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Everything You Need to Know About Free Dining at Disney World

Disney World Free Dining Offer

There is often a lot of buzz on the internet and in Disney fan communities about the Free Disney Dining Plan.  But what is it, exactly?  And is it even possible? It’s a guest favorite that keep people returning year after year. Some Disney travel experts even say it’s the best deal they offer. It applies to most restaurants on Disney property, plus Disney Springs restaurantsRead on to get everything you need to know about Disney’s Free Dining Plan.

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How Free Dining at Disney World Works

What is a Disney Dining Plan?

Normally the dining plan is not free.  You select from three prepaid plans to add on to your vacation package.  The cheapest plan gives you two snack credits and two quick service credits for each night you have a room in a Disney World Resort.  The Standard Plan allows for two snacks, oe quick service and one table service (tip not included).  The Deluxe Plan includes the two snacks and three flexible meal credits that can be used for quick service or table service.

The Number of credits corresponds to the number of members in your party in addition to the number of nights you stay.  However, they are tied to the room and not assigned to any individual.  You also get all the credits at once and can use as many as you like each day as long as credits are available.  This means you can have more than two snacks per day.  You will just run out of credits before you check out.  In addition, anyone in your party can use as many credits as they like as long as they remain available.  The unused credits expire after 11:59 pm on the day you check out of your room.

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How Free Dining Works

Free Dining is a promotion Disney Does every year where they announce eligible dates and select resorts.  Some exclusions apply, but you will get one of the three dining plans included in your vacation package at no extra charge.  This is great, because when you pay for the plan, it is almost never a value.  When it’s included for free, it might be.

You do have to purchase your room at the undiscounted rate.  Free Dining does not work with other promotions.  You need to book a room in one of the select resorts, but not in any of the excluded areas such as the Fort Wilderness Campsites, The Little Mermaid section of Art of Animation, and three bedroom villas.

Once you have paid for your room and the Dining Plan has been added on for free, you just enjoy those credits.  Still be careful how you spend them though, as you did pay top dollar on the room in order to get them.

Who is it for?

The Dining Plan is a convenience that many people find appealing.  If you can get it for free for doing what you already were going to do, then it’s a great deal.  But if you are shopping around different resorts for pricing and plan on taking advantage of another discount or promotion, you will have to weigh the two against each other.  The dining plan, is mainly for guests who want to keep things simple while on vacation.

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When/Where is Free Dining is Available

As long as you check in at some point within the posted dates for the promotion your entire trip includes the plan up to the maximum limit of 14 days.  These dates are announced in late April-Early May every year. 

Summer 2020 Free Dining Dates:

This special offer is available through January 16, 2020 for arrivals most nights through June 27 and 28, July 5 through 7, and August 29 through September 8, 2020.

Already booked on those dates?  It is worth calling to speak to a Cast Member. Often they can apply this offer to your existing reservation.

There are 2 different Disney Dining Plans being offered, the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan, and the Disney Dining Plan. To get the Quick Service Dining Plan, you must book your stay in a Value or Moderate Resort hotel.

The following room types are excluded from this offer: 3-bedroom villas, campsites, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Bungalows at Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, and Little Mermaid Standard Rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.

Why should you get it

There are two reasons to get this plan and you only need one.  The first is to save money.  If it does indeed save you money, you should do it.  Figuring this out isn’t always easy, but it’s nothing a calculator and a few open tabs won’t fix.  The other reason is if you just prefer the ease of leveling every menu item to one flat value.  Even though it’s a free plan, it isn’t always about saving money, or getting the best value.  Sometimes it’s just about simplicity while you are on vacation.

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