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Save on Disney World resorts by staying in the low season

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on January 26, 2004. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Disney, family travel, hotel, Molly Feltner, Orlando.

For the budget-conscious, choosing when to visit a Disney World resort involves many considerations, including seasonality. While Disney World is a popular destination year-round, the number of guests visiting does vary depending on factors such as the weather, holidays, and school breaks, and that affects the price of rooms.

The ebb and flow of visitors has been predictable enough over the years that Disney World can set its resorts' rates well ahead of time, scheduling rate hikes for more popular seasons and lowering prices for less popular seasons. Since Disney publishes these seasonal price variations months in advance, it's easier for travelers to plan a vacation during a period when prices are low (though sale rates and promotions are harder to predict and not built into a schedule).

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The lowest-priced period for rooms at a Disney World resort occurs during the "Value Season," when visitation rates are at their lowest. Value Season runs from January 1 to February 11 (during the lull after holiday travel); August 29 to September 29 for Value and Moderate Resorts or July 5 to September 29 for all other resort types (coinciding with hurricane season); and October 31 to December 19 (during the lull before holiday travel).

The next price level occurs during "Regular Season," April 18 to August 28 for Value and Moderate Resorts or April 18 to July 4 for all other resort types; and September 30 to October 30 (periods of average visitation). The third most expensive time to visit is "Peak Season," which runs from February 12 to April 17 (during spring break). The highest-priced season occurs during "Holiday Season" (Christmas week), and runs from December 20 to 31.

Below, we've outlined the seasonal rate ranges for the Disney-owned resorts:

Value Resorts
Resort Value Regular Peak Holiday
All-Star Movies Resort $77 to $87 $99 to $109 $109 to $121 $114 to $126
All-Star Music Resort $77 to $87 $99 to $109 $109 to $121 $114 to $126
All-Star Sports Resort $77 to $87 $99 to $109 $109 to $121 $114 to $126
Pop Century Resort $77 to $87 $99 to $109 $109 to $121 $114 to $126
Moderate Resorts
Resort Value Regular Peak Holiday
Caribbean Beach Resort $133 to $148 $144 to $159 $169 to $194 $184 to $209
Port Orleans Resort French Quarter $133 to $148 $144 to $159 $169 to $194 $184 to $209
Port Orleans Resort Riverside $133 to $148 $144 to $159 $169 to $194 $184 to $209
Coronado Springs Resort $133 to $835 $144 to $910 $169 to $980 $184 to $1,105
Deluxe Resorts
Resort Value Regular Peak Holiday
Animal Kingdom Lodge $199 to $1,945 $239 to $2,115 $289 to $2,275 $324 to $2,505
Wilderness Lodge $199 to $815 $239 to $895 $289 to $1,020 $324 to $1,190
Contemporary Resort $239 to $1,750 $264 to $1,945 $309 to $2,165 $344 to $2,405
Beach Club Resort $289 to $1,560 $329 to $1,730 $394 to $1,900 $449 to $2,110
BoardWalk Inn $289 to $1,765 $329 to $1,930 $394 to $2,110 $449 to $2,340
Yacht Club Resort $289 to $1,560 $329 to $1,730 $394 to $1,900 $449 to $2,110
Polynesian Resort $299 to $1,805 $344 to $2,010 $404 to $2,255 $469 to $2,490
Grand Floridian Resort and Spa $339 to $1,775 $384 to $1,980 $444 to $2,210 $514 to $2,450
Home Away from Home Resorts
Resort Value Regular Peak Holiday
Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground $36 to $229 $52 to $269 $60 to $299 $69 to $329
Old Key West Resort $254 to $1,040 $284 to $1,160 $329 to $1,310 $369 to $1,460
Villas at the Wilderness Lodge $279 to $535 $314 to $690 $379 to $835 $434 to $985
Beach Club Villas $289 to $545 $329 to $705 $394 to $890 $449 to $1,010
BoardWalk Villas $289 to $1,320 $329 to $1,510 $394 to $1,695 $449 to $1,915

Dates for seasonal pricing may be different for the campsites at the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.

Rates do not include taxes and fees, are based on double occupancy, and are subject to availability and change. Children under 18 stay free when sharing a room with their parents. The prices above are "room only." Many packages that include accommodations, park passes, airfare, and more, are available for higher prices. Note that if your vacation spans two different rate periods, you will be charged the new rate the day the new pricing period begins.

For more information about Disney World resorts, visit the Disney World website and use the pull-down menus to find details about individual resorts. To book a resort, click on "Book Your Stay," and follow the directions. You can also call Disney's reservations center at 407-939-6244.

As always, keep an eye out for special rates and promotions before booking a Disney World vacation. Besides monitoring our family newsletter and the Disney World Special Offers page, another good place to check for deals and savings tips is the independent website MouseSavers.com.

Should you go during Value Season?

Whether or not you can visit Disney World during the Value Season depends upon how flexible your family's schedule is. Prices are the lowest of the year and the parks will be less crowded, meaning that you'll spend less time waiting in line and more time enjoying the rides, shows, and dining with your family.

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