PDA

View Full Version : To all those who hate free dining


palavra
09-08-2009, 12:58 PM
I do understand some of your concerns such as difficulty getting ADR's, lower quality of food in restaurants, and having to choose alternate restaurants because the ones you want are booked. However, for some families, like mine, Disney is offering us the chance to eat at nice restaurants without having a major food budget. We didn't choose to got oDisney because of free dining. We were already going, but we were going to stay off site, eat out of the park for most meals and scrimp and save for a couple of character dining experiences for our daughter. Yes, we are paying about $30.00 more a night on site than we were off site, but that difference doesn't come close to what it would cost to eat at the seven restaurants and CS places that we now have ADR's for. No, food isn't really what Disney is about, but for some families, free dining will make the difference in a trip where worrying about food costs causes strain during the vacation, and a trip where we can actually sit down and relax while eating. Thanks Disney!

daleswife
09-08-2009, 01:02 PM
I wouldnt have gotten to go this year had it not been for the free dining offered while we will be there....NEXT WEEK!!!!! Im glad they have it.

JackJack08
09-08-2009, 01:04 PM
You are right! And really, the dining is always an exciting part of the trip for us. We always pick resturants with the kids in mind (10 and 6). Something fun and silly, bright, colorful....you get the drift! The dining is a great part of the magic. Hoop de doo, Sci-Fi, Coral Reef, CRT....soooo many!

jjzmgailey
09-08-2009, 01:12 PM
We are renting DVC points for our vacation from another DISer so we are not getting our dining free, we chose to purchase the dining plan though because as much as we saved off of rack rate room prices, it's really the same difference! We're pretty excited because the crowds are very slow compared to April when we used to go even though you can't get an ADR to save your life!!! :lmao:

Christine9125
09-08-2009, 01:18 PM
I do understand some of your concerns such as difficulty getting ADR's, lower quality of food in restaurants, and having to choose alternate restaurants because the ones you want are booked. However, for some families, like mine, Disney is offering us the chance to eat at nice restaurants without having a major food budget. We didn't choose to got oDisney because of free dining. We were already going, but we were going to stay off site, eat out of the park for most meals and scrimp and save for a couple of character dining experiences for our daughter. Yes, we are paying about $30.00 more a night on site than we were off site, but that difference doesn't come close to what it would cost to eat at the seven restaurants and CS places that we now have ADR's for. No, food isn't really what Disney is about, but for some families, free dining will make the difference in a trip where worrying about food costs causes strain during the vacation, and a trip where we can actually sit down and relax while eating. Thanks Disney!

I am right there with you and I am so glad you will be able to show your daughter a good time.

rlahsin
09-08-2009, 01:19 PM
Yep, I agree. We were booked off site as well, and when the free dining promotion was extended, we jumped on it. It's allowing us to stay at the Beach Club without over-extending our budget.

MyTwoPrincesses
09-08-2009, 01:19 PM
My sentiments exactly. Free dining is what pushed us over the edge to book our vacation. We talked about going to WDW but Free dining made it affordable. Yeah, we could stay for a bit less off-site, but then we'd rent a car. Plus we'd only get 1 TS meal - Akershus princesses - and maybe 1 more and that's it. Now we get to have a bunch of fun (relaxing) dining experiences that we wouldn't otherwise have because DDP is too expensive for us and TS is just too expensive for us to get 6 TS meals in one trip.

Nadjalu
09-08-2009, 01:21 PM
I couldn't agree more with you!

Very well put. My husband and I went in March of this year, I splurged and budgeted for this trip, thinking "when will I ever be able to go again".
Then I got a pin code for FD and wham things fell into place and I am blessed to be going again already!

