A very important part of your Disney World vacation is your hotel! You’ll need somewhere to stay during your trip, and the Disney World-owned hotels are a popular choice. The fun theming, free transportation to and from the parks, and extra perks make them a tempting option.
But the popularity of these hotels also means that reservations can sometimes sell out. Recently, we’ve heard that these coveted reservations are harder than ever to find! We did some research, and we’re here to tell you what the reservation situation looks like, why it’s getting tough to book a Disney hotel room, and what you can do to get the reservations you want.
We’ll start by asking the question, Are Disney World hotel reservations actually hard to get right now?
Reservations Are Tough to Come By
We’ve had several readers reach out to us saying that they weren’t able to get the hotel reservations they wanted in Disney World. Some mentioned that there were very few options at all when they went to book a Disney World hotel room, and the limited choices were all very expensive.
To investigate, we checked out the available Disney World hotel reservations for different times during the year. We looked at some dates that are coming up soon as well as dates that are further in the future to see how the options fluctuate and which reservations run out the fastest. Here’s what we found!
From what we saw during our research, there are usually several options for hotel rooms available at almost any given time during the year. There were a few times when very few options were offered, but generally, you can find a hotel room for most times that you want to visit Disney World.
However, sometimes those options are very expensive, and often the most popular hotels are not available at all. The hotels that seem to fill up the fastest are the Value Resorts, since they offer “cheaper” accommodations.
We were easily able to find a room at Disney’s Polynesian Resort or Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, but sometimes those rooms are upwards of $1,000 a night (if not more). Here are some specific examples of the times we searched for hotel reservations and what was available when we looked.
December 27th, 2021, through December 31st, 2021 (very soon)
If you wanted to visit Disney World next week, you can still find hotels available right now! However, almost all of the options available are pretty expensive. Most of the available rooms are at Deluxe resorts, which are the priciest option for Disney hotels.
There was only one option for less than $300 per night. Disney’s Pop Century Resort had some availability for $299 per night during this time.
The combination of short notice and the holiday season means that you’d likely be paying quite a bit more for this trip than you would have if you booked your hotel further in advance. You’ll see later in this post that hotel reservations in December of 2022 (even during peak holiday season) are much cheaper and have more options than those for next week.
January 3rd, 2022, through January 7th, 2022 (holiday season)
If you wanted to visit in a couple of weeks, still during the holiday season, you might be about out of luck. When we looked for hotels for January 3rd through the 7th, 2022, there were only three options available.
However, the options that were available were much cheaper than those we saw for December 2021. You could book Pop Century for $163 per night or Art of Animation for $184 per night.
If you’re hoping to grab one of those reservations, we recommend doing it quickly! They will likely sell out since a lot of people want to be in Disney World for the holidays, and those prices are too good to pass up.
January 17th, 2022, through January 23rd, 2022 (right after the holiday season)
If you look just past this holiday season, when kids might be back at school and adults back at work, there are a lot more options available.
There are even six options that have nightly rates under $300. Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter Resort is just $252 per night, and Disney’s All-Star Music Resort is at $126 per night.
Any time you can visit Disney World during off-peak times, you will likely find better prices and more options. (Remember how empty Disney World was in September, right before the 50th Anniversary celebrations began?) Right before or after a holiday season is one of the best times to visit if you can manage it with your schedule.
February 14th, 2022, through February 20th, 2022 (usually not a super busy time)
February is usually a good month to visit if you want to avoid the crowds. It’s right after the holiday season, and people aren’t quite ready for Spring Break yet. When we looked, though, there still weren’t a ton of options available at this time.
Although there were a few different hotels to choose from, the prices were still pretty high. Art of Animation (a Value resort) was at $549 per night, and Disney’s Riviera Resort was at $793 per night.
The resorts that we can usually count on for lower prices (All-Star Resorts and Pop Century) were not available during this time.
June 20th, 2022, through June 26th, 2022 (summer vacations)
Let’s jump to the later months of 2022, including some of the busy summer months. Since this is still pretty far in the future, we found some good deals available. You can get All-Star Resort rooms for $176 to $196 per night.
Art of Animation was at $257 per night (less than half of what this hotel cost for February 2022), and even the Deluxe Grand Floridian was towards the lower end of its usual price range at $739 per night.
By booking far enough in advance, you’ll give yourself a lot more options and save some money in the process.
Staying at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort would cost $2,300 per night if you want it a week from now, but if you book it about six months out, you can get rooms for $743 per night.
December 22nd, 2022, through December 28th, 2022 (peak holiday time 1 year from now)
And if you’re VERY prepared and can book your hotel room a year in advance, you’ll find a lot of options and lower prices as well. Even peak times (like the holidays) will be much more reasonable than if you wait and book the room later on.
