Disney World's 'free dining' offer is back - here's how to get it

January 6, 2020, 4:31 PM · It's a new year, and Walt Disney World is dropping some new offers to entice fans to visit the resort this summer.

Disney's got three offers on the table for families thinking about a trip to the Orlando theme parks. First up is the return of Disney's "free dining" deal, which includes either the Disney Dining Plan or Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan (depending upon which class of hotel you book) on five-night, sic-day vacation packages booked through Disney. But you must book in the next 10 days (by January 16) and the deal is available only for arrivals on selected nights from June 27 through 28, July 5 through 7, and August 29 through September 8, 2020.

Walt Disney World also is offering a "free dining" plan for kids ages 3-9 on four-night, four-day vacation packages, again when booked through Disney. That deal must be booked by February 26 and is good for arrivals most nights from May 25 through August 28, 2020.

Finally, if the dining deals aren't your thing, Disney is offering up to 25 percent off its hotel rates for most nights April 1 through September 12, when you book by February 26. (No, you can't combine offers. The "free dining" is available only on rooms at otherwise undiscounted rates.)

If you would like to price Disney's deals against those offered by other hotels in the area, you can check hotel rates for your preferred vacation dates through our travel partner.

And now, I turn it to over to our readers to comment on Disney's vacation package pricing, and when it is - or isn't - a good deal for visitors.

Replies (4)

January 7, 2020 at 8:39 AM

Every year these deals just get worse and worse. The "free dining" deal is so restrictive, it's almost impossible to contort a visit to make it qualify for it. They're only giving you 16 possible arrival dates to choose from in order to qualify for this deal, and on the day they officially announced this offer, guests only had 2 weeks to book their trips to take advantage of the free dining. If the summer free dining promotion is this restrictive, I can only imagine how limited the fall offer will be, if there even is one.

The kid's free dining offer is new one, but forces everyone in the room to purchase the DDP, meaning if you have just one 3-9 old child and one or 2 older kids, you're probably outlaying more money to purchase the DDP for everyone than you would save in getting the younger child for free. Paying for the DDP is a money losing proposition unless you're an extremely good planner and big eaters.

I'm not sure if these limitations are a function of the popularity of these promotions or an overall increase in occupancy across WDW, but guests are starting to catch onto what Disney has been doing with fewer and fewer people falling for these Jedi mind tricks. Disney is getting slammed on the message boards for these highly restrictive offers and the inability of guests with pre-existing reservations to get a hold of a Disney Travel Specialist to modify their booking to qualify for the deals. The day these offers were announced last week, hold times were well over 90 minutes even to modify ADRs since everything goes through the same exchange now.

January 7, 2020 at 10:51 AM

These deals seem like a poor offering to those of you in the USA. For us in the UK however we are offered ‘free dining’ pretty much all the time so for us it’s a no-brainier. My wife and I upgrade to the Table Service plan but even so the amount of food we can enjoy and in particular the access to upscale restaurants that we would otherwise never even consider makes this extraordinary value for us. We are BIG fans of the DDP but would feel totally differently if we had to purchase it or wrangle our stay around restrictions like these!

January 7, 2020 at 11:05 AM

@David Brown - Not only do guests have to wrangle their stay around these restrictions, but so frequently these deals are announced inside of the 180-day ADR booking window (at least this one you have time to book for the Labor Day period). That means even if you're able to make the deal work for your vacation, you may not get all of the reservations you want because all of the most popular restaurants and times are already booked.

The juice is so rarely worth the squeeze anymore for these promotions, and you have to be really careful to recognize that something Disney is selling as a "deal" won't actually save you any money.

January 7, 2020 at 12:19 PM

@ Russell.
I totally get that! For us in the UK we are able to secure a Disney package with 2 week’s free dining up to 15 months ahead of the actual stay!

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