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Old 09-23-2012, 10:02 AM   #1
kermit116
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Book now, better deal later?

If I book rooms now, can I get any discounted rates or free dining if they come out later & fall within the dates & hotels for our trip? Do I have to book a package to be able to switch to free dining if it ends up being offered when we'll be going? Or can I book room only & the switch?

We will be a large group of extended family, none of whom (besides my immediate family) have been to WDW before - and some who have never even been to the U.S. before.

I'm in charge of booking & planning the trip as the resident Disney geek. I want to book hotels ASAP but also want to get the best possible deal.

Also, since the rest of the family has no idea about anything Disney, I will probably have to book all the rooms under my info & credit card at least initially to make sure we are all at the same hotel & in appropriate rooms. If one segment of the family can't go on the trip (either because of health issues or finance issues), can I cancel one room from a block or will I still be on the hook for the reservation and/or a cancellation fee?

I have had to cancel a Disney trip in the past (within the 45 day window), but that was due to a medical emergency & Disney was very understanding & great about refunding our money.

My ultimate concerns are: 1) getting the best deal for everyone, 2) getting the WDW resort we want, & 3) what happens if someone in the family just decides to skip out on the trip & leave me hanging with an extra reservation?
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:11 AM   #2
merina888
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I can't say about some of your other questions since I've never had to cancel a Disney trip (plus we buy travel insurance), but it makes a difference when you are planning to go. Some times of year really don't offer any discounts (for example, going during Presidents Week or Christmas). Someone on here has a link to when discounts have been offered in the past.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:18 AM   #3
kermit116
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We'd be going either Jan (not a holiday weekend) or September.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kermit116 View Post
If I book rooms now, can I get any discounted rates or free dining if they come out later & fall within the dates & hotels for our trip? Do I have to book a package to be able to switch to free dining if it ends up being offered when we'll be going? Or can I book room only & the switch?
I suggest that you book the room only right now. When you book a room only you only have to pay for one night to reserve the room. You will probably have to pay a deposit for each room that you book, but there is no charge for cancellation if you have a room only reservation, as long as you cancel within the period of time that they set.

You don't have to buy the tickets and the dining plan until close to the date of the trip. Once you book the tickets and dining plan, you have to pay a much bigger deposit and have to give 45 days notice to cancel and still get a full refund.

We are staying at the Wilderness Lodge in February. We only booked the room so far. I am looking for free dining. If they offer a free dining plan that is outside of our travel dates but close enough to switch dates, then I'm going to try to do it. So I will book the package either when free dining is offered or close to the travel date if we don't get free dining. There is no reason to spend the extra money ahead of time if I don't have to.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:40 AM   #5
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January is probably good month for discounts as it's a slower season just coming off of the holidays and September is usually when free dining is offered. It would probably be best to book everyone's room separately, but have them all linked together and noted on them that you would like rooms close together (if you want to all be in the same area). One thing to keep in mind is if you book room only now and you want to change to a package later (i.e., free dining), the room only would have to be cancelled/refunded and the package booked, requiring a new $200 deposit (or payment in full if less than 45 days prior to arrival) as room only and packages are different reservation systems and money paid toward one cannot be applied to the other. If you book packages now and free dining comes out, it's easy to modify your current reservation, provided the resort/room type you have is available under free dining. With that said, you can also add a room discount to your package (discount would be on room portion only), if you booked a package now and chose a room discount later over free dining, should both be offered. Again, this would be dependent on availability under the promo.

For cancellations, packages must be cancelled 45 days or more prior to arrival in order to receive a full refund; otherwise, if cancelled 44 days or less of arrival, there would be a $200 cancellation fee (per reservation cancelled). Booking each family's room separately would make cancellations separate as well, so cancelling one room would not effect the others. HTH .
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:46 AM   #6
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Here is the mousesavers link to the historical resort discounts:

http://www.mousesavers.com/historica...ort-discounts/

It shows when a discount was released, the type of discount, and the effective dates. Of course there is no guarantee that a similar discount will be offered in the future.

You can make either a room only or a vacation package reservation now and modify them in the future if a suitable discount becomes available. However if you book a room only and then want to get a vacation package discount (or vice versa) you would have to cancel your existing reservation and make a new one, paying a new deposit. They will refund your old deposit (they can't transfer deposits between room only and packages).

