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Disney World’s “Play Stay Dine and Save” Discount



By Dave Shute

What the Heck is Stay Play Dine and Save from yourfirstvisit.netDisney World now and then offers a couple of discounts that everyone pretty much understands:

  • “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:

Rack Rate Savings Example Pop Century Stay Play Dine from yourfirstvisit.net

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:

Rack Rate Savings Example Caribbean Beach Stay Play Dine from yourfirstvisit.net

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

Rack Rate Savings Example Polynesian Stay Play Dine from yourfirstvisit.net

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.

Rack Rate Savings Example Wilderness Lodge Stay Play Dine from yourfirstvisit.net

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?

Stay Play Dine Savings from yourfirstvisit.net

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.

Pre-tax Room Rate Savings from yourfirstvisit.net

(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!!

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14 comments

1 Heather { 10.12.14 at 10:31 am }

Thanks for this excellent break-down! Just to further complicate things, we also take into consideration how/where we will likely eat (we tend to eat on-the-go at WDW, so lots of snacks and few table service meals) and how we pay for food (usually, we use a certain credit card that gives us double points at any eating establishment). These things can have a big impact on whether SPD or room-only is better for our family. Also, I love your abbreviation SPD. It reminds me of my sons being obsessed with Power Rangers when they were young 🙂

2 George { 12.31.14 at 11:37 am }

Hi Thanks for the great post.. I need a favor can you please calculate a PSD price for me fro the CBR standard room plus dining and 5 day base tickets for 6 nights fro 2 adults and 2 children from 1/14 to 1/20. I booked thru the Come back to magic promo and added tickets and dining and it came to $3029. The room rate was 30% off can to about $140 with taxes. I really appreciate any input. Thanks again

3 Dave { 01.01.15 at 10:02 am }

The PSD deal has expired, George. It had to be booked by 12/29.

4 George { 01.01.15 at 11:37 am }

Thanks

5 Vaughn { 06.17.15 at 6:27 pm }

Looking for a good deal on stay play and eat .for two adults and two children.must have hopper pass.and would like to be staying in magic kingdom from 8/8/15 leave 8/15/15

6 Lynne { 06.26.15 at 6:44 pm }

We are considering our first trip to Disney World – and our children have been waiting a long time! They’re 14 and 18. Our choices for dates are around January 4-10, or February 8 – 15 (ish) in 2016. To be honest, I feel information overload! Did I understand your info to say that because we are all older than 9 yo – the Play Stay Dine package would work better for us? What if we complicate things by getting Premium Annual Passes (we occasionally have passes for Disneyland).

7 Dave { 06.28.15 at 5:12 pm }

Lynne, there’s no telling now what deals might be out in 2016–a room rate deal likely will be available, which means there’s no savings value on rooms to the passholder deals that might be out then too.

I’d avoid or move to earlier your February option. Crowds begin to build the 12th—see this

8 France { 09.24.15 at 4:10 am }

I heard deals are coming out for feb 2016. I already have a reservation at the pop. How do I go about getting the psd that they will offer? And can I pay extra to benefit from the reg dinning plan not the snack one? Thanks

9 Dave { 09.24.15 at 7:58 am }

France, if/when the deal comes out, you would call to try to get it. And yes, you can pay the difference to get the regular plan.

10 mike { 09.24.15 at 12:19 pm }

we have a room reservation at Port Orleans already booked for jan. 30 – feb 6 we have 5 people staying in a room 2 adults 2 children over 10 and a 5 year old can you give me the breakdown of this discount

11 Dave { 09.25.15 at 8:21 am }

Mike, this is the most opaque of Disney’s discounts. When the general public deal comes out (expected Monday) your best bet is to call, try to get into it, and compare prices. (If you have a Disney Visa you can call now).

12 Sarah { 09.27.15 at 10:11 am }

We have been going to Disney in Dec or Jan-Feb since 2001. I have been waiting for free dining to be released for Jan-Feb winter dates. Has Disney ever had Play,Stay,and Dine at the same time as free dining? Not sure if I should book now or try to get a pin code….

13 Leah { 01.05.16 at 1:19 am }

Hello, we are looking to take our family of 5 and want it to be our children 9,7,2 big Christmas gift for 2016. What would be the best week to go and score a pretty good discount based on past deals, before Christmas week or after? We had planned to leave Christmas day but was strongly encouraged to not go that week.

14 Dave { 01.05.16 at 8:16 am }

Leah discounts are hard to predict and for sure I would not count on one.

The best weeks to go are here.

See the first three entries, and the note about discounts week 2 and prices week 3…

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