Walt Disney World Room Only Reservations vs. Vacation Packages

Not sure whether you want a Walt Disney World vacation package or if it would make more sense to book just a Disney World resort hotel room (also known as a “room only” reservation) and buy your tickets separately? This page explains the pros and cons of vacation packages vs. booking a room only reservation, including the cancellation policies for each type of reservation.

Buying a Disney World vacation package means you must purchase both your hotel room AND tickets for each person in the party directly from Disney, with those components (and optionally, a dining plan) priced and sold together as a “package.” Normal Disney vacation packages are NOT discounted; prices are more-or-less consistent with paying full price for the separate components. However, certain special offers such as “free dining” apply only to vacation packages.

Sometimes your most economical option is to book a room only reservation at the Walt Disney World resort of your choice (ideally with one of the discounts listed on this site) and buy the other components of your vacation (i.e. tickets and meals) separately. It’s more work than booking a package, however.

To complicate matters, you can convert most room-only discounts into a package by purchasing tickets and optionally a dining plan. We normally note this option when we list room only discounts. However, it’s important to remember that once your booking is converted to a package, it is subject to the package rules. The room only rules are much better than the package rules. Additionally, for most people it is not worthwhile to make a room-only offer into a package because you’re adding full-price tickets, when you could purchase them cheaper through an outside company such as Undercover Tourist. Also, for the average family the Dining Plans are not a particularly good deal.

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Rules for Disney World Room Only Reservations

Room only reservations offer better terms for cancellation and payment dates than vacation packages booked through the Walt Disney Travel Company (WDTC). When booking a room only reservation, you are subject to very few restrictions:

  • To reserve a Walt Disney World “room only” reservation, call the Disney Reservations Center at (407) W-DISNEY, book online at DisneyWorld.com (bearing in mind the less-advantageous deposit/payment rules for online payment) or contact a travel agent who specializes in Disney travel.

Rules for Disney World Vacation Packages

When booking a vacation package through WDTC, you will be subject to the following rules:

  • To reserve a Walt Disney World vacation package, we strongly recommend using a travel agent who specializes in Disney travel. They can help you get the most from this much more complicated option.

Tips for Dealing with the Disney Reservations Center

Be polite but persistent when calling the Disney Reservations Center. Some of the agents answering the phone know more than others, and some will try harder than others to get you the best deal. If the first agent you speak with isn’t helpful, say thanks, end the call and try again. With hundreds of agents at the call center, it’s unlikely you’ll get the same agent twice in a row.

Keep calling back periodically if your dates are not immediately available at the discounted rate, because people change and cancel reservations all the time. Something is quite likely to open up eventually.

If you work with an agent at the reservations center who is especially helpful or friendly, be sure to do the survey at the end of the call. Or get his or her name and take two minutes to send an email complimenting the agent’s work!

Planning your Walt Disney World vacation should not leave you stressed out. However, that can easily happen, particularly for first-timers. If you do all of your own planning and booking, be aware that there is a huge amount of information to gather. If you are becoming frustrated (or you’re just not a planner), consider using a Disney Specialist travel agent. It costs you absolutely nothing and saves you tons of time and effort!