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Old 03-20-2013, 08:44 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, 09:43 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, 09:50 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, 11:08 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, 11:30 AM   #5
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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, 12:31 PM   #6
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, 12:39 PM   #7
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, 12:40 PM   #8
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, 12:41 PM   #9
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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, 12:54 PM   #10
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, 01:08 PM   #11
TheDisney411
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Originally Posted by wdwrich

That's right- but at that point it's no longer free.
No, but it is still a huge discount, even with the upgrade cost. It would save the OP at least $66 per night MORE than a room only discount. If one or both of the kids are 10 or older, then that savings number would double.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:49 PM   #12
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It will be interesting to see what Disney will do this year. They are on record as saying that they want to wean people off that discount. So far this year they seem to be doing just that. What they will do during their slowest period is unknown though there has been some chatter about FD not being available at values at all and QS only at moderates, deluxes getting regular DDP. Who knows, but that would fit their goal of reducing the FD plan usage.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:31 PM   #13
TheDisney411
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Originally Posted by Polydweller
It will be interesting to see what Disney will do this year. They are on record as saying that they want to wean people off that discount. So far this year they seem to be doing just that. What they will do during their slowest period is unknown though there has been some chatter about FD not being available at values at all and QS only at moderates, deluxes getting regular DDP. Who knows, but that would fit their goal of reducing the FD plan usage.
That just isn't going to happen. If they didn't offer free dining at all to the values during that time frame that would leave them with thousands of empty rooms during value season. They aren't going to shoot themselves I'm the foot like that. September is still the height of hurricane season, so I can't see them not offering free dining during this time frame.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:51 PM   #14
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That just isn't going to happen. If they didn't offer free dining at all to the values during that time frame that would leave them with thousands of empty rooms during value season. They aren't going to shoot themselves I'm the foot like that. September is still the height of hurricane season, so I can't see them not offering free dining during this time frame.
I don't think any of us can reliably predict what Disney will or won't do in the future. Supply and demand will drive the decision to offer deals such as free dining. If Disney projects that they can fill enough rooms without free dining, they won't offer it. If they project a large enough vacancy rate, it's likely to be offered again.
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:40 PM   #15
TheDisney411
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdwrich

I don't think any of us can reliably predict what Disney will or won't do in the future. Supply and demand will drive the decision to offer deals such as free dining. If Disney projects that they can fill enough rooms without free dining, they won't offer it. If they project a large enough vacancy rate, it's likely to be offered again.
Actually it's kind of my job to predict what Disney will do in regard to promotions and other discounts. I'm not saying I can 100% predict what Disney will do in regard to late summer and early fall discounts, but I've got a pretty good track record and a ridiculous amount of historical data I keep about discounts and free dining specifically.

And really, I can almost certainly tell you that they will NOT be able to fill enough rooms, more specifically value rooms, during September without a huge discount like free dining or something very comparable.
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