I feel terrible when people can't get the ADRs they desperately want but it truly is a blessing to have this wonderful chance again with Free Dining. We paid last time for it and still came out ahead but it is a luxury for us to do it again.

wolf2961
09-08-2009, 01:33 PM
I've been absolutely astounded by the amount of complaints about free DDP. Yes, ADRs are more challenging, but certainly it's possible to get seats in whatever restaurant we wish, just not 10 days before our visit. I've seen posters express anxiety, stress, even disdain for the plan. We would certainly go to WDW even without free dining, but this sure makes things much easier for me. I'm a single Dad, with 2 sons. We would never have the dining opportunities without the Plan that we have available to us. I don't have to worry about explaining that we can only go to 2 or 3 Character Meals, instead we can try any and all places that we might like. I don't have to study menus and figure out where we can afford to eat, worry about spending $10 when we want ice cream or brownies. I'm appreciative that I have this opportunity and can't understand why more are not.

LoraJ
09-08-2009, 01:35 PM
We don't do the dining plan because it doesn't work for us. We like a couple of meals where they do not accept it. Before the dining plan came along (not just the free one, but the regular one too), we could be spontaneous on our trips and figure out where we wanted to eat that day. It was much more relaxing that way.

I hate that it's going back to 180 days out again. I didn't even know we would be able to make this trip until about 90 days out. Even 90 days out is too far in advance to decide where you want to eat, especially when they change the menus. Last year I made an ADR at Coral Reef and he had his heart set on a certain dish. But of course when the time came, the menu changed and it was no longer there. He ended up hating that meal. If they extend free dining again next year, and we know 90 days out we'd like to go, but can't get reservations anywhere, we may choose to go elsewhere. So while they may be getting you in the restaurants, they may be forcing others to different vacation destinations.

Sure it may sound crazy that we'd base our vacation on restaurants, but it's part of the whole vacation experience for us.

LaurenT
09-08-2009, 01:39 PM
I agree with the posters and have another way to look at it for those who complain!
I am not going during free dining....We will stay at our AKV unit in Feb and will pay for the DDP. We will go AFTER presidents week and I therefor anticipate that the crowds will be manageable.
Part of the reasdon the crowds won't be bad, is not just that we're going after a holiday week, but also because other families that may have gone during that week and going this fall BECAUSE of free dining. They get a more affordable vacation and they help take the load off of the crowds the rest of the year.
So, in short, if you hate free dining, go at a different time of year and thank Disney for making free dining available to the rest of the country!

LoraJ
09-08-2009, 02:01 PM
We usually go in October but I had to change due to a family event. My husband likes to go for the Halloween stuff. Free dining was extended even during the time we would normally be there without it.

We got everything I wanted reservation-wise, but only because I made the ADRs before we even had the plans confirmed. However, now there is not much flexibility to change. I wanted to switch the nights of two of the restaurants and keep checking but it's not happening.

It's silly to say we should just go another time of year and HHN at Universal is the reason why we are coming down. October was the time of year we really enjoyed going. So like I said, in the future, if they extend free dining through October again, and we are unable to book so far in advance and unable to get dining reservations, we just may do a different trip or maybe stay at Universal and eat off property.

mickey2000
09-08-2009, 03:01 PM
We don't do the dining plan because it doesn't work for us. We like a couple of meals where they do not accept it. Before the dining plan came along (not just the free one, but the regular one too), we could be spontaneous on our trips and figure out where we wanted to eat that day. It was much more relaxing that way.

I hate that it's going back to 180 days out again. I didn't even know we would be able to make this trip until about 90 days out. Even 90 days out is too far in advance to decide where you want to eat, especially when they change the menus. Last year I made an ADR at Coral Reef and he had his heart set on a certain dish. But of course when the time came, the menu changed and it was no longer there. He ended up hating that meal. If they extend free dining again next year, and we know 90 days out we'd like to go, but can't get reservations anywhere, we may choose to go elsewhere. So while they may be getting you in the restaurants, they may be forcing others to different vacation destinations.

Sure it may sound crazy that we'd base our vacation on restaurants, but it's part of the whole vacation experience for us.

