Confession: we have NEVER stayed at a Walt Disney World hotel. We used to stay off property (something cheap on 192, usually) when we lived out of town, and now we live here, so why pay for a hotel?
In deciding to finally change that in honor of my wife's October birthday, we're going to stay at something on property so we can drink at Food and Wine festival without driving. We selected Pop Century because it's cheap - we mostly will just sleep there.
We priced out Friday and Saturday in mid-October from Disney.com and came up with $249 total (including all fees and taxes). My resourceful wife then tried hotels.com and discovered they have Pop Century there as well. The same nights, the same rooms: $209.
People ask me ALL THE TIME about discounts at Disney parks and hotels. My standard answer is that Disney doesn't discount. It doesn't need to. I link folks to MouseSavers.com for the available coupons - there are usually several for off-season and midweek. But on weekends you're generally looking at paying rack rate.
So imagine my surprise that there really IS a way to beat rack rate at Disney hotels. I had no idea that they were in hotels.com, and I had no clue that they would be cheaper.
To my (jaded?) mind this is somewhat of a letdown, despite me saving money. It means Disney is less special. Just a tick less special, mind you, but less special all the same. It used to be that Disney was not only unique, they were an industry unto themselves. They didn't have to play by the rules everyone else does.
I guess that's not true anymore.
Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.