Walt Disney World offering free dining plans for fall and winter visitors

Posted Friday, May 9, 2014 8:49 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Walt Disney World Resort hotels are offering savings for guests who book fall and winter vacations. Guests who buy a non-discounted six-nights/seven-days Magic Your Way Package will receive a free dining plan.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Friday, May 9, 2014 11:41 AM

Is this normal (to have these offers announced at this time of year?

Is this the first indication that Disney has read the tea-leaves and knows how much Potter 2.0 is going to affect their off-season business (Which is usually booked in summer and will be when Potter 2.0 is top of mind via news/web/print articles.

Curious to know if anyone follows the normal "pricing and offering trends" and can identify if this is outside the norm.

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Friday, May 9, 2014 11:52 AM

IIRC, this is about the normal time to announce the fall dining deals. Try to steer people to WDW when they are thinking about how to spend their annual vacation money.

We didn't stay on property this year, but the two previous times we booked for the end of August at least a few months in advance and got the free dining deal as part of the package.

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Friday, May 9, 2014 11:54 AM

This has been the standard deal for a few years (pre-Potter 1.0???) and it's meant to get more business during a normally "slow" period. If you look at the dates, they are for when the kids are back in school, and tend to exclude the major holiday times.

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Friday, May 9, 2014 12:46 PM

I have heard from various people that as long as you check in on one of the days you will be able to use the free dining for your entire stay, even if it falls out of that window.

My family was planning on going 12/24-12/30, but I would find a way to make it there on 12/23 if it meant free dining the whole time (especially since we were planning on the dining plan anyway).

Can anyone confirm?

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Friday, May 9, 2014 1:52 PM

According to the Disney website it says the offer is valid for Arrivals up to and including 12/23, so it might be worth it. Always best to call, or chat with a rep online to confirm, though.

Also, its free Quick Service Plan for the Value Resorts, and Regular Dining Plan for the others.

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Friday, May 9, 2014 3:07 PM

I don't think this is unique to this year... it's the seasonal discounting they've always done.

I don't buy any of the punditry that suggests that more Potter is going to harm Disney in any way. The parks sure as hell aren't getting less busy, and they didn't during the first UO expansion either.

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Friday, May 9, 2014 4:15 PM

I would imagine for every family that skips a Disney vacation for Universal there is a family that wasnt planning an Orlando vacation at all but goes for Potter and spends a couple days at Disney while they are in town.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014 8:39 AM

Thanks all. I knew that Disney offered these types of packages for the off-sesaon, but didn't know if this is when they usually released them, and/or if the offer was similar to past years.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014 5:05 PM

I noticed they said the free dining plan was for "non-discounted" Magic Your Way bookings. I wonder if, in the long run, people are getting a better deal with a full-priced package but free dining or vice-versa. Every time I've stayed at Disney, it was either all set up for me through school or through a Disney guru at AAA, so I really don't know too much about the proportions we spent money on. I can't imagine getting a free dining plan would be the same monetary value as some of the other discounts Disney probably offers.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014 6:02 PM

The last time we did the dining plan, we actually felt that it was too much food, particularly the counter service with a dessert. It was also hard to get evening reservations for dinner, diluting the value even more. In this case, we only booked a month in advance, and that hurt us for dining.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014 6:40 PM

We really took advantage of the resorts 24 hour restaurant. We could refill our sippy cups whenever we wanted, get a sandwich or a pizza late night, and if we couldn't fit our snacks in at the park we'd just show up down there for a Mickey ice cream bar or something.

Dining plan is a lot of food, and reservations being what they are, there were a couple of times where we felt like we just weren't hungry enough to sit down again so soon. To fix that situation we planned evenings where we would double up a dinner credit or two for some finer-dining meals in the nicer restaurants. It made the other days a little lighter and we were perfectly happy with just one quick service meal for that day then be on our own for a light supper. So all in all I thought the choices were great, it was an easy process, and worth the money.

I agree the dining reservations so far out in advance is a problem for those who are late planners, and it sucks when a month in advance is considered late. We managed ok, but there were a couple of places on our wish list that we couldn't get.

On account of that, though, we had a happy surprise occurrence when we squeezed into Cat Cora's Kouzzina at Boardwalk and had a really wonderful Valentine's day meal. The food was delicious, the place was busy, and the atmosphere was fun. I guess it's about to close for good, though. I'm not sure why, (location, location, location?) but wouldn't ya know.

Last edited by RCMAC, Saturday, May 10, 2014 6:42 PM
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Saturday, May 10, 2014 7:37 PM

Haven't eaten there, I think because nothing on the menu appealed to me. Other than the bar food at ESPN Club (which is impossible to get in to when there are sports), the choices on Boardwalk do not thrill me.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014 8:35 PM

We ate at the microbrewery there. I don't remember what I had to eat, but the beer was good and Elliott enjoyed his grilled cheese and fruity drink... then he fell asleep.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014 8:38 PM

Yeah, the food there is really mediocre.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014 8:42 PM

Probably why I don't remember it... well, that and the beer.

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Sunday, May 11, 2014 11:15 AM

Ah, the beer...

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