Welcome to Mousebuzz!!!
Honestly, in all of my experience in saving on WDW hotels, it is best to book late. Don’t get me wrong - you are definitely doing the right thing by planning ahead. Keep browsing and playing around. But the best deals come out closer to your actual date of travel.
If you want to book a package, then you’ll very likely luck out with free dining. May 9th-27th is not peak season, and I can almost guarantee you there are going to be discounted rates for those dates.
One great way to save is to not book a package. Disney also discounts room rates for certain dates. When Disney discounts rooms, it’s better than any deal you’ll find off of another online booking source. If you save by booking through Disney on your room, then you can get your tickets from another source. Undercover Tourist offers discounted Walt Disney World tickets. Sign up for Mousesavers e-mails, and you’ll receive a link to their further discounted rates.
Another way to save on tickets is to not get the water parks and more option. It sounds like what you need, but you’re getting 8 days of waterparks, along with 8 park days. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to use all of those within your stay. I would suggest just getting the 8-day park hopper and buying a waterpark ticket for the day(s) you are planning to go. You might do the math and see how many days you would need to go to the waterparks to get your money’s worth and decide if it’s worth doing. Also note that mini-golf and Quest are not as good of a value because their ticket value is less than that of a waterpark.
I’m sure some DVC MBers will let you know about the option of renting DVC points. It really is a great way to stay at deluxe resorts for a very low price. You can find point charts for all of the DVC resorts at DVCNews.com - The essential Vacation Club resource! - Home. While that probably doesn’t mean anything to you, multiply that by $10, and you can get a rough estimate of the price. In order to get points, you’ll need to rent them from someone. We have a rent/trade area here on MB, and there is also one at Disboards. I’ve seen points go as low as $7.50/point. Like with hotels, the later you wait to book, the lower the price will get. However, keep in mind that there are only so many DVC rooms, so it might be difficult to get your resort of choice. But there isn’t one DVC resort I wouldn’t mind staying at.
Let me know if you have any questions! I’m sure you’ll get a lot of other great responses on how MBers save on their vacations!!! :happy: