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Old 08-02-2011, 11:23 AM   #1
PrincessTiffany
Is there anything better than Free Dining and Fastpasses?
 
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Some FREE DINING Info & Guidelines

Maybe this will help with all of the reoccurring questions and misunderstandings that keep popping up about the WDW Free Dining Promotion and Promotion Guidelines (Of course, this info will be based on Free Dining Guidelines for the past 7 years, Disney can change their policies at any time.):

FREE DINING FACTS AND INFORMATION

The Free Dining Promo/Discount was first introduced in the fall of 2005 and up until the fall of 2009, was, basically, just offered during the timeframe of mid August to the first of October (height of hurricane season) and included the Basic/Plus Dining for all levels of WDW resort. Starting in the fall of 2009, they offered a second Free Dining Promo/Discount that covered dates between October 1st and the third week of December and they also started including the Quick Service DDP for Value resorts and the Basic/Plus DDP for Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. With the popularity of the Free Dining Promo, last year, for the first time, WDW offered multiple Free Dining discounts during this year that included many value season/low crowd weeks.

To take advantage of a Free Dining (FD) discount you must be booked at a Disney-owned resort and purchase a Magic Your Way Package that includes room, tickets and dining with a 2 day base ticket purchase. The FD promos have a 3 day booking minimum and a 14 day booking maximum. You can not include Annual Passes or previously purchased tickets for Disney or any other outside ticketing agent.

The current FD promos have included the Quick Service Dining Plan for Value Resorts and the Basic/Plus Dining Plan for Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. You can not downgrade to the Quick Service Dining if you are staying at a Moderate or Deluxe Resort - there have been reports that, once in the parks, guests have been able to trade/convert Table Service (TS) credits for Counter Service (CS) credits, but this is not advertised on the WDW website and should not be considered WDW "policy." You can however pay the monetary difference and upgrade to the Basic/Plus DDP or the Deluxe DDP if you are staying at a Value Resort and can upgrade to the Deluxe Plan if you are staying at a Moderate or Deluxe Resort. The Deluxe Dining Plan has never been included in any free dining promos. Here is a breakdown of FD upgrade costs for 2012:

2012 Upgrade from the Quick Service DDP $34.99/$11.99 to Basic/Plus DDP $51.54/$15.02
$16.65 per adult 10+; $3.03 per child 3 - 9 (Upgrade cost per day)

2012 Upgrade from Quick Service DDP $34.99/$11.99 to Deluxe DDP $85.52/$23.79
$50.53 per adult 10+; $11.50 per child 3 - 9 (Upgrade cost per day)

2012 Upgrade from Basic/Plus DDP $51.54/$15.02 to Deluxe DDP $85.52/$23.79
$33.98 per adult 10+; $8.77 per child 3 - 9 (Upgrade cost per day)

Your check in date must fall within the dates of the FD promo to apply the discount to your reservation. If your check in dates do not fall within the FD dates, you can not apply the discount - even if every single night of your vacation falls within the promo, except for your check in date, you can not take advantage of the FD promo.

If any of your vacation dates fall within a FD promo dates you can receive the FD discount for your entire vacation stay, up to 14 nights, even if you are checking in on the last day of a FD promo, you can still recieve the discount for up to 14 nights.

If your vacation starts a couple of days before a FD promo, it's possible to do a Split Stay - meaning, you can do a room only reservation for 1 to 3 nights at the beginning of your vacation, pay for your food out-of-pocket for those days, and be allowed to pick up your PACKAGE TICKETS up to 3 days early at guest relations at any of the four parks or at Downtown Disney (For further info on picking up tickets early, please see Diser, CheshireFigment's, Ticket Sticky on the top the Themeparks Board.)

If you already have an existing reservation that falls within the dates of a FD promo, you can call and have the FD code added to modify that reservation. You can not add the FD code on line, you will need to call WDW Reservations, 407-W-Disney. You do NOT have to rebook, your reservation number does not change and there is not a fee - if you are within your 45 day window, they can charge you a $50.00 change fee, but, most FD promos come out before the 45 day window, so this shouldn't be an issue. If you have already paid your package in full, WDW will refund you the monetary difference - this can take up to 2 billing cycles or about 2 months. Each resort is only allotted so many FD rooms, so if you call and your resort is sold out of FD promo rooms, you can change your resort and do not have to cancel or pay a fee and your reservation number stays the same. If your existing reservation is a room only reservation, then you would have to cancel and rebook under a Magic Your Way Package to receive the FD discount. If you booked with a Travel Agent, then the TA must call and add this discount to your existing reservation. The TA owns your reservation and Disney will not change the discount/code for without going through your TA.

Typically, in the past, other than last's August FD announcement, Disney Visa holders ere given the FD Promo Code three (3) days before it opens to the general public. In the past, all you had to do to get the Disney Visa FD discount was put $200.00 down with your card, the balance did not have to be put on the Disney Visa. If you are already booked with a Disney Visa, you will simply have to put another $200.00 deposit down to apply the code. If you have paid the trip in full with a DV, they will still refund the monetary difference and you will not have to re-apply any money.

If you already have Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) changing or modifying a reservation does not effect or cancel your ADRs. You would have to go on-line or call WDW Dining to cancel ADRs, even if you completely cancel a vacation/reservation. Remember, anyone can make ADRs, even offsite guests and don't have to be linked to your reservation in any way. If you have already booked and paid for any restaurants and/or dinner shows, and then a FD promo/discount is released, you can contact Disney Dining once you modify your reservation to include the FD code and give them your reservation number, and they will credit you the amount you pre-paid. This type of refund also takes 2 billing cycles or about 2 months.

Hopefully this info will give everyone an overview of the current Free Dining Guidelines.

