How to Find Disney World Hotel Deals on Hotwire & Priceline

on February 7, 2020

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two beds in a disney resort room

For years I have known that Disney World hotels sometimes show up as “mystery” hotels on discount travel sites Hotwire and Priceline, but I never put any effort into finding them.

Well in the past 6 months I have used these sites MANY times to get cheap Disney World hotel rooms and have even stayed at a Disney resort for $48/night.

In this post, I’ll show you how to find Disney hotels in disguise on these sites and suggestions for saving even more with a promo code.

You can even link these reservations to My Disney Experience and get all of your Disney benefits free MagicBands, Magical Express, and more.

screenshot of hotwire deal for disney resort with pricing

If you’ve never used Hotwire or Priceline before, here’s the gist.

When you book one of their “Hot Rate” or “Express Deal” hotels, the name of the hotel isn’t revealed until after you pay. You’ll know it’s amenities, area, and ratings, but not the hotel.

Here are two important things to know about using these sites to find Disney World hotels:

  • Your reservation is non-refundable, so you won’t be able to make any changes to after you book.
  • You can usually only find Disney hotels up to 30 days in advance (however occasionally they show up as far as six months in advance). 
  • You can’t add a Disney Dining Plan to these reservations since they are booked through a third party.

If you want help booking a Disney World package that includes a Dining Plan, head here to get int touch with my travel agent partner Siera with Destinations in Florida. She can help you find the best price for your trip all at no cost to you!

Now here are all of my Hotwire Disney World tips and tricks to help you save money on your Disney vacation!

How To Find Secret Disney World Hotels on Hotwire

To find Disney hotels on Hotwire, first do a search within Orlando for your dates.

screenshot with walt disney world - bonnet creek location checked

To narrow your results to hotels that could be Disney hotels, limit the area to Walt Disney World – Bonnet Creek. 

And here is the key to finding Disney World hotels on Hotwire: any hotels in the Bonnet Creek area with an Airport Shuttle amenity will be Disney hotels. Disney-owned hotels are the only hotels that run an airport shuttle (i.e. Disney’s Magical Express) so far away from the airport.

Here is another key piece of information:  Disney Value Resort will show up as 3-star hotels, Moderates as 3.5-stars, and Deluxe as 4-stars.

You can sometimes even figure out which resort you are booking by the bed choice (if you are familiar with the offerings at the resort), location, or even guest reviews.

mobile screenshot of hotwire deal for disney resort

Here is a 3-star mystery hotel in Bonnet Creek with an airport shuttle, so we know this is a Disney Value Resort (learn what to expect at the Disney Value Resorts in this post).

Hotwire now uses Expedia ratings on their site, which means you can use this as a clue to find out exactly what resort you are booking. 

The most common Value resort to show up on Hotwire is All Star Sports since it is usually the last to fill up.

mobile screenshot of hotel confirmation on hotwire

Immediately after you book the hotel the name will be revealed to you. Turns out I was right – it was All Star Sports!

A Disney hotel for $48/night is the absolute lowest price you’ll get for stays on Disney property! That is, unless you have a promo code to get an even lower price on Hotwire. 😉 Read on to learn more…

Disney Hotwire Strategy

resort and pool

Using the clues provided on the Hotwire site, you can usually figure out exactly what hotel you are booking in advance. For Disney resorts use these clues:

  • Room types. For example if you see a Tower Room you’ll know it is Coronado Springs. A Royal Room is definitely Port Orleans Riverside, etc. 
  • The distances to other locations shown in the desktop version of the site (not on mobile or in the app). You can use the distance to the theme parks to figure out pretty much exactly where the hotel is located. 

If I know that I am going to Disney World and am flexible on where I stay, I try this approach to getting a discount through Hotwire. 

  • Book a room-only reservation at a Disney resort with lots of availability (most often the All-Star Resorts and Coronado Springs). These reservations can be cancelled or changed up to five days before check-in. 
  • Check Hotwire often for my travel dates to see my resort shows up at a better price. 
  • Book part of all of my stay through Hotwire if it becomes available.
  • Change or cancel my room-only reservation accordingly. 

If you find your resort on Hotwire for part of your stay, it is okay to split your visit up into two reservations. As long as you are booked in the exact same room type (e.g. Standard View Room or Preferred Room) Disney will not make you change rooms during your stay. It is much easier on them and better for guests to stay in the same room. 

How To Save Even More on Hotwire

Often times you can find promo codes that will give you an additional amount off a Hot Rate hotel (usually $10 to $20 off a $100 hotel or 10% off your total). The best way to get those is to sign up for Hotwire’s email newsletter here.

To get a promo code via email, I suggest lurking on the Hotwire site for a few days and then not visiting it. Do at least a few days before you want to book. It is almost guaranteed that Hotwire will worry that you aren’t going to book and will send you a promo code discount to entice you to book!

How To Find Disney Hotels on Priceline

map of orlando showing bonnet creek

The strategy is much the same on Priceline – search within Orlando, then narrow results to the areas Walt Disney World – Disney Springs and Walt Disney World – Bonnet Creek.

Priceline recently made it extremely difficult to find Disney World hotels since they now list hotels with paid airport shuttles as having a shuttle as an amenity. Many resorts in the Bonnet Creek area offer a paid airport shuttle (booked through Mears Transportation) so you now can’t use that amenity as a clue. 

Now you’ll have to have very thorough knowledge of the Disney world resorts to actually be able to find one on Priceline. I have been able to book them in the past, though, so here is my experience. 

