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View Full Version : why do a lot of people say free dining is not really free?


jbrnhrt
12-19-2010, 01:13 PM
i'm sort of new to all this disney world planning stuff, and i've read a few people say that the "free dining" isn't really free. could someone explain why they feel this way? :confused3 i'm just trying to figure out the best ways to save money on our vacation, and if there's a better way to save money of food than free dining, I'd like info on that. thanks! :goodvibes

mrsr2ro
12-19-2010, 01:19 PM
because to get free dining, you pay full rates on the resort. Sometimes the resort discounts (up to 40%) can save you more money overall. Usually a big factor is how many adults are on your trip. Last year there were 4 adults/2 kids so it was better for us to do free dining. This year it was 2 ad/2kds and we did the resort discount, paid for dining plan. You have to run the numbers.

Also keep in mind that it's harder to get ADRs during free dining periods. You still have to pay tips even though your on the plan as well.

jbrnhrt
12-19-2010, 01:23 PM
by resort discounts you mean booking just your room, and then getting your theme park passes separately and paying out of pocket for your meals? we're gonna have 3 adults and 2 kids so i'll have to run the numbers for each option. thank you for explaining

robinb
12-19-2010, 01:40 PM
Free dining is a discount of however much the DDP will be for your party on a daily basis. It may or may be a better deal depending on what other discounts you may be eligible for and how many people are in your party. For instance, 40% off a deluxe may be a better disc than FD at the same resort for just 2 adults.

TDC Nala
12-19-2010, 02:32 PM
It's "free" if you intended to pay full price for your room AND buy at least 2-day tickets through Disney, plus get a dining plan.

Because there are other discounts available, it's usually necessary to run the numbers and see if a different discount would benefit your party better.

latmck
12-19-2010, 02:39 PM
Thanks for posting this b/c I was wondering the same thing. This will be my family first disney trip. I have price the vacation package for 2 adults, DS(11), DD(5), & DD(2)free for the third wk in May including the dining plan. It came out to little over $2400 staying at POPS & a little over $2700 staying at CBR. I have done the math before free dining was offered b/c I would like to do a few character meals. Then, free dining was offered for the fourth wk in May (Memorial wk). It came out to be little over $1900 staying at a mod resort. I am fine paying rack rate for a resort if it saving me $$$ on meals. I even did the math on room discount, & it doesn't save me $$$ at all at a value or moderate.

jbrnhrt
12-19-2010, 02:55 PM
Thanks for posting this b/c I was wondering the same thing. This will be my family first disney trip. I have price the vacation package for 2 adults, DS(11), DD(5), & DD(2)free for the third wk in May including the dining plan. It came out to little over $2400 staying at POPS & a little over $2700 staying at CBR. I have done the math before free dining was offered b/c I would like to do a few character meals. Then, free dining was offered for the fourth wk in May (Memorial wk). It came out to be little over $1900 staying at a mod resort. I am fine paying rack rate for a resort if it saving me $$$ on meals. I even did the math on room discount, & it doesn't save me $$$ at all at a value or moderate.
this is the same for us. we have 5 in our group(3 adults, 2 kids) (and even though we've been to wdw this is the 1st trip i'm planning), and we don't spend much time in our room, so we're more than happy with the family suite at pop music(2 potties, yeah! :cheer2:). if we do the free dining, even adding the upgrade fee to the regular dining plan, we're still saving enough money to cover our airfare. thank you everyone for explaining the options to us "newbies" :)

vicki_c
12-19-2010, 04:58 PM
It still depends on your family / group, and your eating habits, etc., but as a rule of thumb, free dining is often the best deal for those who stay at the values. If you stay deluxe, it's usually a better deal to take a % off room discount.

Again, it's different for every group / resort - you just need to crunch the numbers to see which is the better deal for you.

It is free - as in you get the DDP without paying for it - but whether it's the best deal just depends.

GingerJay
12-19-2010, 05:02 PM
this is the same for us. we have 5 in our group(3 adults, 2 kids) (and even though we've been to wdw this is the 1st trip i'm planning), and we don't spend much time in our room, so we're more than happy with the family suite at pop music(2 potties, yeah! :cheer2:). if we do the free dining, even adding the upgrade fee to the regular dining plan, we're still saving enough money to cover our airfare. thank you everyone for explaining the options to us "newbies" :)

Are you able to get free dining when staying in a suite? I thought there was an exclusion for that but maybe it doesn't include the Value Suites..Thanks if anyone knows for sure :)

jbrnhrt
12-19-2010, 06:59 PM
Are you able to get free dining when staying in a suite? I thought there was an exclusion for that but maybe it doesn't include the Value Suites..Thanks if anyone knows for sure :)

i did online chat with a cast member, and even saved the saved the offer, you can get free dining at the pop music suite(value), and you can at the cabins at fort wilderness(moderate), but i'm not sure about the others at the deluxe resorts

catne
12-19-2010, 07:17 PM
Are you able to get free dining when staying in a suite? I thought there was an exclusion for that but maybe it doesn't include the Value Suites..Thanks if anyone knows for sure :)

Yes, you can get free dining at the family suites, but the rooms book up fast. Free dining is available at all levels & all resorts, though it's not usually the best deal you can get if you're staying deluxe or deluxe villa resorts. The only room-type exclusion happens if they have already booked all the discounted rooms in your category choice. In other words, at each resort, there are a certain number of rooms in each room type that are available for each discount. Once that number of rooms is booked for your dates, then it's no longer available at the discounted rate or for that particular promotion.

So, for example, if they set aside 10 family suites to be available for the free dining in a particular week, once those 10 suites are booked, that's it for the free dining discount on that room type that week at that resort. There may still be suites available at the regular rate, or on a different discount promo...or the room type might be available the following week with free dining. You may be able to get the same room type that week at a different resort with free dining...so it does help to be flexible.

To avoid some confusion: the value resort that has family suites is called All Star Music. Pop Century is a different value resort...at this time it does not have family suites, just regular rooms. Disney did announce this year that the unfinished 1/2 of the Pop Century resort complex would be renamed Art of Animation Resort, and would be completed with a good portion of the rooms to be family suites.

QTnursestudent
12-19-2010, 07:50 PM
Always run ALL the numbers!

Last year (sorry; last January) free dining was our best deal but there was three of us staying at a moderate. This year (sorry; next monrth) with just me and our DD, the $500 gift card at a deluxe was a much better deal. We're saving more money this way. Plus, this way we've got $500 spending money!

I always run ALL the numbers. I even check Disney's airfare. I've never seen it lower than expedia or travelocity but ya never know.

Plumeria9
12-19-2010, 09:56 PM
Also note that on the DDP you have to pay tip, when it used to be included. That adds another $100 for our family's meals, in my estimate.

Firefly09
12-19-2010, 10:17 PM
Also, Disney is counting on some of the free dining guests to have leftover credits at the end of their stay. If you don't use all your credits then you just end up losing that portion of the discount without any gain. With a room discount, Disney can't regain any of their costs for giving you that discount.

latmck
12-19-2010, 10:57 PM
Also note that on the DDP you have to pay tip, when it used to be included. That adds another $100 for our family's meals, in my estimate.

I have done my research to see what meals that my family would eat, thanks to the people on this board. I will put it on a gift card about $100 too.