By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

When Will the New Walt Disney World Deals and Discounts Be Out?

By Dave Shute


The Disney World deals, promotions, and discounts I know about are linked to via this Summary of Current Walt Disney World Deals and Discounts.

However, all the time I get search traffic, questions, and comments about the dates of future deals and discounts, like this one from Brandon.

These questions are hard to answer, as it’s to Disney’s advantage not to be too predictable on these promotions.

It doesn’t make much business sense for Disney World to incent people who are perfectly willing to pay standard resort hotel prices to hold off on their reservations so that they can get a predictable further discount later.

So just because a discount was available at such and such a time last year doesn’t mean it’ll be available at that time this year, or next year.

This is particularly true if the economy keeps improving, which will lead Disney to continue to cut back on the scope of its discount programs–which it has promised to Wall Street that it will do.

However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no pattern, nor that observations can’t be made.


I analyzed the 50+ major discount programs Walt Disney World made available to the general public covering stays from 2008 til well into 2011 to see if there were some patterns that might be helpful.

The analysis focused in particular on how many days elapsed between the discount announcement date and the beginning and the ending dates during which the discount could be used.

I then graphed the cumulative distribution of the results.

See the chart to the right.

(Click to enlarge it; when it’s open, click again to enlarge it more.)

The chart has two lines, each the result of independent analysis of the Disney deals.

(That is, the points at the 50th percentile on the red and the blue lines do not represent the beginning and end of the same Disney World promotion.)

The blue line covers the period from the date of the announcement to the first date the discount can be applied.

It helps illuminate whether, if a discount is announced, it will cover your dates.

Note that the blue line hits 20% at 30 days, and 70% at 60 days.

What this means is that 70% of Disney World’s major discount programs open to the general public over the last four years had their first effective date 2 months away or closer, and that half of them (70%-20%) had their first effective date between 30 and 60 days after announcement.

So if you are within 30-60 days of your trip, and no discounts have been announced that apply to it, based on this the odds are 70% that a new discount program, if announced, will begin during your period.  If you are a month away, if a new discount program is announced, the odds are only 20% that it will cover your dates.

In other words, the nearer your dates, the less the chance that any announced discount will cover them.


The red line covers the number of days between announcements and the last effective date of a discount program.

This curve is smoother.  Half of discount programs have their ending date 120 days or sooner after their announcement, and about 90% of programs have their ending date 6 months (180 days) or sooner after the announcement.

This curve helps illuminate when future discounts might be announced.

For example, you may be wondering when Disney will be announcing a discount for January 2012.

Well, if it does so, based on past behavior the odds are about 90% that, if announced, a January 2012 Disney World discount will be announced no earlier than sometime July 2011–that is, six months before.

And the odds are about 50% that, if announced, it will be announced no earlier than sometime September 2011.

So don’t be looking for them now…


These patterns are observations about past tendencies…not a playbook that Disney must follow!

Disney World can, and does, do anything it wants.  It is quite capable of surprises–like the free dining deal announced last year that covered some dates more than 400 days after the announcement!

So take this analysis for what it’s worth…as an illumination based on past behavior, not a display of psychic powers!


This analysis covers only 2008 through 2011–the time during which this site has been up, and I’ve been paying detailed attention.  This period is the same as the downturn, which started showing up in early 2008, and so the analysis may fast become irrelevant if the economy takes off.

There are certain periods where you just won’t see discounts, when demand for Disney resort hotels, or willingness to pay, is predictably high enough that it makes no business sense for Disney to discount–promotions that are offered will exclude them (these excluded periods are known as “black-out dates”) or end before or start after them.

Almost never discounted periods are the Xmas-New Year’s periods, President’s Day week, Easter week, and Thanksgiving week.  Commonly blacked out as well are July, Jersey Week, and Pop Warner Week.

The analysis includes only discounts available to the general public–not passholder discounts, Florida resident deals, military discounts, pin codes for Disney Visa card holders, etc.  For thoughts on a 2012 Military Salute, see this page on  For more on most of these other discount types, see The Tightwad’s Guide to Resort Deals and Discounts.

Current major Disney World promotions for the general public and the military that I know about can be found on Summary of Current Walt Disney World Deals and Discounts.  However, don’t ever give up on finding a discount until after you’ve also checked and with your travel agent.



1 Christy { 07.19.12 at 4:46 pm }

Hi Dave,
I am looking at taking my family to Disney World for the first time next year. We are look at April 30- May 4 but are flexible with our dates. Does Disney World typically offer any promotions during this time period? Thanks so much!

2 Dave { 07.20.12 at 10:39 am }

Christy, yes, but Disney is trying to cut back on its discounts so there’s no guarantee..