Be very aware of the applicable deadlines for cancellations (they differ between packages and room only) if you will be on the hook for the cost of the rooms. In all honesty, I wouldn't want to be financially responsible for all of them. You'll probably want some kind of agreement with your family members confirming that they are all going before a certain date or you WILL cancel their reservations. And of course agreement from all parties BEFORE making the reservations on the probable costs involved for each family. It would be possible to cancel one room without affecting any of the others. Whether or not a cancellation fee was involved depends on when it happens. If you paid the deposit, you would be legally responsible for the cancellation fee.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wood Nymph View Post
You don't have to buy the tickets and the dining plan until close to the date of the trip. Once you book the tickets and dining plan, you have to pay a much bigger deposit and have to give 45 days notice to cancel and still get a full refund.
The deposit for a package is $200, compared to a deposit of 1 night's room rate + tax for room only, which could amount to alot more than $200 depending on the resort you choose. Also, if you book room only and decide to change to a package, the room only has to be cancelled/refunded and a package booked, requiring a new $200 deposit or payment in full if this is done 44 days or less from arrival. The DDP can be added right before arrival (must be added at least 3 days prior), but changing from a room only to a package requires cancelling and refunding of one to book the other as money paid toward one cannot be applied to the other. So if you make payments on the room only instead of paying the balance at check in and change from that to a package right before you leave, the money paid on the room only cannot be transferred to the package. You will have to wait for the refund from the cancellation, but will still be responsible for full payment of the package at that time.
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeynut1 View Post
The deposit for a package is $200, compared to a deposit of 1 night's room rate + tax for room only, which could amount to alot more than $200 depending on the resort you choose. Also, if you book room only and decide to change to a package, the room only has to be cancelled/refunded and a package booked, requiring a new $200 deposit or payment in full if this is done 44 days or less from arrival. The DDP can be added right before arrival (must be added at least 3 days prior), but changing from a room only to a package requires cancelling and refunding of one to book the other as money paid toward one cannot be applied to the other. So if you make payments on the room only instead of paying the balance at check in and change from that to a package right before you leave, the money paid on the room only cannot be transferred to the package. You will have to wait for the refund from the cancellation, but will still be responsible for full payment of the package at that time.
Thanks for the information. If I cancel the current room reservation in order to book a package it's just an instant refund, isn't it? I would just cancel the room and put a deposit on the package. It would be on the same credit card, so it shouldn't be a problem. I would only change the room reservation if a free dining plan came up for our February trip. Otherwise, I'll add the DP a week or so before we leave for WDW.

At least, that is my plan right now.
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Wood Nymph View Post
Thanks for the information. If I cancel the current room reservation in order to book a package it's just an instant refund, isn't it? I would just cancel the room and put a deposit on the package. It would be on the same credit card, so it shouldn't be a problem. I would only change the room reservation if a free dining plan came up for our February trip. Otherwise, I'll add the DP a week or so before we leave for WDW.

At least, that is my plan right now.
You're welcome . Yes, once you cancel a reservation (room only or package), any money paid toward that reservation will get refunded (minus any penalty fee if you cancel 44 days or less prior to arrival for a package or 5 or less days prior to arrival for room only). Keep in mind that a room only reservation can't be "converted" to a package and the DDP can't just be added. If you want the DDP a week before arrival, that becomes a package (along with the addition of tickets) and a new reservation needs to be booked, with payment in full due at that time, with the room only getting cancelled and refunded.
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wood Nymph View Post
Thanks for the information. If I cancel the current room reservation in order to book a package it's just an instant refund, isn't it?
Also, just a note about your "instant refund". This may not be so "instant". It may not show up until your next billing cycle, depending on how fast your credit card company handles these types of transactions. Not saying it WILL take that long. Just that it COULD.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:49 AM   #11
kermit116
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So just to clarify, it's considers a package if I book hotel + tickets thru WDW, correct? I don't have to also book dining plan with the room & ticket for the booking to be considered a package according to Disney, do I?
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:54 AM   #12
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So just to clarify, it's considers a package if I book hotel + tickets thru WDW, correct? I don't have to also book dining plan with the room & ticket for the booking to be considered a package according to Disney, do I?
You are correct. Room + tickets is a package. The DDP can be added to that later (if you want), but a package only has to consist of the room and tickets . I also wanted to mention that if you choose to add the DDP later, that has to be done at least 3 days prior to arrival.
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