It’s that time of year again. Disney has released details on one of their most popular promotions of the year, the “free” Dining Plan offer. The company made some interesting changes to the promotion this year, possibly making it less of a value if you’re considering it.
What’s changed in the 2017 free Dining Plan at Walt Disney World vs. 2016’s plan?
One of the biggest changes in the free Dining Plan this year is that, unlike last year’s plan where the moderate resorts got the regular Dining Plan for free, guests staying at both value and moderate resorts are receiving the Quick Service Dining Plan for free in 2017. Guests staying at select deluxe resorts and deluxe villas will receive the regular Dining Plan for free, of course, on select dates. If you’re staying at a value or moderate Resort, you can still upgrade to the regular Dining Plan for a fee.
What dates do I need to book in order to qualify for the free Dining Plan?
Disney tends to offer these free Dining Plans during the slower times to draw in more people. Also, these dates are not for all resorts; each hotel has specific dates tied to it for this promotion. It would be best to call Disney directly at 407-WDW-DINE (939-3463) to book this deal and to make sure the following dates are currently available:
- August 21 through September 30, 2017
- November 14 through 20, 2017
- November 25 through 27, 2017
- December 8 through 23, 2017
What are the other requirements to receive the free Dining Plan for 2017?
There are also a few other stipulations that guests must meet in order to qualify for the free Dining Plan:
- Your trip must consist of a minimum of five nights (and a maximum of 14) at select Walt Disney World resorts
- Your park tickets must be at least a Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus
- Tickets must also be a minimum of a two-day Magic Your Way
- You must book your stay by July 7, 2017
- Tickets and options must be used within 14 days of first use
Which resorts are not included in the free Dining Plan?
Not all Walt Disney World resort rooms are available for the free Dining Plan. If you’re staying at one of the below hotels, you can call and have it changed to another that is participating in the free Dining Plan.
- 3-bedroom villas
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – Little Mermaid standard rooms
- Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & bungalows
You can view details on which resorts work on which dates with this promo by visiting the official site here.
Is the “free” Dining Plan promotion worth it?
One of the biggest questions about the “free” Dining Plan that Disney offers every year is: “Is it worth it?” A big deciding factor in this is figuring out if any other promotion or discount Disney is offering is greater than the discount you would receive if you opted into the “free” Dining Plan. You would easily spend $200 more a night if you wanted to upgrade from a moderate to a deluxe resort to qualify for the regular Dining Plan for free – not to mention the fee that you would have to pay to upgrade to a Park Hopper ticket, which is around $75 a ticket. Most families visiting Walt Disney World don’t really need a Park Hopper ticket, which allows you to visit multiple theme parks in one day. Families can easily spend a whole day at just one park – and, even if you decided to cut early, there are tons of other options, including separate-ticketed events such as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which may still be cheaper to add on instead of this “free” Dining Plan.
The “free” Dining Plan promotion is not for everyone; it is simply best to sit down and figure where and how you want to spend your money and factor in other promotions, as well, as Disney is usually running more than just one offer at a time. If you normally stay at a deluxe resort, this promotion works great. If you’re staying at a value resort, you may want to think twice.
If you are considering taking Disney up on the offer, act fast, as these rooms usually fill up rather quickly.
For more details and to view all of the promotions going on at Disney World, check out Disney’s site.