Free Dining Question, would love all opinions please:)

Discussion in 'Disney Restaurants' started by kgulley, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. kgulley

    kgulley Earning My Ears

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    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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  3. Tpiejg

    Tpiejg Mouseketeer

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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.
     
  4. kgulley

    kgulley Earning My Ears

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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!
     
  5. wdwrich

    wdwrich DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  6. Skylarr29

    Skylarr29 <font color=blue>Oh Darn it, I was 'forced' to buy

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    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.
     
  7. GaBelle

    GaBelle DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  8. TheDisney411

    TheDisney411 DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  9. TheDisney411

    TheDisney411 DIS Veteran

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    When the free dining codes are released, you simply need to call and have the free dining discount applied to your existing reservation.
     
  10. TheDisney411

    TheDisney411 DIS Veteran

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    You simply pay the difference between the quick service and basic DDP and upgrade.
     
  11. wdwrich

    wdwrich DIS Veteran

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    That's right- but at that point it's no longer free.
     
  12. TheDisney411

    TheDisney411 DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  13. Polydweller

    Polydweller DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  14. TheDisney411

    TheDisney411 DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  15. wdwrich

    wdwrich DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  16. TheDisney411

    TheDisney411 DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  17. faindrops27

    faindrops27 I love free DDP but love going on cruises too! My

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    I remember getting free dining when it was offered in the spring for several years. I cannot remember it ever being offered this late in March. When was it offered to the general public last year for fall?
     
  18. TheDisney411

    TheDisney411 DIS Veteran

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    The late summer/early fall free dining dates were released early last year, March 3. Every other year it has been late March/early April. In 2010 they didn't release the FD dates until May. They should release the FD promo dates in the next few weeks.
     
  19. staceycanada

    staceycanada Mouseketeer

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    Free dining is definately woth it. The crowds even with free dining are sooooo low you will not find that a problem. Make sure to use a site like Touring plans to work out which park is better for each day. This helps a lot with crowds.
    Make sure to take advantage of the character dinners and fabulour dinners at the resorts. We loved having free dining for our past trips. We would definately plan our vacation around.

    Keep in mind the sit down dinners a 18% gratuity is added to the bill with or without free dining. You can ask for this to be removed but I would be embarrassed. Check the menus for the restaurants you plan to eat at and add up (roughly) what your total would be. This will give you an idea of what you need for tips.

    Also with free dining (or anytime period) make sure you make your reservations 180 days out.
     
  20. QueenQueso

    QueenQueso Mouseketeer

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    So when/if they release FD, and I can get it at a value, I can still add it to my reservation if I didn't already have the DP, right?

    We were going to pay OOP for our meals, as I'm pretty sure we would save money that way with our menu choices, but I think FD would be more than worth it. I already paid for CRT though. Would I get my money back from that?
     
  21. TheDisney411

    TheDisney411 DIS Veteran

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    Yes, you can still add it as long as you booked under a package reservation that includes room and tickets. And, yes, they will refund your money. You will need to call the dining line once you have the DDP added to your reservation, give them your resort reservation number and they will refund you - it can take up to 2 billing cycles to get the refund.
     

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