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My daughter and I recently went to Disney World, and I wanted to stay in Disney’s Boardwalk area. It is a great place to stay for the easy access to Epcot and the new Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios.
Previously, we've used Starwood points to stay at the Dolphin, however, this time I wanted to stay on site for Disney's Magical Express (complimentary airport shuttle) and the Disney Dining Plan, so I turned to my Ultimate Rewards thanks to a tip from my friends at As the Joe Flies.
The most obvious way to use Ultimate Rewards for a hotel or resort would be to book directly through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. However, the rates published through the portal, do not include special offers and promotions (an annual pass discount in my case, although Disney runs frequent promotions open to anyone).
It takes a little work. I spent about 30 minutes, instead of the 5 you might expect, but I highly recommend booking over the phone through Chase's travel agents (1-866-951-6592). Additionally, you cannot book Disney’s dining plan offerings through the travel portal. So I picked up the phone and called Travel Services.
The wait was a couple of minutes, and by speaking to an agent, we were able to secure a stay the Boardwalk Inn, a deluxe Disney resort, and the deluxe dining plan for my reservation. She gave me my Disney confirmation number over the phone, and I was able to link it to my Disney Account immediately.
Chase provides a separate confirmation number for their internal systems, so be sure you have both. Also of note is that the confirmation I received from Chase did not detail my resort or dining plan.
If you don't want to drain your Ultimate Rewards balance for your Disney trip, you can split your booking between Ultimate Rewards, cash (paid via a Chase credit card), and Disney gift cards. Disney gift cards can be purchased at a discount through Sam's Club and BJ's, and Target RedCard’s 5 percent discount also applies to Disney gift cards.
Disney is an anomaly when it comes to hotel bookings with Ultimate Rewards, a very customer-friendly anomaly.
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