Expired Hot Deals

[Walt Disney World] Walt Disney World - Free Dining Promo Released

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 27th, 2018 2:51 pm
Member
May 30, 2011
467 posts
149 upvotes
Winnipeg
cbrunett wrote:
Apr 24th, 2018 1:25 pm
I did test a booking. If I did Pop Century for 8 days in August with a 7 day ticket with park hopper, if I did FD the cost would be ~$3450 for a family of 4. If I take the room only discount and drop the park hopper, the same room is ~$2900. So basically you are paying $550 for "free" dining (assuming you didn't want park hopper option). If you can eat more than $550 out of pocket in food in 8 days for a family of 4 then FD scenario will work. As I said in my original post, we averaged about $135/day in food last year at WDW during FD. So 8 days, we would track about $1080 in food as a family for that trip. So FD wins out as a better deal for our situation.

That is just one example, every resort, family size, and how you prefer to eat, will impact your calculations. But make sure to run some numbers.
So it's safe to say 2 people are better off doing a room discount. 2 adults, one who eats very little. I've done free Disney dining multiple times in previous years. Probably 10 years ago and it was an amazing deal. Then 2 years ago but the trip was payed for by a family member so have no idea of cost. Disney seems to have tightened the promo quite a bit.
Newbie
Oct 26, 2011
13 posts
4 upvotes
Winnipeg
This offer is for non-frugal Disney goers. In other words, if you want to really save money, rent an apartment with a kitchen and drive half an hour in the morning to get to the park. You can bring your warm breakfast and have it in the parks, and some fresh sandwiches for later; sometimes you can exit the parks and go for a burger or pizza nearby. Hundreds of dollars will be saved for minimum discomfort.
Not ideal if you have very young kids, though, but for families with teenagers, it works perfectly.
Member
May 1, 2007
315 posts
47 upvotes
Nuncio29 wrote:
Apr 25th, 2018 11:16 am
This offer is for non-frugal Disney goers. In other words, if you want to really save money, rent an apartment with a kitchen and drive half an hour in the morning to get to the park. You can bring your warm breakfast and have it in the parks, and some fresh sandwiches for later; sometimes you can exit the parks and go for a burger or pizza nearby. Hundreds of dollars will be saved for minimum discomfort.
Not ideal if you have very young kids, though, but for families with teenagers, it works perfectly.
Or better yet, take a dozen free danishes from the $40/night hotel and eat them all day like my friends did when we were 18.
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kashwashwa wrote:
Apr 25th, 2018 11:46 am
Or better yet, take a dozen free danishes from the $40/night hotel and eat them all day like my friends did when we were 18.
Did your friends live past 20? ;-)
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Mar 26, 2011
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Toronto
FWIW, you may also want to consider that the FD isn't accepted everywhere nor is it always 1:1 (there are some restaurants that count as 2 vouchers instead of 1).

When we went, we didn't bother with FD since it was our first time and we wanted to be hedonistic when it came to where we ate. Our girls loved the character dining and I'm not sure if those qualify for FD. At the end of the day, I think we spent about the same amount of money but got to eat wherever we wanted. Since we'd sometimes have such a big lunch, we'd only want a small meal at the end of the night. Naturally, this is a huge YMMV situation and if you're trying to control costs, the FD certainly presents value. Just a heads up that it's not a bullet-proof solution and depends on what your priorities are.
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Jun 17, 2013
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Scarborough
Alexandero2 wrote:
Apr 26th, 2018 10:20 am
FWIW, you may also want to consider that the FD isn't accepted everywhere nor is it always 1:1 (there are some restaurants that count as 2 vouchers instead of 1).

When we went, we didn't bother with FD since it was our first time and we wanted to be hedonistic when it came to where we ate. Our girls loved the character dining and I'm not sure if those qualify for FD. At the end of the day, I think we spent about the same amount of money but got to eat wherever we wanted. Since we'd sometimes have such a big lunch, we'd only want a small meal at the end of the night. Naturally, this is a huge YMMV situation and if you're trying to control costs, the FD certainly presents value. Just a heads up that it's not a bullet-proof solution and depends on what your priorities are.
The dining plan is accepted at most of the restaurants around the resort. Other than the restaurants at the Swan and Dolphin hotels, I can't think of any others off the top of my head. There are around 15 signature restaurants where you'll need to redeem 2 credits but the vast majority of restaurants only require 1.

Character dining is included with the Disney dining plan and is a great use of a credit since they're typically more expensive (dinner at Chef Mickey's for example is $35-60 for an adult) and most are only 1 credit (Cinderella’s Royal Table is 2 credits). You'd be paying up to $190 for 2 adults and 2 kids out of pocket otherwise.

Here's a list of all participating restaurants: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/media ... _added.pdf
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Member
Jun 11, 2006
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Alexandero2 wrote:
Apr 26th, 2018 10:20 am
FWIW, you may also want to consider that the FD isn't accepted everywhere nor is it always 1:1 (there are some restaurants that count as 2 vouchers instead of 1).