3 Susan { 07.20.12 at 3:04 pm }

Wow!! What a site, this is awesome!!! I feel like I have researched and researched but this is the best site I have found. We are planning a trip for January 2-January6. I think from what I have found this will be a good time as far as crowds. Any thoughts on deals for that week? I almost went ahead and booked until I saw this site. Also, how long can I wait until I book?

4 Dave { 07.20.12 at 4:11 pm }

Susan that week will be crowded and not discounted because of the crowds…see this

5 Andy { 07.21.12 at 11:41 am }

We are planning a trip for the first week in February (mainly because of the price and low crowds). I know it’s a ways away, but do you think they will offer a free dining plan then? Also, we went during this week two years ago and had a blast, are most Of the attractions generally re-opened during this week?

6 Dave { 07.21.12 at 2:49 pm }

Hi Andy, dunno on the free dining, but see this for Feb 2012’s arrival dates: I’m sure some rides will be closed, but the vast majority will be open!

7 Tom { 09.06.12 at 2:28 pm }


any ideas about when (if any) free dining promotions will be available for September – Octobre 2013? when should I ckeck out?


8 Kristin J. { 09.06.12 at 3:41 pm }

Hi Dave! Love your site! I am a veteran Disney traveller, but am finding so much interesting information!
I am planning a trip the last week in Jan 2013. Any idea (based on historical data), if and when they’ll offer a discount (hotel or dining)?
Thanks again for maintaining the site. It has made my afternoon! 🙂

9 Dave { 09.07.12 at 6:46 am }

Hey Tom, for September, offers should come out in March or so, and for October, if offered, around July or August…

10 Dave { 09.07.12 at 6:49 am }

Hi Kristin and thanks!

Last year’s free dining for the equivalent 2012 period came out in August…this year the equivalent deal stops in Dec. I can see Disney waiting quite a while for a 2013 offer, to see how the Fantasyland expansion is received and its impact on bookings…for eligible Jan 2012 dates, see this:

11 Patti Persia - { 09.07.12 at 11:31 am }

Hi! I am a travel planner with Destinations in Florida – if you are really planning on going to Disney at that time you can always book your trip sans the discount. One of the perks of working with a travel planner is discount watching – I will make sure that you get the new discounts when they are released!!

12 Dave { 09.07.12 at 1:13 pm }

Thanks, Patti!

13 Rod { 09.22.12 at 3:47 pm }

I am planning a trip for my wife and me and our 2 adult sons and their wives for early December 2013. This will be a Christmas present for our children and their spouses, so I plan to book early to make sure we get the rooms/plan we want. We were wondering if we book now and Disney offers discounts that would be applicable for the time period we are there would these discounts be automatically applied to our trip or do I have to watch the discount promotions and contact Disney myself in order to get the discount? Thank you for you assistance your website has already answered many of our questions.

14 Dave { 09.23.12 at 7:59 am }

Hi Rod! No, Disney will not automatically apply deals–you need to track them and then work with Disney to apply them if they fit your hotel and arrival date…

15 Amy { 09.28.12 at 10:50 pm }

Hi Dave
We are going april 11 – 18, 2013. We are planning on staying at the AoA in a family suite. I have not booked the room yet. When do you think a discount for that week my be released and what is the best way to search for discounts? Thank you!

16 Amy { 09.28.12 at 10:52 pm }

Sorry my email address to you in the last message was not complete. I have resubmitted to you the correct one.

17 Dave { 09.29.12 at 1:33 pm }

Hi Amy, discounts for then, if they come out, will likely come out in December or early 2013. The simplest way to check on such is to come back to this page every now and then:

18 Amy { 09.29.12 at 8:26 pm }

Do you suggest i book now and then try to get the discount applied or wait to see if one comes out in a few months? Our dates are april. 12- 18 and we want to stay at AoA. We are a family of 4. Is it worth it to pay 3x as much for the famìly suite. On a separate matter, i was pleasantly surprised to see that week is 12 of 52 weeks out of 2013 to visit with low crowds because it is school vacation week here in MA. Thanks for your help.

19 Dave { 09.30.12 at 5:56 pm }

Amy the issue of “worth it” for the family suites is personal and hard for an outsider to comment on. That will be a good week–while a number of Northeastern states have it as break, 1. almost no one else does, and 2., many of those who do also have Presidents Day week off, and go down to Florida then instead of April! On the deals front, you can book now, and then call to get any deal that may apply to your arrival dates and hotel applied later…

20 Amy { 09.30.12 at 9:03 pm }

Thank you, Dave. You are so very helpful! One last question…I know you are working on finishing your review of the Little Mermaid rooms at AoA, but I would like to book and wondered if you had any advice on the best location to ask for in the Little Mermaid buildings? I understand that overall they are not located in a convenient section of the resort, but if we book there what should we aim for? Thanks again!!!! You are the best!

