Hotel Canary Deals at WDW for November and December

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Last week you may have seen Len Testa tweet out some info about using the Hotel Canary extension to find Priceline Express deals. When interest in the topic was evident, James Rosemergy followed up on the TouringPlans blog with a nice tutorial on how to use the extension.

Len has asked if I’d like to post any good Priceline Express deals to the blog as they appear. That sounded pretty neat to me, so here is my inaugural bloggishness.

First, I’d like to give you a very quick rundown of what I’ve been doing in relation to the topic. Follow me back to the sunny days of summer, in August of 2017.

*cue hazy screen visuals and disconcerting theremin music*

Back then I read reports of people finding surprisingly good deals for Disney resorts on Priceline Express. In July of this year I started hearing about Port Orleans French Quarter deals showing up.

I finally said to myself, “Self, I wonder how often these deals show up? And what times of the year?”
Then the barista blinked at me and asked me again what I’d like to order.

Anyway, I started a pet project where I began to record when Priceline Express deals appeared. To try to make it more useful, I also recorded how many days prior to the deal they appeared on the site as well as the day of the week. As you can imagine, that quickly became a lot of work so I limited the days I was checking to a sample of weekdays and weekends, usually going out 90 days or more into the future. When interesting deals appear, I’ll often check all of the dates in that period to see if I can determine the extent of the rooms available on Express deals.

A run of nice deals for Art of Animation, some All Star resorts, Pop Century, and the Cabins at Fort Wilderness lasted from August into in early October. Then things dried up.

My semi-educated guess was that would be the last we’d see of Express deals for Disney resorts until the holidays passed.

Happily for you, I was quite wrong.

Over the last week a nice fresh batch of resorts appeared on Priceline Express: All Star Sports, Coronado Springs Resort, and…. wait for it… Animal Kingdom Lodge! You’re going to like the prices, and I was surprised to see them running around and through both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

See below for some charts of these upcoming deals with dates and prices. These deals come and go, sometimes quickly, so what you see out there can change from day to day. I noticed today that a few days of Animal Kingdom Lodge rooms were added since I recorded things a few days ago.

Just remember kids, with some time and effort you can determine the Disney resorts in Express deals with fairly high confidence. But, please keep in mind nothing in this world is guaranteed, so caveat emptor. Also: buyer beware.

Another important point: Priceline deals technically guarantee room for 2 adults. However, since the vast majority of Disney rooms are built for at least 4 people, it is much less likely to be a problem there. (People have reported they just add children to the reservation after the initial booking.)

I’ll be keeping up with these deals and posting good ones here as they appear, so keep watching! (We’re including some later dates in October for reference purposes as well so you can see how low these deals can go.)

TouringPlans is happy to welcome John to the site. Got questions? See any deals that you’d like to take advantage of? (Animal Kingdom Lodge on Christmas Day, anyone?) Let us know in the comments.

John Tierney

Security. Genealogy. Dad. Husband. Securigenealodadsband. Also: Disney fan who likes deals. and numbers. and churros. You can find his tweeter @JJT and his Instagram is @johnjtierney

16 thoughts on “Hotel Canary Deals at WDW for November and December

  • October 31, 2018 at 1:09 pm
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    Great post! Will be looking for february deals! @BarbieArgentina

  • October 31, 2018 at 2:03 pm
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    How does this work when your booking several days.
    Say you wanted 3 nights. And the first day 80 dollars…will that be the price for the length of stay? How does it calculate the 2nd and 3rd night? Will it choose the best price or the standard rate?

    • October 31, 2018 at 2:22 pm
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      Sam, good question!

      When trying to find the deals, I focused on looking at single days to so I didn’t miss things. (If you search for multiple days and even 1 day is not available Priceline won’t include the resort in results.)

      Just now I ran a search for 12/19-12/22 knowing that those days are available at Coronado Springs. Individually the rates for those days are $98, $98, and $118.

      Priceline Express presented the per night price for all 3 nights as $104 – which it turns out is just the average of those 3 amounts.

      However, the total cost turns out the same whether you just add together the rates for the individual days or multiply the average rate times the number of days. (Although the rounding involved when crunching the average might cause a slight difference in total.)

      In this example the total for 3 nights is $312. When you add in tax and Priceline fees you get an actual cost of $396. Pretty nice deal for Coronado Springs!

  • October 31, 2018 at 9:43 pm
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    I’ve been looking for a couple of weeks for 12/2-12/3 and haven’t found anything. Is it too late by now? How close to the dates do the deals typically appear?

    • November 1, 2018 at 8:34 am
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      I haven’t been able to lock down any particular pattern yet, but that has been the original objective of my little project. I think it might take several months to figure out more closely when rooms are showing up on Priceline Express, if there is a pattern at all.

      But, if you were dangling a churro in front of me to entice me to provide a more specific answer, I might say deals appear to pop up somewhere in the 3 to 8 week range, with some random ones coming and going in shorter time frames.

      My advice is just to keep checking. If you are just looking for a couple of days, once you get used to looking through the deals it shouldn’t take take you more than a few minutes and several clicks to check them out.

  • November 1, 2018 at 7:34 am
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    How are you looking up these individual hotels for Disney?

    • November 1, 2018 at 4:01 pm
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      Hello!

      The short answer of course is highly-trained mouse-wielding primates. of which I am the only one.

      For the most part I look them up manually using Hotel Canary and other similar tools. I typically check a sample of dates going out, and if Disney resort rooms start popping up I begin checking all of the dates surrounding them.

