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Old 05-06-2013, 02:06 PM   #16
mommyrosa2
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I'll be anxious to see if they stop offering the FD BB in August/Sept for the following August/Sept. I guess only time will tell....
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Old 05-06-2013, 02:48 PM   #17
Tomh
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Yes, me too. We were able to book FD for the last two weeks of August 2013 as a BB last summer while we were there.

I know that the public offering for FD in the US in 2012 didn't start until the last week of August, though it was available for the last two weeks to people in Canada, and the UK, and for those who booked BB in 2011.
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:23 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by matt&jakesmom View Post
In the past the free dining was the last 2 weeks in August and now it doesn't start until September 2.
There wasn't last year. But there was a general/public discount.
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:00 PM   #19
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My memory could be off but I "thought" they first offered free dining in August 2005 after a bad hurricane season in 2004. We were there when Hurricane Charlie rolled right thru Orlando in August 2004 and I believe a week or two later another hurricane went thru also. It scared quite a few people off of taking a trip to Florida during that time period.

Does anyone remember? I could be totally thinking wrong, LOL! I definitely remember Charlie because I was extremely pregnant with my youngest and we closed on our house the day we got home from Florida. It was a hectic time! I could have sworn free dining was offered the following August to lure people into going during hurricane season.
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:30 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by islandtimect View Post
It used to only be in Sept, but when the economy tanked back in 2008, they expanded the dates. Maybe they don't need to offer it because jobless rate is down and stock market is up??
Free dining has been offered in August every year since they started the promo in 2005. This is the first time in 9 years there is not a general public free dining offer.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:13 PM   #21
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I wonder how this is going to affect their August bookings? As of last week, their were no standard rooms available for the last 5 nights of our trip at POR. They haven't been available for weeks. However, I just checked now, and standard rooms are now available for all nights. I wonder if people are canceling their trips due to no free dining? Or maybe they are moving their trips to September to take advantage of free dining?

Maybe this means lower crowds for those of us who are stuck with going in August, LOL!
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:40 PM   #22
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I wonder how this is going to affect their August bookings? As of last week, their were no standard rooms available for the last 5 nights of our trip at POR. They haven't been available for weeks. However, I just checked now, and standard rooms are now available for all nights. I wonder if people are canceling their trips due to no free dining? Or maybe they are moving their trips to September to take advantage of free dining?

Maybe this means lower crowds for those of us who are stuck with going in August, LOL!
If that's the case, them it means lots of people booked in anticipation of free dining...only to cancel when it wasn't offer and book dates in September. Maybe if that time period doesn't pick up, maybe they will do something. Or maybe they'll learn their lesson for next year.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:43 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by bartleby1 View Post
My memory could be off but I "thought" they first offered free dining in August 2005 after a bad hurricane season in 2004. We were there when Hurricane Charlie rolled right thru Orlando in August 2004 and I believe a week or two later another hurricane went thru also. It scared quite a few people off of taking a trip to Florida during that time period.

Does anyone remember? I could be totally thinking wrong, LOL! I definitely remember Charlie because I was extremely pregnant with my youngest and we closed on our house the day we got home from Florida. It was a hectic time! I could have sworn free dining was offered the following August to lure people into going during hurricane season.
That's exactly right. There were three hurricanes the year before. The DDP was rather new, and that June they offered it for free for August/September.
We went that August.
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:21 AM   #24
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Or maybe they'll learn their lesson for next year.
This :-)
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:05 AM   #25
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I don't really believe it has anything to do with bookings. The trip I had planned for August 2011 was booked in August 2010. A week later, an unprecedented 'free dining' package deal was announced a whole year in advance. Here it is from Mousesavers.com:

8/19/11-9/29/11(STAY)
package deal (“free dining”) for general public
Offered-8/16/10, exp 12/20/10

So they knew a year in advance bookings were down? There has to be another reasson why. As for the PP about economy tanking in 2008...I think we're still there :
Yes, they knew that far in advance their bookings would be down. 2011 is when they started closing attractions/doing more construction on the New Fantasyland. They wanted to get people's reservations on the books BEFORE they found out exactly what was going to be closed when they arrived.
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:48 PM   #26
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If that's the case, them it means lots of people booked in anticipation of free dining...only to cancel when it wasn't offer and book dates in September. Maybe if that time period doesn't pick up, maybe they will do something. Or maybe they'll learn their lesson for next year.
All that will do is cause Disney to offer free dining in August instead of September. Then all the people who book in September will cancel and book for August FD.

Disney doesn't want to offer as many discounts because A) they don't need to and B) they aren't getting as much bang for their buck when they do it.

FD is an administrative and customer satisfaction nightmare. How much time is wasted by CM's trying to explain how the dining plan works? How much slower is table turnover because of the time it takes to explain how it works and then process the credits at the end of the meal (we've used the DP twice and because of errors had the payment process take twice as long as paying OPP for multiple meals. Slower turnover means less paying customers are served. Guest services has to deal with angry guests complaining that they couldn't get in to restaurants because they were too full thanks to FD. Some of those paying customers won't come back to Disney because they get so mad. All of these things have opportunity and real financial costs.

