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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
Once upon a time, only on-site true Walt Disney World Resorts got you a host of in-park benefits such as Extra Magic Hours and extended FastPass+ bookings. However, in January 2018 chain hotels within Disney Springs began to enjoy Extra Magic Hours and a jump on making FastPass+ ride bookings. At first, the Disney extended perks were just promised for 2018, but they are now running at least through 2019.
Now Disney World has extended Extra Magic Hours to two additional Disney-area hotels that are points-friendly — the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek (with great waterpark and on a 482-acre nature preserve) and the high-end Waldorf Astoria Orlando. For those not familiar, guests with access to Disney Extra Magic Hours can enter a select Disney World theme park for a little longer each day than non-resort guests as a rotating park opens early or stays open late.
If you’ve got a healthy Hilton points budget and want a little luxury with your Disney, the Waldorf Astoria usually has award availability at 80,000 Hilton Honors points per night. It helps that Hilton Gold and Diamond elites now get included breakfast at Waldorf Astoria properties. This could be a great spot to use your weekend anniversary award nights, available with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express.
Turn Hilton Welcome Bonuses Into a Disney Trip
Hilton Honors no longer maintains a published award chart, so it’s hard to say exactly what a property will cost on any given date. However, looking at a variety of dates, the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek generally costs 50,000 Hilton points per night, while the Waldorf Astoria Orlando will usually fetch 80,000 points per night. Right now, the increased Hilton Amex welcome bonuses are a great way to get a head start on a Disney vacation.
- Hilton Honors American Express Card: Earn 90,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months
- Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card: Earn 125,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Earn 150,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: Earn 125,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months
According to TPG’s latest valuations, the 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points that are available with the Hilton Aspire are worth an impressive $900, and could potentially cover a three-night Disney vacation at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. The 125,000 Hilton Honors point bonuses are worth $750 and the 75,000-point bonus is worth $450.
Is FastPass+ Coming to These Hotels?
When the Disney Springs hotels became members of the extended Disney family, it was a bit odd that Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria Orlando didn’t join them. Both properties are technically just a bit closer to the parks within the Bonnet Creek development. It’s also curious that the properties are now being announced with just the Extra Magic Hours benefit and not the extended 60-day FastPass+ booking capability (rather than the standard 30-day opportunities). After digging around a bit, I found this note from WDW Info, a reliable source on Disney World. At the bottom, it lists the following disclaimer:
*Guests at these Official Walt Disney World Hotels must present an official voucher, which they may obtain at the hotel, and a valid Theme Park ticket to utilize the Extra Magic Hours benefit. Guests without the Park Hopper® Option or Park Hopper Plus® Option must use their ticket for admission to the same theme park where they would like to enjoy the Extra Magic Hours benefit.
This is the first I’ve heard of a voucher that gets you access to Extra Magic Hours. For all other properties, your Magic Bands will indicate your linked hotel stay to get you access. This seems to indicate that perhaps these two hotels have not completed the full integration with Disney World’s systems and may not yet be able to offer these benefits in the seamless nature the other hotels do. In other words, stay tuned.
As it has gotten harder to use points at Disney World with the on-site Swan and Dolphin going up to 50k Marriott points per night and Chase Ultimate Rewards removing all Disney Resorts from its points-booking engine, it’s great to see expanded park perks to some points-friendly hotels near Disney World. If these aren’t the right off-site properties for you, here’s a list of the best points hotels near Disney World.
HT: Miles For Family
Planning a Walt Disney World vacation? Here are some more resources:
- Buy Discounted Disney 4-Park Tickets in 2019
- TPG’s Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World Resort
- 16 Reasons to Stay at a Walt Disney World Resort Property
- The Top 5 Tips for Disney World First-Timers
- How to Save Money on Disney World Ticket Purchases
- 5 Ways to Save on a Disney World Vacation
- How to Use Points to Buy Disney Tickets
- Best Restaurants at Disney World
Featured image courtesy of the Waldorf Astoria Orlando
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This card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 150,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, enjoy a free Weekend Night Reward within your first year and every year after renewal.
- Earn 14X Hilton Bonus Points when you make eligible purchases on your Card at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio.
- Earn 7X Bonus Points for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies & at U.S. restaurants.
- Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
- Enjoy up to $250 in Hilton Resort Credits on your Card each anniversary year, when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
- Enjoy complimentary Diamond status with your Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
- $450 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees