Free Dining


#1

oh-kay! SOOO…PLEASE do NOT murder me for this…

But what exactly is the Free Dining Plan and how does it work?

I know for a fact I cant use it when I go to WDW next year because of my CM discounts on the hotel room and such (I could use it but would not get my discount on my hotel…the hotel discount is much more important to me).

But I always hear all of this talk about the Free Dining Plan and such but I don’t really know how it works…I know a few of the basics of what it is but I’m curious as to how it really works.

I mean you just cant get free food for nothing, obviously you have to pay a fee or something to use it…which wouldn’t that mean it wasn’t well…free?

Thanks!


#2

Free Dining is a promotion that Disney offers at certain times of the year. More so this year with the economy being so blah it’s enticing people to travel.
The Free Dining Plan is basically just that…the dining plan…for free. It consist of one sit down dinner including entree and dessert (and non-alcoholic drink) one counter service meal and one snack per day per person. It really is a GREAT deal and it really is free if you get it attached to your reservation.


#3

Free is free, so to speak. We haven’t gone for ‘free dining’ in quite a few years but when you book a qualifying package through Disney during the promotion period they give each member in your party the basic Disney Dining Plan for the amount of nights offered. When we did it it was easy to use, just the same as if you paid for the dining plan. The ‘dining credits’ were attached to your room key & you gave it to the server at your sit down meal or the cashier at the counter service locations.

The thing we really hated about the free dining is that WDW is pretty notorious for being PACKED during the offer’s travel dates & unless you called RIGHT when the window opened getting ADRs was tough. It was also in August which is like a zillion degrees & rainy.


#4

Anaheimboy, would you be able to use the Dining Plan? I mean, book your trip with your CM discount but add the plan on, paying for it of course. It really is a good deal, if you are interested. Our family saves a lot of money on food even when we have had to pay for DDP (but is sure was nice the one time we did FREE dining!:happy:).


#5

[QUOTE=WishUponAStar;963376]Free is free, so to speak. We haven’t gone for ‘free dining’ in quite a few years but when you book a qualifying package through Disney during the promotion period they give each member in your party the basic Disney Dining Plan for the amount of nights offered. When we did it it was easy to use, just the same as if you paid for the dining plan. The ‘dining credits’ were attached to your room key & you gave it to the server at your sit down meal or the cashier at the counter service locations.

The thing we really hated about the free dining is that WDW is pretty notorious for being PACKED during the offer’s travel dates & unless you called RIGHT when the window opened getting ADRs was tough. It was also in August which is like a zillion degrees & rainy.[/QUOTE]
Do you think sept will be packed considering the kids will be back to school?


#6

The passed few years that the free dining has been offered have been unusually busy.


#7

We have been for the past 3 Septembers and found it to be very reasonable.


#8

Thanks all!


#9

Thanks for the info everyone! :smile:


#10

[QUOTE=WishUponAStar;963376]Free is free, so to speak. We haven’t gone for ‘free dining’ in quite a few years but when you book a qualifying package through Disney during the promotion period they give each member in your party the basic Disney Dining Plan for the amount of nights offered. When we did it it was easy to use, just the same as if you paid for the dining plan. The ‘dining credits’ were attached to your room key & you gave it to the server at your sit down meal or the cashier at the counter service locations.

The thing we really hated about the free dining is that WDW is pretty notorious for being PACKED during the offer’s travel dates & unless you called RIGHT when the window opened getting ADRs was tough. It was also in August which is like a zillion degrees & rainy.[/QUOTE]

Is it for the amount of nights offered or the amount of nights of your stay? Just wondering. Will I get it on oll 13 nights or just the five offered? Every time I call they mention I have the Canadian code free dining package?


#11

I found this on-line, it looks like the limit is 14 nights.

  • Disney is offering the standard “Plus Dining” free of charge to guests taking advantage of this wonderful promotion. This has a nightly value of $39.99 per person over age 9 and a $10.99 value for children ages 3 - 9. A family over 4 will save over $100 for each night of their stay.

* This promotion is good for stays of up to 14 nights.


#12

Thank you Wishy that puts my mind to ease!!!


#13

Free Dining is also a way for my daughter and I to take advantage of the deluxe dining plan. We are staying 5 night so for an additional $320 bucks we can do a signature restaurant and the dinner shows as well as a few breakfast buffets for an affordable price. We will do table sevice for lunches since the adr’s are easier to get then and a signature and shows for the dinner hours. I throw in a few table sevices for dinners at easier places to get adr’s that way we a can enjoy a few breakfasts as well. They even throw in a refillable mug and two snacks a day to boot. We get 3 meals a day, or 15 for our stay . So we do 2 for breakfast, 5 for lunch, 2 for regular dinner and that lets us do 2 show and 1 signature since they take 2 credits. Works for us and I got some really great meals to look forward to. It’s also a little surprise for my daughter.


#14

That worked out great for you! Sounds like a lot of fun and a great surprise for your daughter.:happy:


#15

In a word? Yes. Especially earlier in the month when schools have only just gone into session and it’s easy to keep kids out an extra week.
Also, it can be busier depending on when the Jewish high holy days land because many school systems in the northeast close on those days.


#16

[QUOTE=anaheimboy;963368]oh-kay! SOOO…PLEASE do NOT murder me for this…
But what exactly is the Free Dining Plan and how does it work? [/QUOTE]

Others have answered your questions but I feel I have to comment on a major difference between Disneyland packages and WDW packages concerning dining plans.
Disneyland is still in the dark ages and I have no clue why.
Unlike WDW, Disneyland issues dollar denomination paper vouchers that you have to combine in order to pay for your meals. Beside being a royal pain and forcing guests to have to do math at every meal, you almost always will wind up partially paying out of pocket at every meal, and not just your tip.
At least at WDW, it’s all on your room key and it’s all full meal vouchers and not a bunch of paper slips that don’t add up. That is, you get x number of snacks (and sales tax), y number of quick serve meals (entree, dessert, and beverage plus tax), and z number of sit down meals (entree, dessert, and beverage plus tax (you pay the tip)) and don’t have to worry about your vouchers not covering everything.

Disneyland&reg Resort - Theme Park Adventures - Planning - Meal Vouchers

They have nothing at all like the counter service dining plan, the standard dining plan, or the deluxe dining plan (three sit down meals per day- appetizer, entree, dessert, beverage, and sales tax (you pay the tip) plus two snacks per day per person).


#17

Another thing to consider- if you can get a great room discount, sometimes the free dining plan isn’t the best deal. This is particuarly true if it is a single person or a couple traveling. You get the most for your free dining $ when traveling with 4 people in the room

Two years ago I was able to get an AP discount at WL which was greater than the cost of us paying for the DP. If I had been traveling with my kids, Free Dining (for 4) would have been the better deal.


#18

[QUOTE=leslieh;963874]Another thing to consider- if you can get a great room discount, sometimes the free dining plan isn’t the best deal. This is particuarly true if it is a single person or a couple traveling. You get the most for your free dining $ when traveling with 4 people in the room

Two years ago I was able to get an AP discount at WL which was greater than the cost of us paying for the DP. If I had been traveling with my kids, Free Dining (for 4) would have been the better deal.[/QUOTE]

I was thinking about posting the same thing and it’s true especially for the deluxe hotels. In fact, we’re at the Contemporary in 2 weeks and with the AP rate, we’re saving $222 for three days, which pretty much covers 3 days worth of regular dining plan for 2 adults, so the price would be only $18 more than if it were rack rate and free dining.