Disney World’s “Play Stay Dine and Save” Discount
By Dave Shute
- “Room-only” deals: room rate discounts that lower the cost of rooms compared to whatever standard prices are offered the same dates
- “Free dining” deals: those who buy rooms and tickets at full standard prices get one of Disney’s Dining Plans for free
A third common deal, however, seems to cause a bit of confusion. This is Disney World’s “Play Stay Dine and Save” deal.
Some people call this “free dining.” That’s wrong. Other say that the savings in it come from people 10 and older paying the dining plan and ticket prices of 3 to 9 year olds. That’s wrong too.
What Stay Play Dine is is a discount of around 9%-17% off of what the price would otherwise be for a package including hotel nights, tickets, and dining plans. The actual percentage savings varies by the hotel, the number of people booking, and the age structure of the group, and the only way to calculate it is to do test bookings for the same dates and rooms with and without the deal.
Moreover, it’s almost always offered with a “room only” deal also offered the same nights. Smaller, younger groups in more expensive rooms may do better with the room only deal than Stay Play Dine. Here too you need to test to know.
THE CURRENT PLAY STAY DINE AND SAVE DEAL
Last week Disney World released two deals, Play Stay Dine (“PSD”) and room only, for into March 2015.
I tested PSD savings per night for several different hotels and family structures during a late January period and also compared them to the room rate deal (to see which saved more) and to rack rates (to see percentage savings).
Here’s the results:
At value resort Pop Century–where the dining plan is quick service–the room rate discount for a standard room is $21.38/night on the tested nights, and PSD is always better for any family type these nights.
Total discounts range from 9% to 14% and are in the higher end of the range as more of the party is 10 or older. At best, the discounts are 60% of the cost of the dining plan
At moderate resort Caribbean Beach, with the regular dining plan on the same nights in a standard room, nightly savings are below:
Room rate savings per night these nights for the same room are $45.56. Only a solo traveler does better with the room rate deal than PSD. Discounts range from 11-17%, with the higher percentage savings for families with more people 10 and older. The savings cover between 59 to 72% of the dining plan costs.
At the expense deluxe resort the Polynesian Village, the room rate deal is better for many families
Nightly savings from the room rate deal for a standard room the nights I modeled are $144.79, and PSD nightly savings vary depending on family size and age structure from around $100 to almost $200.
Many families do better with the room rate deal than PSD (in yellow). SPD percentage savings range from 13 to 17%. PSD Savings actually exceed free dining savings for some family structures, and at worst savings pay 80% of dining plan costs.
The Wilderness Lodge is the least expensive deluxe resort at Disney World.
Nightly savings for the room rate deal are $97.54 for standard rooms for the nights I tested.
PSD saves less for many family structures (in yellow) and saves more for others. Percentage savings for PSD are 9 to 15%, showing the same patterns as the other resorts–higher discounts with more people older than 9. The PSD savings in effect pay for 60-75% of dining plan costs.
Compare savings for a similar family–e.g. with two adults and two 3-9 year olds–across the last three resorts and you’ll see the nonsense of the claim “10 and ups pay 3-9 rates.” If that were true, nightly savings would be the same per family type, not varying across resorts as in fact they do!
HOW TO DECIDE IF PLAY STAY DINE IS FOR YOU?
In more expensive rooms, your savings will vary depending on size and the number of people older than 10 in the room.
For such groups, you simply need to test your reservation both ways. Go to Disney’s website, price for your dates, family size and ages, and room based on Play Stay Dine, then hit the radio button on the right next to the Play Stay for the room-rate deal price. Then go into the room rate deal and make sure the tickets and dining plan are set, and compare total prices at the end of your process.
(Note that the packages like PSD initially show with taxes included, but room pricing–rack or discounted–doesn’t add taxes til later in the process. I dunno why…)
Standard value resort rooms will pretty much always be a better deal under PSD than the room rate deal. Standard moderate rooms ditto except for very small parties (like a blogger on a solo visit to update a room review…). Deluxes should be double checked based on the radio buttons!!