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Old 03-20-2013, 07:44 AM   #1
kgulley
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Free Dining Question, would love all opinions please:)

I am pretty new to free dining and would love to know all info. and opinions, I know there are two or three sides to it all out there.

We are going in early September and locked into it, so we are not planning our trip around it by any means. However I have heard that this is one of the times that Disney may offer Free Dining. I know that it brings crowds, but as I said, we are already going. What I would like to know is: If they offer Free Dining is it worth it for a family of four that is staying for four full days? We are going back and forth between staying at Pop Century and PO and haven't made a decision yet. This will only be our second trip to Disney. The last time we were there we did the DDP and were very happy with it, but I don't know any other option besides that.
I would love some advice on all accounts.
Thanks so much!
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:43 AM   #2
Tpiejg
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We are booked fromSept 8-15 with a BB offer and we have free dining. The cm told us that there would be free dining from Aug. 18 to Sept 25 offered to the public sometime in the spring. As of right now the crowds look very light for our week, Sept tends to be lighter even with free dining because school has just started.
I think if you liked the DDP get it. unless you plan on eating in your room, have picky eaters, or would rather eat cs most of the time it saves you money instead of paying oop. Best of all its fun trying new restaurants and not having to worry about anything other than sitting down and eating a good meal.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:50 AM   #3
kgulley
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Thank you so much, I appreciate your advice. We are leaving on the day you are arriving.
I guess my next question for you would be, if you already have FD, am I also eligible for it as well? How do I "sign up for it"? I know I sound lame, but compared to people on these boards, I know absolutely nothing about Disney!

Thanks!
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:08 AM   #4
wdwrich
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OP- note that if you stay at a value resort (Pop Century), I believe that the free dining is the quick-service plan, so it won't include any sit-down restaurants.
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:41 AM   #5
TheDisney411
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdwrich
OP- note that if you stay at a value resort (Pop Century), I believe that the free dining is the quick-service plan, so it won't include any sit-down restaurants.
You simply pay the difference between the quick service and basic DDP and upgrade.
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:54 AM   #6
wdwrich
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Quote:
You simply pay the difference between the quick service and basic DDP and upgrade.
That's right- but at that point it's no longer free.
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgulley View Post
Thank you so much, I appreciate your advice. We are leaving on the day you are arriving.
I guess my next question for you would be, if you already have FD, am I also eligible for it as well? How do I "sign up for it"? I know I sound lame, but compared to people on these boards, I know absolutely nothing about Disney!

Thanks!
the PP booked a bounce back offer which means while they were on their trip they were offered the discount if they booked before leaving. It has not been released to the general public. When/If it is, you just call Disney and they will adjust your current reservation as long as your resort and room type have rooms available for the promotion.
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:31 AM   #8
GaBelle
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The September crowds are probably the lightest all year. One of the many reasons why we choose to visit in September!
But with FD, restaurants fill up. So if you plan on TS, make ADRs in advance. Anticipate crowds and longer waits at CS places. If you plan accordingly, it is much less frustrating.
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:40 AM   #9
TheDisney411
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgulley
Thank you so much, I appreciate your advice. We are leaving on the day you are arriving.
I guess my next question for you would be, if you already have FD, am I also eligible for it as well? How do I "sign up for it"? I know I sound lame, but compared to people on these boards, I know absolutely nothing about Disney!

Thanks!
When the free dining codes are released, you simply need to call and have the free dining discount applied to your existing reservation.
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:39 AM   #10
TheDisney411
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgulley
I am pretty new to free dining and would love to know all info. and opinions, I know there are two or three sides to it all out there.

We are going in early September and locked into it, so we are not planning our trip around it by any means. However I have heard that this is one of the times that Disney may offer Free Dining. I know that it brings crowds, but as I said, we are already going. What I would like to know is: If they offer Free Dining is it worth it for a family of four that is staying for four full days? We are going back and forth between staying at Pop Century and PO and haven't made a decision yet. This will only be our second trip to Disney. The last time we were there we did the DDP and were very happy with it, but I don't know any other option besides that.
I would love some advice on all accounts.
Thanks so much!
If you are staying at a value or moderate resort with 4 people, then free dining is going to be the best discount for your group. For example, a room only discount at a value resort will only save you about $14 per night. A free dining discount at at value resort, even with 2 kids and upgrading to the basic/regular plan from the quick service DDP, will save you $80 per night.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:27 PM   #11
staceycanada
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Free dining is definately woth it. The crowds even with free dining are sooooo low you will not find that a problem. Make sure to use a site like Touring plans to work out which park is better for each day. This helps a lot with crowds.
Make sure to take advantage of the character dinners and fabulour dinners at the resorts. We loved having free dining for our past trips. We would definately plan our vacation around.

Keep in mind the sit down dinners a 18% gratuity is added to the bill with or without free dining. You can ask for this to be removed but I would be embarrassed. Check the menus for the restaurants you plan to eat at and add up (roughly) what your total would be. This will give you an idea of what you need for tips.

Also with free dining (or anytime period) make sure you make your reservations 180 days out.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:21 PM   #12
QueenQueso
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So when/if they release FD, and I can get it at a value, I can still add it to my reservation if I didn't already have the DP, right?

We were going to pay OOP for our meals, as I'm pretty sure we would save money that way with our menu choices, but I think FD would be more than worth it. I already paid for CRT though. Would I get my money back from that?
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:55 PM   #13
TheDisney411
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenQueso
So when/if they release FD, and I can get it at a value, I can still add it to my reservation if I didn't already have the DP, right?

We were going to pay OOP for our meals, as I'm pretty sure we would save money that way with our menu choices, but I think FD would be more than worth it. I already paid for CRT though. Would I get my money back from that?
Yes, you can still add it as long as you booked under a package reservation that includes room and tickets. And, yes, they will refund your money. You will need to call the dining line once you have the DDP added to your reservation, give them your resort reservation number and they will refund you - it can take up to 2 billing cycles to get the refund.
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:42 PM   #14
Skylarr29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staceycanada View Post
Free dining is definately woth it. The crowds even with free dining are sooooo low you will not find that a problem. Make sure to use a site like Touring plans to work out which park is better for each day. This helps a lot with crowds.
Make sure to take advantage of the character dinners and fabulour dinners at the resorts. We loved having free dining for our past trips. We would definately plan our vacation around.

Keep in mind the sit down dinners a 18% gratuity is added to the bill with or without free dining. You can ask for this to be removed but I would be embarrassed. Check the menus for the restaurants you plan to eat at and add up (roughly) what your total would be. This will give you an idea of what you need for tips.

Also with free dining (or anytime period) make sure you make your reservations 180 days out.
That is incorrect. It is not added into the bill unless you are a party of 6 or more, or are using a TIW discount card.
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khaoskat

I have thought about it, but there is only sleeping room for 3 in the family room (1 double sofa bed and 1 twin chair)...and I have four children.

The older two (or the middle two) are completely able to share a double size bed (if we put their heads at opposite ends), but the other two couldn't really share a twin size sleeper chair (plus with one of them being so young 2'ish, I would be afraid he would roll off the bed)...
The ASM family suites have a fold out couch(double), a single sleep chair and sleep ottomon (sp?), so you do have 3 separate sleeping surfaces for 4 children.
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