If you’ve ever looked into staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you quickly learn that discounts are few and far between. No matter if you’re looking at the Disney World website or booking through an online travel agency (OTA), like Expedia, the price is usually the same. It’s much like buying an Apple product, the price is the price and if you want the product, that’s what you’ll need to pay. Many people will pay whatever it takes to stay surrounded by Disney magic instead of off-Disney property (Here are the pros and cons for each option.)
When I recently received an email offering deeply discounted stays at Walt Disney World Resort, I did some checking and found out that these deals are for real. If you’re already willing to pay to stay at a Disney hotel, it’s possible to save over 50% on some stays if you can deal with the restrictions.
Club 1 Hotels is a hotel booking site with access to wholesale rates at hotels around the world and passes those discounts on to its customers. Previously you had to pay for a membership to have access to these discounts but the company has changed its business model and you only need to sign up for a free account to search hotels and book reservations. They do still sell memberships that give you more rewards in its loyalty program but if you’re just looking for discounts, go for the free subscription.
I picked a week at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort in August for a family of 3 with a 12 yr old child and started to compare prices.
First, I looked a the Disney website where the total cost for the stay was $3441.57.
That’s almost exactly the price that I found when looking at other websites, like Expedia.
I also checked Hotels.com.
That’s three websites and the prices are exactly the same. Let’s look at the price I found at Club 1 Hotels.
That’s a $1,431 savings. That’s money you can use to pay for your Disney tickets or meals. However, you know there has to be a catch. In this instance, the Club 1 Hotels booking is non-refundable.
To be fair, it’s almost impossible not to know this before booking through the site. There are four different warnings that this rate is non-refundable.
I never like to book a non-refundable hotel reservation, but it might be worth it in this scenario. In case of an emergency, you can always buy travel insurance which would reimburse the hotel cost and any other expenses if you’d need to cancel the trip.
Club 1 Hotels also offers the same room at Disney’s Yacht Club with limited cancellation fees but the price and restrictions are the same as the price on Disney’s website.
Some downsides of using a Club 1 Hotel type website is that most major hotel chains will not honor loyalty status perks or award points in the loyalty program for external bookings. That’s not an issue when staying at a Disney hotel but is something to consider if you’re looking at other hotels they feature on the website.
I know some people are already thinking about using Club 1 Hotels prices to make a best price guarantee claim against a booking made on a different website. Unfortunately, it probably won’t work. Since you have to log into your account to see the Club 1 Hotels price, the rates you’ll find typically aren’t eligible to make a price guarantee claim.
Legitimate discounts on Disney Resort Hotels are few and far between. Finding a website that’s offering these rooms at almost a 50% discount is an amazing deal if you’re willing to make a non-refundable booking. While this isn’t going to be for everyone, it’s enough savings that I thought it was worthwhile to put the information out there and let you decide.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary