Pictured above: my last visit to Walt Disney World with my husband, January 2008. I was 5 months pregnant with my daughter, but somehow still managed to get roped into “volunteering” to dance with this troupe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It was NOT pretty! 😉
My husband and I have been talking about a Disney trip with the kids for awhile… and last night, we bit the bullet and made our reservations for Walt Disney World. We got a really stellar deal on our hotel stay through Hotwire.com that I wanted to share with you.
First, a brief rundown on Hotwire if you’re unfamiliar with how it works…
At Hotwire.com you plug in your search dates and are offered really low rates for a selection of available properties, but you won’t know the exact property until after you’ve booked. You will know before booking the general location, what % of other travelers have recommended it, the star-rating of the hotel (comparable chains) and amenities. Bookings are final with no changes or cancellations, so there is some degree of risk involved. The first time my husband and I booked through Hotwire.com it was for a one-night stay to Vancouver, B.C. – a destination we were well acquainted with and were OK assuming the risk. We ended up paying $99 for a 4-star property right on the water with spectacular views! Our room was easily worth $250-300 and we were sold on Hotwire after that!
We’ve since used Hotwire.com for virtually all our vacation bookings including destinations like New York, Portland, Salt Lake City, Boise, and the greater Yellowstone area. I bet I’ve used it for at least a dozen bookings now all over the country, and I’ve never had a hiccup.
So back to last night…
I did a quick search for the time frame we were planning our trip and noticed a “hot rate” hotel pop up for $35 a night. I told my husband that it seemed too good to be true, so we decided to just book ONE night first to see what the property was and then decide if we wanted to extend our stay (which is easy to do once you’ve booked). After booking, we realized the hotel was decent, but not exactly where we wanted to be for the remainder of our trip.
No problem, I did a second search, narrowing the location better, and this time found a “hot rate” on a condo in the Downtown Disney area for $43 a night! The regular cost is $115/night. Fully 90% of past travelers said they’d recommend it and gave it an average 4.5-stars out of 5-stars for location. We decided to go for it, and booked the remainder of our trip here. Turns out this place has a kitchenette, washer/dryer, free WiFi, pool, free parking, and is only a mile from Downtown Disney. I don’t know that I’m free to mention the property, BUT I will say I looked online and couldn’t find any such similar deal. The same property listed on another “discount hotel” site was $74 – over $30 more per night than what I’d just paid at Hotwire.
The total cost for our 7-night stay in Disney, including all taxes and fees was $361.44, which works out to $51.63 per night! I estimate we saved about $530 on our hotel stay or 57%. I know that for many staying in a Disney property is a big part of the trip, but using Hotwire and finding a highly-rated nearby hotel is actually making this trip really affordable for our family. (Incidentally – if you do care about staying at a Disney property? You might be interested to know you can find discounted rates on Expedia.com. I was able to spot a few Disney hotels for as low as $90/night and these include shuttle service to/from the airport and parks.)
After weighing our options, we also booked a rental car (a basic sedan size) through Hotwire for a grand total of $100 for 8 days, which includes unlimited miles.
If you’re looking at staying near Disney – or maybe just planning a getaway this winter – do consider Hotwire! I actually recently heard from a reader who followed my advice and used Hotwire for a recent trip. She wrote:
My three younger sisters and I were on a trip this past week and I used your advice for hotwire to book our hotels in both D.C. and Savannah. We were able to stay at the best hotels we have ever been in AND stay in our budget! We were right downtown so we saved on gas and time too, as we walked everywhere!
You can search for hotel, car, or air using the handy dandy search box below:
At some point here in the near future, I’ll share how we did the round-trip airfare for ridiculously cheap, too.
Do you have experiences with Hotwire? I’d love to hear them!