The hotel rooms still tend to have inflated prices during peak times (no matter how far out you book them), but they’re not nearly as bad as the prices we’re seeing for last-minute reservations. You can still get rooms at the All-Star resorts for $227 per night next year’s holiday season, and these value rooms were not available at all when we tried to book a room for one week from today.
Overall, it seems like the reservations that go the fastest are those at Value resorts. The prices climb pretty steadily the closer you get to your vacation time, and even the Value resorts get expensive if you want a last-minute reservation.
If you are visiting Disney World during a peak time (like the summer or holiday season), it’s even more important to get your reservations as soon as possible. The prices for hotel rooms during those times start fairly high and only go up as the time gets closer.
The Deluxe resorts usually had more availability, but those prices got very high during busy times. The Fort Wilderness Campsites were almost always available, and those don’t usually get higher than $200 per night.
That’s not exactly a luxurious trip (they’re literally campsites, so you’ll be roughing it), but it’s one option if you want a last-minute vacation without breaking the bank.
Why the Reservations Are Going Fast
Some reservations are selling out pretty quickly, and it seems like the parks are just steadily getting more and more crowded. This is due to a number of factors.
Disney World has held several hiring fairs to get more workers in after the layoffs of the pandemic, but they are still short-staffed in some areas.
It’s possible that housekeeping is one of those areas, which means that Disney may not be opening all of the hotel rooms even if a hotel is open and available for reservations. This is just an assumption based on the staffing issues we have seen, but it would make sense. This also impacts other hotel staff as well.
We’re in the middle of the holiday season right now, which is a great time to visit Disney World if you want to add some extra magic to your holidays.
But the added benefits of new treats, holiday parties, and themed shows attract a lot of guests, which means that Disney can inflate the prices for hotel reservations and people will still pay the extra cost.
Disney World’s 50th Anniversary
You can still see the 50th Anniversary decorations, try the new treats and snacks that came out for the occasion, and meet the characters in their 50th best.
A TON of people came out for the official anniversary day, and still, more are planning to visit during the year-and-a-half-long celebration.
Reopening After Pandemic Closures
Disney World closed for a while in the spring of 2020, and they’ve been steadily reopening the parks, restaurants, and hotels since the summer of 2020.
Many people chose to cancel vacations and stay home due to the pandemic, so some guests who missed a previous trip to Disney World are planning their make-up vacations now.
Since the COVID-19 vaccine has come out and Disney World is almost fully reopened (with just a few things still missing), the crowds have continued to grow in the parks.
Disney World Hotel Perks
Regardless of the previous Disney World resort perks that have been replaced or just not come back, there are still some perks to staying at a Disney-owned hotel during your trip.
You can get free transportation to and from the theme parks, an extra half-hour at each park before opening time (sometimes more!), and some extra time in the parks after closing (for guests at Deluxe resorts).
Another new benefit is that Disney World hotel guests get to book their pay-per-ride reservations at 7AM instead of at park opening time. If you wanted to pay the extra fee to ride a popular attraction without waiting in line, you can reserve your spot in the Lightning Lane on the day of your trip. The Lightning Lane reservations do sell out sometimes, so staying at a Disney hotel and getting that extra bit of time in the morning to make reservations could be a game-changer.
How to Get the Reservations You Want
We’ve got a couple of tips for how to get the reservations you want most for your vacation. The most important one is to book your reservations as soon as possible! There were a LOT of options for Disney World hotels (at reasonable prices) when we looked 6 months to a year in the future. You’ll save a lot of money (and stress) if you plan and book your vacation early.
If you still can’t find the reservations you want, don’t give up! Sometimes Disney adds more reservations to hotels as rooms open up, and people frequently cancel or change their plans, thus opening more rooms. Keep checking back to see if new reservations appear, and be sure to jump on the ones you want as quickly as possible.
It might sound kind of silly, but you can try refreshing the page on your computer or phone while you’re looking for reservations. Even as we were researching the hotel availability for this article, the hotels and prices changed a bit in just a short time. Availability is always changing, so don’t give up hope if you can’t get your preferred hotel right away.
A Couple Reminders
For a while, you could not book one-night stays at a Disney World hotel. You had to have reservations for two nights or longer. But now you can book those one-night stays again, so if you just want a short, overnight trip to Disney, you can do it!
And remember that you can stay off-property during your Disney World trip. It might require a little more planning (especially with transportation to and from the parks), but you shouldn’t have to give up your trip just because the Disney hotels are very expensive during the time you want to visit.
There are a lot of hotels to choose from in Orlando, and AirB&Bs are a great option if you’re traveling with a big group!
Keep following DFB for all the latest news and planning tips as you prepare for your vacation!
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
What’s your favorite Disney World hotel? Let us know in the comments.