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Booking a Walt Disney World Room Only Reservation vs Vacation Package

You may notice when booking your Walt Disney World vacation there are Room Only offers and Vacation Package offers. Do you know the difference between them? Read further as I expand on those differences and restrictions.

Are you considering booking a Walt Disney World vacation package (including park tickets, dining, airfare, etc.) or book a room only reservation (just a hotel room at one of the resorts), and purchase your park tickets, dining, etc separately? Are you not sure what is the best option for your family and your budget? Let’s talk more about pros and cons that may help you decide. There are several differences between both types of reservations, such as required deposits and cancellation policies. It’s good to know these differences before making a final decision and booking.

Booking a Disney vacation package means you are booking hotel, tickets and/or a dining plan directly through Disney for each person in your traveling party. You can also book airfare directly through Disney, but we’ll talk more about that later. Booking a room only reservation simply means you are reserving a room at a Disney hotel, and will be purchasing your tickets, dining, etc, separately. Often times Disney offers incentives such as free dining if you book a vacation package, or a room discount if you book a room only reservation. You will need to do some calculations to determine if it’s in your favor to book a package with an offer such as free dining vs booking a room only reservation. Note that you can only apply one offer to your reservation, so you need to determine what makes the best sense for you.

Often times it’s actually more economical to book a room only reservation. Many times a room only discount saves you more money than an offer such as free dining if booking a vacation package. Booking a room only reservation also has more flexibility in their policies if you need to change the hotel arrangements.

Note that you can convert a room only reservation to a package to take advantage of an offer. However, be aware that once you do that, you are subject to the package rules and restrictions.

Rules for “Room Only” Reservations

  • You must pay the first night’s room rate as a down payment within 3 days of your reservation (if you book online, the down payment is due immediately)
  • Final payment is due at check-in. You can make payments at any time by calling 407-939-5277. (If booking online within 30 days of arrival, the entire payment is required)
  • You can change or cancel your reservation up to 5 days prior to check-in (6 days for online bookings)
  • If canceling less than 5 days from check-in, you will be charged the room rate for the first night. A no show has the same penalty.

Note: A Disney agent may try to sell you a “basic package” if/when booking a “Room Only” reservation. A basic package is the room only and some trinkets. If you agree, your reservation will then fall under the package rules and requirements, and are more strict than “Room Only”.

Rules for “Package” Reservations

  • You must pay a $200 deposit within 3 days of making the reservation (when booking online, the $200 deposit is due immediately)
  • Final payment is due 30 days prior to check-in. If booking within 30 days of arrival, the full amount is required at the time of booking.
  • You can cancel or change your reservation without penalty up to 30 days in advance. Cancellations made 29 days to 2 days prior to arrival have a cancellation fee of $200 per package, but if reservations are cancelled 1 day prior to arrival or later, the full package price is non-refundable. No shows do not receive any refunds.
  • After final payment is made, any changes made the reservation is subject to a $50 change fee and $15 processing fee.
  • Airfare added to your reservation is non-refundable. It is usually very expensive and not worth it. You are better off booking airfare separately. You will probably get a much better deal.

As you can see, there are several differences between each type of reservation. Be sure to know and understand them before booking your Walt Disney World vacation.

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