Everyone’s heard of Priceline.com and their ‘Name Your Own Price’ option. I’ve used it successfully for the past 2 years after hearing about it from a close friend of mine who has been a DL AP for over 20 years. Every time I use it I get either the Marriott Anaheim Suites (and yes you get a 2 room suite) or the Crowne Plaza. There is 1 catch with these 2 hotels – a $12 per day resort fee. The Crowne Plaza automatically charges it to everyone but you get free internet/wifi in your room and a free shuttle to and from Disneyland. The Marriott Suites only charges the fee if you tell them you are parking your car on property. If you stay at the Marriott, you will be charged for internet/wifi access if you use is and you can take the Anaheim Resort Transit to and from Disneyland for a few dollars.
Other hotels that have come up for my friends have been the Doubletree, the Anaheim Marriott, the Anaheim Hilton, and the Sheraton. I haven’t had that happen to me yet so I can’t say what additional fees they might charge.
Now here’s a step-by-step on how to use the Priceline feature so you don’t mess up.
1. Go to Priceline.com. On the main page click ‘Hotel’
2. Scroll down to where it says ‘Name Your Own Price for Hotels’
3. In the ‘City’ bar enter ‘Disneyland’
4. Select your check in and check out dates and how many rooms you want
5. Click ‘Bid Now’
6. It will open a new screen that says ‘Please Help Us With a Little More Information’
7. Under ‘Select a City’ choose ‘Disney Land – Anaheim, California, United States’
8. Click ‘Next’
9. Now you’re at a screen that says ‘Step 1: Choose Where You Want To Stay’
10. Select option 5 ‘Disneyland – Anaheim’. This area is the Good Neighbor Hotel Area of the Disneyland Resort
11. Scroll down and you will see ‘Step 2: Choose the Star Level for your hotel’
12. Select ‘3 ½ Star – Upscale Plus’
13. Now comes ‘Step 3: Name Your Own Price’
14. Here’s the trick. Just enter ‘50’. That’s it – 50 bucks a night is all I ever pay for top notch hotels Disneyland.
15. Now scroll down and enter your First and Last name and click ‘Next’
16. The next screen shows a review of your request. It shows how much you ‘bid’ per night plus the taxes and fees (roughly $13 a day) and a total for your stay. It gives you the option of buying Cancellation Insurance for $5 per night of your stay in case you can’t make it or need to leave during your stay. Keep in mind, once you book a hotel room this way, IT IS NON-REFUNDABLE and the dates can’t be changed. There are some other terms and conditions to review.
17. If you are sure you can make these dates and want to book a room, initial in the box and click ‘Next’
18. The next screen is the billing screen. Enter your billing information as it appears on your credit card statement. Enter and re-enter your email address and then Uncheck the box underneath your email address that says ‘Yes Send me updates’. I recommend this because we all hate spam email.
19. Now enter your credit card info. Don’t worry, the info is safe (we are talking about Priceline and not some hack site). Your card is not charged, authorized, or placed on hold. The only way the card gets charged is if your bid is accepted.
***** Ok now here’s where everybody freaks out. “What if my bid isn’t accepted? I thought you said I could get a room for $50 a night?” I never said you would be guaranteed a room at $50 a night I just said I’ve never paid more than $50 a night. My friend that uses this option about 6 times a year has never paid more than $60 a night and that was in July of 2005 DURING the 50th Anniversary week. Depending on the time of year and what is going on, the acceptable pricing fluctuates a little.*****
20. You DO NOT have to register with Priceline or create an account that is OPTIONAL.
21. Now is the moment of truth. If you click ‘Buy My Hotel Room Now’ and your bid is accepted, your card is immediately charged and your room is booked. It states both HERE and ON THE PAGE – PLEASE REMEMBER, ONCE YOU CLICK “Buy My Hotel Room” YOUR REQUEST CANNOT BE CHANGED, CANCELLED, OR TRANSFERRED AND REFUNDS ARE NOT ALLOWED. Don’t say you weren’t informed in advance.
22. If you click to buy the room, Priceline will take you to a wait screen while it ‘processes’ your request.
23. If your bid is successful, you will see a screen congratulating you on a successful bid and it will have the details of which hotel you will be staying at – Name, etc. Congratulations to you on saving some serious money and getting to stay at a really nice hotel. I hope you enjoy it.
24. If your bid is NOT successful you have 2 options:
a. Option 1 – Wait 24 to 48 hours (I believe it’s only 24 but I haven’t had a bid fail in a while so I’ve forgotten) and use the same email address and credit card to bid again.
b. Option 2 – Use a DIFFERENT email address AND a different credit card and bid again right now.
25. If your bid has failed (and sometimes they do) increase it by $5 a night. So a $50 bid becomes $55.
There you guys go. That’s the best tip I can give on how to save money and get a good room at a good hotel. At the time I wrote this, my last stay was at the Marriott Suites from December 18th to December 21st 2009. I paid $45 a night plus fees. I also included a copy of my receipt for that stay to MW so you guys know I’m not just blowing smoke.
OK Admin. That’s my tip/secret on how I can be an AP living in Phoenix, AZ and make several trips a year to Disneyland affordable. If you want me to re-write anything or if I can give this to you in another format, please let me know. I’m attaching my last trip receipt/itinerary so you can confirm that I really did only pay $45 a night at the Marriott Suites. I am also including a direct link to the receipt on Priceline so you can see I didn’t fake anything either.
James Mennes aka ‘Jaimz’