June 23, 2024

New 2023 Unique Offer Code Upgrade Discount for Disney World

Walt Disney World has released a new Unique Offer Code for upgrades, targeted at select guests with upcoming stays in 2023. This post covers details, what a “PIN code” is, strategy for scoring one, and commentary about this unprecedented special offer.

To quickly recap, Walt Disney World has already released many special offers for 2023. Most recently, new discounts were released offering up to 30% off for residents of Florida and up to 35% off for Annual Passholders or Disney Visa Cardholders. Walt Disney World also dropped a tiered general public discount offering up to 30% off for travel dates through early Fall 2023.

Those aren’t the only deals available for booking right now, just the most recently-released discounts. See All Current Walt Disney World Discounts for 2023 for spring and summer travel dates, plus offers on Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, military discounts, and everything else.

Walt Disney World already has released 14 different discounts for 2023, which is more than were available for the entirety of last year. Most of these discounts have been released earlier than normal by historical standards, and offer better savings than their counterparts from the last two years. Some are superior to 2018 or 2019, but baseline prices and perks have also changed since then.

If weak discounting and late releases were a sign that pent-up demand had still been running strong, the increased discounting is almost certainly a sign that the opposite is no longer be true as of 2023. Similarly, as covered in Sharp Slowdown for Shoulder Season 2023 at Walt Disney World, the parks are currently seeing their lowest attendance in months, with 1/10 to 2/10 crowd levels.

It’s probably premature to draw definitive conclusions from that. We’ve been down this road before with falling crowds, only for attendance to come roaring back during peak season. With that said, we’ve heard rumblings about soft occupancy numbers and ticket sales for Summer 2023, all of which does suggest a corner is being turned and visitors are no longer going on spending sprees to make up for lost time.

With that out of the way, let’s also quickly cover the basics of PIN or Unique Offer Codes (UOCs), how to receive them, etc. for those newcomers to the wonderful (and sometimes obsessive) world of Disney discounts. PIN codes are the most exclusive and elusive form of Walt Disney World discounts. They are targeted, non-transferrable discounts sent to a limited number of recipients that offer deep-discounts for select travel dates or early booking of a special offer.

Unique Offer Codes are elusive in the sense that receiving a PIN code email or mailer can feel like the Golden Ticket landing in your hands. Honestly, part of the allure of PIN codes is the mystery and intrigue. We’ve tried to “demystify” the process with our Tips for Receiving PIN Codes for Walt Disney World, which offers strategy for increasing your odds of receiving one.

It has been a while since Walt Disney World released a traditional Unique Offer Code. We received reports of a few last year, but upon review, almost everything we saw was on par with a general public offer. (The most common difference was expanded dates or earlier/later booking.) Nothing like the ‘good ole days’ when PIN Codes often offered 40% off.

Which brings us to the new-for-2023 Unique Offer Code that Walt Disney World just released…

The specifics on this one are somewhat hazy, but it appears that travel agents with clients booked at certain resorts and potentially other select guests are receiving targeted emails for upgrade offers. Walt Disney World notes that this is available for a limited time and “may be a one-time-only offer” with a very small number of rooms allocated to the promotion.

Guests or their travel agents receiving the offer receive a vague email offering to upgrade from their existing resort and room category to something else at a discounted rate. No other details about pricing or options are given, except for a Unique Offer Code to use when calling for more details. Unlike past PIN Codes, there is no URL where the details can be entered to retrieve discount details. Everything must be done over the phone.

That probably sounds vague or confusing, which I’m guessing is precisely the idea. So let’s share an illustrative example that should clarify. Let’s say you have a stay booked at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort for $239 per night for May 8-14, 2023. You booked that with a discount of $65 off as part of the spring & early summer special offer available to the general public. (Those are real numbers.)

You receive this email, and call to find out that you could upgrade to Gran Destino Tower for $20 per night, Animal Kingdom Lodge for $60 per night, or Contemporary for $100 per night. All of these are deeply discounted from both their normal rack rates and below even the same spring & early summer special offer pricing. (They’re also totally fake numbers that I just made up for illustrative purposes.)

Based on what we’ve heard from a very limited number of people, that’s the essence of this upgrade offer. The specifics aren’t that straightforward or clean, but the idea is the same. Someone with a standard room booked somewhere is offered to upgrade to a different room category, usually at a higher tier resort.

Options can be fairly straightforward, such as an upgrade to a standard room at a better resort for a slight increase. They can also be more extravagant, such as going from a standard room at a Value or Moderate Resort to a Club Level or theme park view room (or both!) at a Deluxe Resort for a total package price of double or triple the cost. Quite the splurge on a “discounted” upgrade!

In terms of commentary, there are a few reasons that Walt Disney World might be doing this. The most obvious would be that the company is testing the waters with upselling guests, trying to capture more revenue on premium products that have lower occupancy rates. It’s a savvy way of monetizing upgrades that would otherwise be offered for free, or rooms that are more likely to go unfilled.

This is hardly a novel or unprecedented idea. We routinely receive emails from airlines days before departure with discounts on premium economy or other higher-tier seating that’s unfilled. It’s a way to make money on a product that will otherwise likely be given as a free upgrade to those with status. Since both seats on airplanes and hotel rooms are a perishable good, it behooves companies to find a way to fill them. That’s undoubtedly the thought process on Disney’s part.