21 Dave { 10.01.12 at 7:37 am }

Hey Amy, you want to ask for an hourglass lake view room in Building 7, closer to the Lion King section. This gives you the best combination of noise, distance, and views…

22 Becca { 10.30.12 at 12:28 pm }

Thank you for this site — very, very helpful! We are looking at 2nd week of Aug 2013. When should we expect discounts, if any? Is it better to book early and hope a discount will come out? How do we have them applied? Is it easier to make adjustments booking directly with Disney or with an agent? Thanks again!

23 Dave { 10.30.12 at 2:31 pm }

Hey Becca–that’s not such a great week–see this: Weeks in late August have much lower corwds and more likely deep discounts. Take a look at the link. If deals for those dates come out, it could be late spring. It’s usually easier to work with a travel agent, but then you lose some control. The TA can set you up so that it’s most likely you’ll be eligible for a deal, and then convert you if one comes out…

24 Becca { 10.31.12 at 5:21 pm }

Maybe I’m reading it wrong? It looks like for a moderate resort, beginning 8/4/13 is a great time to go — pricewise. Value Season 2? We are not as concerned about crowds. Thank you, again.

25 Dave { 11.01.12 at 10:50 am }

Becca, I was thinking of two things I don’t like about that week compared to, say, the end of August.

One is its very high crowds compared to low crowds at the end of the month, and the other is the fact that late August traditionally has free dining–which doesn’t mean that it’s a lock, but if it happens you could save among the three of you another hundred bucks a night on top of the low late August prices… See this:

26 Sherri { 11.25.12 at 1:40 pm }

Couple more questions. Is the free dining available if we book through DVC (buy from a 3rd party)?

Due to limited flights from our area, we can fly on either Monday or Friday (2-4th week of October 2013). We are planning on staying a week. Do you have a suggestion which would be better?

27 Dave { 11.25.12 at 1:50 pm }

Sherri, no on the free dining. You can only get that (if it’s offered) buying a package directly from Disney (or directly from Disney via a travel agent.)

Sounds like you are thinking about Allegiant Air?–I’m just guessing since they are the only airline I know of with such infrequent schedules. If so, I’d look for another option, as they fly into Sanford, not MCO, and are thus another 30-45 minutes further away from WDW than the airlines that fly into MCO. Disney’s Magical Express does not cover Sanford, so unless you were planning on renting a car, you’ll have a huge cab fare in and out…

28 Sherri { 11.25.12 at 6:28 pm }

Actually it is Allegiant, and we are renting a car. Don’t like to deal with the buses and such, plus it gives us the ability to go shopping or to another park. So Does the arrival day matter?

29 Dave { 11.25.12 at 7:08 pm }

Great, Sherri…just wanted to make sure you knew! I can be a busy body 🙂 …

If you are staying 7 nights, then your arrival day doesn’t much matter.

Sat-Mon is busiest, and Fri and Sat tend to be the most expensive hotel nights. But with your trip length you’ll have those whenever you arrive.

That said, I’d have a small preference for the Monday arrival, as that means your first few days–when you are still learning your way around–are the lighter days…

30 mary { 01.02.13 at 5:48 pm }

we are planning our first trip as a family of 4 to wdw for mid to late oct 13, what types of deals/ discounts might we see?

31 Dave { 01.03.13 at 7:23 am }

Hi Mary! It’s really hard to say. There’s not been a lot of discounts for October in the past few years (they have been offered, but with many excluded dates) and Disney is by policy sharply cutting back its discounting. So I would not count on anything, and if something does come out, great. Discounts for those dates, if they do come out, would most likely come out in June or July…

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32 JR { 01.12.13 at 11:42 pm }

We are going to WDW from 6/7/13-6/16/13 we would fall into the spring deal right now. Do you think it is likely for a free dinning deal for this week?

33 Dave { 01.13.13 at 10:44 am }

Hi JR, no one will know for sure for a couple of months, but if I had to bet, I’d say “no” on free dining, as they’ve already not offered it for 2013 dates for which they did offer it last year…

34 Stacy { 01.18.13 at 4:16 pm }

Any thoughts on the dining plan being offered in May this year? We are hoping to go May 1st -8th – we really don’t want to spend all the extra on the food – rumor has it that you can now bring in food to the park like lunches?

35 Dave { 01.19.13 at 7:55 am }

Stacy, my bet is that it won’t be offered, but that’s just a guess based on recent trends. And yes you’ve always practically been able to bring in food–if you are subtle about it, not a cooler or grocery bags, but sandwiches fruit and water in a backpack is fine…

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36 Katie { 02.04.13 at 1:49 pm }

What happens if I book my package and then a month or two later they have a free dining offer? Is it better to book the resort without dining and then add it later….can I still get the free dining offer if I would do it that way? Sorry if this is discussed elsewhere on the site!