I was about 90% confident the hotel I was booking was one of the Port Orleans resorts since it matched the result on Hotwire that confirmed Port Orleans Riverside.

screenshot of summary of charges

I booked it and thankfully I was right! Above is my receipt for two nights at Port Orleans Riverside for $233 total – the rack rate for my room was $272/night, or $544 total, a 57% savings.

I luckily had a 10% off an Express Hotel booking in my inbox because I recently signed up for the Priceline email newsletter. It saved me an additional $20 so I’m glad I saved the email!

screenshot of hotel information with hotel confirmation number circled

Immediately after you book you’ll get a confirmation email from Priceline. In it, you’ll find the Hotel Confirmation Number (circled in red above). This is the number you enter on the Disney site or app to link your reservation to My Disney Experience.

You can also use this number to book your Magical Express reservation here.

You’ll by default have two people per room on Priceline. I don’t know if you are able to call them and have more added, so if you have more than 2 people per room I’d call them first.

If you are lucky you may be able to snag a discounted Disney reservation on Hotwire or Priceline, too. Any questions? Leave a comment below or join the discussion over at The Budget Mouse private Facebook group!

How to save BIG on Disney World with Priceline and Hotwire pinterest image

65 Comments

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  • Lee Collins

    Hello,
    I just found your this site and your fb page and group. All awesomeness!!!
    On Priceline, how did you know the rate was for a Disney hotel?

    June 5, 2019 at 9:48 am Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Lee! Well, I found what looked to be the exact same hotel listed on Hotwire that confirmed it as a Disney resort (airport shuttle). I was 90% sure it was a Port Orleans resort based on the location given in Priceline so I went for it and I was right – it was Riverside. You will often see the same hotel listed on both, so if you can confirm it as a Disney hotel on Hotwire and the price is better on Priceline (and I’m feeling bold) I’ll book there.

      June 7, 2019 at 4:40 pm Reply
  • Mark

    This website is great: thanks Leah!
    How far in advance do you recommend waiting before trying the Hotwire idea? We’re about 10 months away. I want to nab the best deal but not let it pass us by!
    FYI: we’re going in late June. Finding a deal is tricky…=)

    August 23, 2019 at 9:24 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Mark! Unfortunately the earliest you can expect to find a Disney hotel on Hotwire is about 4 weeks before check-in. One option is to make a room-only reservation well in advance and then stay on the lookout for a Hotwire deal. You can cancel up to 5 days before check-in with a room-only reservation (just make sure you never turn it into a package by adding tickets, etc) so you could go with a cheaper option for part of all of your stay if it becomes available.

      August 24, 2019 at 6:46 am Reply
  • Lori Fitzsimmons

    What a great blog🤗
    Planing our honeymoon for November 1-3, hopefully at Port Orleans.
    We live in Port Orange and new to the area…any more helpful hints?

    September 20, 2019 at 7:12 am Reply
  • Katie

    Any idea how to guarantee a good resort in this same way for the Disneyland area?

    October 30, 2019 at 11:04 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Good question, Katie! I have done some research on Disneyland area hotels with Hotwire but never booked. I have no idea if the Disney-owned resorts would ever show up on Hotwire. I feel like they are more in-demand than some of the WDW resorts since there are only a handful. In general I only go with hotels with a 90% and above guest rating when booking mystery hotels on Hotwire. I feel like I won’t be disappointed that way. I’ll update the post if I ever find any Disney hotels in Anaheim in Hotwire!

      November 1, 2019 at 8:24 am Reply
  • Rebecca the Canadian

    Thanks for the tips. Disney is finally looking like our budget could manage it because of your tips. My guess is that your last minute trick probably only works with short stays. Have you found the same deals with 7-10 day stays?

    January 20, 2020 at 1:31 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Rebecca! Stays of more than a few nights are rare but I have seen up to 7 days in a row. Your best bet is to make a room-only reservation through Disney well in advance – these can be changed or cancelled up to 5 days before check-in without penalty. Then watch for discounts of all or part of your stay on Hotwire! Even if you only find part of your stay (a few days at the beginning or end, for example), you can shorten the reservation through Disney and get part of your stay at a significant discount. This would require you knowing for certain what resort you are booking or being willing to switch resorts once during your stay (called a split stay). Hope that helps!

      January 21, 2020 at 7:34 am Reply
  • Jada tanaka

    I was wondering if this works at Disneyland too?

    February 8, 2020 at 11:03 am Reply
    • Leah

      Yes, but not for Disney owned resorts necessarily. Since they don’t offer a free airport transfer it is difficult to know what you are booking.

      February 11, 2020 at 3:15 pm Reply
  • Kristen`

    Love your blog and podcast, Leah!! Thank you!

    Are there clues that help you determine it is NOT a Disney hotel. For example, if I see “free breakfast” in the description, I can assume it’s not a Disney property. Correct?

    February 10, 2020 at 3:18 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Thanks, Kristen! Yes, you are correct – free breakfast is a giveaway that it is NOT a Disney hotel.

      February 11, 2020 at 3:14 pm Reply
      • Kristen

        Thanks, Leah! Any other items in the description that would indicate it’s NOT a Disney property?

        Also, if I click on “location” in the mystery property description, I’ve seen some listings that say they are “.02 miles from Animal Kingdom, “1.2 from Blizzard Beach”. Is that a safe bet that it’s a Disney property since it’s referencing Disney parks?

        Thanks, again!

        February 12, 2020 at 1:03 pm Reply
        • Leah

          Well, most properties in the area will reference distance from Disney Parks. But the one you mentioned is Animal Kingdom Lodge – it is the only hotel that close to AK park. Distance from the park scan definitely be used to help figure out what hotel it is. I pull up a Google map and compare distances on Hotwire with what I suspect the hotel to be. It definitely works!

          February 13, 2020 at 5:47 am Reply
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