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Free Dining at Walt Disney World has been around it seems like forever. It’s become one of the most popular Disney promotions ever. But just What is Free Dining?
For the last couple of years, the top discount Disney has been offering is the Disney Dining Plan for free as a inducement to get more people to come to WDW. It’s been a huge success. The big question is, when will Free Dining Finally Die? (Dad’s been trying to kill it off for years.)
What is it?
Free Dining is a discount Disney offers guest to get them to stay at the Disney Hotels. In fact it’s one of the most popular discounts Disney has ever offered. Here’s how it works. You book a package that includes a Disney Hotel and probably tickets and Disney gives you the Disney Dining Plan.
You get a different Dining Plan depending on the hotel you choose. Value (and maybe Moderate) Resorts get the Quick Service Plan and Deluxe Resorts get the Regular Plan.
Over the last few years, Disney has been piling up extras you have to purchase before you can qualify for Free Dining. First it was tickets. Then it was tickets with the Park Hopper option. Next came the Park Hopper Plus option.
Also the number of rooms available keeps getting smaller each year. If you aren’t one of the first to book, you are going to end up with a more expensive room than you planned.
Oh, and the number of days it’s available keeps getting less and less each year.
Dad, why do you keep saying it’s Dead?
Now Dad, I’ve been following you for a while, and I keep reading that you say Free Dining at Disney World is dead. Why do you keep pronouncing it dead?
Yes, for a long time, I’ve said that free dining at Walt Disney World is dead. I think I’ve said it 5 or 6 times or so (my track record on this one isn’t real good). I even lost a bet that it wouldn’t be coming back in 2013.
So why do I keep saying it’s dead? Because back in 2011, Bob Iger himself said Disney was going to start moving away from discounts. Then Disney started making it harder and harder to get the discount. To me that meant Free Dining would be truly dead soon.
Since then, every year there have been more restrictions less availability and even a total train wreck or two.
One of these days Dad is going to be right.
Is it a good thing?
Free Dining is a good thing, right?
What? Of course it is, or is it?
Dad has a problem with the program. First, it gets people addicted to the Disney Dining Plan. In Dad’s opinion, that’s not a good thing. I’ve never been a fan of the Disney Dining Plan. Only about 25% of the people who buy the plan get their money out of it. The rest lose money. Or, I should say, Disney makes money on most everyone.
The other problem I have with Free Dining is it brings in lots of people to the parks. It takes normally slow times and makes the busy. That’s a good thing for Disney but not so good for us crowd haters.
The third thing is all the turmoil with getting Free Dining. When it started out almost everyone was able to book it. Now days, you have to be really lucky to qualify. Almost everyone goes away mad these days and that’s not a good thing.
Is Free Dining a good thing? I’m not so sure anymore.
How do I get it?
How do you get Free Dining? First you call on my friends over at Destinations to Travel and ask them if it’s available. Then you sit back and let them take care of all the details of your trip. How cool is that? Get started today.
Dad’s Bottom Line
Free Dining at Walt Disney World is a great promotion. It will save you tons of money on your trip. If you can get it, by all means do.