Editor: It’s inevitable that any time we start discussing ways to save money at Disney World, that the topic of Pin Codes comes up. Mysterious yet highly desirable little things, Pin Codes are like the Holy Grail of Disney discounts….everyone wants to know how to get them. So I thought I would use today’s post to re-run an excellent explanation from our friend Brenda who has written so many wonderful articles for us.
My friend called me the other day and told me she had received a pin code in the mail for Disney World. She said she was not going to be able to use it for her family so she wanted to give it to me. I told her that, as sweet as the offer was and as much as I would love to have a pin code, only the person to which it is addressed can use it. So, I thought I would write a quick tip for you guys on exactly what a pin code is and why it is so valuable.
What exactly is a pin code? For anyone who has not heard about these gems, they are not at all related to pins used for pin trading at the parks. They are called “pin codes” because they are special offers redeemable only by the person to whom they are sent and at the bottom of the notice there is a numerical pin number associated with the offer that must be used when making reservations. For the past several years, Disney has been sending out these offers which can be for packages, room-only discounts (up to 40% off), room upgrades or free dining. They are not widely received and you are very lucky to get one. In other words, they are like spun gold, Rumpelstiltskin.
Why are pin codes important? These offers are important because they may be the only discount available at certain times, or they might be better than the discounts offered to the general public during your planned visit date. Often the codes are precursors to discounts planned for the general public later on, but because you received yours first, your chance of getting the rate you want during your visit is better.
What should I do if I get one? Call the number on the offer and book your reservation. You can book it even if you are not exactly positive about your dates. You can always change your reservation at a later date, especially if an even better discount becomes available. If you change it within 45 days of your arrival date, though, Disney can assess a penalty. Please be aware that when you book your reservation you will be expected to pay a $200 deposit.
If you happen to have a Disney Rewards Visa, you can charge it to the Visa at 0% interest for 6 months. Stay tuned to this week’s Thrifty Thursday tip for more about that. The PIN code offer isn’t ALWAYS better than the current specials but it is ALWAYS worth a phone call to find out. You will discover that it is usually a great deal and you should feel privileged.
How will I receive it? Sometimes pin codes are mailed in the form of a postcard, but sometimes they are sent in the form of an email. Regarding US Mail, the most important rule is this: NEVER throw away anything you receive from Disney until you have read the offer, including the fine print, very carefully. My sister was smart enough to call me about an offer she received (which you will read about below). Regarding email, pin code offers will come from Disney Destinations. Be sure to check your SPAM folder periodically as some systems block messages from the site.
What if I accidentally threw away or deleted my offer? If this happens, don’t panic. Just call Disney reservations at (407) 939-7675 and ask the representative if there is a pin code attached to your name. Should the representative tell you she can’t look it up, hang up and call back. The reps do have this information but they cannot offer it to guests unless they are asked, even if you are booking a reservation.
What if it is mailed to me at my former address? Keep your information current at Disney.com. If you have recently moved and your offer goes to someone else at your old address, they cannot use it but neither can you (unless you are friends and they call you to pick it up). If you lived with a relative and your relative receives a pin code addressed to you, only you can use it. You can get your address updated but the reservations can only be made under the name of the person to which the pin code notification is addressed.
How can I get a pin code? There are a number of opinions on this issue. Some people have gotten numerous pin code offers while others never get them. It seems to be the general consensus that the offers are tied to current activity on the Disney sites. Assuming that is the case, here are some tips that might help you to get your hands on one of these valuable treasures:
- Create a Disney.com account for each of your email addresses at http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/ and, while doing so, check the boxes under “Free Notification Service” to get news and offers.
- Create profiles using variations of your name (given and nickname), such as “Robert Miller and Bob Miller.”
- Have your spouse, significant other, and grown children who are traveling with you sign up.
- Keep your profile information updated at all times.
- Go into your profile on http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/ and under “Places to Stay” create a dream vacation package or room-only reservation, then exit before booking. A pop-up window will come up and ask you why you are not booking, on which you should answer, “the price was too high and there were no discounts.”
- Under your profile, request the FREE Vacation Planning DVD.
- Enter contests on the Disney website. • Go into your profile and, under “Parks” create customized maps.
- Inquire about the Disney Vacation Club.
- Add Disney Destinations to your email contacts list
- Sign up for a Disney Rewards Visa card.
- Sign up for Disney Movie Rewards.
Doing any or all of these things MIGHT help you to get a pin code. Personally, I believe that being a newly setup guest does make a difference and this is the reason why.
I have been to Disney World many times. I always book very early and I do not get pin codes except maybe once every few years. I booked my upcoming trip to WDW back in November 2009 on a Bounceback offer. I changed my reservation as soon as the Free Dining Offer came out as we are arriving November 18, a date included in the offer. When my sister realized they would be joining us, she registered online to price out her vacation. Then, she called to book it but, since her family’s arrival date is November 22 (and not included in the Free Dining Offer), she was unable to take advantage of that special.
About 3 weeks later she called me and said she had received an advertisement for Free Dining. I thought, an advertisement? Then I freaked out and asked her ‘Oh my gosh, does it have a PIN code on it?’ She read through it and said “yes.” I was ecstatic that she was going to get free dining as well. I told her to call right away to add it to her package. If she hadn’t called me and had just thrown the postcard away, deciding that it was just an advertisement that she already knew she wasn’t eligible for due to her arrival date, it would have gone to waste. Good thinking on your part, Linda!
Setting up a new account doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get a code, but it surely means you might, and it never hurts to try. Use every variation of your name if you have to and put my name and email in there too for good measure. Maybe you will bring me some luck. Good luck to you!
Brenda is a native Texan born and raised on the Gulf Coast. She visited Disney World twice as a teenager and always dreamed of growing her family Disney. She took her first-timer husband and their three children to Disney World in 2000 and they now spend every Thanksgiving there. Brenda writes with a comedic twist on various Disney topics. She will be sharing tips she has learned during her travels and also hopes to enlighten people on little-known freebies that Disney has to offer. She wishes she could have met Walt Disney and considers herself to be a student of Walt. In parallel to his dream it is her wish that everyone would take at least one trip to Disney World in order to share in its magic with their families.