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Minnie0107
05-30-2007, 02:03 PM
How bad are the crowds during the free dining period? Was anyone there last year?

mom2my3kids
05-30-2007, 02:19 PM
From what I have read, the parks are not crowded but the restaurants are..:flower3:

AStamm
05-30-2007, 02:31 PM
We were there sometime around the 10th to 20th of August. Crowds weren't horrible, but they weren't the lightest I've ever seen either. Getting to the parks early was essential to getting on our favorite rides.

As for dining, if you didn't have an ADR, you weren't eating at ANY table service restaurants. If you'll be there during free dining and haven't already made your ADRs, do it NOW!

Mom of 3
05-30-2007, 02:33 PM
We went last year during free dining and there weren't any crowds to speak of. Most rides had only a short wait or no wait at all. Even a lot of the fast pass machines were closed down because there just wasn't a need to issue fast passes. The only crowded times we came across was EMH in the evening - we're going to avoid those this time around.

extremesoccermom
05-30-2007, 02:51 PM
The only time I really am expecting to see big crowds would be Labor day weekend. Of course that is when we will be there. We leave St. Louis on Wed after work/school and will take off Thur and Friday. We will have to get back home Monday night in time to get to work and school on Tuesday. Air fare for those days have been crazy even on SWA. I lucked into an early morning search that yielded me AA tickets for 79.00 each way with a 5% discount from our Entertainment Book! :woohoo:

EpcotLove
05-30-2007, 02:53 PM
I went during free dining last september and it wasn't that crowded during free dining, but I did notice the crowds began to increase at the end of the week when I was there, so like Sept 17th...the beginning of sept is niiiiice! We are going again for free dining in 3 months! YAY!

MomOfDisneyBoys
05-30-2007, 06:48 PM
We were there last year from 8/17-23 with free dining. We thought it was great! The only line that was extraordinarily long was Soarin' which often topped the 90 minute range. (We have the original just down the highway from home, so we saw no need to wait!:cool1: )

The only time we thought the crowds were bad was at Epcot EMH on a Friday night. It was INSANE! All other times the crowds were not bad at all.

I agree with other posters that the restaurants are PACKED. If you do not have ADRs, you will probably not have a TS meal on your trip. (That was our first trip, and we loved LeCellier so much we hoped to return again during our stay, so we asked if we would be able to come back, the CM said, "Maybe the first week of October."

ReneeA
05-30-2007, 07:11 PM
I agree with the others. We were there from 8/26-9/3 last year during free dining. The TS restaurants were JAM packed, but the park levels were low. We didn't wait longer than 15 minutes for any ride the entire 8+ days.

Krmrr
05-30-2007, 07:12 PM
We went the last week in Sept last year and will be doing it again this year. In general very few people in the parks, rode Soaring three times in a row without waiting. Only waits were for the shows to start, except at AK. We waited about 20-25 minutes for the Safari.

Maybe we were lucky, but we never had to wait at any CS lunch. Worse place was Flametree in AK (again) were I was in line behind 3 other people. Watch out for the aggressive birds at the tables.

This was out first trip in 20 years without kids so I can't say about the kiddie rides. My wife (a probation agent) loved Buzz Lightyear and we went through it several times with maybe a total of 5 minutes wait. One of my favorites over the years is the "People mover" slow calm and fairly cool and mostly empty even in busy times.

We liked walking around and talking with the CMs in the shops in Epcot - some are VERY interesting people.

Plan on having a GREAT time, good wishes to you.

ElizabethB
05-30-2007, 07:14 PM
We were there in late August last year. Evening EMH's were ridiculously crowded compared to past Augusts.

ReneeA
05-30-2007, 07:36 PM
I agree with the others. We were there from 8/26-9/3 last year during free dining. The TS restaurants were JAM packed, but the park levels were low. We didn't wait longer than 15 minutes for any ride the entire 8+ days.

CathrynRose
05-30-2007, 07:39 PM
I went last year and am going again this year....

I hate crowds.

Give you an idea of the crowd level?? :thumbsup2

JimMIA
05-30-2007, 08:46 PM
I don't know about the parks, but I know on the first checkin day of free dining last year, the Pop checked in more than 3,000 rooms in one day!

I also know that Disney Dining was calling people, reminding them to make ADRs. There were so many people without ADRs that Disney came up with a "trade your TS for..." plan. I forget the exact formula (something like 1 TS = 1 CS and 2 snacks), but I think it was as good as they could do under the circumstances.

I don't think things will be as bad this year, because the bulk of the free dining (Bounce Back and the UK promotion) are spread over a somewhat longer period than the free dining available to the general public. They really tweaked it this year!

aubriee
05-31-2007, 01:26 AM
We've been the last two Septembers for the free dining. Crowds in the parks are almost nonexistent, but restaurants have been really packed both years. Without an ADR you were not going to be able to eat at a TS (especially a park TS). To me Sept '05 was worse than Sept '06 as far as restaurants turning walk ups away. People were just wandering around looking for a place tp use their TS credits. However both years we saw LOTS of people turned away and LOTS of very angry patrons.