37 Dee { 02.05.13 at 3:54 am }

Wonderful site!
I know Disney does what it wants in regards to discounts and no one knows for certain what, if anything, they will offer, but I would love your prediction on the first full week of December 2013 (check in November 30th). I hear Pop Werner week starts later than normal this year, so do you think there is a chance of free dining offered the first week of December? Is that a normal free dining time?

Out of November and December this year, which week do you think is most likely to have free dining?


38 Dave { 02.05.13 at 8:16 am }

Hiya Katie, if your arrival dates and resort are eligible, you can call Disney if one is announced and convert your package to free dining…

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39 Dave { 02.05.13 at 8:44 am }

Dee, if you force me to predict, I’d say no free dining in December, but if there is any, it would be the first week!

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40 Lori B { 03.10.13 at 4:45 pm }

My family have finally settled on nov 10-16 so we should be arriving just before Veterans Day with the hopes that the jersey week people should be leaving on that Sunday or Monday. Last year they offered free dining on that weekend. What are the chances they might do it again. I’m also staying at a moderate resort(POR) because some sites are predicting that in order to qualify for free dining you should need to be staying at a delux or mod in order to get QSD

41 Dave { 03.11.13 at 7:21 am }

Hi Lori, it’s just a guess, but I don’t think we’ll see a lot of free dining in 2013. See this:

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42 Debra { 07.13.13 at 4:02 pm }

Hi! Just wondering if you had any idea what discounts might be available or February 2014?
Are there cheaper times if February or is the whole month value?

43 Dave { 07.14.13 at 8:06 am }

Hi Debra, only the first part of the month is value–see this for the exact dates:

Discounts for the month–especially early and late in February–are likely, but won’t come out for months, as discounts right now just go into September, and the next announcement likely will only take offers into December.

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44 Amy { 07.15.13 at 11:38 am }

Great website!
We are planning our first Disney vacation for the first week of Feb 2014 with our kiddos 2 & 5. Haven’t booked it yet but we are thinking Art of Animation (family suite) and debating the Dining Plan. Any predictions on whether there will be free dining or room discount? My husband really wants a discount on something! Thanks!

45 Dave { 07.16.13 at 7:41 am }

Hi Amy, and thanks!

I would expect a room rate deal to be available then. Free dining is a lot harder to predict!

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46 Della { 07.21.13 at 7:15 am }

Traveling to Disney week of Oct 27. Do you predict any specials during this time?

47 Dave { 07.21.13 at 8:41 am }
48 Della { 07.21.13 at 9:47 am }

Awesome! Thanks for the heads up… Will keep eye out for when they come out

49 Maria { 08.10.13 at 8:09 pm }

Hi! We are planning a trip to Disney Jan 3rd to the 10th, 2014. Do you think there will be any discounts available at that time and when might they come out? Thanks!!

50 Dave { 08.11.13 at 8:12 am }

Hi Maria, there may well be room-only discounts for then. If so, they’d likely come out around November 6, and perhaps earlier.

51 Chris { 08.28.13 at 1:21 pm }

Dave, Really good site, thanks. We currently have two 9 day trips booked and are waiting for specials to come out to determine which one we cancel. We would ideally like the Free Dining special. Our two time frames are: March 3, 2014 – March 12, 2014 and March 17, 2014 – March 26, 2014. Thoughts on both of those time frames? Would prefer the earlier one due to Daylight Savings Time as the fireworks and light parade are much earlier. Thanks.

52 Dave { 08.29.13 at 7:01 am }

Hi Chris, and thanks!

I don’t expect free dining for either date–see this:

There’s a good possibility of a room rate deal for the earlier date, but not the later one–see this for a likely deal–and note its black-out dates:

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53 Juanita { 03.10.14 at 4:32 pm }

Hi Dave, I am trying to understand your promotions chart. We (family of 6) are planning on visiting DW 11/30 – 12/6. When can I expect to see a discount for that time frame? What type of specials do they run? I have my cart ready for a stay at the Animation Resort, with dining & 6 day tickets. Im anxious to book but would hate to know I could get a better rate if I would just wait. Thanks

54 Dave { 03.11.14 at 7:44 am }

Juanita, if a deal comes out for your dates, you can call Disney or get online to try to re-book into it just as though you had never made a reservation. (There’s no guarantee you’ll get the deal, as tons of others will be trying to, but having an existing reservation neither hurts nor helps.) So there’s no real value to waiting if you are determined to go then! In 2013, deals for December came out in early August.

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