I'm sure Disney compares how much they lose from empty rooms to how much FD costs them and determines how much FD should be offered a year. Apparently it is not generating enough revenue to offset some of the costs or they would be offering it more.
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:56 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by StitchesGr8Fan View Post
All that will do is cause Disney to offer free dining in August instead of September. Then all the people who book in September will cancel and book for August FD.

Disney doesn't want to offer as many discounts because A) they don't need to and B) they aren't getting as much bang for their buck when they do it.

FD is an administrative and customer satisfaction nightmare. How much time is wasted by CM's trying to explain how the dining plan works? How much slower is table turnover because of the time it takes to explain how it works and then process the credits at the end of the meal (we've used the DP twice and because of errors had the payment process take twice as long as paying OPP for multiple meals. Slower turnover means less paying customers are served. Guest services has to deal with angry guests complaining that they couldn't get in to restaurants because they were too full thanks to FD. Some of those paying customers won't come back to Disney because they get so mad. All of these things have opportunity and real financial costs.

I'm sure Disney compares how much they lose from empty rooms to how much FD costs them and determines how much FD should be offered a year. Apparently it is not generating enough revenue to offset some of the costs or they would be offering it more.
September is one of the slowest times, that's why it was offered in the first place. Kids are starting school, and its hurricane season. Traditionally it has included the last week of August as well, but not this time. Either the two conventions that week had enough rooms booked, or lots of folks booked expecting free dining. If they get mass cancelations in August, it will hurt their bottom line to have empty rooms sitting for a week...that's all I'm saying, and I'm not saying that will even happen.

Free dining takes no more time than the paid dining plan in terms of explaining the plan and table turnover, except its being paid for. They have to offer a sweeter deal to fill rooms during that part of the year, so they could've done a better room discount, but they obviously feel that free dining does the best at filling their rooms in September. Remember too that September free dining predates the recession, all the way back to 2005. Even as they cut back on free dining in other parts of the year, September is a different animal altogether.

Just my thoughts...
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:05 PM   #28
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Free dining was a big seller for our family of 5, as it saved quite a bit. In 2006 and 2012 we vacationed in Disney and received Free Dining. I don't imagine it will make a huge difference but know it will for us. Unfortunately as teachers we cant get time off come September. It was also great for those who were not yet back to school as it was less busy.
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:33 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by StitchesGr8Fan View Post

All that will do is cause Disney to offer free dining in August instead of September. Then all the people who book in September will cancel and book for August FD.

Disney doesn't want to offer as many discounts because A) they don't need to and B) they aren't getting as much bang for their buck when they do it.

FD is an administrative and customer satisfaction nightmare. How much time is wasted by CM's trying to explain how the dining plan works? How much slower is table turnover because of the time it takes to explain how it works and then process the credits at the end of the meal (we've used the DP twice and because of errors had the payment process take twice as long as paying OPP for multiple meals. Slower turnover means less paying customers are served. Guest services has to deal with angry guests complaining that they couldn't get in to restaurants because they were too full thanks to FD. Some of those paying customers won't come back to Disney because they get so mad. All of these things have opportunity and real financial costs.

I'm sure Disney compares how much they lose from empty rooms to how much FD costs them and determines how much FD should be offered a year. Apparently it is not generating enough revenue to offset some of the costs or they would be offering it more.
Free dining has done nothing but make the Disney corporation millions and millions of dollars during what were previously historically low crowd weeks. Disney doesn't view free dining as a nightmare, it's viewed as a genius marketing program that continues to make them money - or they would not be continuing it for the 9th consecutive year.

Dealing with guests and overall customer satisfaction is what Disney does best. Wait staff are going to have to explain the DDP to some guests, free or not and CM managers are going to have to deal with unhappy diners every single day, free dining or not. And I'm sure you are not suggesting they are getting rid of the DDP? Because they certainly aren't getting rid of that money maker either.

Trust me, Disney is getting plenty of bang for their buck with FD and laughing all the way to the bank. I've said it on here and I guess I will say it again, the end of free dining is not in the cards just yet. They may experiment with different weeks and see how it tweaks their numbers, but they know it is still a huge money maker for them.
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:36 PM   #30
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Free dining has done nothing but make the Disney corporation millions and millions of dollars during what were previously historically low crowd weeks. Disney doesn't view free dining as a nightmare, it's viewed as a genius marketing program that continues to make them money - or they would not be continuing it for the 9th consecutive year.

Dealing with guests and overall customer satisfaction is what Disney does best. Wait staff are going to have to explain the DDP to some guests, free or not and CM managers are going to have to deal with unhappy diners every single day, free dining or not. And I'm sure you are not suggesting they are getting rid of the DDP? Because they certainly aren't getting rid of that money maker either.

Trust me, Disney is getting plenty of bang for their buck with FD and laughing all the way to the bank. I've said it on here and I guess I will say it again, the end of free dining is not in the cards just yet. They may experiment with different weeks and see how it tweaks their numbers, but they know it is still a huge money maker for them.
I can see your point. But there is a reason that FD has been almost non-existent this year except for this one promo and BB's from last year. We can only speculate at this point. Either they don't think they need it, it's not making as much business sense, or something else is working better to get rooms filled.
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