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View Full Version : summer discount vs. free dining


Dreaming of Main St
02-23-2010, 02:04 PM
We've been thinking about taking a trip in August with 2 adults, 2 kids. We want to stay at either the Poly, YC, BC, BWI or Contemporary. I've been crunching the numbers and weighing the pros and cons of going earlier in the month and getting the discount vs going later and hoping for free dining. I think we'll come out ahead financially by going the second week of August. Looks like we'd save more than the $100 per night it would cost us for the dining plan. Has anyone else done the math for this?

Also, we've been the last week of August before and we're prepared for the heat and humidity but it wasn't very crowded. I'd love to hear opinions from those of you that have traveled at both times.

I've also considered the Dolphin because of the great prices but I'm not sure about the travel time to the parks. Especially MK since we'll be there and Epcot the most. We stayed at AKL last time and although we loved the resort, we did not like the time spent traveling and waiting for buses. Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance!!!

Mrs D
02-23-2010, 03:00 PM
We've been thinking about taking a trip in August with 2 adults, 2 kids. We want to stay at either the Poly, YC, BC, BWI or Contemporary. I've been crunching the numbers and weighing the pros and cons of going earlier in the month and getting the discount vs going later and hoping for free dining. I think we'll come out ahead financially by going the second week of August. Looks like we'd save more than the $100 per night it would cost us for the dining plan. Has anyone else done the math for this?

Also, we've been the last week of August before and we're prepared for the heat and humidity but it wasn't very crowded. I'd love to hear opinions from those of you that have traveled at both times.

I've also considered the Dolphin because of the great prices but I'm not sure about the travel time to the parks. Especially MK since we'll be there and Epcot the most. We stayed at AKL last time and although we loved the resort, we did not like the time spent traveling and waiting for buses. Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance!!!

While I have not done the math, most of the time a room discount is better than free dining if you are staying at a Deluxe level resort.

francie57
02-23-2010, 03:09 PM
Agree with the pp. We stay at the BWV in Aug. and our AAA discount on the room is a better deal than the free dining. Don't forget with free dining you are paying full price for the room which is expensive at a deluxe. You need to figure the trip both ways - one with the room discount and dining plan and one with the full price room and no dining. Its been reported on these boards that a room discount is usually a better deal than the free dining at the deluxe resorts.

a1tinkfans
02-23-2010, 03:24 PM
Is free dine at deluxe more than the regular free dine usually offered? I mean is it the deluxe plan, or just the typical?

Does that seem to be the better deal for a mod stay???/ ROom discount versus free dine???

JJ&JHsmom
02-23-2010, 03:41 PM
Depends on the ages of your children. Up through August 14, DDP is 46.99 per person for adults, it is peak dining season. I'm not sure about the cost for ages 3-9 for peak season. I know that for my trip Aug 13-22, we will not be adding the dining plan, DD is 12 and would not be worth it for her. We used the room discount and saved more that way, but it is only the two of us this year.

goofy4tink
02-23-2010, 03:52 PM
When free dining was offered last year, the values got the quick service dining plan and the other resorts, moderate and deluxe, got the regular dining plan (one CS, one TS, one snack).
The other thing to remember when doing the dining plan..you still have to pay the gratuities for your meal, even with the free dining. Many forget about that.

disneymami
02-23-2010, 04:08 PM
we chose the free dining and visited during the last week of august.
I thought it was a great deal because we managed two character meals (crystal palace and chef mickey) plus we ate at the whispering canyon and the wave. I love to sit and eat a nice meal. Dining is a big deal for my family so I loved it. Plus you get so many snacks. We never had to shell out money for food. If you like the ease of free dining then I would go for it. But if you would rather just eat counter service or quick then skip the free dining. Its only worth it if you are planning on table service muliple times during your trip.
The heat was bad. I was prepared for it. We stayed at the WL and the boat trip to MK was easy easy easy. But the bus trip to EPCOT was too hot, too long and kinda miserable. Better to take the ferry from ML to MK and then switch to the monorail. I'm doing that on our next go around, which most likely, would be late august. The crowds weren't awful. I imagine it must be worse during holiday times. The rain in the afternoon cools things off a bit. Plus at EPCOT you are in air conditioning quite a bit so that was really comfortable. Next time I would just keep the kids in bathing suits and shorts so that they can get wet and keep cool that way.

Dreaming of Main St
02-23-2010, 04:09 PM
Thank you for all of the replies! I had forgotten about the price increase during peak periods. My kids are under 9 so it looks like it still works out slightly better with the discount. If my parents come with us, it will definitely work out better for them. I'm not even sure if we'll want the dining plan this time so I'll probably go with the discount.

Do any of you have experience traveling in early August? I'm still a bit concerned about crowd levels.

Thanks!

Mrs D
02-23-2010, 04:18 PM
Do any of you have experience traveling in early August? I'm still a bit concerned about crowd levels.

Thanks!

I went in early Sept 08 and crowds were great. Touringplans.com shows a lot of 8s & 9s for crowd level the first half of August.

twenty3curls
02-23-2010, 05:05 PM
I can't speak to which will be a better deal for you... We went for Free Dining last year. We were there the first full week - August 16-22 - and it was packed. There were long lines for everything, which wasn't so suprising, but there was also a high crowd volume in the open areas. I felt like we were tripping over people the entire trip. Plus, we thought it was much too hot to be that close to so many people! :eek: We've also gone the third week of June and we though August during Free Dining was much worse.

disneymami
02-23-2010, 06:28 PM
the free dining really does make the crowds worse I think. I would have gone late august anyway because my kids attend camp and summer school. That last week of august is the only time I have before school starts. It just seemed to me that the free dining was icing on the cake. :goodvibes

We had no problem getting into the MK but we did not arrive till close 1:30. Our game plan was to arrive late and stay late as opposed to what the guide books say - arrive early, leave for a break, and then return. This is not possible for b/c I travel with a DD with autism. Once we are there, we must stay.

The crowdest part of the day was the evening viewing of spectromagic. That was just about unbearable. I would rather have the sun bearing down on me than be stuck there with so many people, in the dark, in the heat. My best advice if you want to see the parade, sacrifice a prime viewing location and head for as close to the entrance as possible. That way you have some breathing room. In that humidty, you'll want it.

I did not feel "crowded" at EPCT and that's probably due to the fact that it is so spread out. There is a lot more elbow room there. But the walking between attractions can be exhausting. You will have to take your rest spots when you find them and then really take a rest before moving ahead.

It was really crowded for Illuminations. You are stuck, you can't move, its dark, and its hot. Plus it gets hotter from the huge ball of flame. So, best advice, get a viewing spot as close to the entrance of world showcase so that you can make a quick getaway. We did and it was just fine.

williamson_ja
02-23-2010, 09:15 PM
When free dining was offered last year, the values got the quick service dining plan and the other resorts, moderate and deluxe, got the regular dining plan (one CS, one TS, one snack).
The other thing to remember when doing the dining plan..you still have to pay the gratuities for your meal, even with the free dining. Many forget about that.

Actually the Aug-Sept free dining last year included regular dining plan for all resort levels, including the values. It was when free dining was extended to the end of the year, after the initial free dining period that the values were only allowed the QS dining plan. Just wanted to clarify that.