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5 Disney Things You Should Know This Week – April 29, 2016

Each Friday, I provide 5 Disney things all Disney fans should know from this past week, just in case you missed them. Here are the super important Disney news items for this week:

Disney Free Dining Released for Walt Disney World

disney free dining

For the 11th year, Walt Disney World has released their Free Dining discount for Fall dates. The current travel dates are August 23 – October 1, November 15 – 21, November 26 – 28 and December 10 – 21, 2016. You must check in on one of those travel dates in order to qualify. For 99% of Disney vacationers, this is the best deal of the year.

In addition, Walt Disney World also released a Free Dining discount for Disney VISA cardholders as well. It is the exact same discount, however, additional dates are available (August 14 – 22 were added) and there is typically better availability with the Disney VISA offer.

Act quickly, most dates are already sold out with the discount.

Walt Disney World Summer Savings Offer

In addition to the Free Dining discount, Walt Disney World released another discount, the Late Summer Savings offer. This covers dates from August 1 – November 5, 2016. If your dates are not covered by the Free Dining deal, or you happen to be staying in a deluxe resort, this offer may be a good deal for you. You can save as much as 30% off of your Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney After Hours Discounts

Several weeks ago, Walt Disney World announced a new night time event at the Magic Kingdom called Disney After Hours. The $150 event gives you three hours in a basically empty park, including free drinks and Mickey ice cream. For the remaining events, both Disney Vacation Club members and Walt Disney World annual passholders can receive 50% off of the ticket cost. Tickets can be purchased at any Walt Disney World ticket window.

Disney Beach Club Remodel

Beach Club Rooms

Walt Disney World has completed the remodel of the rooms at the Beach Club Resort, and they look fantastic. The Beach Club is my favorite resort, by far the best pool on property, fantastic rooms and a great location next to Epcot and the Boardwalk. This remodel now makes it even better Check it out!

Autopia Reopens at Disneyland

Autopia has been closed for nearly a year, and finally opened this week, now powered by Honda. The Autopia cars have been completely redone and are ready to take you on a journey around Tomorrowland.

Did I miss any Disney news this week that should have been included?

disney visa

Benefits of Using a Disney VISA to Book Disney Free Dining

Earlier this week, Walt Disney World released their long awaited Disney Free Dining discount to the world for 2016. Results have been mixed. Availability is down right awful for most dates, though you can still find value and moderate resorts for some dates in early September and December, but hurry, as they are nearly gone. However, if you happen to have a Disney VISA card, did you know there is a completely different Free Dining offer available to you?

darth vader disney visa

Why you should use your Disney VISA to book Disney Free Dining

Please note, it involves more than just using your Disney VISA to book the reservation. You have to enter a special place on the Disney World website or have to know the discount code when calling Disney World. Consider using Mouseketrips, our agents will check both offers for you to make sure you get the best deal, and it won’t cost you a penny more than booking directly with Disney, many times even less as we can find better deals for you.

  • Additional Dates – The Disney VISA Free Dining offer includes more dates than the public offer. While dates are similar, there are an additional 9 nights added on the beginning that currently have fantastic availability. Check in dates are August 14 – October 1, November 15 – November 21, November 26 – November 28, and December 10 – December 21, 2016.
  • 6 Months Interest Free – By using your Disney VISA on any Disney vacation, the charges fall into a special category on your credit card statement, and you get 6 months interest free and both your deposit and final payment on the trip.
  • Better Availability – While this may not help you if you are searching for a value hotel at the end of September, availability with the Disney VISA discount is much better at many deluxe hotels. For many dates, I am able to find more resort and more room options, especially at deluxe hotels. I have yet to find one case where the standard Free Dining Discount showed better availability than the Disney VISA offer.

In addition, whether you booked with the Disney VISA free dining or not, make sure you catch these Disney VISA perks in the parks:

  • Disney VISA Lounge in Epcot – During the Food and Wine Festival in Epcot, Chase provides a lounge that is only accessible to Disney VISA cardholders, located in the American Pavilion. Show your card and you are in. The lounge features drinks, video games and places to sit and relax in an air conditioned area. Oh, and there are free phone charging station too.
  • Disney VISA character Meet N Greet – Over in Innoventions West in Epcot, there is a private character Meet N Greet only for Disney VISA cardholders. The lines are usually really short. Only open from 1 – 7 PM though, so don’t miss it.
  • Disney VISA Star Wars Meet N Greet – Located in the Star Wars Launch Bay area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there is a special Disney VISA Star Wars Meet N Greet, open from 11 AM to 4 PM Daily.
  • Disney Merchandise and Dining Discounts – Save 10% at most in-park merchandise locations if you spend $50 or more, plus you can save 10% at many dining locations inside and outside the parks. Oh, you can also save on Disney tours too!