Your correct !!!
People are upset with all the dumbing down of the menus over the years.
If you compare it to several years ago the plan is just fair in my oponion.
I cancelled my November trip to Disney and am doing this instead :thumbsup2:thumbsup2

I still have to pay tips, however each night I will get a 3 course meal on my 10 day non disney cruise. Two people, 10 day cruise, deluxe balcony room, for under $2000. Thats a bargain :banana::banana::banana:

clc053103
09-08-2009, 03:09 PM
I have to say, I see the point of those who complain. The initial poster confirms that they would have eaten off site for most meals if not for free dining- so now Disney has given food to a party that would not have paid for their food otherwise, while those of us who eat every single meal on Disney property and pay for it have to deal with the crowds and fighting for ADR's with people who wouldnt be eating there if it wasn't free.

I think it's great that people have been able to afford staying on site or an extra day or just the joy of eating on Disney property due to free dining. But it isn't great for those of us that pay cash for dining plans.

I would rather see Disney give steeper room discounts and keep their free dining- so the restaurants are available for those wishing to pay the prices, and families that otherwise couldn't afford a Disney vacation can now afford one.

TDC Nala
09-08-2009, 03:13 PM
I don't really mind it since I don't use the dining plan at all - most of the time I just go to places that don't take the dining plan or cost 2 credits.

thebeesknees
09-08-2009, 03:22 PM
I can understand why people who usually pay for dining would be annoyed with the rest of us who are getting free dining for making ADRs harder to get, and the restaurants are more crowded. However, it is the free dining that made it possible for us to stay on property this year. We've always stayed off property and made our own meals or eaten outside the parks. The only meal we've ever purchased inside the park was a kid's meal for my DH one night because he was so sick of the PB&J that I'd packed for the rest of us all week. After comparing what it would have cost us to stay off site and rent a car for the week vs. stay on-site and get the dining, it was cheaper to stay on-site. I doubt we'll ever be able to do these character meals and experiences again, since next time my youngest will be old enough for us to pay for him and we will have to get 2 rooms if we stay on-site (not happening with our budget!). So, I'm going to go and enjoy every minute of these meals, be thankful that it worked out that we can do it this time, and hope things aren't too bad for the people who are upset with us for filling up the restaurants!

preciousmama45
09-08-2009, 03:37 PM
Honestly guys, there are pros and cons to both having and not having the DDP. It just depends on who you are asking and what their needs are.:confused3 It is just an option. One that does not have to be taken. For people who can benefit from it, it's great.:love: For people who may have no need for it, it may be a pain. :headache: One of the coolest things about living in America is that we have options and the chance to choose what works best for us.:thumbsup2


In order for someone to win, someone must lose.....................................

Don Disney
09-08-2009, 03:45 PM
Freedom of choice is a wonderful thing-Go during "free-dining",or DON'T go during "free-dining"!:rolleyes1 Either way,Disney will get their hands on our money!!;)

RMulieri
09-09-2009, 07:41 AM
The thing about the free dining that irks me...I deliberately chose MID-late December to avoid it this year.I knew that last year Disney Visa offered it, but I never dreamt disney would extend it to everyone till late December.It makes adrs a circus that quite honestly I am not up to especially since I PAID for the dining plan and can't get it free.I am not anti-Free dining, I often go in Sept FOR free dining .This year I simply wanted a break from the madness...I scheduled and paid for my entire trip in JAN 2009 for December this year, so that was 11 months in advance.I don't begrudge anyone for using the promo, I just was hopeful to not deal with the mayhem I have dealt with the last 3 September trips

mattmommy
09-09-2009, 08:01 AM
Hey, I say go for it with the free DD. BUT when I want to pay cash for a meal and there are 6 empty tables with ressies who don't show up and I can't be seated--we get steamed.

We learned to eat at odd times so we can sit down for a meal.

Liberty Tree Tavern opened a dinner annex at the Diamond Horseshoe Review space and we actually got in at 8:30 at night--whoopie!

