As I was walking past our local travel agents last weekend, I noticed they were having a ‘Disney’ promotion, offering deals to Paris, Orlando and on the Disney Cruise. As with any holiday offer to do with Disney, I naturally stopped to have a look! As I was mulling over the various Walt Disney World offers, I wondered how they compared price-wise to staying in a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, and therefore which packages would work out better value. So, I snapped a few picture of the Walt Disney World (Orlando) package offers and headed home to do some research!
Over the years, I found that trying to get like-for-like holiday comparisons can be tricky. Some deals will include park tickets, others won’t; though others may mention car hire or dining offers. This can make it impossible to make any broad, sweeping declarations about which type of Disney Holiday is best value across the board; the ‘Best Value’ will depend on the offers available and the package deals put together for particular times of the year or travel party sizes. Some offers or packages will also not be of relevance to your trip; theres no point in looking at a package with Disney Tickets, for example, if you wish to spend all your days at Universal. So, when comparing Walt Disney World Holidays, remember to concentrate on the time of year you wish to go and the type of holiday you wish to have to ensure you’re looking at a holiday that works out best value for you. Please also bear in mind that every family has different needs and wants from their trips, so a holiday which is good value for you may not work out that way for someone else!
The Travel Agents Deal
The Deal in our local travel agents focused on a two week (14 night) holiday, leaving on June 30th 2016. It offered a 3 Star rated hotel with a room only board basis, flights from our local airport and car hire. For 2 Adults and 2 Children, the total price quoted was £3979. No theme park tickets were included in the package price, and there was no mention of the maximum age of the child.
The Disney Deal
For my family, we love staying in Disney, and spend the majority of our days in Walt Disney World Theme Parks and so I wanted to know how this compared to staying in a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel. I headed to the Disney World Website and keyed in the same travel dates and party sizes to get a comparable quote. Walt Disney World are currently offering Free Dining for stays on these travel dates if you choose a Hotel&Ticket package, so I choose the package and went with 2 quote; one for a Value Resort without a Free Dining offer, and one for a Moderate Resort including the Free Quick Service Plan.
For a Stay in Disney’s All-Star Music Resort for the same 2 weeks, including a 2 week Theme Park Ticket and all added benefits of a Disney Resort, the price quoted was £2354. With a quick browse I found return flights for these dates at £2476, bringing the total holiday price to £4830
If you choose the Moderate Resort option with Free Dining, the same 2 week holiday, including Park Tickets (and food!) and Disney Resort Benefits worked out at £3362. Adding flights to this brings the total price to £5838.
Comparing the Deals
Now I had three prices to compare, and right away I noticed that the up-front total for both Disney Packages were more expensive than the deal in the window of our local travel Agents:
Travel Agent Deal: £3979
Disney Value Resort: £4830
Disney Moderate Resort: £5838
However, no Theme Park Tickets are included in the cheaper, Travel Agents Package, while both Disney Packages include a 14-Day Ultimate Ticket. In the interests of fairness, I looked up the price of the Ultimate Ticket for a family of 4 (£1156) and added this to the non-Disney deal, leaving us with the following prices;
Travel Agent Deal: £5135
Disney Value Resort: £4830
Disney Moderate Resort: £5838
Immediately you can see that a 2 week stay in a Walt Disney World Value Resort now works out cheaper than the Travel Agents deal., while the Moderate Resort is still £703 more expensive. However, the Travel Agents deal included Car Hire, while the Walt Disney World offers do not include car hire, but rather offers free transport from the airport to your Hotel and free use of Disney transportation to and from the Theme Parks, making a car not necessary.
Free Dining Comparison
As is obvious, the Walt Disney World Moderate Resort is still a lot more expensive. But with Free Quick Service included, the extra £703 cost upfront will not only get you an upgraded hotel, but also some of your food included. If you think you’ll spend more than £700 on food for your family of 4 for 2 weeks, then choosing the more expensive up front cost could in reality work out the best value holiday. This is were we start to look an individual circumstances and you have to do some research yourself; some families will spend more than this, some may spend less, so different travel parties may or may not find upgrading to avail of Free Dining works out better value than others. These are personal calculations that only you can work through and make a decision on based on your own wants and habits.
Points to Consider
These deals have focused on a stay where the majority of your time will be spend in Walt Disney World, and so if you are more interested in other Theme Parks, or don’t think you’ll want to spend a lot of time in Disney, then opting for a full 14 night admission ticket will not work out good value. In these cases, choosing a Walt Disney World Resort will probably not be in the best interests of your family and therefore you may see better value in choosing the Travel Agents Deal and opting to add on your own Theme Park tickets to match your interests.
Similarly, if you are adamant that you wish to have Car Hire included for your holiday, you may find that adding the price of a car to your Disney quote will make the price of a Value Resort similar to the Travel Agent Deal; it is again up to you to then decide which holiday is more suitable for you. Bear in mind the Disney Resort Guest Benefits, plus any benefits offered to you by the “off-property” Resort and weigh up which offers you the best value deal for your family.
Booking a holiday through Walt Disney World currently also offers a $100 free spending money and a free Memory Maker, worth $199. Both of these offers will add even more value to the Disney Deals so make sure you’re fully aware of every offer each holiday entitles you too.
I was very pleased to see that not every Disney World Hotel always works out more expensive than choosing to stay off property. While prices and offers change, and this may not always be the case, it is always good to know that sometimes you can get a brilliant deal staying in Disney. This has made me much more adamant to encourage people to consider pricing a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel when looking at an Orlando Holiday; A Disney hotel may not always work out cheaper or better value, but if your interest is Disney, you should never rule out being able to stay there because of a price perception; get a quote, compare it to others and you may be pleasantly surprised by what your comparisons reveal!
However, make sure you are fully aware of what is and isn’t included in each package to ensure you know what costs are involved and what extras you are getting. Only you can decide which of these works out good value for your trip, so make sure you do your research and go for the offer that you feel most comfortable will offer your family the most out of your holiday.