Planning ahead for Free Dining?

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by MattRyan, Jun 22, 2014.

  1. MattRyan

    MattRyan Mouseketeer

    Jul 24, 2013
    I have never used the dining plan at Disney World, but instead usually pay out of pocket. I also never pay off my trip ahead of time, but rather as I go, though I do make my ADRs in advance. However, I am considering a trip in December of 2015, and would like to hopefully get free dining and pay off the trip ahead of time for once. I have a few questions though.

    Is free dining typically offered for check-in dates for the first half of December? Right now I'm looking at a check-in date of December 13, 2015 and a check-out date of December 22, 2015 (10 days, 9 nights), is it likely that free dining will be offered then?

    If so, can I book that time period early and then add the dining plan on my reservation the day it becomes available?

    When is the earliest I can book a trip for 2015? I know the dates/prices aren't listed for booking yet on the Disney site.

    Which resorts are best to book if I'm anticipating free dining? I'm wanting a moderate resort, and would prefer Port Orleans, but I know it may not be on the dining plan. Is Coronado Springs much better than Caribbean Beach?

    Since I've never booked and paid off a trip ahead, when is usually the last point in time that I could cancel the trip and get the money back if necessary?

    Thanks in advance for the help. Any comments/advice for a free dining newbie would be appreciated!
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  3. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Reserving the right to make jokes out of typos - b

    Jun 11, 2005
    1. Sometimes, and sometimes even if this promotion is available over a range of months, there may be blackout dates.

    2. Having a resort, or even package, reservation doesn't guarantee (a) the resort will be participating in the offer; (b) there will be promotion rooms available. Offers such as this are used to fill rooms; if enough rooms are already booked, there's no reason for a resort to participate.

    3. You could book a room now - but you would be advised the rate will change when the 2015 rates are released. You can book packages when the package rates come out, probably in July.

    4. Maybe better asked on the Resorts board?

    5. Packages need to be paid in full at least 45 days in advance, so at 44 days there'd be a change fee.
  4. MattRyan

    MattRyan Mouseketeer

    Jul 24, 2013
    Thank you. If free dining happens to not be available at my resort for the dates selected or they have run out of rooms, is it possible to easily switch resorts and have all my payments go to another? Do I just call the day of and either have them add the dining plan or change resorts/dates?
  5. aaarcher86

    aaarcher86 DIS Veteran

    Feb 17, 2010
    Yes, they can change you around with ease.
  6. purple figment

    purple figment DIS Veteran

    Aug 17, 2009
    Sounds like you usually book a room only since you mentioned never paying off your balance in advance. Packages are different - final payment is due 45 days before arrival date so you'll definitely be paying it off ahead of time.

    As far as booking in advance in anticipation of a free dining offer - you would need to book a package and make the modification to free dining when it's released. Booking a room only at this time will not help because you cannot convert a room only to a package. The room only would have to be cancelled and the package booked. No monies you paid for the room only can be transferred to the package. The monies would be refunded and a new deposit would have to be paid for the package.

    Which resorts are likely to be excluded? Take a look at the public FD offer that is out for this fall and winter. According to wdwinfo POR and POFQ, ASMovies, VGF were excluded along with the usual 3 BR villas, campsites, and Little Mermaid rooms.

    FD and other specials are offered to fill rooms so if a resort or room category is already full enough it won't be included. This fall's FD offer disappointed many who booked Port Orleans in anticipation of FD and had to change resorts.

    If your resort/room category isn't included or already full you will be able to change to a different resort that still has availability. It would be a modification so any monies already paid will be applied to the new resort.
  7. TDC Nala

    TDC Nala <font color=red>1937, what a year that was<br><fon Moderator

    Jun 22, 2001
    If what you want is free dining, wait until you can book a package. A room only reservation does not work as a placeholder for free dining, as the reservation will have to be cancelled before you rebook a package. You will not be able to transfer any payments you made on the room-only reservation to the package; you'll need to pay a new deposit.

    You can book a room-only to have in case free dining is not offered, or in case you are very specific about which resort and/or room category you want to have. Free dining offers are limited at each resort and you may not be able to book the resort and room category you really want under the promotion. If you already have a package, any payments you already made can be applied to a resort change.

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