Things They Won’t Tell You About Free Disney Dining Plan… But We Will!
by Jason Stucky from All Things WDW – Facebook group
The Free Disney Dining Plan promotion is one of the most sought-after and popular deals at any Disney location. Basically, the promotion offers guests one of two Dining Plans for no cost as part of a room and ticket package. The Disney Dining Plans are available to guests all year round as an add-on to their vacation package and a dining plan is not required to eat at any of the restaurants. Many guests choose the Dining Plan to facilitate budgeting and planning, but if it’s free, even better! If you’re planning (or even pre-planning) a Disney vacation and taking advantage of the Free Dining deal, here are a few things to think about.
8. Only available with very specific requirements. Disney isn’t just going to give dining away without asking for something in return. “Enjoy a FREE dining plan when you purchase a non-discounted 5-night/6-day Magic Your Way package that includes a room at a select Disney Resort hotel and a ticket with a Park Hopper® Option“.
7. Not stackable with other offers. If you have already made your reservation with a discount on either your room or your tickets, you will need to forfeit that discount in order to add this one.
6. It’s not totally free. You may need to choose between a free dining plan or a discount on your hotel stay. To determine which is best for your family. Don’t let free distract you from a hotel discount. Each year it varies the discount and which resort is offering the best deal. So do your math and figure out which comes out ahead.
5. Upgrade Your Plan. The Dining Plan you get for free depends on the level of your hotel. Guests staying in a Moderate or Value hotel receive the Quick Service Dining Plan, which is two counter service credits, 1 non-alcoholic/alcoholic drink per meal, 2 selected snacks and a refillable mug. Guests staying at a Deluxe hotel get the regular Disney Dining Plan, which is 1 waiter service meal, 1 self-service meal, 1 non-alcoholic/alcoholic drink per meal, 2 selected snacks and a refillable mug. All credits are based on the number of nights in your stay. But, you can upgrade from the Quick Service plan to the regular Dining Plan for just the cost difference between the plans.
4. It’s a Lot of Food: No matter what plan you have, you get two full meals (including dessert!), a snack, and the refillable mug. Portions at Walt Disney World are huge. That means guests on the Dining Plan get a lot of food. For guests with small appetites, it may be too much food. Just because something is free, doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea. Look at what the various plans offer and at some menus online before deciding if a Dining Plan is right for your family.
3. Does Not Cover Tips. Getting the Dining Plan for free is great, but don’t forget about tips for your servers. The Dining Plan does not include gratuity. Don’t worry too much though, Disney does the math for you, and when you get your bill, there will be a suggested tip amount, at both 18% and 20%. You’re free to tip that amount, or one of your choosing.
2. Or Appetizers. Another thing the Dining Plan does not cover is appetizers. You will need to pay for that separately from the Dining Plan if you order any. The extra cost is definitely worth the price at many restaurants. For example, the Na’an Bread, an appetizer from Sanaa, is one of my absolute favorite dishes at Walt Disney World.
EDIT; once upon a time, the Disney Dining Plan did not cover alcohol. They have answered our figurative prayers and added a little something for the adults (aged 21 and over of course).
1. Better Deal For Adults and Older Children: Children aged 3-9 qualify for the child’s price for tickets and dining plans. Toddler’s two and younger don’t need a ticket or a dining plan. In 2016 at Walt Disney World, the price for an adult on the standard Disney Dining Plan is $63.70 per night, and a child costs $22.85 per night. That’s quite a difference between child and adult prices. The Free Dining promotion gives a better value for a family with older people. A family with only toddlers may actually save more money by choosing a room discount instead of free dining.
For more information, check out the Official Walt Disney World website. If you have any questions or comments about anything you have read here, or want to add your two cents to the conversation, please comment below.
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