… lessons we are learning.
We are fresh off our Ballpark Touring and now gearing up for Disney World in October. We started planning this trip more than 9 months ago, reading more experienced blogs, watching videos on YouTube and continually checking the official website for updates. However, we are learning that all of the preparations capable from a mere mortal (and I do a LOT) still do not guarantee you a discount… even when they are released. (My blood pressure is rising even as I write this.)
Prior to booking, hubby and I researched and read tons of reviews about every Disney property hotel (we only stay on-site, but more about that in another post) and settled on staying at Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani village. Obviously the many perks that are available with a deluxe resort was a factor, but Grandpa is tagging along on this trip, so we need something comfortable for 3 adults + 2 little boys. I knew that from historical data, Disney has released different fall discounts from free dining to room-only discounts to package deals.
Animal Kingdom Lodge is expensive folks, and even more expensive if you are getting a villa… but we have 3 adults and if you factor in some type of discount, it’s doable.
NOW, to the lesson we are learning: do not, I repeat, do NOT assume you will get a discount because you are a planner. Do NOT factor in a discount when you’re considering your budget. EVER. Our resort and dates did not qualify for free-dining so that was out the window a while back, but the fall is becoming ever more popular at Disney World, so I wasn’t shocked by this. I was however, ready to jump on the room-only discount. We are working with a travel agent (who I really like) but also checking the website a few times a week on my own as well. Lo and behold the discount was released and our resort was in the 20% off category. Hallelujah!
No. Stop celebrating. It’s not available.
Our travel agent (who is a Disney Authorized Planner <this is important) called the day of the release to apply the discount and because they only allow so many rooms to be discounted, we don’t qualify.
Wait, what? It’s the day of the promotion release. I’m so confused! I’m so outraged!
Wait, oh no. I don’t think we really can afford to stay there… I had factored in the discount. L Lesson Learned. No amount of planning or preparation guarantees you a discount EVEN on the day they are first available. I foolishly thought that if I hyper-prepared I would make sure to lock-in whatever discount that is released. Here is my warning to everyone, ONLY book the vacation that fits your budget as-is.
The silver lining on this saga is that our travel agent quickly switched us over to a Cars Family Suite at Art of Animation (look for a review of this resort in the future!) and hubby was quick to point out that our boys (ages 4 and 6) will be just as excited to stay there as AKL. He’s right, the most disappointed person is me and I will get over that as soon as my little fellas see Lighting McQueen outside their hotel.
But, please read this as a cautionary tale to NEVER, not EVER, count on the discount.