MusiqChic99
09-09-2009, 08:20 AM
We haven't been in 10 years. We have never used the dining plan. Our dining consisted of mostly counter service meals and usually 2 sit down places the whole trip. Upon arrival we would decide usually on a breakfast and a lunch and then make our reservations. Of course after becoming a member here I see that is no longer an option. We are going next month...with free dining. We got a code and then of course they extended that to everyone. We are delighted to get to try new places we wouldn't normally eat at. However if it hadn't of been for the free dining we would not have been on the dining plan.

Since I haven't been in a long time I can't give an accurate opinion but I can say with planning this one and having to figure out places to eat, it was very simple 10 years ago, showing up and deciding what you wanted for dinner compared to making ADRS so much in advance.

Missytara
09-09-2009, 11:05 AM
I would say this will be a short term thing, and once the economy gets better.... the free dining will go away completely. There will still be room discounts, but it is just my opinion that they cannot do the free dining forever.

That being said, one year I did the disney cruise line. I go at a time when it is not very crowded, and they decided to move everyone up to consolidate the guests and have the ability to more easily serve them, instead of being spread out all over the ship.

I was moved from an interior cabin on deck 5 to an oceanview cabin on deck 7. Was it fair that I didn't pay for the full price for the cabin; maybe not. But it was okay, because who ever was in that cabin was upgraded to a higher level, maybe even a balcony for all I know.

The good part is that since that cruise, I have never done anything less than an oceanview cabin, no matter which cruise line I go on. A roll of the dice by Disney, and also a way to better service their guests, made me see you couldn't cruise without that darn window!

So I see the economy bouncing back, and Disney getting people who would not have normally done the Disney thing at all, to keep coming back once they can afford it. Many may even purchase the dining plan, because they know how convenient it is to use????

zddPaul
09-09-2009, 02:16 PM
Just a stray thought or two about why they offer free dining and not deeper hotel discounts. The problem with deeper hotel discounts from Disney's perspective is twofold. First if they start widely offering rooms at Pop for $39 or AKL for $139 these prices become the "true value" of the hotels in people's mind. Disney wants you to think that these hotels are worth much more than that and they don't think you should compare Pop with a Motel 6 or AKL with a Hilton. When the economy picks up or at peak times Disney wants you to $100+ for Pop and $300+ for AKL, a tough sell if you have it your mind that these hotels have a true value that is way less.

Second is the amount free dining actually costs Disney vs. the cost a hotel discount costs Disney. If Disney discounts AKL $50 that costs Disney $50. Of course the whole idea is that the discount brings in more people so a true calculation is far more difficult. Nevertheless if Disney advertises a $50 savings it is a $50 reduction in their profit compared to the regular rate. With free dining they are marking up all of their food by a lot! A small family might reasonably save $100 or more per day in food costs but it might cost Disney only $25 for the food. Now calculate in the fact that the hotel is at rack rate and the program isn't costing Disney all that much. With free dining they can make people feel they are saving a lot of money while losing minimal profit compared to offering steep hotel discounts.

ROEDISNEY
09-10-2009, 10:54 AM
I LOVE free Dinning. It works for us great :thumbsup2

wolf2961
09-10-2009, 11:52 AM
I've done WDW with and without free dining. I've never cared once as to whether tables were occupied by those taking advantage of free dining or not. There is just as much chance that those 6 empty table were reserved by people NOT getting free DDP, that simply changed their minds. The tone of many posters related to this matter is such that those not getting free DDP are more deserving of seating. Aside from Bounceback deals, most of the time, those not getting free dining have a jump getting their ADRs well ahead of free diners. I've been unable to get ressies at many restaurants in the world, and never once thought to complain about it. Plan ahead and be flexible, stop complaining and try and enjoy the trip.

focusondisney
09-11-2009, 07:39 AM
The only complaint I have about free dining concerns the lower quality of the beef entrees offered. I know this has been discussed several times already on this board .."dumbing down" of the menus. It is hard to know if this is more related to free dining or just the economy in general. But I have definately noticed it has occured over the last several years.