Edited to add historic Free Dining Dates and Promo Release Dates:

Free Dining Promos/Discounts Released Spring of the Year Offered
August 21 – October 4, 2005
August 13 – September 30, 2006
August 26 – September 22, 2007
August 30 – September 27, 2008
August 16 – October 3, 2009

July 27, 2009(First Time for quick service at values, free Disney Dining at moderate and deluxe resorts)
Free Dining released for travel from October 4 – December 17, 2009

May 3, 2010
Free Dining released for travel from August 15 – October 2, 2010.

July 6, 2010
Disney extended the Free Dining offer for travel through early fall 2011. Many dates were blacked out:

August 15 – October 7, 2010
October 22 – Octocber 28, 2010
November 12 – November 18, 2010
November 27 – December 2, 2010
December 10 – December 21, 2010

January 1 - 5, 2011
January 9 - 13, 2011
January 21 - February 3, 2011
February 11 - 17, 2011
February 25 - March 3, 2011
May 27 - June 2, 2011
August 19 - September 29, 2011

March 2011
Free Dining Discount released for August 28 - September 24, 2011

August 3, 2011
Free Dining Discounts released for dates through early Spring 2012
October 1 – October 6, 2011
October 22 – November 3, 2011
November 12 – November 17, 2011
November 26 – December 1, 2011
December 10 – December 15, 2011
January 8 – January 12, 2012
January 21 – February 2, 2012
February 11 – February 16, 2012
March 3 – March 8, 2012
March 24 – March 29, 2012

Last edited by PrincessTiffany; 01-03-2012 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:29 AM   #2
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Someone should pay you for all the time you've put into this!
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:02 PM   #3
PrincessTiffany
Is there anything better than Free Dining and Fastpasses?
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerplop View Post
Someone should pay you for all the time you've put into this!
That won't be necessary ;-) If everyone would just share the link, when applicable, that would be awesome!
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessTiffany View Post
That won't be necessary ;-) If everyone would just share the link, when applicable, that would be awesome!
Will do. Thanks again for all the work.
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:20 PM   #5
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Awesome, thank you!
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessTiffany View Post
That won't be necessary ;-) If everyone would just share the link, when applicable, that would be awesome!
Can do! You have had the patience of a saint with this, lol!!
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:31 PM   #7
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Thank you for posting this. I am bumping it up in hopes some folks will see it at the top of the page and come here first!
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:35 PM   #8
PrincessTiffany
Is there anything better than Free Dining and Fastpasses?
 
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Well, ya'll will have to keep this going when I'm gone - We are leaving for our Free Dining Trip Thursday afternoon, courtesy of a FD Pin Code!

We don't usually go in August, as we prefer October and December, but my Princess wants to go and celebrate her 15th birthday :-) So, we are going, sweltering heat and all! But, really, we live in South Alabama and it's sweltering anyway - might as well go sweat at Disney with Mickey :-)
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:47 PM   #9
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One more question. I'm doing a split reservation with room only for one night and a package for five. If I add an extra day of tickets to my package deal will I bed able to start using it the day before my package if I pick up my tickets at the booth at DTD?

Thank you for answering all my questions. This is my first time booking and I have been asking the mom's panel all my questions but they take a few days to answer. That could be too late for me this time!
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:54 PM   #10
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Thanks for posting this! Hoping for free dining 2012
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:56 PM   #11
PrincessTiffany
Is there anything better than Free Dining and Fastpasses?
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by may12th View Post
One more question. I'm doing a split reservation with room only for one night and a package for five. If I add an extra day of tickets to my package deal will I bed able to start using it the day before my package if I pick up my tickets at the booth at DTD?

Thank you for answering all my questions. This is my first time booking and I have been asking the mom's panel all my questions but they take a few days to answer. That could be too late for me this time!
Yes, that's what I've been told. Check out the Ticket Sticky by ChesireFigment, at the top of the Themeparks Board, and I think it will give you more specific details. Or better yet, if you need more specific info than that, just PM ChesireFigment and I know he will be able to give you all his ticket knowledge.
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Old 08-02-2011, 05:26 PM   #12
mckivigl
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thank you so much for this information. I went through a TA since we are also doing a cruise but I am going to contact her. Hopefully we can get this. Going with 8 people with 5 being adults this will save us a ton of money!
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Old 08-02-2011, 05:50 PM   #13
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Question

The upgrade prices you listed, that is for each night of your stay or overall?

Upgrade from Quick Service DDP $34.99/$11.99 to Basic/Plus DDP $45.99/$11.99
$11.00 per adult 10+; $0.00 per child 3 - 9


So for example, for a 5 night stay, would the upgrade cost per adult be $55 or $11?

Please clarify. And thank you for your valuable information!!
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:32 PM   #14
PrincessTiffany
Is there anything better than Free Dining and Fastpasses?
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParrishFamily View Post
The upgrade prices you listed, that is for each night of your stay or overall?

Upgrade from Quick Service DDP $34.99/$11.99 to Basic/Plus DDP $45.99/$11.99
$11.00 per adult 10+; $0.00 per child 3 - 9


So for example, for a 5 night stay, would the upgrade cost per adult be $55 or $11?

Please clarify. And thank you for your valuable information!!
Those are the nightly prices and upgrade prices for the Disney Dining Plan. It would be $55.00 per person to upgrade on a 5 night trip.
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:39 PM   #15
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OK I'm confused... What is the actual price of the Memories Package w/ Free Dining? Is it just whatever the rack rate price of your room is plus tickets and the photobook? Or are there additional surcharges per night in order to have the package? We've never purchased packages before, but I don't see how the package would be a deal if you have to pay more on top of rack rate room prices.. are the tickets full price as well?

I'm sorry if I sound totally clueless... trying to figure out if this package is actually a good deal for a 4-night WL stay this December.
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