Walt Disney World Free Dining Promotion
(Usually $60.64 per adult for Standard and $41.99 per adult for quick-service)
Available when you book through July 10, 2015 for the following dates:
- August 28 – October 2, 2015
- October 25 – October 31, 2015
- November 8 – November 19, 2015
- December 15 – December 21, 2015
*NOTE – Although the website says a 6-night/7-day stay, it is actually valid on shorter stays and longer stays.
Although we typically focus on the merchandise side of things over here at NerdSteals, we know that even if you build out the best cubicle cave in the world, occasionally you may want to leave your hobbit hole and venture to a vacation destination. (You want to…or… perhaps your spouse makes you…same thing).
There’s currently a great steal for Disney Parks and Resorts in Orlando that, depending on your travel needs and dates, could save you a TON of cash by providing you all of your meals paid with a vacation package. Now, your mileage may vary and you’ll have to do some comparisons, but if it all aligns, you’ll be in the money (by being in the free food), especially if you have a gastronomic-focused family.
If you already know you’re interested, head on over to Disney Parks Online and check your dates. If you need a little more convincing, keep reading.
There are actually two variations depending on the resort “tier” you stay at. Disney Resorts are actually split into four tiers, which are Deluxe Villa, Deluxe, Moderate and Value.
- If you stay at a Value Resort (Disney’s Pop Century, All Star Music, All Star Sports, and Art of Animation Family Suites), you’ll be eligible for the Free Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan which entitles every person in your party to 2 Quick Service meals and 1 snack, as well as 1 refillable mug that is valid for the length of your stay. (The detailed Quick-Service Dining Plan PDF has all of the information on an exclusions, but it’s available at nearly every counter service location on property).
- If you stay at a Deluxe Villa, Deluxe, or Moderate resort, you’ll be eligible for the Standard Dining Plan which entitles every person in your party to 1 Quick Service meal, 1 Table Service meal, and 1 snack per day, as well as 1 refillable mug that is valid for the length of your stay. This one can be a bit more tricky to use as there are a few table service locations known as “Signature Restaurants” that require 2 of your Table Service Credits to dine at, but they are clearly noted in the detailed Standard Dining Plan PDF. Note that having the table service dining plan does NOT guarantee you that you’ll be able to eat at your favorite restaurant without a reservation. You should always pre-plan any “must eat” dining reservations for table service locations at the Disney Dining Reservation Portal or with your travel agent.
OK, but how much do I really save?:
The answer to how much you save really depends on your group and how you usually dine. If you don’t typically eat anything but a churro and contraband peanut butter sandwiches in the parks, this isn’t the deal for you. If you are traveling with three or four adults in a room, it’s almost impossible to match free dining’s savings, especially if you have a min/maxer traveler in your group who will take on the reservations task. You’ll have to compare directly to be certain you’re getting the best deal, because Disney almost always has discounted room rates available as well.
I’ve broken out the min/max on the dining plan below for you to help you evaluate how much it’s really saving you, but the easy math is that Disney typically sells the dining plan out of pocket for $41.99 for the Quick Service Plan, and $60.64 for the standard dining plan for adults. You can actually view the menus for all Disney Dining locations at Allears.net to map out your personal savings based on your guests, and my min/maxes are based on current info (which is always changing).
One last bit is that the value of the plan is in credits, and you can choose to use zero one day, and two the next if you want. Which works out great if you plan to spend a day at one of those *other* theme parks.
Based on the below the standard dining plan could save you $21.17 per adult per day OR up to $83.49 depending on how you use it.
- One Snack Credit (either plan) – Minimum Value $2.50
- Example: $2.50 Bottled Water
- One Snack Credit (either plan) – Maximum Value $5.49
- Example: $5.49 Frozen Cupcake
- One Counter Service Credit (either plan) – Minimum Value $6.19
- Breakfast is the least beneficial meal to use credits on, because no dessert is included.
- Example: $3.69 Cereal with milk plus $2.50 bottle of water at Pizzafari in Animal Kingdom
- One Counter Service Credit (either plan) – Maximum Value $28.50
- Example: $20 Oven Roasted Salmon, plus $6 Creme Brulee with Berries, plus $2.50 bottle of water at Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney
- One Table Service Credit (Standard Plan Only) – Minimum Value $12.48
- Again, Breakfast isn’t a great idea with the plan, because dessert is not included. I don’t know what they have against ice cream for breakfast…
- Example: $3.49 Juice and $8.99 Forest Combo at Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom
- One Table Service Credit (Standard Plan Only) – Maximum Value $49.50
- Example: $30 Steak, $13 Hazelnut Cake and $6.50 Pellegrino at Tutto Italia in Epcot
All in all, if you are a family of adults in a single room, or are traveling for a special occasion and want to indulge in steak, creme brulee, and other fine foods for the duration of your trip, it’s a pretty great option.