My DH & I eat a lot of beef, several years ago many restaurants had fillet. Now,few do. According to the latest menus I've seen, even Brown Derby, a 2 credit place, has only a rib eye offered. We pay for the deluxe dining. I won't be wasting 2 credits on rib eye. The atmosphere alone is not worth 2 credits. We're considering canceling & ordering fillet from room service for the same 2 credits. We will also eat at many of the 2 credit signature places.

Maybe if you're getting free dining, you will take what ever is given to you. But some of us want better offerings & are willing to pay for it. But it isn't being offered, even if you wanted to pay. I'm going to get flamed, but why not a seperate dining plan menu, or offer a few better entrees for those willing to pay for them, maybe with a small surcharge on the dining plan.

And, yes, as a middle aged couple traveling alone after raising our family, dining is a big part of our vacation, too!:)

LoraJ
09-11-2009, 12:36 PM
The only complaint I have about free dining concerns the lower quality of the beef entrees offered. I know this has been discussed several times already on this board .."dumbing down" of the menus. It is hard to know if this is more related to free dining or just the economy in general. But I have definately noticed it has occured over the last several years.

My DH & I eat a lot of beef, several years ago many restaurants had fillet. Now,few do. According to the latest menus I've seen, even Brown Derby, a 2 credit place, has only a rib eye offered. We pay for the deluxe dining. I won't be wasting 2 credits on rib eye. The atmosphere alone is not worth 2 credits. We're considering canceling & ordering fillet from room service for the same 2 credits. We will also eat at many of the 2 credit signature places.

Maybe if you're getting free dining, you will take what ever is given to you. But some of us want better offerings & are willing to pay for it. But it isn't being offered, even if you wanted to pay. I'm going to get flamed, but why not a seperate dining plan menu, or offer a few better entrees for those willing to pay for them, maybe with a small surcharge on the dining plan.

And, yes, as a middle aged couple traveling alone after raising our family, dining is a big part of our vacation, too!:)


No flames from me because I agree with everything you said. :thumbsup2

mchelle77
09-11-2009, 01:15 PM
I do understand some of your concerns such as difficulty getting ADR's, lower quality of food in restaurants, and having to choose alternate restaurants because the ones you want are booked. However, for some families, like mine, Disney is offering us the chance to eat at nice restaurants without having a major food budget. We didn't choose to got oDisney because of free dining. We were already going, but we were going to stay off site, eat out of the park for most meals and scrimp and save for a couple of character dining experiences for our daughter. Yes, we are paying about $30.00 more a night on site than we were off site, but that difference doesn't come close to what it would cost to eat at the seven restaurants and CS places that we now have ADR's for. No, food isn't really what Disney is about, but for some families, free dining will make the difference in a trip where worrying about food costs causes strain during the vacation, and a trip where we can actually sit down and relax while eating. Thanks Disney!

I could have posted this almost word for word myself! We knew we'd be going this year and staying onsite, but we never thought we'd be able to eat at some of the places we're going to, and I'm completely grateful for that! It didn't change anything for us in terms of going/not going, staying onsite or offsite, but it's allowing us to have nice sit-down meals EVERY day and using the money we save on other stuff we'd normally NEVER do.

tami82
09-11-2009, 03:44 PM
We actually had two reservations booked (one at a condo which i had put $100 deposit down and the other at Disney which i had made ressies the year before - i wanted to wait if Disney would come out with free dining before i cancelled anything. As it turned out for the 5 nights we were going to stay in the condo actually came out to more money than staying at a Deluxe at Disney (after we got the free dining deal we sat down and figured it out that we were not gaining anything by staying offsite. At that point i cancelled the condo (lost $100) and never looked back. Free dining was the greatest experience and i absolutely loved everything & everywhere I ate. I thought it was a great value and allowed us to eat for 6 nights in places we would never spend that kind of money nightly.

It also allowed us to tag on an extra night or two at the end.

rentayenta
09-11-2009, 03:52 PM
:thumbsup2 Our first trip to WDW was in 9/2007 when free dining was actually a deal. It included the appetizer, the entree, dessert, drink, and 18% tip and cost less money. Unless you drank alcohol, you didn't even need to bring your wallet. Now it's just a marketing ploy if you ask me. They hike the room rates and there isn't anything "free" about it.

