Walt Disney World Free Dining in 2016 Fact, Rumors and News

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Will there be Free Dining in 2016 at Walt Disney World? Only the Shadow (and maybe Dad) knows….


Bread at the new Skipper Cantina in the Magic Kingdom Great looking bread at the new Skipper Catina – Photo by Brett Svenson


Free Dining is the most popular promotion at Walt Disney World ever! That’s a fact. Anytime rumors about it start cropping up, there is a “feeding” frenzy that ensues. (Isn’t Dad funny?)

Fall Free Dining is Here

Here are the details –


Travel Dates – August 25 – October 1, November 15 – November 21, November 26 – November 28, December 10 – December 21


Book by – August 31


Details – get the Disney Dining Plan “free” when you book a 3-night or longer reservation in a qualifying Disney Resort. A 2-night Magic Your Way ticket with an option (Park Hopper or Water Park Fun and More) is required.


Book a Value Resort and get the Quick Service Dining Plan. Book a Moderate, Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort and get the regular Disney Dining Plan.


Excluded Resorts – Grand Floridian Villas, Polynesian Bungalows, Bay Lake Tower, Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation, Campsites at Ft. Wilderness, 3-bedroom Villas, All Star Movies, Port Orleans French Quarter.  Note:  Riverside is excluded after October 1.


Availablity will be VERY limited.

Disney Chase Visa Free Dining

There was a Disney Chase Visa extra that came out with the Free Dining promotion. It added some additional dates (and it seems like there might be some extra rooms available if you go through Chase Visa.

Disney Chase Visa dates start August 14.


You should have received an email from Chase with a link to use.


What is Free Dining?

Fulton's Crab House ad duskFulton’s Crab House is a great place for some Free Dining in 2016 – Photo by Mike Billick


What is Free Dining, and what’s the hype all about? That’s a pretty good question.


Disney is always using promotions to fill empty rooms during slow periods. A few years ago, some brainiac at Disney came up with the “sweet” idea of giving the Disney Dining Plan for FREE as a promotion.


Typically, to get “Free Dining” you must book a package that includes a room at a Disney Hotel and park tickets to get Free Dining. (DVC Members and Annual Pass Holders sometimes miss out.)


IMPORTANT: This is for Disney Hotel guests only! You must stay in a DISNEY Resort to qualify.


That’s right, if you book a trip to Disney World during the promotion period, Disney will give you the Disney Dining Plan for FREE (restrictions apply.)

Dad’s Disney Dining Plan page


Destinations to Travel LLC.


Carmel apples being made at the ConfectioneryThere’s nothing better than a fresh caramel apple – photo by Brett Svenson


Free Dining started way back in 2009. For most of it’s life it’s been a Fall promotion. Only a couple of years (2011 and 2012) was it available in the Spring.


Through the years, the dates have become more and more restrictive and in 2015 Disney required that Park Hopper Tickets be purchased as part of the package.


In fact, for a couple of years, Dad became downright convinced that Free Dining was going away. I even lost a “bet” with one of my good Disney buddies when I boldly predicted that Free Dining was Dead! I was wrong (but I should have been right.)


Finally I gave up predicting the demise of Free Dining and just started reporting the Facts (and a rumor or two).


It’s fun to go back and see all that Dad’s written about Free Dining through the years.

Dad blogs about Free Dining

Free Dining in 2016

Yummy bread pudding and ice cream from 'OhanaDad’s favorite dessert is Bread Pudding from ‘Ohana – Photo by Brett Svenson


So, what’s happening with Free Dining in 2016 at Walt Disney World?

Free Dining was just announced for the summer of 2016. Sort of. Disney has really hitched their horses to Free Dining with this one. Instead of announcing a room discount, they are giving one free Quick Service meal when you stay in a Value Resort. Hey, it’s Free Dining.


But what does that mean for later in the year?


I do think that the typical Free Dining offer for the fall will come out sometime in late-April or early-May. It will be for late-August through mid-December with most of October and Thanksgiving Week blacked out.


Again this year, it will require a 3 night or more stay and it might require the Park Hopper or Water Park option again this year.


Or it will finally die (highly unlikely) and after last year’s debacle, that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

But Dad, what about???

bags of Main Street Popcorn on the shelfYou can even get some popcorn with your Free Dining in 2016 – photo by Laurie Sapp


OK, I hear you. You say you already know about a bunch of people that have Free Dining in 2016. You’re right. They probably do.


Disney has been using Free Dining for 2016 in several promotions over the last few months. If you live outside the US, there’s a good chance you have already been offered Free Dining for 2016.


Since the summer of 2015, Disney has been using Free Dining in “Bounceback” offers (offers you receive when you at WDW to get you to come back within a year). Also, Disney has sent out a bunch of mail offers with codes for Free Dining through 2016.


So even if you can’t book Free Dining now, you might get a chance…

Book your trip today

Now aren’t you just ready to up and book a trip to Walt Disney World today? I know I am. Our friends and partners at Destinations to Travel are ready to help you get started right now. Even if you are going this fall and hoping for Free Dining, now is the time to get started.


If you book now and later a promotion comes out, Destinations to Travel will change your reservation to be sure you get the best deal possible. They really are the best when it comes to planning Disney vacations.

Dad’s Destinations to Travel page

Dad’s Bottom Line

Dad believes that Free Dining in 2016 is coming. It’s become a staple of Disney promotions. I fully expect to show up again for this fall and many to come.