In 2006, shortly after Walt Disney World released the Disney Dining Plans that we all know and love today, they also unleashed the beast known as “Disney Free Dining”. This discount gives your family one of the Disney dining plans for free with your stay at a Walt Disney World hotel, but only during select dates. In 2006, it was made available for travel dates between August 13 – September 30, 2006, and everyone received the Disney Dining Plan for free regardless of their resort. Recently, the discount has been changed so that guests staying at a Walt Disney World Value Resort receive the Quick-Service Dining Plan for free while guests staying at a Walt Disney World Moderate, Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort receive the Disney Dining Plan for free.
For 2015, it was made available for select Fall dates:
- August 28 – October 2, October 25 – 31, November 8-19 and December 15 – 21, 2015
Many of the dates after October 2 had very few rooms and resorts made available.
While everyone agrees that Free Dining is a fantastic deal, and without a doubt the most watched for and also mis-understood discount of the year, is it the best deal?
The answer really comes down to your travel party and where you are staying on Disney property:
If you normally stay at a Walt Disney World Value or Moderate resort, Disney Free Disney is the best discount of the year, by far. Well, there may be situations that if you travel alone and stay at a moderate resort that some other discount may be equal or slightly better, but that would be very, very few situations.
If your family consists of 2 adults and 2 or more teens, Disney Free Dining is almost always the best discount of the year.
However, if your family likes to stay at the Walt Disney World deluxe resorts, and is only 2 adults, or maybe even 2 adults and 2 young kids, Disney Free Dining is rarely the best discount, and you can almost always find better deals throughout the year.
Let’s look at the math:
2 adults, 1 child staying at the Polynesian Village, theme park view room for 7 nights:
- Disney Free Dining Savings: $1,052
- 30% Room discount Savings: $1,566
2 adults staying at the Grand Floridian, garden view room for 5 nights:
- Disney Free Dining Savings: $637
- 30% Room discount Savings: $989
2 adults, 3 children staying at the Saratoga Springs, 2-bedroom villa for 10 nights:
- Disney Free Dining Savings: $1,959
- 30% Room discount Savings: $2,086
Of course, Disney Free Dining can be a fantastic deal for most families:
2 adults, 2 teens staying at Pop Century, standard room for 7 nights:
- Disney Free Dining Savings: $1,236
- 30% Room discount Savings: $271
2 adults, 3 teens staying at Caribbean Beach, standard view room for 10 nights:
- Disney Free Dining Savings: $3,185
- 30% Room discount Savings: $643
2 adults, 4 teens staying in a cabin at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort for 5 nights:
- Disney Free Dining Savings: $1,911
- 30% Room discount Savings: $538
2 adults staying at All-Star Movies, standard room for 7 nights:
- Disney Free Dining Savings: $618
- 30% Room discount Savings: $248
Please note that these prices are just estimates, and are only used as an example for this article.
So, you can see that for most people going to Walt Disney World, the Disney Free Dining deal is the best deal of the year, by far. But for others, it really doesn’t help much as they can get better savings just about anytime.
We have not seen a Disney Free Dining discount for 2016. In 2015, the discount was released on April 27, and if we are to see Disney Free Dining again in 2016, I would expect it to be released around that same time, late April or early May, and I would expect to see it cover similar dates as 2015. However, we will not know if we will see it at all until it is actually released to the public.
Want to keep an eye out for Disney Free Dining?
- Check out our facbook page, any information we have will be posted there as soon as we have it.
- Stop by our main website at Mouseketrips, again, any information will be posted there first. We even have a newsletter that you can subscribe to that will email you once a discount is released.
- Check out this Disney Free Dining website, it features complete information on historical Disney Free Dining release and travel dates. They also have a notification system you can sign up for to get notified as soon as Disney Free Dining is released.
Well, there you go. Feel free to ask any questions about Disney Free Dining that you may have.