Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by Minnie0107, May 30, 2007.
How bad are the crowds during the free dining period? Was anyone there last year?
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From what I have read, the parks are not crowded but the restaurants are..
We were there sometime around the 10th to 20th of August. Crowds weren't horrible, but they weren't the lightest I've ever seen either. Getting to the parks early was essential to getting on our favorite rides.
As for dining, if you didn't have an ADR, you weren't eating at ANY table service restaurants. If you'll be there during free dining and haven't already made your ADRs, do it NOW!
We went last year during free dining and there weren't any crowds to speak of. Most rides had only a short wait or no wait at all. Even a lot of the fast pass machines were closed down because there just wasn't a need to issue fast passes. The only crowded times we came across was EMH in the evening - we're going to avoid those this time around.
The only time I really am expecting to see big crowds would be Labor day weekend. Of course that is when we will be there. We leave St. Louis on Wed after work/school and will take off Thur and Friday. We will have to get back home Monday night in time to get to work and school on Tuesday. Air fare for those days have been crazy even on SWA. I lucked into an early morning search that yielded me AA tickets for 79.00 each way with a 5% discount from our Entertainment Book!
I went during free dining last september and it wasn't that crowded during free dining, but I did notice the crowds began to increase at the end of the week when I was there, so like Sept 17th...the beginning of sept is niiiiice! We are going again for free dining in 3 months! YAY!
We were there last year from 8/17-23 with free dining. We thought it was great! The only line that was extraordinarily long was Soarin' which often topped the 90 minute range. (We have the original just down the highway from home, so we saw no need to wait! )
The only time we thought the crowds were bad was at Epcot EMH on a Friday night. It was INSANE! All other times the crowds were not bad at all.
I agree with other posters that the restaurants are PACKED. If you do not have ADRs, you will probably not have a TS meal on your trip. (That was our first trip, and we loved LeCellier so much we hoped to return again during our stay, so we asked if we would be able to come back, the CM said, "Maybe the first week of October."
I agree with the others. We were there from 8/26-9/3 last year during free dining. The TS restaurants were JAM packed, but the park levels were low. We didn't wait longer than 15 minutes for any ride the entire 8+ days.
We went the last week in Sept last year and will be doing it again this year. In general very few people in the parks, rode Soaring three times in a row without waiting. Only waits were for the shows to start, except at AK. We waited about 20-25 minutes for the Safari.
Maybe we were lucky, but we never had to wait at any CS lunch. Worse place was Flametree in AK (again) were I was in line behind 3 other people. Watch out for the aggressive birds at the tables.
This was out first trip in 20 years without kids so I can't say about the kiddie rides. My wife (a probation agent) loved Buzz Lightyear and we went through it several times with maybe a total of 5 minutes wait. One of my favorites over the years is the "People mover" slow calm and fairly cool and mostly empty even in busy times.
We liked walking around and talking with the CMs in the shops in Epcot - some are VERY interesting people.
Plan on having a GREAT time, good wishes to you.
We were there in late August last year. Evening EMH's were ridiculously crowded compared to past Augusts.
I went last year and am going again this year....
I hate crowds.
Give you an idea of the crowd level??
I don't know about the parks, but I know on the first checkin day of free dining last year, the Pop checked in more than 3,000 rooms in one day!
I also know that Disney Dining was calling people, reminding them to make ADRs. There were so many people without ADRs that Disney came up with a "trade your TS for..." plan. I forget the exact formula (something like 1 TS = 1 CS and 2 snacks), but I think it was as good as they could do under the circumstances.
I don't think things will be as bad this year, because the bulk of the free dining (Bounce Back and the UK promotion) are spread over a somewhat longer period than the free dining available to the general public. They really tweaked it this year!
We've been the last two Septembers for the free dining. Crowds in the parks are almost nonexistent, but restaurants have been really packed both years. Without an ADR you were not going to be able to eat at a TS (especially a park TS). To me Sept '05 was worse than Sept '06 as far as restaurants turning walk ups away. People were just wandering around looking for a place tp use their TS credits. However both years we saw LOTS of people turned away and LOTS of very angry patrons.
This year I was able to book starting the last day of the Bounce Back program and will be there Sept 29th-Oct 7th, so I'm hoping that most of the free dining people will already be gone. Hopefully both the parks and restaurants will be empty.
We were there the last 2 Sept. for free dining and will be back again. The 1st year was the end of Sept. and last year was mid Sept. When we were there the end of Sept. it was a lot more crowded on the weekends but great during the week. This past year during mid Sept. the weekends were not nearly as crowded as the end of Sept. The evening EMH's are great as it is not nearly as hot and all the rides are pretty much walk on. The only line that seems to always have a wait is Splash Mountain. It usually ranges from 10 minutes to 60 minutes. Space Mountain was usually walk on along with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. If you have ADR's you will be just fine. I think it is a great time of year and obviously we love it or we wouldn't be going back for the 3rd year in a row!
Went last year Sept. 18-27th and it was great no linesand low crowd levels.
Going this year Aug 29-Sept 5th and hope its close to the same although I doubt it. I didn't want to take son out of 1st grade for a week so its an earlier trip.
Great minds think alike. I am also checking in Sept 29 for the same idea. Also from the Bounce Back program
We were there mid September and agree that the parks were not too busy at all.
I actually didn't think the restaurants were any different than usual either but maybe our restaurant choices are atypical.
We too are arriving on 9/29 but not part of bounce back (boo hoo) Still, looking forward to a GREAT trip!!!
Not sure which EMH's others attended but the one at MK we went to at night during Free Dining last year was packed -- it was the most crowded I had ever seen a MK EMH. No line was shorter than 20 minutes. Peter Pan was an hour. Space Mountain was an hour. Pirates of the Caribbean was an hour. Hardly walk-ons!
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