When we went, we didn't bother with FD since it was our first time and we wanted to be hedonistic when it came to where we ate. Our girls loved the character dining and I'm not sure if those qualify for FD. At the end of the day, I think we spent about the same amount of money but got to eat wherever we wanted. Since we'd sometimes have such a big lunch, we'd only want a small meal at the end of the night. Naturally, this is a huge YMMV situation and if you're trying to control costs, the FD certainly presents value. Just a heads up that it's not a bullet-proof solution and depends on what your priorities are.
Actually, I think the character meals are the ones where the Dining Plan has an advantage, just because they are so expensive. When I went on the dining plan, the table credit covered Chef Mickey, Crystal Palace and Akershus, I think Cinderella's Royal Table was 2 table credits, though I didn't bother going. Those character meals can easily cost $200US+ for a family of 4. (I had a family of 5 which made it even more expensive) Note the dining plan doesn't cover tips. Unfortunately, the current free dining offer doesn't include table credits unless you book deluxe accommodation.

That said, not sure I would do the character meals again, bc my kids are older. I think those are a good option for a way to see the characters without waiting in line.

One other thing with the free dining is that it ends up being a pool of credits, and you don't have use everyone's credits at once. E.g. For quick service, we discovered that for my family of 5, we could get away with using 3 QS credits for lunch. (at that time QS inlcuded a drink and dessert and you could change the dessert for drinks etc -- but QS doesnt include dessert anymore) , but you can then exchange a QS credit for 3 snacks. We did have a bunch of credits left over, but then on the last day I changed them all for things like packaged candy (mickey shaped licorice or mickey rice crispies) as souvienirs to take home.

For those who are booking with Free Dining, I'd advise doing some research on how to dine in DIsney and "best value" for your credits. Disney is one of those places that are more enjoyable if you do your legwork beforehand.
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Sep 15, 2008
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Also note that the dining credits are good until midnight on the day you checkout. Last time we stayed another couple of days afterwards off site and were able to use our remaining credits for dinner and snacks at Disney Springs after we checked out.
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Nuncio29 wrote:
Apr 25th, 2018 11:16 am
This offer is for non-frugal Disney goers. In other words, if you want to really save money, rent an apartment with a kitchen and drive half an hour in the morning to get to the park. You can bring your warm breakfast and have it in the parks, and some fresh sandwiches for later; sometimes you can exit the parks and go for a burger or pizza nearby. Hundreds of dollars will be saved for minimum discomfort.
Not ideal if you have very young kids, though, but for families with teenagers, it works perfectly.
You can save a lot of time with the dining plans. Aren't you paying for parking at the Disney lots. Exiting the park for lunch just eats into your time where you could be enjoying time inside the park.
If you are doing Disney one in a lifetime the dining plan is well worth it.
Ask me about the AMEX Air Miles Reserve Credit Card. A much better way to redeem your Dream Air Miles.
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May 29, 2006
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I cant comment on Disney dining, but I will say then when we went to Disneyland in California, there were 100s of resteraunts outside the park, so the only meal we were eating in the park was a lunch. breakfast was at the hotel (included) and for supper we would hit a resteraunt somewhere, like cheesecake factory.

So while this deal would appeal to people who don't want to leave the park at all, I personally would rather hit up resteraunts outside the part for supper.
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Jan 10, 2004
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Edmonton
Jlmcneil wrote:
Apr 25th, 2018 12:46 am
So it's safe to say 2 people are better off doing a room discount. 2 adults, one who eats very little. I've done free Disney dining multiple times in previous years. Probably 10 years ago and it was an amazing deal. Then 2 years ago but the trip was payed for by a family member so have no idea of cost. Disney seems to have tightened the promo quite a bit.
We've never found it that great of a deal. You have to get the park hopper option which normally we would never use. It's a better deal if you have a larger group staying in one room (ie 4 people) since in theory the food discount is better than the room discount.

But if you're light eaters, and maybe only having 2 meals a day plus a snack, it's probably not worth it. Heck, most of the time I try and grab a kids meal because I'm not a huge eater. (I tend to bring trail mix or similar when we're doing the parks)

I think overall, a room vs food discount will be about the same, so it's really just a marketing thing to sway you to think you got an awesome deal. It's not like you're saving hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
Jr. Member
Jun 14, 2017
177 posts
102 upvotes
Montreal
These points about eating offsite are all invalid. WDW is over 47 square miles in size, the closest restaurants to the magic kingdom for example will take over 45 minutes to get to. (15-20 minutes for exit and monorail back to transportation center, 10-15 to get back to the car from the transportation center, then about a 12-20 minute dive in the best conditions)

