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

  • Kristen Magnesen

    Thanks so much!!

    February 13, 2020 at 10:37 am Reply
  • Kevin Lee

    Hello Leah! I see two 3-stars as hot deals – both with airport shuttle. However, one of them says 2 double beds and the other says 2 full beds. The one that says full beds also says regular price of $480/night. Do you know if they are both All Stars?

    Also – are you still sure that Embassy Suites and Holiday Inn in Bonnet Creek area don’t have “airport shuttle”?

    Thanks for your help!

    February 18, 2020 at 9:18 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Kevin! Both are All Star Resorts. My guess is the one that shows a regular price of $480 is Music since it has the family suites which do sometimes cost that amount. And yes, no other hotels in Bonnet Creek have airport shuttle as an amenity except for Disney hotels. Hope that helps!

      February 20, 2020 at 8:23 am Reply
  • Kerry

    Found a deal on Hotwire for $350/nt for a 3 star hotel in WDW-Bonnet Creek area, free airport shuttle, and under the description literally says “Lion King Suite” with three beds. I am assuming it’s Art of Animation? I did notice the fees and taxes are a lot more on Hotwire than booking through Disney directly ($502.51 vs $321.41). Still saves $290 for the whole 6 nights.
    Was hoping to find the same offer on Priceline because I have a 10% off coupon for them, but I’m having a hard time narrowing down the specific care and finding the unnamed rooms. Any tips on finding it on priceline? Thank you!

    February 21, 2020 at 8:09 pm Reply
    • Leah

      You are correct, Kerry – it is definitely Art of Animation. Yes, you’ll want to compare total price to make sure it’s a good deal. Availability varies between the two sites so you might not be able to find it on Priceline. If you stalk Hotwire enough they will probably send you a 10% off coupon, too – give it a few days.

      February 23, 2020 at 10:17 am Reply
  • Ed Mireles

    Hi Leah,

    I noticed on Hotwire, we can book for two adults at the price of $125. We know there would be beds for our two sons however as a result of not adding them on Hotwire then would the children in our party not receive magics bands or extra magic hours?

    Thank you for all this great advice, we honestly thought due to the price we would be limited to offsite.

    February 21, 2020 at 11:04 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Ed! Yes, for now it seems Hotwire is charging extra for kids. They did not used to do this so I have my fingers crossed it will go away. But you are right – if you don’t include your kids on the reservation they wouldn’t get free magic bands or extra magic hours or magical express transportation. Very frustrating, I know. I haven’t looked into whether Priceline is currently doing this. But sometimes you can confirm a hotel as a Disney hotel on Hotwire and then find it on Priceline.

      February 23, 2020 at 10:16 am Reply
  • Meaghan

    Hi! I am currently looking at potentially booking one of Pricelines express deals and I was wondering if you see a Mandatory fee to be paid at the resort, would you bet that it isn’t a Disney Resort? And do you or any of your followers know the resort fee per night for Dolphin/Swan?

    February 22, 2020 at 12:44 am Reply
    • Leah

      Yes you are right, Meaghan – if there is a resort fee it is NOT a Disney owned resort. The current resort fee at the Dolphin is $30 per night plus tax so it might show a bit more.

      February 23, 2020 at 10:14 am Reply
  • Sheila

    Thanks for all the great info! Wondering about parking since Disney now charges. Is that included in the Hotwire rate? Or would we be charged at the time of our stay if we have a vehicle? Thanks!

    February 25, 2020 at 9:49 am Reply
    • Leah

      It is not included – DIsney will charge it to your credit card on file at the end of your stay.

      March 2, 2020 at 9:57 pm Reply
  • Allison Brewer

    Any tips for linking a hotel booked on Hotwire to your MDE? The confirmation number they provided is not working. Did you have to call to get a specific Disney confirmation number?

    February 26, 2020 at 9:08 am Reply
    • Leah

      I suggest checking your reservation info on the Hotwire or Priceline site again. Sometimes it takes a day for them to get the Disney Confirmation number for your reservation. It has always worked for me and I have never had to call. Orbitz is a different story – I have definitely had to call them before!

      March 2, 2020 at 9:57 pm Reply
  • Tram

    Hi Leah! How far in advance do you recommend we look and book to get Disney resort rooms?? Thanks.

    February 28, 2020 at 12:53 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Typically it is only about a month but lately we have seen up to 4 months out!

      March 2, 2020 at 9:52 pm Reply
  • Joe

    Is there any chance things may have changed?

    In the post, you said any hotel in the Bonnet Creek area with Airport Shuttle would be a Disney hotel. However, I see some results showing up with an Airport Shuttle, but also Free Parking. I was under the assumption that Disney hotels did not have free parking.

    February 29, 2020 at 1:42 pm Reply
    • Leah

      They do charge for parking – that is a mistake in the Hotwire system. I have seen that resort as well and believe Hotwire mistakenly shows free parking at Coronado Springs – was it a 3.5 star?

      March 2, 2020 at 9:52 pm Reply
      • Megan Walendzinski

        Okay so it looks like a different listing at $154 (usually 270) with a 4.1 rating is Coronado (offers King Bed or Standard View). BUT there’s another 2.5 with a shuttle listed with free parking at $199(normally 354) with a 4.3 and room options of Garden View or King that is .7 to epcot. Any guesses?

        March 5, 2020 at 1:40 pm Reply
        • Leah

          Can you tell me the dates you are looking at? Disney hotels usually aren’t listed as 2.5 stars but that is very close to Epcot. I’d love to see it.

          March 7, 2020 at 6:33 am Reply
  • Paige Blacky

    I found a 3 star hotel- original rate was $503 and then a 3.5 star hotel- original rate was $136. Why would the 3.5 star rate be so much less originally? thank you!!!!

    March 4, 2020 at 1:47 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Well the stars have very little to do with the cost. They are based on the amenities at the hotel and unfortunately don’t tell you much about quality. Some very low quality hotels can have a fitness facility and hot tub, for example. So there are definitely some “3.5” star hotels that are usually around $136. And they also inflate the prices at times so I am not surprised to see the $503 with a 3 star. Hotwire is crazy like that.

      March 7, 2020 at 6:31 am Reply
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