Free dining. It’s the discount plan for Walt Disney World that everyone goes bonkers over. Every. Year. Unfortunately, each year, many guests are confused by some of the details surrounding this offer, and may have unrealistic expectations. So we decided to sort them out for you.
Disclaimer: We aren’t suggesting or advancing any rumors that the free dining discount will be available for 2018. Honestly, we get these questions all year long. We just never put these details in writing, and felt now was as good a time as any.
It’s just a discount. Throughout the year, Disney offers many different discount offers. Sometimes it’s a room rate discount, or a room/ticket combination discount. Regardless of what it’s called, these are simply methods to calculate a discount from the total price. Let’s look at an example. Let’s say that your package is $4000. If there’s a room rate discount, it might mean that $300 comes off the total. Maybe a room/ticket discount removes $350 from the total. With free dining, it’s no different. This is just a method to calculate a discount from your total package. So from now on, we aren’t going to say that you get free dining, we are going to say that you get a discount equivalent to the cost of the dining plan.
Free dining isn’t always free. In recent years, there have been several requirements in order to receive this discount. First, it has been necessary to add the park hopper option to your package. So in reality, to get the “free dining” discount, you had to pay more for your ticket (if you weren’t planning on the park hopper in the first place). Second, in recent years, guests staying at value or moderate resorts received a discount equivalent to the cost of the Quick Service Dining Plan. If you wish to purchase the regular dining plan, you can certainly do so. The cost of the Quick Service Dining Plan will be deducted from your package price, so you are paying the upgrade cost. Now, I’m not saying this isn’t still a good discount. I’m only saying that we need to understand that it may require you to add additional purchases in order to get the discount.
It’s Not Always the Best Discount. Remembering that “free dining” is just a calculation to determine a discount, it’s possible that it’s not the best discount offered at any one time. Historically, Disney will offer a room-rate discount at the same time as their free dining promotion. It is often the case, depending on the resort, length of stay, and size of your family, that a room-rate discount is actually the better discount option. Would you believe that we have folks say “I’d rather have the free dining” even when the price is lower with the room-rate? Remember….it’s just a discount calculation. Always go with the best price. At My Mickey Vacation Travel, our Dream Designers will always make the comparison to get you the best price.
Not All Rooms Are Discounted. Ok, this is the one that stumps everyone. Here’s the common question….”I’m traveling during the promotion dates, at a resort that’s not excluded from the promotion. Why can’t I get the discount?”. The answer is simple. Not every room is discounted. While we would like to think that the entire resort is discounted for the entire period of the promotion, that’s just not the case. It’s likely that during a certain travel period, only a small portion of the resort has discounted rooms available. Once they’re gone…they’re gone (some dates have no rooms available, by the way).
I’m Already Booked. Yes, if you have a room already booked during a promotion period at a qualified resort, you may be eligible for the discount. But…. it’s not as easy as applying a discount to your reservation. Keep in mind my last point…there must be discounted rooms available. Think of it this way….you’re already booked in a non-discounted room. When the promotion opens, we will look to see if we can MOVE your reservation to a discounted room (yes, you keep the same confirmation number and your deposit follows along). If there are no discounted rooms available, then we’ll have to look for another option together. If a discounted room is available, we’ll see that your reservation is “moved” to the discounted room with the discount code.
As you can see, “Free Dining” isn’t as simple as applying a discount. Availability, add-ons, and promotion comparisons all come into play.
At My Mickey Vacation Travel, we are constantly looking for the best price and best value for your vacation. We also don’t participate in spreading rumors, so we have no idea, and won’t speculate on Free Dining promotions being offered in 2018. Many of the comments we made above apply to all promotions that Disney releases. Contact a Dream Designer today for more information, or complete our quote form at https://mymickeyvacation.com/quote/