Now that we’ve covered Rooms, Tickets and Food… there are, of course, package deals for all of this. The thing to know is that they NEVER discount the tickets. So if you get a package that appears cheaper than what you can do individually, what you’re really seeing are discounts on the rooms and/or food. This is especially true for food. Depending on the time of year, they will offer the DDP for free as an enticement. The trick, of course, is whether you’ve looked at DDP and if it’s worth it as a freebie – or if there are better offers somewhere else for you. But if you get DDP offered for free, and it’s really free (see below), then I wouldn’t turn it down. You don’t HAVE to eat all of what they give you in the plan. 😀
But packages can be cost effective…. or deceptive. I went and priced things out for you and got a Value resort for one week in early summer, including tickets with PH option for a little more than $2K… but when I priced it separately, it was cheaper. It just goes to show that you need to do a bunch of research before making a decision. Ultimately, the price will never be THAT different, it’s just that it’ll all be managed on one reservation (which is helpful).
The other thing to know before you go to book your trip is that Disney has about 16 different “seasons” for each resort. And within each season, especially in the Peak seasons, there’s even a difference between weekday and weekend hotel nights. So to both accurately plan and book your trip, you need to dig a little deeper to make sure you know whether your planned dates are in any of those Peak/special seasons, or if moving your dates a little bit could alter your room costs.
To find this out, head back to Allears.net. Each of their resort-specific pages has a FAQ associated with it. For example, the one for All Star Movies: http://allears.net/acc/faq_asmv.htm. Scroll down a bit to find the Rate Card. Keep in mind that these are rack rates. Disney will offer periodic discounts against these rates (and will promote those discounts through resellers such as AAA), but typically only for Value, Fall or Regular seasons. Trust me when I say that you won’t get a discount during the core holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years) or during Marathon Weekend.