Learn how to stay at a Disney Resort for at least half the listed price!
All Disney enthusiasts dream of staying on site at a Disney World Resort. It’s a dream for most because Disney World Resorts are pricey. While Disney World does offer resorts in all budget categories, they are still out of reach for some.
Disney World Resorts on A Dime
What if I told you that you could stay at an any of these resorts for as much as half off the listing price? Sounds ridiculous right? It’s not, and I am going to show you exactly how I did this for our stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas.
Total Cost: $644 for a studio with a Savannah view for three nights.
Now, if you’re not familiar with this resort or the Savannah views, this is one of the Deluxe Disney World Resorts at the Animal Kingdom. If you opt for the Savanah view, your balcony will overlook a variety of exotic wildlife. For many of us, this is bucket list stuff.
I used David’s Vacation Club Rentals (DVC) to essentially rent Disney Vacation Owner Points from someone who was not going to use them for that year. You DO NOT need to be an owner of the Disney Vacation Club or David’s Vacation Club Rentals to take advantage of this strategy!
Disney World Resorts DVC Price Comparison
- Head to David’s Vacation Club Rentals (DVC)
- Start with the cost calculator
- Enter in the dates you want to stay at a Disney World Resort
For this example, I am going to use 2/15/2019 through 2/18/2019 – three nights. I will use the Animal Kingdom as an example. *Note that this is a holiday weekend, Monday is Presidents Day.
This cost is calculated based on $16.00 US per point which is the current rate for bookings up to seven months in advance. Reservations booked from 7 to 11 months in advance may be subject to an additional premium rate of $1.00 US per point.
You can change the view of the number of points required:
Let’s see what the Animal Kingdom costs via Disney. *Note that these prices are per night!
DVC Pricing Comparisons – How Much Can You Save?
If you’re wondering how much you can save here is the comparison:
Example 2/15/2019 through 2/18/2019 – 3 Nights Animal Kingdom Lodge – Per Point Cost $16
|Disney||Cost||David’s Disney Vacation Club||Cost||Savings|
|Savanah View Room||$2,598.75||Savanah View Room||$960||$1,638|
Disney World Resorts DVC Booking Process
- Decide where and when you want to stay.
- Determine the cost using the points calculator.
- Complete the reservation form.
- If you want to add any additional resorts, you can. Use this if your first choice is not available. I don’t recommend this unless you want to stay at “any” Disney World Resort. Therefore, I would (and did) stick to the specific one I wanted.
- Enter personal information.
- Type in the guest info. *Note, you must give the exact names of the people staying including children.
- Pay the deposit, a partial payment of $112.00 (not a fee) via Visa, MasterCard or PayPal. It’s 100% refundable to you if your reservation is not confirmed, usually within 24 hours (weekends and holidays sometimes excluded).
- If your reservation is confirmed, you will receive a confirmation via email:
- Subsequently, you will receive the rental agreement and instructions to pay your balance.
- Lastly, Walt Disney World typically sends you a custom Welcome Package which includes your luggage tags, reservation confirmation, complimentary bands, and coupons. Typically, 45 days before your arrival date but the timing can vary.
Advantages of Staying at Disney World Resorts
- Early Access to FastPass+ Planning – Get access to reserve select shows and attractions up to 60 days before arrival.
- Extra Magic Hours! Spend extra time at one of the themes parks each day—valid theme park admission and Resort ID required.
- Complimentary MagicBands. Not only are they included, but you can also customize them with names.
- Access vacation choices selected with My Disney Experience—at no charge.
- Leave the Park, Not the Magic. Experience the same legendary detail, service, and storytelling found in our parks.
- Complimentary Transportation & Parking. Currently, parking at each park is $25 per day plus tax!
- Disney Dining Plans – Book a Disney Resort Hotel Package with a dining plan that fits your travel style and budget.
- If you book via DVC, your room or villa will have amenities like a kitchenette, living room. All amenities vary based on what type of accommodation you select, but they come with more amenities than standard rooms.
- Magical Express – When staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, Guests are eligible for Disney’s Magical Express service which provides transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport.
Best Times to Stay at Disney World Resorts
A hard question to answer definitively because Disney World parks draw large crows. Consequently, here is my advice based on my experience.
- Go when children are globally in school. Due to this, we let our kids take a day off school to capitalize on our trip.
- Visit through the week vs. the weekend. For example, try a long weekend that starts on Thursday.
- Do not go in the summer unless you have to. First of all, it’s scorching hot. Secondly, all the kids are off school. As a result, the parks will be at capacity, and no way to come around this.
- Stay away from mega holidays like Christmas and New Years Eve or New Year’s Day.
We will only go when it’s cooler, so our choices are January through March. Historically, September is considered the slowest month.
Buying Disney World Tickets
Most importantly if you are going to stay at a Disney World Resort, you will want to buy tickets. There are some discounts like AAA and Military. The one we used is not available yet, but typically this offer comes out in January. In 2017, this is what we paid:
FL Residents Disney Tickets: 3-Day Ticket:
- $189.00 plus tax (ages 10+) = $63 per day
- $176.00 plus tax (ages 3-9) = $58.66 per day
Above all, the best thing to do for tickets is to check the specials on Disney’s website.
Disney World Resorts by Price Category
Use this section to explore the different types of Disney World Resorts so you can make a concrete decision on where you want to stay. Likewise, you can see the pictures of all of the resorts:
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
- Disney’s Beach Club Villas
- Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
In summary, I hope this will inspire the Disney fan in you to stay on site at a Disney World Resort for a fraction of the cost. I used David’s Vacation Club Rentals (DVC), and the experience was above and beyond what I expected. As a result, I will use this service again!
Finally, let me know if you use this strategy and how the experience was!
Looking for more posts on Florida? Start here:
- Coco Key Water Park – Orlando Florida
- Five Best Airboat Rides Near Orlando
- Free Things to do in Orlando at Christmas
- The Crystal River – Scalloping and Swimming With Manatees
- The Dome Houses of Cape Romano – Marco Island Florida
- Vero Beach – A Tropical Paradise
- Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo
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