That being said, if it enables a family to visit WDW then I am all for it. :woohoo: Everyone should have an opportunity to enjoy the magic! pixiedust:

bellemeeko1
09-11-2009, 03:56 PM
I dont mind DD its not for us because one we are not big eaters and I would feel obligated to eat all that food they offered, and we dont like to be tied down to ressies. But I am upset that after I booked my Dec vacation then I hear it is being offered while we are there, which means much more crowded than usual in early Dec. We purposely choose certain times of the yr to bypass the free DD and wham we get stuck in the middle of it! Im glad for those who it benefits but bummed for those like us who try to stay away when it is being offered!

MaryKatesMom
09-12-2009, 10:31 AM
Interesting to see even on the DDP board other people that don't like free dining also.

I've watched the menu's being dumbed down, ADR's getting harder if not impossible to get, restaurants with empty tables increasing since the start of free dining. Of course the people that pay OOP who have watched their favorite App's disappear off the menu are unhappy. Why shouldn't we complain? Why should paying more for less elate me?

To the poster that we shouldn't go during those times, well we tried. They never have had free dining in Dec. We had this trip booked nearly a year ago planning on getting a PAP and the Tables in Wonderland card and two more trips under our belt but now, we have changed hotels, added a package and are cancelling our other two trips. Thankfully we didn't have the airfare purchased but it was too late for this year otherwise I would have cancelled the Dec. trip also.

Try to get a party of 11 at Le Cellier (where we've eaten every year) at even 90+10. I was on hold forever and got a very bad time but at least I know people will show up for that reservation. Yes the bowls have gotten smaller on the Cheese soup but the place is full of memories.

Meals are a huge part of our vacation and our trips to Manhattan are almost exclusively about fine dining. We are very sad to see our dining experiences in WDW slowly diminish over the last several years. So long my dearly departed pie sampler from R&C and cheer's to your good health my sadly shrinking Mushroom Filet from Le Cellier.

PS LoraJ: My DH eats steak almost every meal from Yachtsman, Narcoosee's, Le Cellier and the Ribeye from Brown Derby was the best in his opinion.

goofy4tink
09-14-2009, 11:40 AM
I agree with the posters and have another way to look at it for those who complain!
I am not going during free dining....We will stay at our AKV unit in Feb and will pay for the DDP. We will go AFTER presidents week and I therefor anticipate that the crowds will be manageable.
Part of the reasdon the crowds won't be bad, is not just that we're going after a holiday week, but also because other families that may have gone during that week and going this fall BECAUSE of free dining. They get a more affordable vacation and they help take the load off of the crowds the rest of the year.
So, in short, if you hate free dining, go at a different time of year and thank Disney for making free dining available to the rest of the country!

Freedom of choice is a wonderful thing-Go during "free-dining",or DON'T go during "free-dining"!:rolleyes1 Either way,Disney will get their hands on our money!!;)

Those of us that go often plan way in advance. A lot of us own DVC, so plan our trips 11 months out. I've been to WDW in mid-August 5 times now...almost the exact same time, give or take a day or so either way. I have never been there when free dining was offered. I plan my stay so as to avoid free dining. I can't use free dining as a DVCer, staying on points. Yes, my choice. But, about 2 months after I booked my stay, and made my airtravel plans, Disney comes along and offers free dining, for the exact same time that I'll be there! I can't afford to cancel my trip, so what am I do do. I will say that I didn't have a huge issue with getting ADRs....we've eaten almost everywhere and can now avoid those really popular ones that everyone just 'has' to do. We eat at more resorts. But, the parks were ridiculously crowded that first week of free dining. And that is something that has never happened to me before in mid-August!! Between the heat/humidity/crowds...well, I couldn't wait to go home. And that has never happened to me on a week long trip before.
Now....same thing has happened to my early Dec/late Nov trip. Disney hasn't offered free dining at this time before, but now....there it is. I am beginning to think that Disney has me in their system as the bellweather for when to offer free dining!!!

