How We Got a Moderate Disney Hotel Room for the Price of a Value

Hi again! We are gearing up for our couple’s trip to WDW next month and I have to say, I’m very excited! I realized when I was talking to a friend the other day that my husband and I have not been away without our daughter since she was born-11 years ago! I love my daughter to the moon and back, but traveling to Disney with an 11 year old can be less than magical at times. Let’s just say the pre-teen ennui has set in and I often catch her rolling her eyes at my displays of unbridled joy throughout our time at Disney.

We are getting into Orlando late the first night of our trip and it seemed really wasteful to spend the DVC points (or cash!) on a room at the Poly, even with the current passholder room discounts. We booked a night at All Star Music, for $106, including taxes, using the passholder room discount. While I was happy with the price, I was wary about spending a night at an All Star resort during a cheerleading competition, as the groups are mostly booked into these resorts and I’ve heard stories about noise and hijinks that made me hesitant. I also didn’t want to pay $30 more to upgrade to a moderate hotel.

Well, then in stepped! Priceline offers substantial savings on their “Express” deals-where your hotel name is revealed after you book and pay for your non-refundable stay. You’re taking a risk committing to a hotel without knowing exactly where you’re staying in exchange for potentially big savings. Using my pro tip I was able to book Coronado Springs for $89, or $112 with taxes. Add to that my Ebates money back (if you’re not using Ebates to get money back when you shop online then sign up today!) and I paid a total of $108 for one of my favorite moderate resorts for a couple bucks more than a value!

photo courtesy of dziactor via Flickr

So here’s the pro tip: adding the Hotel Canary extension to your Chrome browser can help narrow down the possibilities of which hotel you’re getting. After installing the extension, go to and search for Lake Buena Vista, FL and enter your travel dates. When the results appear, click the Express Deals tab at the top of the page. Now when the results appear, you are looking for hotels listed in Bonnet Creek. This is the only area on the map where actual Disney-owned hotels are located. You will probably be able to choose 3, 3.5, 4, or 5 stars (3.5 stars is moderate and 4-5 is deluxe.) Click “Book” and then click on the bell at the top of your browser window and wait to see which hotels pop up. There’s no guarantee that a Disney hotel will pop up. The timing as well as the occupancy of the on-property hotels obviously influence what will be available. In looking at two weeks out, I found availability at the Dolphin and Swan for a little over $200 a night. Once you book, the hotel name will appear.

So let me reiterate that you are still taking a chance, as often Hotel Canary will list a couple of options and some might be not Disney-owned hotels (I found the Wyndham Grand, and Four Seasons in my searches) but if you’re flexible and up for an adventure, you could score big on your hotel using this method!

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