If you have a Disney VISA, there isn’t any reason to book your reservation with the standard discount, unless you already have, no need to go changing now. If you are still looking, and have a Disney VISA, make sure you are checking availability with the Disney VISA deal.


disney world pin codes

Disney World PIN Codes

We all know about Disney discounts. Well, if you don’t, you need my services more than anyone else. From time to time, Disney feels the need to discount some rooms, but may not have enough rooms to do a full blown discounts with TV and print advertising. Plus, big, general public discounts do have their downsides for Disney. The problem with general discounts like Disney Free Dining or a 30% off your room discount is that anyone can book them, even those that were previously paying full rate, and were happy paying full rate. Disney does limit the number of rooms available at each resort, so it limits the number of discounts that are available. However, that often makes guests angry when they are advertising a discount on national TV but nothing is available. So, rather do do a full blown discount, Disney World uses PIN codes.

A PIN code discount targets individual guests rather than everyone. In order to use a PIN code discount, you actually have to have a PIN code assigned to you. You cannot use a friend of family members PIN code. These PIN codes usually come by postcard or email directly to you. They are not sent to your travel agent, and travel agents like Mouseketrips cannot assign you a PIN code. In fact, you can’t even call Disney and get one assigned, remember, they are targeting you, not the other way around.

The Walt Disney PIN codes are 15 digit codes, and are required in order to even check prices for your dates with the discount. Typically you must also provide other information to Disney just to prove that you are the intended recipient.

If you hear about a PIN code online or from a friend, but don’t get one, don’t worry. Disney will mail out offers to their “top” list, and then to additional people as needed, until they fill up their needed rooms. One other hint, sometimes Disney means to send you a PIN code, but it just doesn’t make it for some reason, either going to an old mailing address, an old email address or possibly your spam folder. If you have heard about a new PIN code, feel free to call Disney and ask if they have one for you. They will look up your name/address and check. Never hurts to ask.

Typically PIN codes are discounts that are similar to other discounts released by Disney World, but are usually for additional dates or possibly dates that are not otherwise discounted.

The problem is that there really isn’t any way to know how to get on Disney’s list. I have been to Disney several times a year for 15+ years. I own Disney Vacation Club, I have a Walt Disney World annual pass, and I NEVER get a PIN code. Apparently, Disney thinks they have me hooked (and they do). I have had clients who have been to Disney once, 5 years ago, and never thought about going again that get several PIN codes a year. Once you are on the list, I don’t think you are ever taken off.

Here are a few hints to get yourself on the Disney World PIN Codes list:

  1. Make sure you have a DisneyWorld account. Most people do, but go check.
  2. Update your profile on your Disney account and make sure your address, email address and everything else is up to date. Check every tab and link to make sure you have input as much information as possible.
  3. Go book a vacation on the Walt Disney World website. Price out a few options, several dates, resorts, etc. If you can hold one of those reservations for a few days, go ahead and do that.
  4. Try this same process again a week or two later. Make sure you are logged into your account the entire time while checking on prices.
  5. If you are unable to hold a reservation, go through the entire process until you get to the payment screen and leave or start over.
  6. Watch the online videos for Walt Disney World or order a free Disney DVD. Again, make sure you are logged in the entire time. There is a link at the bottom of every Disney World page that says “Free Vacation Planning Videos”
  7. Stop by and check dining reservation availability for several dates and restaurants. Again, make sure you are logged in.

Repeat this process every few months until you receive a PIN code. Hopefully these actions will put you on Disney’s radar and get you on the list. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to know if you are on the list, unless you start getting PIN codes.

Well, there you go. One note, from time to time Disney World sends out emails and postcards that look just like PIN code offers, except, they are just FULL RATE offers. Don’t be fooled into book something at full rate just because you get an email. Contact us at Mouseketrips, we would be happy to tell you if your email is actually a discount. We can also help you get the PIN code discount booked or you, check on prices or anything else.