Is it a good deal? Who knows. I know that last Sept, I was able to rebook and get free dining for our 4 night stay at POP. And I think that we saved a total of $250, for three of us, keeping the exact same ADRs that we had already made. You have to sit down and figure out, on paper, what your costs are going to be. Believe me...Disney doesn't offer anything 'free'..they are making up for it somehow. In this economy, it boggled my mind that Disney increased park pass prices. But, when you stop to think about it, they probably did that so as to recoup some of those free dining costs. DME free?? Nope. Every single person staying at WDW is paying for it..even those who don't use it. Again, Disney gets more than it's fair share from us.

I'm thrilled for those of you who get to make that one extra, or in some cases, that truly magical trip, to WDW because you were able to secure free dining. But you have to understand how it impacts those of us who go more frequently and book in advance. Heck, I'm thrilled Disney is going back to 180 days....I know where I am going to want to eat so I can book way out in the future. Others can't do that...they need the park hours to figure it all out.

purplebelle
09-14-2009, 02:20 PM
I'm thrilled about free dining! My first time with the plan starts in 5 days! :cool1:

It was somewhat stressful guessing ahead of time where I'd like to eat, BUT I know if I didn't have plans and made it out to Disney, I'd be like...'where should I eat now?' I'd waste a lot of time trying to figure out where to eat, whereas my plans are already made. It's so cool knowing all my meals are covered. WOW, I still can't believe it! :cloud9:

MaryKatesMom
09-14-2009, 02:38 PM
Those of us that go often plan way in advance. A lot of us own DVC, so plan our trips 11 months out. I've been to WDW in mid-August 5 times now...almost the exact same time, give or take a day or so either way. I have never been there when free dining was offered. I plan my stay so as to avoid free dining. I can't use free dining as a DVCer, staying on points. Yes, my choice. But, about 2 months after I booked my stay, and made my airtravel plans, Disney comes along and offers free dining, for the exact same time that I'll be there! I can't afford to cancel my trip, so what am I do do. I will say that I didn't have a huge issue with getting ADRs....we've eaten almost everywhere and can now avoid those really popular ones that everyone just 'has' to do. We eat at more resorts. But, the parks were ridiculously crowded that first week of free dining. And that is something that has never happened to me before in mid-August!! Between the heat/humidity/crowds...well, I couldn't wait to go home. And that has never happened to me on a week long trip before.
Now....same thing has happened to my early Dec/late Nov trip. Disney hasn't offered free dining at this time before, but now....there it is. I am beginning to think that Disney has me in their system as the bellweather for when to offer free dining!!!

Is it a good deal? Who knows. I know that last Sept, I was able to rebook and get free dining for our 4 night stay at POP. And I think that we saved a total of $250, for three of us, keeping the exact same ADRs that we had already made. You have to sit down and figure out, on paper, what your costs are going to be. Believe me...Disney doesn't offer anything 'free'..they are making up for it somehow. In this economy, it boggled my mind that Disney increased park pass prices. But, when you stop to think about it, they probably did that so as to recoup some of those free dining costs. DME free?? Nope. Every single person staying at WDW is paying for it..even those who don't use it. Again, Disney gets more than it's fair share from us.

I'm thrilled for those of you who get to make that one extra, or in some cases, that truly magical trip, to WDW because you were able to secure free dining. But you have to understand how it impacts those of us who go more frequently and book in advance. Heck, I'm thrilled Disney is going back to 180 days....I know where I am going to want to eat so I can book way out in the future. Others can't do that...they need the park hours to figure it all out.

I too didn't "chose" to go during free dining. It was dropped on us months after we bought our plan tickets. Not only do I not like the added crowds I think having so many people on the plan they've had to make changes in the menu's over the last few years that we don't like.

