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As many times as I’ve been to Disney World I’ve never stayed at a Disney resort, at least not one that I booked on my own.  My aunt and uncle are Disney Vacation Club members at Old Key West and I’ve stayed there a few times during family reunions.  When not staying with the family, though, I’ve always stayed at the Shades of Green.  They have Disney perks like the Extra Magic Hours but they’re not an actual Disney resort (check out my post on Shades of Green here).  But now that Brandon is out of the Navy it’s time to start the search for new accommodations near the happiest place on earth.

For our upcoming vacation in March I had been considering such Disney resorts as Animal Kingdom and Art of Animation but eventually stumbled upon (and booked) the Beach Club Resort next to Epcot.  It’s quite unfamiliar to me because my family members have usually stayed at Fort Wilderness and Animal Kingdom so I haven’t heard anything about Beach Club Resort, good or bad.  After reading the reviews I found that its pool is supposedly the best of all the Disney resorts, complete with a lazy river and sandy bottom.  Its close proximity to Epcot, one of the resorts we’ll be visiting on this trip, sealed the deal for us.  The only problem was that the price was far above what I had planned on spending.

How to Save Money on Disney Resort Hotels
Original Image courtesy of Joe Penniston via Flickr Creative Commons

Disney’s website currently has a Spring Offer of up to 35% off rooms but even then the rates for the Beach Club Resort are over $350 per night.  After doing some research I found a much better deal through Orbitz.  By combining promo codes, cash back portals and my Barclay Arrival Plus credit card I managed to save exactly $204.10 on our 3-night stay.  That comes out to a savings of $68 per night, enough to pay for our dining costs for each of those days.  Below are the details from those savings.

Beach Club Resort, Garden View

Disney Website
$361.90 per night x 3= $1085.70
Tax= $135.73
Cash back using Barclay card= ($24.42)
Total Cost: $1,197.01

Orbitz Website
$361.91 per night x 3= $1085.73
Tax= $146.57
15% off promo code (sign up for emails to get frequent promo codes)= ($162.86)
2.5% Savingstar cash back portal= ($23.07)
Cash back using Barclay card= (21.38)
Total Cost: $992.91

Now there’s definitely pros and cons from booking through Orbitz versus directly through Disney.  One of the pros is being able to take advantage of cash back portals which are never available for Disney’s websites.  I use Ebates and Be Frugal as my go-to cashback portals but there are others you can use.

One of the major cons, however, is that if something were to go wrong we would be left dealing with Orbitz instead of having things taken care of directly at the hotel.  But for a savings of over $200 it’s a chance we’re willing to take.  Another con is the inability to book a dining plan package when booking through Orbitz.  I’ve never used Disney’s dining plan and might consider it if we had teenage boys but Brandon and I just plan to have a sit-down meal once per day and then snack the rest of the time.  We found that handing Stink a snack while we’re waiting in line for a ride or character meet is a great distraction and helps prevent hunger tantrums.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of booking through Orbitz instead of Disney, note that adding children to your booking does increase the price per night.  Adding Stink cost us an extra $15 per night through Orbitz!  Disney hotels, however, don’t charge extra for children and most rooms can accommodate up to 5 people.  If you book through Orbitz just make a reservation with 2 adults and then call Orbitz to have the children added at no cost.  The Orbitz customer service will need to contact Disney to have the kids added to the reservation, especially if you plan to start booking everyone’s Fastpass+.  This was a little bit of a hassle for us but eventually we got a customer service rep who figured it out.

Also double check the cash back site terms and conditions.  We originally thought we would be earning 9% through Savingstar only to discover the cash back was bumped down to 2.5% because we used a promo code.  If you need to book a hotel but don’t have a decent promo code from Orbitz then feel free to use my referral link for the Orbitz rewards program called Orbucks.  If gives you a promo code for $25 off when you sign up and book your first hotel stay (and I’ll receive one too!).  The referral offer is the most valuable when you’re booking a stay that’s less than $175.  For hotel stays over that you’re better off waiting for a 15% off promo code.

What are some unique ways you save money on your Disney vacation?

This post contains referral links. I receive compensation for account sign-ups using these links to help support the running of Travel Fearlessly.  These referral programs do not affect the price you pay for products or services.

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