My fiance, her 8 year old son and I are planning a trip to WDW for December 30, 2012 through January 7, 2013. Her son needs to be back home for school by January 8, 2013. We have not booked anything yet because we are still debating on where to stay. Today I received an e-mail with a PIN code for free dining from January 2, 2013 forward. We absolutely LOVE free dining, and we feel its a great discount, so we want to take advantage of it. However, we still want to be in the parks for New Years, so what do I do? I know we can do a split stay, have reservation #1 be from 12/30 - 1/2, with 3 day tickets and have reservation #2 be from 1/2 - 1/7 with 6 day passes. However, the problem here is that having to pay for those 3 day passes makes this cost prohibitive. It's cheaper in that scenario to just forgo the free dining and pay full price for one long reservation. I know it used to be that Disney would allow you to get free dining by booking your room with a 1 day pass to fullfill the room+ticket package requirement. Is that still allowed? If that is the case, I can book reservation #1 from 12/30 - 1/2 with 8 day passes and book reservation #2 from 1/2 -1/7 with 1 day passes that we can use for a future trip. Though, I wonder, is this scenario possible: I book a package at Port Orleans from 1/2 - 1/7 with 8 day passes. Could I pick up my park tickets BEFORE I check in for my stay at Port Orleans? Essentially, I pick up my tickets, use them while staying at another resort, and then check into Port Orleans on 1/2? Does that even make sense? In short, we want to be in the parks for New Years, we can't stay past January 7 because of school and we want to take advantage of free dining for as much of our stay as possible. What do you guys recommend? Your help and advice is greatly appreciated!