Judging form the surfeit of special offers and incentives the major airlines are unleashing upon interested travelers, fall is a great time to visit Walt Disney World in Orlando. The Magic Kingdom is still in the midst of its worldwide, 50th anniversary celebration, so there are plenty of deals available through their easy to customize "Magic Your Way" offers (more on that to follow). As to be expected, airlines are doing their best to compete for mouse-loving dollars.
United Airlines' budget carrier Ted (tel. 800/225-5833; www.flyted.com) is running a "Fall for our U.S. Fare Sale" from Chicago-Orlando and Washington, D.C., both from $79, and San Francisco-Orlando from $129. The travel must be completed by December 15 on off-peak days (Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday) and some blackout dates apply. Minimum stay requirements vary depending on departure city, so book carefully.
Travelers who go with Delta Vacations (tel. 800/654-6559; www.deltavacations.com) to Walt Disney World can take advantage of the company's offer of 5,000 bonus miles and a stay at Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom or downtown Disney resorts. You must book by September 30, stay a minimum of five nights and complete travel by December 31.
US Airway Vacations (tel. 800/422-3861; www.usairwaysvacations.com) is offering a vacation saver deal called "Disney's Magic Your Way" that includes round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations at a Disney hotel, air and hotel taxes, hotel/airport transfers and use of Disney's transportation system, the opportunity to earn Dividend Miles credits, from $399. Nonstop service is available from Washington, D.C., Hartford, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, among others. A Friday departure from New York-LaGuardia, in mid-October for example, shows a range of hotels are available, from Best Western Lake Buena Vista ($353 -- cheaper than the advertised rate!), Disney's All Star Resorts ($419) and all the way up the luxury scale, for three nights. When you go through the online reservation, they give you plenty of opportunities to customize your package by adding on a park pass of varying lengths (3-day, 4-day, 7-day, etc.) with and without expirations, car rentals, and so forth.
For an inclusive package that's slightly more luxurious, geared more toward adults than those toting toddlers perhaps, try Continental Airlines (tel. 800/301-3800; www.covacations.com). Their Universal Orlando three-night package with park tickets, priced from $684, with Newark Airport as the departure, at the Universal Royal Pacific Resort. You must book by September 26 and it's good for travel up until October 19.
Florida Vacation Store (tel. 866/272-7289; www.floridavacationstore.com) is running a land-only deal from $199 for four days and three nights, plus two Walt Disney World Magic Your Way tickets. Some hotels included in the offer include Doubletree Hotel, Ramada Plaza Gateway, Westgate Resorts, Clarion Hotel Universal Resort and so on. You must fill out an online form with your contact information to determine availability. They're also offering a similar package for three days, four nights and two Universal tickets from $199; many of the same hotels are included.
For hotel steals and other deals, Mouse Savers (www.mousesavers.com) is a great site that offers insider tips and specials to Disney World. Currently, they're running a deal for a discounted rate plus two free Pleasure Island tickets at check in if you book your stay at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista (www.mousesavers.com/bestwestern.html), located right on Disney property (but not owned by them. The hotel was recently remodeled and has restaurants, lounges, and complimentary transportation to Disney world Theme parks. Suites are available. A check for availability in late September revealed rates well below $100 -- standard rooms running $69; "Disney view" rooms with two queen sized beds are offered at $89 per night. You must book online and you must book by October 6. Some blackout dates apply, and it requires
Orlando Escape (tel. 800/396-1883; www.orlandoescape.com) is offering "Touch of Magic Collection Package" for four days, three nights for $199 (excluding airfare) that includes hotel accommodations, two one-day "touch of magic' tickets to any one Walt Disney world theme park, two dining and entertainment certificates and other bonuses. They're even offering another special, but only if you opt for the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort -- a $50 coupon for gas.
Naturally, the Disney World (www.disneyworld.com) site itself has some specials. The Magic Your way Vacations are still running, in celebration of the resort's 50th anniversary, with six nights/seven days for less than $1,500 for four people. You can customize your accommodations -- value (under $1,500), moderate ($1,800) and select deluxe ($2,500). You get a ticket for one theme park per day of your stay, extra times, complimentary transportation, and more. In fact, for two adults and one child, age 2, for late September (30) arrival in Orlando, the trip comes to $1040.26, for the All-Star Resort. One caveat: it doesn't include airfare. Although there is no phone number listed, any questions or help you need booking your vacation can be answered via Disney's Contact Us page.
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