It’s the most anticipated time of the year! Free dining at Walt Disney World has returned yet again for 2017. It once again returns as a fall promotion, between August 21st (beginning August 13th for Disney Visa Cardholders and Canadian guests) and September 30th, 2017, as well as select dates between November 14th through December 23rd.
What’s the big change for 2017? Well, Moderate Resorts are being offered the Quick Service Dining Plan and not the Disney Dining Plan. The Table Service Dining Plan is now only offered FREE to guests staying at a Deluxe Disney Resort. Of course, if you would like to upgrade your free quick service plan to table service you can do so at an additional cost.
Check with your travel agent to make sure that you have the perfect plan set up!
Walt Disney World offers a promotion annually for select fall and winter dates in which you receive “Free Disney Dining” when you book a Disney Travel Package.
Most folks think that it’s an incredible deal that you shouldn’t miss, but there are a few details that may give you the perfect outcome…or may send you running for the hills and sticking to your original plan of getting discounts and staying within your budget.
Let’s look at “Free Dining” as a traditional concept:
Typically, the Disney Company has offered this promotion as a way to fill up their resorts during the slower season. When you buy a package (Hotel Room and Tickets) during the Free Dining discount period, you can take advantage of the promotion. Traditionally there are a couple of options for you to consider:
- Guests who stay at a Value Resort (Art of Animation, Pop Century and All-Stars) can opt for the Quick-Service Dining Plan (QSDP) for free
- Guests who stay at a Moderate, Deluxe or Deluxe Villa can opt for the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) for free.
- Dining Plans are able to be upgraded for a fee, so if you’re staying at a Value Resort but would like the DDP, you can upgrade. Same thing goes for the Deluxe Dining Plan, where you would just pay the difference between the plans.
Is it worth it?
Yes, it’s a great deal…but you will be paying “rack rate” (full price) for the hotel room. This means that you won’t get to utilize any discounts. How do you know if you should go ahead with the deal? Well, it’s all about the math!
- Are there any “room-only discounts” that won’t require you to book tickets or dining to receive. The discount is usually a higher savings than the DDP…but it depends on what level of resort you’re staying at.
- Do you have kids? Then getting the DDP may save you money ‘on paper’ but kids usually don’t eat as much food on trips, so take that into account.
What else should you know?
- Disney Dining Plans do not include Gratuities (15-20%). For more on tipping read How To Tip the Disney Dining Plan.
- DDP is based on the number of nights you stay, not the number of days
- Unused credits expire at midnight on the day you check out of your resort
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