I have worked exclusively with Disney destinations for the past 10 years and based on my experience, I can see that things are changing at Walt Disney World. 2020 is going to bring many exciting changes, and yes, higher rates and even new policies. We recently saw big changes to Walt Disney World theme park tickets and we saw the end of the long-standing Magic Your Way package.
Back in the spring I predicted major price increases to nightly hotel rates based on the number of reservations I was booking for clients. The rate increase came in July but was cleverly disguised as a free dining offer. What you didn’t see was a significant rate increase on Walt Disney World hotels. If you booked a fall 2019 reservation after the offer came out, well, you paid 2020 rates. By the way, the free dining offer was so limited this year, very few people were able to take advantage of it. There were just a few weeks here and there that needed to be filled.
I do expect additional rate increases on things like PhotoPass and the Disney Dining Plans for 2020 so it would wise to get those components added to your reservation now, just in case.
I’ve heard that Disney is waiting to see what Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge does for attendance before releasing any 2020 discounts. Offers like free dining were created to fill gaps in attendance when tourism was down. But 2019 was the best year for travel and tourism in long, long time. I think Disney is expecting 2020 to be even better.
Disney has been investing a lot of money and resources at Walt Disney World with new hotels, transportation upgrades, attractions and of course Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. It’s reasonable for Disney to expect a return on its investment. Simply keeping the parks busy isn’t going to be enough after the amount of money they have spent. But we should keep in mind that there is a lot of value in the many, new experiences coming even if prices are higher.
I do recommend booking your trip as early as possible with the refundable deposit, even if you might change your mind later. I have noticed that some hotels are already sold out for select January and February nights. This isn’t normal! Bookings are definitely way up.
Rates can increase again at any time. When you book early in the year you lock in the current price. Plus, Disney allows guests to apply offer codes to existing reservations. If the price goes down, I can make the adjustment provided the offer matches your package type.
As a travel agent obsessed with saving my clients money, I will certainly be on the lookout for any offers that come along and post them here. So, stay tuned! This is going to be a great year at Walt Disney World.