This year I was able to book starting the last day of the Bounce Back program and will be there Sept 29th-Oct 7th, so I'm hoping that most of the free dining people will already be gone. Hopefully both the parks and restaurants will be empty.:goodvibes

srgibbs
05-31-2007, 09:22 AM
We were there the last 2 Sept. for free dining and will be back again. The 1st year was the end of Sept. and last year was mid Sept. When we were there the end of Sept. it was a lot more crowded on the weekends but great during the week. This past year during mid Sept. the weekends were not nearly as crowded as the end of Sept. The evening EMH's are great as it is not nearly as hot and all the rides are pretty much walk on. The only line that seems to always have a wait is Splash Mountain. It usually ranges from 10 minutes to 60 minutes. Space Mountain was usually walk on along with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. If you have ADR's you will be just fine. I think it is a great time of year and obviously we love it or we wouldn't be going back for the 3rd year in a row!

Tink3Belle
05-31-2007, 09:29 AM
Went last year Sept. 18-27th and it was great no linesand low crowd levels.
Going this year Aug 29-Sept 5th and hope its close to the same although I doubt it. I didn't want to take son out of 1st grade for a week so its an earlier trip.:thumbsup2

IandGsmom
05-31-2007, 09:46 AM
This year I was able to book starting the last day of the Bounce Back program and will be there Sept 29th-Oct 7th, so I'm hoping that most of the free dining people will already be gone. Hopefully both the parks and restaurants will be empty.:goodvibes

Great minds think alike. I am also checking in Sept 29 for the same idea. Also from the Bounce Back program:banana:

BCV23
05-31-2007, 10:42 AM
We were there mid September and agree that the parks were not too busy at all.

I actually didn't think the restaurants were any different than usual either but maybe our restaurant choices are atypical.:confused3

ms.ojo
05-31-2007, 12:14 PM
Great minds think alike. I am also checking in Sept 29 for the same idea. Also from the Bounce Back program:banana:

We too are arriving on 9/29 but not part of bounce back (boo hoo) Still, looking forward to a GREAT trip!!!

ElizabethB
05-31-2007, 12:19 PM
Not sure which EMH's others attended but the one at MK we went to at night during Free Dining last year was packed -- it was the most crowded I had ever seen a MK EMH. No line was shorter than 20 minutes. Peter Pan was an hour. Space Mountain was an hour. Pirates of the Caribbean was an hour. Hardly walk-ons!

rstamm
05-31-2007, 03:32 PM
Great minds think alike. I am also checking in Sept 29 for the same idea. Also from the Bounce Back program:banana:
Keep in mind that people were able to book 14 nights of free dining in the regular promotion, so some won't be leaving until Columbus Day weekend.

nikky luvs mickey
05-31-2007, 04:58 PM
What is bounceback program?:confused3

guelde96
05-31-2007, 05:23 PM
What is bounceback program?:confused3

It was offered to people staying at WDW in December 2006( maybe longer not sure of exact dates). Free dining to book right then for end of summer/beginning of fall.

WAHMto5
05-31-2007, 07:04 PM
We were there last time towards the end of September/begining of October and the crowds were pretty light. Nothing compared to summer months!

hulagirl87
05-31-2007, 07:15 PM
we were there sept 2005 and then sept 2006. definitely more crowded in 2006. doesn't stop us from going back this year!!!! :goodvibes

iluvgoofy24
05-31-2007, 07:20 PM
my brother, sister and I went back in August of 2005 when it had just started and it was really empty. we got on EVERY ride within 5 minutes. I wish we could go back at that time again, but its a no-go. Oh well! Myabe next year!:rolleyes1

Disney's Fab 4
06-03-2007, 07:03 PM
;)bump;)

DonaldTDuck
06-03-2007, 07:14 PM
We were there Sept 11-16. Dozens of people in the parks; millions of love bugs. Really, Friday(an EMH night) at AK was fairly busy with a 25 minute wait for Kali. It was hot. Then Saturday at MK was Saturday at MK, lost of groups and locals. We were time monitors several times and all were one minute except Snow White(0 minutes) and Dinosaur, (10Minutes) including a preshow. At Epcot, only Biergarten was taking walkups, and they were waiting an hour to be seated. Never saw so many po'ed people.

Disney's Fab 4
06-03-2007, 07:29 PM
We were there Sept 11-16. Dozens of people in the parks; millions of love bugs. Really, Friday(an EMH night) at AK was fairly busy with a 25 minute wait for Kali. It was hot. Then Saturday at MK was Saturday at MK, lost of groups and locals. We were time monitors several times and all were one minute except Snow White(0 minutes) and Dinosaur, (10Minutes) including a preshow. At Epcot, only Biergarten was taking walkups, and they were waiting an hour to be seated. Never saw so many po'ed people.

