Disney World Free Dining Offer and How Many Guests Beat You to the Punch

Disney World Free Dining Offer and How Many Guests Beat You to the Punch

Disney World Free Dining Offer and How Many Guests Beat You to the Punch.

Here’s some details on how you might better assure yourself a shot at the Walt Disney World Free Dining offer.

What is Free Dining?

Free Dining is an offer to help bring more guests into Walt Disney World resorts during normally slow seasons.  Disney offers you a version of Free Dining based on your accommodation choices and can save guests hundreds of dollars on their vacation.

When is Free Dining Released?

Many people ask when Free dining will be released.  Here’s a little overview of historical dates and information.  Last year (2016) required a 3 night stay at an official Walt Disney World resort and Park Hopper or Park Hopper with Water Parks and More Ticket (now called Park Hopper Plus) for each guest in the room.

Value Resort Guests were offered Free Quick Service Dining Plan, but could upgrade to other plans for the difference in cost.  The savings per person is $46.34 per adult and $20.18 per child per day.  This plan includes the following per night:

2 Quick-Service Meals One entrée and one non-alcoholic beverage

OR one complete combo meal

2 Snacks Choose from:

  • Frozen ice-cream novelty, popsicle or fruit bar
  • Box of popcorn
  • Single piece of whole fruit
  • Medium fountain soft drink or juice
  • Many other snack choices including event kiosks
Resort Refillable Drink Mug One per person, per package (not per night)

Moderate and Deluxe Resort guests were provided the Disney Dining Plan and could upgrade to Deluxe Dining at an additional cost.  The savings per person is $67.43 per adult and $24.22  per child per day.  The Disney Dining Plan includes:

1 Table-Service Meal One entrée, one dessert and one non-alcoholic beverage

OR one full buffet

1 Quick-Service Meal One entrée and one non-alcoholic beverage

OR one complete combo meal

2 Snacks Choose from:

  • Frozen ice-cream novelty, popsicle or fruit bar
  • Box of popcorn
  • Single piece of whole fruit
  • Medium fountain soft drink or juice
  • Many other snack choices including event kiosks
Resort Refillable Drink Mug One per person, per package

The following resorts were NOT included in Free Dining 2016:

  • Art of Animation -Little Mermaid rooms
  • Fort Wilderness Campsites
  • Bay Lake Tower
  • 3-Bedroom villas

Here’s the historical dates with valid dates for U.S. residents.

  • 2016 – Released on April 25 (Valid dates: Aug 23-Oct 1, Nov 15-21, Nov 26-28, Dec 10-21)
  • 2015 – Released on April 27 (Valid dates: Aug 28-Oct 2, Oct 25-31, Nov 8-19, Dec 15-21)
  • 2014 – Released on May 7 (Valid dates: Aug 31-Oct 3, Oct 26-Nov 1, Nov 9-20, Dec 12-23)

Book your dining as early as possible!

Free dining means that many more guests will be booking Table Service dining than usual.  Many of the popular restaurants and character dining will book solid well in advance.  As an onsite guest you are allowed to get your dining reservations 180 days in advance and book for your entire length of stay (up to 10 days).   This is a great advantage over those who will wait until next month to secure a package!

How many guests beat you to the punch

Most guests wait until the official announcement is made before attempting to find a resort and date that they like and many of the rooms are gone very quickly.  The number of rooms in the promotion is limited, so many sell out.

Guests beat you by pre-booking a resort package that could meet the requirements long before the package is actually announced.  Then the regularly priced package is changed, once it is officially released, to the Free Dining Package offer.

This is most easily accomplished by using the services of an Authorized Disney Travel Agent.  Great Travel Agents can switch your package for you and you don’t have to lift a finger.

 

Here’s some great information on how to best book your Advanced Dining Reservation too:

How to Get Every Advanced Dining Reservation ADR you want at Walt Disney World!

6 thoughts on “Disney World Free Dining Offer and How Many Guests Beat You to the Punch”

  1. Agree with Kenny. My TA said it’s much easier to apply a discount than booking a new reservation and if you’re going anyway, then you are guaranteeing your dates with or without free dining. I would never base my trip on free dining. I feel it would lead to disappointment. But it would be a nice bonus!

  2. Hi Kennny. We are looking way ahead to Nov. 2018, and hoping the trend continues for free dining. Our dates are consistent with prior offerings, but we know there are no guarantees. When I book a room in a deluxe resort over a year way, is there a particular type of room that I should book, that is a requirement for free dining? For instance, do they usually require a room view upgrade, such as a park view or garden view, vs a standard view?

    Thanks!

    – Jim

  3. That is an inaccurate statement that an agent can change your booking to the promotion. They can try but just because you have a booking and it meets the requirements that does not mean that you will get the promotion.

    1. “Can” and “Will” are not the same terms. I didn’t place a guarantee on it and did not say they or any agent will, but agents can change packages that meet the requirements to anything available with the same requirements pretty simply.
      If they don’t change it automatically for you, you can:
      a. Keep it as is
      b. Switch to another resort that does have availability
      c. Cancel with full refund within 31 days of arrival.

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