The question is what’s the underlying motivation. One would be that Walt Disney World is offering these upgrades to free up availability at popular room and resort categories for more cash bookings, moving people to less popular and lower occupancy resorts in the process.

The Caribbean Beach to Gran Destino Tower or Animal Kingdom Lodge example above would be precisely this. CBR has become one of the most popular resorts at Walt Disney World, and is often fully-booked. In fact, there’s no availability at Caribbean Beach for the May dates above, and many other dates in June and July. Pop Century is a similar story. And that’s during shoulder season, when there’s no shortage of availability at the vast majority of hotels at Walt Disney World.

Another possibility is that Walt Disney World might’ve overbooked certain resort or room categories and needs to relocate a certain number of guests. This actually happens quite often–usually due to construction or refurbishment projects that were scheduled after bookings opened. Typically, impacted guests are given free upgrades plus additional recovery.

Ironically, Caribbean Beach would be another example of this. The room reimagining project that began with the Pirate Rooms has reportedly (unofficially) continued to other buildings at the resort. There’s a decent chance this is displacing guests, as that’s pretty common of these unannounced projects.

Personally, I’m inclined to believe the explanation is one of the two above for anyone who receives this targeted upgrade offer with a reservation at Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation Little Mermaid Rooms, BoardWalk Inn, Grand Floridian, Boulder Ridge Villas, Beach Club Villas, or BoardWalk Villas. That’s just a partial list, but it’s what immediately comes to mind as being either high demand or having a reduced supply of rooms due to construction.

As for whether you should take advantage of these upgrade offers, that’s really up to you. The first question I’d ask myself are whether I actually would have booked the offer in the first place if it were available on the website, or if it’s a case of bargain FOMO. I’d also ask whether I’m willing to roll the dice on getting a free upgrade.

My suspicion is that Caribbean Beach is going to be a major target for this upgrade unique offer code because it sits at the intersection of high demand and a stealth room refurbishment project reducing available inventory. Given that–and my personal opinion that CBR is really attractive right now–I would not be inclined to pay for an upgrade. If one were given to me for free, I’d certainly consider it, but I’d be disinclined to pay extra for one given the circumstances.

Another way to think about this is when airlines overbook flights and offer vouchers to customers willing to be bumped. The bidding starts low, and moves progressively higher until enough people agree. It works that way out of necessity–the airline doesn’t have enough seats for everyone, and needs X number of people to agree. To some extent, passengers have the leverage.

When it comes to certain resorts and dates, the same idea is likely true here. Walt Disney World wants to capture more revenue with upgrades, but if push comes to shove and not enough people buy the offer, they’re going to have to give it away for free or even offer gift cards to get guests to agree to being displaced. (This is yet another scenario where an experienced travel agent is an asset; good ones can advocate for guests better than most people can for themselves.)

Again, I’ve only seen a handful of these upgrade unique offer codes in the wild, but the circumstances for the ones I’ve seen are exactly as described above. Options to move from a high-demand resort to a lower-demand (but nicer) one. However, that’s not the only possibility here.

As noted above, occupancy is reportedly soft across the board at Walt Disney World for the next few months. If this upgrade offer is being sent to guests with reservations for All Star Movies, Port Orleans Riverside, or Coronado Springs, it’s unlikely because they’re overbooked.

Rather, it’s probably because Walt Disney World wants to offset weaker numbers at the resorts with upgrade revenue. To be honest, this was my initial gut reaction when I heard about this upgrade UOC. However, the specific examples I’ve seen since have caused me to cool on this possibility. (I reserve the right to future cynicism upon hearing reader reports on other instances of this upgrade UOC.)

Ultimately, it’s interesting to see Walt Disney World test the waters with a new type of discount. It’s probably not one that we’d take advantage of in 90% of circumstances, but if we did happen to book All Star Sports during a youth event and had the option to upgrade to Animal Kingdom Lodge for an extra $40 per night, we’d absolutely jump on that. In most other scenarios, we’d rather stay where we booked or roll the dice and see whether Walt Disney World offered us a free upgrade.

My big hope is that this and low occupancy numbers result in Walt Disney World digging back into the deal playbook and using techniques that worked in the past but haven’t been utilized in a while. Since reopening, we haven’t seen bounceback discounts (except for a test of emailed ones for Grand Floridian), Priceline Express Deals & Hotwire Hot Rates have been totally gone for over a year, and traditional PIN Codes have been dormant for a while.

Part of this was probably a purposeful strategy change, as aggressive discounting hasn’t really been a thing for the last two years. However, I also wonder to what extent the lack of these special offers is the result of lost institutional knowledge. Bounceback discounts, for example, were run by a very small team within Walt Disney World. It’s entirely possible those people are no longer with the company, and the ones in charge of special offers now don’t even know what bounceback offers are (or were).

Regardless, here’s hoping that the company keeps testing new concepts for promotions; while we don’t love this one, it’s good to see something new. We’ll keep you posted on additional discounts as they’re released. In the meantime, if you’ve received this unique offer code, please share the specifics (your existing resort and upgrade options) in the comments–we’d love to have more data points about what’s being sent out!

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Did you receive this Unique Offer Code for a discount on upgrades? What was your original resort, booking dates, and upgrade options? Do you “normally” receive PIN codes, or is it rare/unprecedented? If you booked this, what did your savings end up being? Happy with the available rates, or hoping for better deals to come? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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