I see you are going back this year.... In general are you saying the lines for rides were not bad at all? I hear that the restaurants are PACKED.... What else did you notice about crowds, rides, and restuarants????? I am very interested!!!!:)

penjen
06-03-2007, 09:28 PM
We were there last year sept 24-oct 4. The whole vacation we had light crowds but the first 4 days it was so nice with very very light crowds. We are going the same time this year sept 22-oct 3

skater
06-04-2007, 04:07 PM
I felt that crowds were higher than usual last September (not scientific, just a feeling), but way less than summer. The days we planned according to tourguidemike and touring plans were great with little or no waits. When we went our to MK on a "not recommended" day, it was somewhat crowded by afternoon with 30-40 minute waits for Peter Pan. Even on that day, it wasn't very crowded in the morning.

estherhead
06-04-2007, 06:27 PM
We're going this year 9/2-9/9. I have a plan to avoid overcrowded TS. I made our ADR's for odd times. Do you think this will help us feel less crowded? Our times are, from 1st day to 7th: 11:20am; 5:20pm; 4:30pm; 1:20pm; 7:25pm (this is a normal time at Ohana so we can watch fireworks from the beach post-dinner); 5:15pm; 1:20pm

What do you think? We're planning early rope-drop mornings, afternoon naps, and early to bed (except for Fantasmic & MK fireworks. Do you think we can avoid the crazy crowded times at TS?

Disney's Fab 4
06-04-2007, 10:40 PM
We're going this year 9/2-9/9. I have a plan to avoid overcrowded TS. I made our ADR's for odd times. Do you think this will help us feel less crowded? Our times are, from 1st day to 7th: 11:20am; 5:20pm; 4:30pm; 1:20pm; 7:25pm (this is a normal time at Ohana so we can watch fireworks from the beach post-dinner); 5:15pm; 1:20pm

What do you think? We're planning early rope-drop mornings, afternoon naps, and early to bed (except for Fantasmic & MK fireworks. Do you think we can avoid the crazy crowded times at TS?

From what I hear and see on here.... I really don't think there is anyway to beat the TS crowds.... I think all TS restaurants are going to be packed... But since you made ADR's, you will be all set!!!:thumbsup2

DiszyDean
06-04-2007, 10:57 PM
We were there last year for free dining from 9/30 to 10/8. It was a lot more crowded than we expected. Keep in mind, there were many things going on during that period that contributed to the crowding. The Food and Wine festival was going on at Epcot, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween had just kicked off and of course Columbus Day weekend. This year we are going from 9/22 to 9/30 and hope for the crowds to be a little better although we expect that they will increase as we get closer to the end of the month.

AStamm
06-05-2007, 03:38 PM
We're going this year 9/2-9/9. I have a plan to avoid overcrowded TS. I made our ADR's for odd times. Do you think this will help us feel less crowded? Our times are, from 1st day to 7th: 11:20am; 5:20pm; 4:30pm; 1:20pm; 7:25pm (this is a normal time at Ohana so we can watch fireworks from the beach post-dinner); 5:15pm; 1:20pm

What do you think? We're planning early rope-drop mornings, afternoon naps, and early to bed (except for Fantasmic & MK fireworks. Do you think we can avoid the crazy crowded times at TS?

With the TS completely booked in many cases, there won't be any times when it will feel less crowded in the restaurants. Your dinner ADRs are early enough that most restaurants won't be behind on seating though (with the exception of 7:25).

estherhead
06-05-2007, 03:45 PM
So the Ts will be packed no matter what, but what about the parks the Sunday/Monday/Tuesday of Labor Day? What should the game plan be for those 3 days?

disney09
06-09-2007, 10:42 PM
Hmm... I was there last September, 2nd week. Like a lot of previous posters had said, the lines were minimal except for a couple of rides like Peter Pan and Winnie the Puh, Soarin' once. But then you use the fastpass, return time in less than an hour, hit other attractions and you're set!
And about TS.. last year I had all the restaurants that I wanted. I even cancel some during my stay and booked Kona (which was empty at 7pm!) and Teppanyaki without problem.
I have to say that this year I had a little bit more trouble with Liverty Tree and Le Cellier, also Ohana, but I could got tables at the end.
Good luck and make your ADRs as soon as posible.

WindyCityDisney
06-09-2007, 11:28 PM
We were there in late August last year. Evening EMH's were ridiculously crowded compared to past Augusts.

Ditto! I never expected the lines I saw then.

estherhead
06-10-2007, 06:55 AM
We're staying at a resort but we think we'll skip most EMH's. We're going the 1st week of September. I got most ADR's I wanted, all the restaurants but not always the times I wanted. We're now 83 days out, however, and my sister is thinking of joining me for the last 4 days with her 3 boys. We are now struggling to re-make some. So that is a bummer that it is such a crowded time you can't make ressies 80 days out. But oh well.