      If you hop over to James Rosemergy’s previous blog entry called “Using Hotel Canary to Book Priceline Express” you can see some of the steps involved in the process.

  • November 2, 2018 at 12:30 am
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    I’ve only booked directly through WDW before… so I’m pretty lost at the Canary and PLE. However, saving money will help me keep coming back.
    Question: if I book through PE, can we still have the Fast Pass benefits 60 days out? If so, would I still buy my tickets through WDW site?
    I hope my questions are clear. Thanks in advance!

    • November 2, 2018 at 9:39 am
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      Yes, rooms booked via Priceline act under the same rules as any other, so your FastPass+ booking day would be 60 days out as an on site guest if you’ve booked that far out.

      As for buying tickets, just think of this as a regular “room only” booking – essentially you are buying everything ala carte, so where you purchase each part of the trip can be done independently.

      You can buy tickets directly from Disney or from a ticket reseller. If you buy from a reseller, you can use the confirmation number they send you to attach them to your My Disney Experience and assign them to people in your party.

      Once the resellers catch up to the new tiered price system and update their sites, I suggest using the hand-dandy Touring Plans ticket calculator to find the best deals.

  • November 2, 2018 at 6:31 am
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    Have you compared your results to see if they correlate with the dates and locations that free Disney dining is offered? Makes some sense, as both would encourage bookings at times when Disney has excess lodging inventory. If there is a correlation, this would give some “advance warning” when deals might pop up.

    • November 2, 2018 at 10:17 am
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      Interesting idea! I have not thought about that.

      Looking at the free dining dates for this year and the deals I’ve recorded since the summer, the deals out there for Art of Animation and the Cabins at Fort Wilderness did overlap in general with the August 20th – September 29th dates. But there were also Priceline Express deals for those resorts out there both before and after that window.

      AKL currently has dates that fall both inside and also well outside the upcoming windows.

      The group of French Quarter deals in July/August were completely prior to the free dining window.

      So, I’ll file that info under “Hmm” and keep an eye on it for the future!

  • November 3, 2018 at 6:16 am
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    Hi JT! Great analysis? Have you ever checked for deals at Disneyland? The Disney hotel selection is much more
    Limited (and expensive), but it would be great if we could find them on Priceline!

  • November 4, 2018 at 11:02 am
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    Hi MissBelle! I haven’t tried looking at any of the Disneyland area hotels on Priceline except for some quick searches out of curiosity. With the smaller number of Disney-owned hotels there, I’m guessing Express deal inventory is pretty limited. I couldn’t find any availability at all using the “regular” Priceline search and some random dates I thought might be off times.

    I’d suggest just taking some time to check Express Deals using Hotel Canary once in awhile and you may start seeing deals appear. After I started checking the Orlando resort deals regularly, it became easier to spot the Disney resorts most of the time – even without Hotel Canary’s help!

    • November 4, 2018 at 2:41 pm
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      Thanks JT! Will definitely start looking randomly.

  • November 7, 2018 at 1:29 pm
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    A couple questions:
    1) Booking through Priceline with more than 2 guests – I initially booked through Priceline, but couldn’t add my children to the reservation. Do you add the additional children on Priceline (if so how) or just through your reservation on My Disney Experience Reservation? Can you add the dining plan after booking or is that strictly if you book through Disney (package deals vs ala carte)?

    2) For the express deals are the Disney resorts under Walt Disney World-Bonnet Creek? If so Canary isn’t identifying the 4.5 star property express deal (8+ rating), is that Animal Kingdom Lodge?

    Thanks!

    • November 7, 2018 at 2:16 pm
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      For your first question, I’ve heard people report that when they tried to add children they’ve had to bounce back and forth between Priceline and Disney, both pointing at each other as the one to get it done.

      Technically, I think that Priceline is acting as a sort of travel agent in this kind of booking. In that case they would need to be the ones to make a change to a reservation. However, Priceline operates in more of a gray zone.

      Good news is just last week I heard that someone had success adding children by calling the Disney Wholesale Department at 1-407-939-7671. I hope that works for you!

      I don’t personally have experience with trying to add a dining plan to a discounted hotel booking, but it is my understanding that you can’t do so with a 3rd party booking.

      On item 2: Disney resorts fall in both Bonnet Creek and Disney Springs – but there are far more in BC. From my experience, there are only 2 resorts in BC that are both 4.5 and 8+: the Swan and Grand Floridian. Animal Kingdom Lodge’s stars are down at 4 even. (For the record and your Disney trivia pleasure: AKL – Jambo House is also 4.5, but has no guest rating at all on Priceline!)

      The Swan has by far the most Express Deals out there at any given time and appearances by the Grand Flo have been pretty rare. So, my guess is the deal you are seeing is the Swan – and you can verify that fairly easily: if there are “Mandatory Fees” on the booking page, it is NOT a Disney resort.

      I do feel I need to add a caveat to that last statement: there have been times that Priceline plays around a bit with those mandatory fees – sometimes they are not what you’d expect for a particular hotel, and in the past I’ve found they sometimes they don’t appear at all for resorts that have them.

      Happily, missing fees has been rarer lately – just want you to be aware that you want to weigh all of the evidence: location, stars, ratings, price & discount, and fees.

      When in doubt I always suggest using multiple tools like EXPDealsHotel and BetterBidding in addition to Hotel Canary to help you feel comfortable with taking the leap.

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