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5 Tips for Using Free Dining at Walt Disney World – by Jenn Greene

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(Editor’s Note: Jenn Greene is The Adult Side of Disney’s agent at Destinations in Florida Travel, the official travel agency for our site. Jenn will regularly be sharing tips for our readers. Rumors are flying around that Free Dining will be announced in early May for reservations starting in September – I never like to put rumors out on the site, but based on historical information this has always been one of the times that free dining is released – who knows if it will or not – so in the meantime – here are some tips from Jenn about Free Dining) 

Message Boards and Twitter have started to buzz and Disney fans are frantically waiting for those 2 words “Free Dining” to appear with a promotion. Before you start to get excited, I have heard nothing about Free Dining for 2014, this is just a helpful post on how to tackle this popular promotion from a Disney Travel Professional.

1. Don’t plan your vacation based on past Disney promotions, you will just set yourself up for a letdown if that promotion doesn’t come out. In recent years we have seen promotions from Room Only Discounts, Room and Ticket Discounts, and Room/Ticket and Dining discounts. Any Disney Discount is better than no discount.

2. If your are set on booking only if/when Free Dining comes out then don’t have a specific resort in mind. As with most Disney promotions we are seeing A LOT of resorts that are not included in the promotions. You can guarantee that Art of Animation-Little Mermaid Rooms, 3 bedroom Villas, Grand Floridian Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Campgrounds and most likely Port Orleans French Quarter will be excluded from this promotion.  With recent promotions we have even seen All Star Movies excluded, so you never know what Disney will do.

3. How does Free Dining Work? If you are staying at a Value resort you will get a free quick service Dining plan for everyone in your party, you can upgrade for the price difference to the Plus Dining Plan. If you are staying at a Moderate or Value Resort you will get the Plus Dining for free.  This is a great promotion for guests that have never used the dining plan before, they can try it out and see if it works for them! Also a great promotion for guests that want to try new Disney restaurants that wouldn’t normally dine there because they are on a budget.

4. Don’t have your Disney Vacation dates locked in if you want to participate in Free Dining promos. Last year when it was announced for the Fall Season it was only valid for 6 weeks! That isn’t much time to play around with. Disney did extend it, but only for a few weeks past September into October. Christmas Season will NEVER see a Free Dining promo, so don’t hold out hope for that if you want to go to Disney in November or December.

5. Don’t have your restaurants picked out and ready to book, you may be surprised that they aren’t available. Some restaurants must be booked 6 months in advance, I hate to say that but it’s true. If you book a last minute Free Dining promotion and  want to eat at Be Our Guest or Ohana, it’s not happening. Use this promotion for restaurants you always wanted to try but never have. You will be less stressed out and not feel “let down” that you couldn’t get into a more popular location.

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Note: You can contact Jenn to get a price quote for your next Disney vacation HERE. Remember, you can book now and if Free Dining is announced, Jenn will be sure to have the promotion applied to your reservation!