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[Walt Disney World] Walt Disney World Free Dining Offer for Select dates this fall

  • Last Updated:
  • May 21st, 2017 7:28 pm
Newbie
Jul 3, 2003
89 posts
3 upvotes
OK, it is time machine time. Our family have been huge Disney fans for the last several years (15+). That being said it seems that over the years Disney is squeezing more and more out of you in the "free" dining plan and now its at the point where it is no longer worth it. We have used it on 5 different occasions (including last year) and here is a somewhat accurate summary of what our family has experienced.

Increase cost/reduction in value over time:
1) removed free appetizer with meal
2) removed tip included portion
3) forced you to moderate resort (instead of value resort)
4) forced you to also purchase Park hopper upgrade
5) forced you to upgrade to ABOVE moderate resort
6) took away dessert with quick service

Free Dining Plan Details
10+ Years ago (approx) - (with minimum stay at any resort + tickets) - AMAZING DEAL
Sitdown (appetizer, maincourse, dessert and drink and TIP included)
Quick Service (dessert, main and drink)
1 snack

8 Years ago - (with minimum stay at any resort + tickets) - VERY GOOD DEAL
Sitdown (maincourse, dessert and drink) - [removed appetizer and removed TIP - you tip now]
Quick Service (dessert, main and drink) - no change
1 snack - no change

3 Years ago - (min. stay at certain moderate resorts or higher + tickets) [removed value resort option moderate resort required] GOOD DEAL
Sitdown (maincourse, dessert and drink) - no change
Quick Service (dessert, main and drink) - no change
1 snack - no change

Last Year - (min. stay at certain moderate resorts or higher + tickets + Park Hopper) - [Park Hopper now required] SO SO DEAL
Sitdown (maincourse, dessert and drink)
Quick Service (dessert, main and drink) - no change
2 snacks - Interestingly Added snack

Now - (min stay at certain resort ABOVE moderate or higher + tickets + park hopper) - [Even higher end resort now required] POOR DEAL
Sitdown (maincourse, dessert and drink)
Quick Service (main and drink) - removed dessert
2 snacks - no change

Also keep in mind that Disney prices generally keep going up at least double the rate of inflation. One comparison is that we paid 1600.00 US (family of 4) 8 years ago and last year a similar package (with mandatory extra park hopper) was approx 3000.00. In all cases above the food was always plentiful and there is great convenience in knowing that you have all your meals included.

However from a price point it is far better to use the ticket and hotel discounts and just purchase whatever sit down/quick service meals you want.

Also keep in mind that the meals are excellent in some restaurants and terrible in others. Do your research - you will not regret it. Hope this helps.
Last edited by freddie on May 1st, 2017 12:52 pm, edited 7 times in total.
Deal Addict
Mar 16, 2008
1389 posts
504 upvotes
freddie wrote:
May 1st, 2017 12:52 pm
OK, it is time machine time. Our family have been huge Disney fans for the last several years (15+). That being said it seems that over the years Disney is squeezing more and more out of you in the "free" dining plan and now its at the point where it is no longer worth it. We have used it on 5 different occasions (including last year) and here is a somewhat accurate summary of what our family has experienced.

Free Dining Plan
10+ Years ago (approx) - (with minimum stay at any resort + tickets) - AMAZING DEAL
Sitdown (appetizer, maincourse, dessert and drink and TIP included)
Quick Service (dessert, main and drink)
1 snack

8 Years ago - (with minimum stay at any resort + tickets) - VERY GOOD DEAL
Sitdown (maincourse, dessert and drink) - [removed appetizer and removed TIP - you tip now]
Quick Service (dessert, main and drink) - no change
1 snack - no change

3 Years ago - (min. stay at certain moderate resorts or higher + tickets) [removed value resort option moderate resort required] GOOD DEAL
Sitdown (maincourse, dessert and drink) - no change
Quick Service (dessert, main and drink) - no change
1 snack - no change

Last Year - (min. stay at certain moderate resorts or higher + tickets + Park Hopper) - [Park Hopper now required] SO SO DEAL
Sitdown (maincourse, dessert and drink)
Quick Service (main and drink) - no change
2 snacks - Interestingly Added snack

Now - (min stay at certain resort ABOVE moderate or higher + tickets + park hopper) - [Even higher end resort now required] POOR DEAL
Sitdown (maincourse, dessert and drink)
Quick Service (main and drink) - removed dessert
2 snacks - no change

Also keep in mind that Disney prices generally keep going up at least double the rate of inflation. One comparison is that we paid 1600.00 US (family of 4) 8 years ago and last year a similar package (with mandatory extra park hopper) was approx 3000.00. In all cases above the food was always plentiful and there is great convenience in knowing that you have all your meals included.

