Disney’s Armed Forces Salute which has now been extended through 30 September 2012 presents a fantastic opportunity for military members to save big on Disney Resorts. With discounts of 40% on Deluxe Resorts, 35% on Moderates, and 30% on Value Resorts, now is the time to stay on Disney property if you’ve always wanted to, or to try a higher category resort which is now more affordable.
With these great rates comes a crappy view.
While the rates are fantastic, if you are trying to spend the least amount of money, the room locations and views won’t be so fantastic. At the cheapest of the reduced rates at each resort you’ll be in the Standard View Category of rooms. Disney’s standard view rooms are the least desirable and therefore the cheapest per night. They are the “entry-level” rooms at each resort. The entrance area to your room will overlook the parking lot, and or when looking out of your windows you’ll see parking lots, dumpsters. loading docks, blank walls, or other less than attractive areas.
That’s the drawback to the cheapest rooms at Disney.
If you will be spending all of your time in the theme parks and just come back to the room to sleep it won’t really be an issue for you. But if you will be spending any time in the room or would just like to improve your experience you can give the following a try.
Improve your outlook
It is possible to get a free upgrade to a higher category room. Disney has many names for their various room categories, and the sometimes these names change from one resort to the next. There are Garden Views, Water Views, Pool Views, Savannah View, Garden Wing and Tower to name only a few.
Having booked on a military rate the resort room assigner may give you a complimentary room upgrade just to say thanks for your service. I’ve had that happen before. We’d booked a standard view at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge but we were upgraded to a pool view at no extra cost.
Don’t just hope that will happen though! Improve your odds, Ask!
When you are checking in ask the desk clerk if a comp upgrade is possible. You might feel funny doing it the first time, but it’s so worth it and the worst that can happen is they’ll say “Sorry, no.”
You’ve got to check-in in person to do this, you can’t use Disney’s fancy new online check-in service. This takes human interaction.
Improve your odds – special events and resort selection
You can improve the odds that you’ll get that yes answer you want to hear.
When making your resort reservation, either through Disney, your travel agent, or when using a Shades of Green Overflow Rate mention any special events you are commemorating during your stay. You should have these events added as a note on your reservation: Birthdays. Anniversaries, Return from a Deployment, Honeymoons, etc. Give the actual date if it’s during your stay and Mickey may put a card and balloon in your room.
Your choice of resort can also help you obtain a comp room upgrade. Choose the larger resorts and resorts that don’t fill up as often. We’ve had the best luck at the two cheapest of Disney’s Deluxe Resorts, the Wilderness Lodge and the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Also going during the less busy periods helps too.
My recent experience
On my most recent trip to Walt Disney World I reserved three nights at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. My wife’s birthday was during the trip so I mentioned that when making my reservation through my travel agent, Ears of Experience. I booked a standard view room which during my stay dates cost $300 per night before taxes at the regular rate. My cost using the Armed Forces Salute 40% off was $180 per night plus tax for a total of $607.50. At the regular rate the total would have been $1012.50.
When we were checking in I asked for a comp upgrade. I knew the clerk could see the birthday mentioned on her screen and that it was a military rate. She said just a minute she needed to asked a supervisor to approve the upgrade. It took several minutes but it was so worth it. Look at the photo above, that’s the view from our Savannah View room balcony. Lots better than a parking lot right?
A savannah view room during our dates was going for $380 plus tax per night ($1282.50 total).
So when you compare the room we stayed in to what we paid we saved $675.00, and we had many wonderful hours sitting on that balcony watching the animals.
Have you ever received a comp upgrade at a Disney resort? Tell us about it in the comments.
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