We are of course "chosing" not to go in April. Are they really going back to 180 day's? I thought that was just a rumour?

PrincessTiffany
09-14-2009, 10:57 PM
We just got back from our Free Dining trip and it was awesome! I totally don't get the "dumbed down" menu comments. We've been going to Disney for years (pre-DDP and post DDP) and we've always had good meals and we had good meals this time again. Plenty of menu options and plenty of good food!

pooch
09-14-2009, 11:24 PM
Maybe if you're getting free dining, you will take what ever is given to you. But some of us want better offerings & are willing to pay for it. But it isn't being offered, even if you wanted to pay. I'm going to get flamed, but why not a seperate dining plan menu, or offer a few better entrees for those willing to pay for them, maybe with a small surcharge on the dining plan.

And, yes, as a middle aged couple traveling alone after raising our family, dining is a big part of our vacation, too!:)

I'm a middle-aged woman traveling with my adult daughter for our 4th free dining trip and I resent your implication that you have a more refined palate than I just because free DDP is my discount of choice. Maybe you should try something besides beef. I don't mind people who don't care for free dining but don't be a snob about it. Maybe you'd like us to eat out back so as not to disturb the paying customers?!?!?

snarlingcoyote
09-14-2009, 11:53 PM
DH and I are planning for our trip next October and the specter of Free DDP has already raised its head. We prefer to eat off site, to try new places and foods. We're a little bit in love with a Brazilian buffet that is obviously Brazilian homestyle cookin', and really enjoyed some Cuban and various fusions in the area.

However, we don't go to Disney for the food - for that we can stay home or go to New Orleans. (Really, if you want a foodie vacay, do NOT do Disney. Go to New Orleans, go to Vegas, go to New York. NOT Disney.) So if the DDP is in play when we go, we'll suck it up and eat DDP, probably use two dinner credits on some meals just so we don't feel guilty about going off property for a few dinners.

If Free DDP is what is offered, that's what we'll take. If we can get a room discount instead (got a pin code for that at the same time as DDP) we'll take it instead. Disney is all about the fun. And if it makes a great vacation possible for some folks, then take it.

(And yes, I will be hedging my bets - by April, DH and I will have nailed down our dates for the trip and will do ADRs. If we can get a room discount, I'll cancel the ADR. If we can only get DDP, I'll have decent rezzies.)

PaulaSB12
09-15-2009, 03:01 AM
The only complaint I have about free dining concerns the lower quality of the beef entrees offered. I know this has been discussed several times already on this board .."dumbing down" of the menus. It is hard to know if this is more related to free dining or just the economy in general. But I have definately noticed it has occured over the last several years.

My DH & I eat a lot of beef, several years ago many restaurants had fillet. Now,few do. According to the latest menus I've seen, even Brown Derby, a 2 credit place, has only a rib eye offered. We pay for the deluxe dining. I won't be wasting 2 credits on rib eye. The atmosphere alone is not worth 2 credits. We're considering canceling & ordering fillet from room service for the same 2 credits. We will also eat at many of the 2 credit signature places.

Maybe if you're getting free dining, you will take what ever is given to you. But some of us want better offerings & are willing to pay for it. But it isn't being offered, even if you wanted to pay. I'm going to get flamed, but why not a seperate dining plan menu, or offer a few better entrees for those willing to pay for them, maybe with a small surcharge on the dining plan.

And, yes, as a middle aged couple traveling alone after raising our family, dining is a big part of our vacation, too!:)

But what about these of us who have paid for the ddp during the free dining plan offer? Originally I had the free dining plan but they brought out another offer stay for 14 days and pay for 10 and a 14 day park ticket for the price of a 7 day park ticket. I don't want a seperate menu for that as I have paid for my food.

Peace Mickey Lovers
09-15-2009, 05:30 AM
We are staying with our DVC points and have purchased DDP, this is the first time for us to use it, nut I ave to say I was able to get all my ADR's 90 days out. It is possible to get them and I am waiting patiently to go and enjoy my vacation with my family.