotwire is also a little more forgiving in how many people you can have in your room. Priceline Express Deals are reserved for 2 guests in a room (although I have been able to call Disney after the fact and add guests) where Hot Rate Deals accommodate up to 4.
No matter which site you choose, I have found great deals on both with value resorts more than $50 off, moderates $75 and deluxe resorts $100+ off their listed nightly price on the official Disney World website. There are a few more fees and taxes on Priceline and Hotwire but it still makes for a very good deal. These deals aren’t always a constant, much of it depends on when you are going. They also show up pretty late in the booking game so if you are an early planner then this might not be for you. That out of the way, this is an excellent way to save on a Walt Disney World Hotel.
Have you tried booking Walt Disney World Hotels through Hotwire or Priceline deals? Let us know your thoughts, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below! Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Check out our planning guide for help! If you enjoy what you’re reading here on Wandering in Disney, please subscribe to the blog and like our social media pages. You can do both of those things on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!