However from a price point it is far better to use the ticket and hotel discounts and just purchase whatever sit down/quick service meals you want.

Also keep in mind that the meals are excellent in some restaurants and terrible in others. Do your research - you will not regret it. Hope this helps.
Thx for the tip
Newbie
Jan 28, 2011
48 posts
8 upvotes
Montreal, QC
freddie wrote:
May 1st, 2017 12:52 pm
OK, it is time machine time. Our family have been huge Disney fans for the last several years (15+). That being said it seems that over the years Disney is squeezing more and more out of you in the "free" dining plan and now its at the point where it is no longer worth it. We have used it on 5 different occasions (including last year) and here is a somewhat accurate summary of what our family has experienced.

Increase cost/reduction in value over time:
1) removed free appetizer with meal
2) removed tip included portion
3) forced you to moderate resort (instead of value resort)
4) forced you to also purchase Park hopper upgrade
5) forced you to upgrade to ABOVE moderate resort
6) took away dessert with quick service

Free Dining Plan Details
10+ Years ago (approx) - (with minimum stay at any resort + tickets) - AMAZING DEAL
Sitdown (appetizer, maincourse, dessert and drink and TIP included)
Quick Service (dessert, main and drink)
1 snack

8 Years ago - (with minimum stay at any resort + tickets) - VERY GOOD DEAL
Sitdown (maincourse, dessert and drink) - [removed appetizer and removed TIP - you tip now]
Quick Service (dessert, main and drink) - no change
1 snack - no change

3 Years ago - (min. stay at certain moderate resorts or higher + tickets) [removed value resort option moderate resort required] GOOD DEAL
Sitdown (maincourse, dessert and drink) - no change
Quick Service (dessert, main and drink) - no change
1 snack - no change

Last Year - (min. stay at certain moderate resorts or higher + tickets + Park Hopper) - [Park Hopper now required] SO SO DEAL
Sitdown (maincourse, dessert and drink)
Quick Service (dessert, main and drink) - no change
2 snacks - Interestingly Added snack

Now - (min stay at certain resort ABOVE moderate or higher + tickets + park hopper) - [Even higher end resort now required] POOR DEAL
Sitdown (maincourse, dessert and drink)
Quick Service (main and drink) - removed dessert
2 snacks - no change

Also keep in mind that Disney prices generally keep going up at least double the rate of inflation. One comparison is that we paid 1600.00 US (family of 4) 8 years ago and last year a similar package (with mandatory extra park hopper) was approx 3000.00. In all cases above the food was always plentiful and there is great convenience in knowing that you have all your meals included.

However from a price point it is far better to use the ticket and hotel discounts and just purchase whatever sit down/quick service meals you want.

Also keep in mind that the meals are excellent in some restaurants and terrible in others. Do your research - you will not regret it. Hope this helps.
I've calculated that it was cheaper to just buy the room (20-30%), purchasing tickets with Canadian rebate WITHOUT park hopper (25%), and dedicated cash to eat+snacks.

For the same amount of days (6 for the comparison), there was 2000$USD difference for us (2 adults, 5 kids, 2 rooms). I can't believe that it could cost us 2000$USD for food for 6 days. ;)
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 28, 2013
11213 posts
3326 upvotes
Oakville
Myrandor wrote:
May 3rd, 2017 8:36 am
I can't believe that it could cost us 2000$USD for food for 6 days. ;)
Definitely not, for the quickservice meal plan. $2000/6 days = $333/day. If you're eating in the park:

Average adult quickservice meal price = $13 (roughly - ranges from 11-15 at most places)
Average kids' quickservice meal price = $7
Average snack price = $3

The meal plan you get for "free" in this promo gives you 2 quickservice meals each per day, plus two snacks. So, the *average* value of the meal plan, per day, would work out to $52 (2 adult quickservice meals x 2) + $70 (5 child quickservice meals x 2) + $42 (7 snacks x 2) = $164/day on average.
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Koodo
Newbie
Jan 28, 2011
48 posts
8 upvotes
Montreal, QC
wearysky wrote:
May 3rd, 2017 9:39 am
Definitely not, for the quickservice meal plan. $2000/6 days = $333/day. If you're eating in the park:

Average adult quickservice meal price = $13 (roughly - ranges from 11-15 at most places)
Average kids' quickservice meal price = $7
Average snack price = $3

