You probably know that you can get a sizable discount on your Walt Disney World or Disney resort room or vacation package most of the year, barring certain busy weeks, but did you know there are other, more obscure discounts available that can save you even more money? Welcome to the world of pin codes, dummy cruises, and bounce back offers.
Disney Pin Codes
Of the three, you’ve probably heard of pin codes. For the uninitiated, pin codes are a discount that’s personal to you that you receive via email or regular mail. To use them, your name, address, and phone number will have to match the pin code exactly, but once you have one, you can use it to book your own and up to two additional rooms. Pin codes, which can be a room or a free dining discount, are usually better than those discounts offered to the general public. They also tend to cover broader periods of time or black out periods. For example, you’ll usually see pin codes for free dining throughout the year whereas the general public offer might just be in the fall.
Everyone thinks there’s a trick to pin code, but beyond signing up at Disney.com, there’s really no way to guarantee you’ll get one. From what I’ve been told, they’re actually sent out by a marketing firm that isn’t tied into Disney’s system and that mail outs are based upon neighborhoods. So while you may think Disney doesn’t send you a code because you go too often and are therefore already on the hook, the truth is, it’s because they don’t like your neighborhood. No, seriously, just keep messing around on the Disney website, order the personalized maps, and maybe you’ll get lucky.
Get Park Wise: Booking for your vacation doesn’t keep Disney’s marketing folks from sending you a pin code–from what we can tell the system isn’t that sophisticated. This means that if you get a code, you can always apply it to an existing reservation.
Make sure you keep checking those emails! Once you sign up on the Disney site, you’ll start to get occasional advertisements. Nothing burdensome, maybe two or three a month. Most of them won’t be a code, but make sure you check anyway. It’s a 16 digit number in the middle of the email. If you get an advertisement that looks like a pin code but doesn’t have those magic numbers, it’s not a code, just an ordinary mail out advising you of what offers are available. Sometimes those “dummy pin codes” aren’t even discounted, so be careful. I don’t really like this part of their marketing. Finally, if you’re not getting any pin code offers, call Disney and ask if you have one. Sometimes there will be one attached to your name.
Dummy Disney Cruise
Next up is the “dummy cruise,” which is actually a pretty bad name for a great bargain. Excluding the occasional kids’ free or military promotions, Disney doesn’t have to offer discounts on cruises; they’re that good. But while you’re going to pay full price for your first cruise, if you book a subsequent cruise while on board, you can save a nice little sum. This is what’s called a “dummy cruise.”. Say you know you want to cruise in the future. Just book any date while you’re on your cruise, preferably well in advance so you have some wiggle room, and Disney will discount your stateroom up to 10% and offer you an onboard credit, usually around $150 (more for more expensive cruises). The good news is, you don’t have to be firm on the dates; just pick one and you can change it without penalty in the future. Disney will honor the discount and the onboard credit.
Disney Bounce Back Offer
Finally, the bounce back offer. If you’re like me, you’ve probably seen those advertisements that show up in your room a couple of days into your trip. Maybe you ignored them–I mean, those rooms are small, right? They probably got covered with clothes or food or thrown away. But next time check it out. These “bounce back” offers are usually the best deal going, offering steep room discounts and free dining. All you have to do is book your offer before you check out. Not every room will get a bounce back offer. Sometimes they’re just not available. Other times, housekeeping didn’t leave it out. So if you’re not getting an offer, make sure you ask. Just like the “dummy” cruise, you can usually move your travel dates and have the discount honored as long as it falls within the valid dates of the offer.
One last thing: If you have a travel agent you work with, you can always use her name when you book your bounce back offer or dummy cruise. If you didn’t do so when you booked, you can always turn the reservation over to her later on by doing a takeover. Now go out there and get those pin codes!