You would be looking at taking around 2.5 hours out of your day when all is said and done.
Newbie
Oct 26, 2011
13 posts
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Winnipeg
bobcat99 wrote:
Apr 26th, 2018 11:45 am
You can save a lot of time with the dining plans. Aren't you paying for parking at the Disney lots. Exiting the park for lunch just eats into your time where you could be enjoying time inside the park.
If you are doing Disney one in a lifetime the dining plan is well worth it.
Oh, you are preaching to the choir, my good person ;)
We've been only once to Disneyworld (once before to Disneyland) and we were going with a full hardcore mentality of getting there 45 minutes before rope-drop until closing time, and we did for the first couple of days. We were dead tired but with a giant grin in our faces. But I think on the 4th day, around 4pm, one of my kids had the blessed initiative of commenting: "I wish I had a Wendy's right now" to which we all automatically agreed and seeing that we had already covered 70% of what we wanted to see/ride, we left the park, went to Wendy's, and came back totally relaxed and restored in about 90 minutes. Lesson learned, we did that again in Animal Kingdom, in Islands of Adventure, and in the Epcot day we even went all the way to the apartment to chillax in the pool for an hour (so, we "wasted" 2 hours including travelling).
Compared to our acquaintances' experiences (most staying in Disney hotels, the rest staying in hotels nearby) we covered so much more of the parks (because of our no pain-no gain attitude) and for a considerable percentage less of their costs (I would say at least 30% less costly staying at least 4 days more).
So, yeah, I would love to stay in the resorts and just walk casually to Mission:Mars, then go back to my room to enjoy my privacy while puking, but with the money we spend in those vacations, we would have been able to just stay probably 7 days in the resorts, and miss the 3 Universal parks, a couple of leisure days in Daytona and Cape Canaveral (witnessing a launch too and visiting NASA), and a quick 4 nights cruise. I would totally do the resorts if I was made of money (because when I do vacations, I have to do a bunch of things, not just the parks, and that gets expensive).
Cheers!
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Oct 26, 2011
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Winnipeg
bman95 wrote:
Apr 26th, 2018 2:43 pm
These points about eating offsite are all invalid. WDW is over 47 square miles in size, the closest restaurants to the magic kingdom for example will take over 45 minutes to get to. (15-20 minutes for exit and monorail back to transportation center, 10-15 to get back to the car from the transportation center, then about a 12-20 minute dive in the best conditions)

You would be looking at taking around 2.5 hours out of your day when all is said and done.
Your example (maybe) applies only to Magic Kingdom, although I'm sure that it would take much less than what you're describing.

Hollywood Studios, for example, the parking lot is right outside, 5 minutes and you are in your car, another 3 to 5 minutes driving and you arrived to McDonalds, Wendy's is a whole minutes or two farther, sick of burgers? Olive Garden, 10 minutes - and the same applies to Animal Kingdom, and even Epcot (although in Epcot you will want to have a taste of some international stuff they offer).

Is al about planning and wanting.

P.S.
When we went to Volcano Bay we left the older girls and took the teenage boys to the bus, back to the car, drove to Papa Johns (ordered beforehand online), and returned in less than 40 minutes - we enjoyed some pizzas on the sand and relaxed a bit before going back to those lazy rivers for the rest of the day.
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Nuncio29 wrote:
Apr 26th, 2018 3:41 pm
Oh, you are preaching to the choir, my good person ;)
We've been only once to Disneyworld (once before to Disneyland) and we were going with a full hardcore mentality of getting there 45 minutes before rope-drop until closing time, and we did for the first couple of days. We were dead tired but with a giant grin in our faces. But I think on the 4th day, around 4pm, one of my kids had the blessed initiative of commenting: "I wish I had a Wendy's right now" to which we all automatically agreed and seeing that we had already covered 70% of what we wanted to see/ride, we left the park, went to Wendy's, and came back totally relaxed and restored in about 90 minutes. Lesson learned, we did that again in Animal Kingdom, in Islands of Adventure, and in the Epcot day we even went all the way to the apartment to chillax in the pool for an hour (so, we "wasted" 2 hours including travelling).
Compared to our acquaintances' experiences (most staying in Disney hotels, the rest staying in hotels nearby) we covered so much more of the parks (because of our no pain-no gain attitude) and for a considerable percentage less of their costs (I would say at least 30% less costly staying at least 4 days more).
So, yeah, I would love to stay in the resorts and just walk casually to Mission:Mars, then go back to my room to enjoy my privacy while puking, but with the money we spend in those vacations, we would have been able to just stay probably 7 days in the resorts, and miss the 3 Universal parks, a couple of leisure days in Daytona and Cape Canaveral (witnessing a launch too and visiting NASA), and a quick 4 nights cruise. I would totally do the resorts if I was made of money (because when I do vacations, I have to do a bunch of things, not just the parks, and that gets expensive).
Cheers!
Did you need a vacation after you came back from Disney, Universal, Daytona and Cape Canaveral and the cruise? Winking Face
Not everyone has the luxury to take, what seems like a 2 week vacation.

If limited on time buying the dining plan is the way to go, you don't want to be constantly looking for food, driving around and so on. You had that extra time to relax after Disney was over.
Ask me about the AMEX Air Miles Reserve Credit Card. A much better way to redeem your Dream Air Miles.

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