Back in 1999, I was researching what kind of Disney Resort to stay at with my family. I had been to WDW already, but I had always stayed off Disney Property because that’s how my family had started staying in FL. I found the Disboards which Is a Disney Community that brings people together to discuss and help one another with their vacations to the Mouse. The forums they provide helps you pinpoint what you are looking for, so in this case, I was drawn to the Resorts Thread. Once there, I saw several threads discussing these “codes” and/or “pins.” Like MANY folks out there, I had no CLUE what these were and how to get them. Today I hope to shed some light on how the codes work and what references you can use to find them.
The best way to get a pin code would be to register at Disney.com, making sure it is correct and current. Disney will email you or sent you a postcard via snail mail with your specific code for a special they are running. General Public Codes are just that- available to the public and provided on several websites for you to use. The exclusive codes are the ones that are sent to you via email and postcard and can ONLY be used by you and your family. These codes cannot be traded or given to someone else- they were designed for you.
I have been around long enough to know that these pin codes stir up the pot quite a bit. It gets quite heated on the Community Boards on why only certain people get the codes, while others don’t. The theory is that if you build several Disney trip itineraries on DisneyParks.com and save them, that the Disney people see this and will offer a code for the time frame or Resort you chose. I have tested this theory, and it has worked. I also feel that when you haven’t been to WDW in awhile, they send you codes as well because they, of course, want you to come back with your money.
Once you get a pin code, discuss with your family if you can use it. Believe it or not, sometimes they aren’t usable or worth it. Call 1-407-WDISNEY and talk to an Agent who can walk you through what is best for your family. You can go mad trying to do the math sometimes, so call first and get a quote before you decide if you want to move days around. The exclusive pin codes are available for only a certain amount of time, so discuss in a timely manner so you don’t miss out on what could be a great deal.
Pin Codes can be anything from a percentage off Resort Room only, Free Dining, Kids under a certain age stay or play for free, or Stay so many nights and get extra nights on top of it. Certain pins can only be used for entire Packages, while some are only for room only- make sure of what you are offered and go from there. Keep in mind you cannot use two deals or codes for the same vacation. Deciding on what is the best value for your dollar is what it really comes down to- no one wants to get to WDW and realize that the guy checking in next to them got free dining or 40% off their room while you are paying full rack rate and your own meals.
Speaking of free dining, this special has been offered over the past several years through email and general public. We were able to participate in free dining in September of 2008 and it was awesome! We took advantage of trying out places we had never eaten at before, and for free you can’t beat it.
Now if you have a pin code that starts the 18th, but you arrive the 17th or sooner, you can book your room with 2 reservations. Pay full rate for the days before the code, then book for the dates that the code is available for. I know it sounds like a pain, but we did this and it worked out fine. We were staying at the same Resort, so we checked in on the first reservation and confirmed the 2nd one. Once our date of the 2nd one came, I headed to the lobby to check-in again and confirmed we could stay in the same room. Disney will tell you on the phone that you may not get to stay in the same room or section, but we had no problem staying where we were with the first reservation. Make sure to go over the information with the first check-in so you can avoid any misunderstandings with the Resort later on.
I am summarizing from experience and from what I have read. We have used them several times in the past and cashed in on quite a bit of extra fun. We were slated to stay at the Values in 1999 and got a wonderful percentage off room rate for the Moderates. We wound up staying at Dixie Landings for $99 a night- again, we wouldn’t have without the code. On another trip, we were booked for Values again then jumped on the public deal for “Stay 4 Nights and get 3 Free.” Since we could stay at Caribbean Beach Resort for only a bit more, we opted to pay a little bit more for a better room and the same amount of stay. I would have to say I personally have used the percentage off room rate the most- if you have an Annual Pass or own DVC, the package deals are worthless.
The best sites I have found for keeping up to date codes and information on other Disney specials are as follows:
- Disboards.com – Disney Discounts, Codes and Rates- the FAQ at the top of the page is EXCELLENT and can give you a detailed account of each step
- Mousesavers.com– Make sure to subscribe to get email updates
- Wdwinfo.com – DISCOUNTS
There are a lot of great Disney deals out there, and it just takes some time and patience to get the one that suits your family and vacation. Don’t lose hope, and have a great time!