The meal plan you get for "free" in this promo gives you 2 quickservice meals each per day, plus two snacks. So, the *average* value of the meal plan, per day, would work out to $52 (2 adult quickservice meals x 2) + $70 (5 child quickservice meals x 2) + $42 (7 snacks x 2) = $164/day on average.
Exactly my calculation. I rounded up to 200$USD/day, which still 800$USD under the price with the free quickservice meal plan. Also, the "meals" in the quick plan are sometime too big (even for kids). Last time we went, we ended up with many kids deserts/snacks in our luggage. ;)
Jr. Member
Nov 18, 2013
106 posts
9 upvotes
Toronto
countysat wrote:
Apr 24th, 2017 9:04 pm
Your Travel Adviser must not be up to date on Disney standards.
Servers in Florida rely on tips as the majority of their income as their base pay is less than minimum wage. If you read any of the Disney forums, you'll learn that a 20% tip is the minimum expected. If you have a party of 6 or more an 18% tip is automatically added to the bill. My daughter worked as a server at Le Cellier for a year on the Cultural Representative program. Being a "signature" restaurant she said it was rare to receive anything under 15%.
Last time we went, tips were included. We're going in July and man, this tipping thing sucks, especially with the exchange. I have a really hard time paying a 20% tip (which is actually closer to 30% CAD) for a totally inflated sit down meal. We are a family of 5 and some of our meals will end up being $400. So on top of that, I have to lay down $80 USD? For a meal that lasts an hour, that sounds like a very high wage for a server. Maybe I'm misunderstanding.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 28, 2013
11213 posts
3326 upvotes
Oakville
pinkmanwhite wrote:
May 3rd, 2017 3:21 pm
Last time we went, tips were included. We're going in July and man, this tipping thing sucks, especially with the exchange. I have a really hard time paying a 20% tip (which is actually closer to 30% CAD) for a totally inflated sit down meal. We are a family of 5 and some of our meals will end up being $400. So on top of that, I have to lay down $80 USD? For a meal that lasts an hour, that sounds like a very high wage for a server. Maybe I'm misunderstanding.
Note that in many (most?) places, servers don't keep the whole tip - they have to split it with the kitchen staff too.
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Koodo
Newbie
Sep 19, 2016
24 posts
5 upvotes
wearysky wrote:
May 3rd, 2017 3:27 pm
Note that in many (most?) places, servers don't keep the whole tip - they have to split it with the kitchen staff too.
Also, thats not how math works... the tip PERCENTAGE does not go up based on currency exchange...
Newbie
Dec 11, 2015
2 posts
Note that your vacation dates only have to start within the eligible periods and free dining will apply for the duration of your stay. So, for example, you can go Dec 23 -Jan 3 and free dining will apply for the duration of your stay.
Member
Dec 7, 2007
208 posts
64 upvotes
0
TheRattler wrote:
May 20th, 2017 8:29 pm
Note that your vacation dates only have to start within the eligible periods and free dining will apply for the duration of your stay. So, for example, you can go Dec 23 -Jan 3 and free dining will apply for the duration of your stay.
This.

We are booked during this period and given that it's peak time the odds of room discounts being available are slim - so the deal makes sense for us.

However as stated the math doesn't work out nearly as well for most other times.
Deal Addict
Sep 3, 2005
1325 posts
35 upvotes
I got the deluxe meal package a couple of years ago. It was too much and at the end of the trip we took home a lot of candy to make up for the vouchers we didn't use. I know this is a cheap skates website, but after that experience, i wouldn't go without a meal plan. It contributed tremendously to the experience knowing I didn't have to worry about food. I did my research about the restaurants and I had some great experiences with the cuisine. Kids didn't care but I looked forward to the meals. Every day I planned out a really nice sit down meal and it usually contributed to the experience. Some of the food was just tremendous and there would be no way I would venture of my path to try the food out.
There was a great breakfast where all of the princesses would parade the room and take pictures with the kids. I have boys and the princesses would pull them away to get a picture. I have this glorious collection of pictures of all the princesses with my twin 7 year old boys wearing these faces somewhere between, "I'm just appeasing the princess to be courteous", to "not again", to "Dad why are you making me do this". Actors in character the whole time. It was so awesome.

The food voucher makes it feel like a resort and not just a hotel that happens to be on the Disney premises. If I ever go back, definitely taking up the deluxe meal package again. We didn't use it all up but I really looked forward to eating at the two voucher restaurants.
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