Each year, those of us obsessed with planning our Disney vacation wait patiently for the release of the new packages and pricing for the coming year. Disney has just released details for 2011, and there are some interesting changes this year that are sure to generate plenty of discussion in the coming months.
First, for those who relish Disney’s dining plan – the popular Le Cellier restaurant in Epcot is now considered a ‘signature’ dining experience that will eat up 2 table service credits instead of one – but only for dinner. Lunch will still require only one credit. This has been rumored for a few weeks now – and we’re all wondering if this means that portion sizes will increase as a result, but I’m guessing that’s not going to happen. LeCellier has been arguably the most popular restaurant at Walt Disney World, and it’s nearly impossible to get reservations there ever since the popularity of the dining packages exploded a few years ago. I’m guessing this is Disney’s way of ‘raising the price’ for LeCellier. I’m sorry, but especially since they scaled back the portion sizes, it was over-rated to begin with – now it’s approaching ‘rip off’ status – at least from the perspective of the dining plan. This new ‘signature’ status goes into effect on March 1st, 2011.
Second, Disney has added a new “Fall” season that spans from Oct 2nd to Dec 22nd and have raised the prices for a room during this time frame. That means no more ‘value’ pricing leading up to the Christmas holiday season as in years past. For an example, the price of a room at a value resort during the new fall season is up about $13 per night on average.
Third – Disney has made a change to the cancellation policy for packages. Previously, if you canceled your reservation within 45 days of arrival, you were charged $100. Effective for 2011 packages, you will forfeit the entire $200 deposit.
Fourth – Disney is now offering a ‘children’s activity center’ discount. 2011 package holders will receive 15% off the regular hourly rates at select children’s activity centers for children ages 4-12.
Finally, at Disneyland – packages for 2011 will include complimentary fitness center access for those staying on site at Disneyland resort hotel – we found this a humorous addition to the package offerings since it was always free to begin with for resort guests. Less humorous however is that guests will now be charged a $15 per night parking fee if they choose to have a car on site during their stay. This is a new development, and one that I’m guessing won’t go over too well. It also may be a harbinger of things to come at Walt Disney World. Disney resorts are pretty much the only major resorts in Orlando that don’t charge for self parking at the hotels. If Disneyland is doing it, it stands to reason that Walt Disney World won’t be far behind.
Overall, pricing across the board is up for 2011 – and that should not come as a surprise. However, given the slow rate of economic recovery the nation is seeing – especially among the demographic most likely to visit Walt Disney World – you have to wonder how well some of this is going to go over. Disney chief Bob Iger said earlier this year that there would be ‘no more discounts’ going forward – that was right before the extended their free dining promotion into December for the first time ever. It should be interesting to see what happens with discounts in 2011.
Category: Disney World