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May 4th, 2010, 12:05 AM #1Disney Free Dining Promo
For those of you who know me, you know our family loves Disney. We went to Disneyland three times last year, Disneyland Paris earlier this year, and have gone to Walt Disney World for a couple weeks every fall during the free dining promotion for the past few years. Depending on the number of people going, their ages, how long you're going, and what types of lodging you like (or are willing to accept), the Free Dining promotion is usually the best deal of the year. (It works out the best for parties of 4 [or multiples thereof], adults and kids 10+, 7-14 day trips, and the lower end Disney hotels.)
Anyway, Disney just opened up the Free Dining promo to everyone this morning. We were already booked (we did a bounceback offer during our stay last fall) and they released the promo last Thursday for Disney Visa cardholders, but as of today it's opened up for everyone.
Here are the details on Disney's site: Disney Free Dining Link
Here's a summary of some of the details (many of which aren't listed on their site) for the promotion:
1) You must book by 8/14/10 (although you want to book ASAP) for stays of 3-14 days checking in anywhere from 8/15/10 through 10/2/10.
2) Your package must include a 2-10 day park ticket.
3) If you stay in a Value resort, you get the Quick Service Dining Plan for free. If you stay in a Moderate resort, you get the full Disney Dining Plan for free. (If you stay in a Deluxe resort, it's possible that this isn't the best deal for you.) We've stayed at Value resorts in the past and will be doing a Moderate this year. (In previous years, you got the full Dining Plan even in the Values.) The QSDP normally costs $31.99 per adult (or junior 10+) per night and $9.99 per child per night. The DDP normally costs $41.99 per adult per night and $11.99 per child per night.
4) The Quick Service Dining Plan includes 2 counter service meals and 2 snacks for each person for each night of your stay. The Disney Dining Plan includes 1 table service, 1 counter service and 1 snack for each person for each night of your stay.
A few tips:
1) Book your dining reservations ASAP. The best choices book up 180 days in advance (which is already past). Some of our favorites are Le Cellier, Tutto Italia, 1900 Park Fare, Chef Mickey’s, Ohana, Yachtsman Steakhouse, California Grill, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Whispering Canyon Café, Akershus Princess Storybook, and Chefs de France. Disney has some very nice restaurants.
2) The longer you can stay, the better value you'll get. Basically all you're paying for is the room (from $82/night for Value, from $149/night for Moderate) and the park tickets, and the park tickets are almost the same price for anything beyond 3 days. So each extra day (including food!) basically just costs you about $100 (Value) or $175 (Moderate).
3) If you stay longer than 10 days, you only get 10 days in the parks. (It's still worth it, though. You get dining for each night, and you can schedule some rest/pool days or do other things around Orlando.)
4) If you get a Value resort but would like to upgrade to the full DDP, it's an extra $10/night per adult (and juniors 10+) and $2/night per kid 3-9.
5) If you can stretch your stay into early October, the weather is usually a little more bearable and you can take advantage of the Food & Wine festival at Epcot (where you can use Snack Credits for food samples!). The resort prices go up a bit in October, but it's not too bad.
6) If your kids under 10 prefer grownup food, book them as 10 year olds. You'll have to pay about $30 more for the park ticket, but they'll get adult meals.
7) I have a cheat sheet I put together showing some of the best values for Counter Service and Snack credits, as well as some other details about each park. I may post that here if there's some interest.
The cost varies depending on the options you choose, the number in your party, the length of your stay and when you stay (prices are a bit higher in October). For a family of four with just the basic options (no upgraded rooms, no park hopper, and no water park add-on), your rough costs (hotel, tickets and free food) should be:
Value resorts: 7 days for $1600, 10 days for $1900, 14 days for $2300.
Moderate resorts: 7 days for $2100, 10 days for $2700, 14 days for $3400.
If you have any questions, just ask!
We'll be there from 9/26 - 10/9. If you're going and our trips overlap, let me know!
May 4th, 2010, 12:36 AM #2
May 4th, 2010, 12:59 AM #3
That was with a 30% room rate promo? You might want to consider the Free Dining. Your dates and resort with Park Hopper would be $2855 with the Free Dining promo. 13 days of free food at Disney for two people is easily worth the extra $668. You would be hard pressed to eat for that (unless it was fast food for every meal) even off-site.
May 4th, 2010, 01:27 AM #4
Whatever the promo, I think it's 20% for moderates (25% deluxe, 30% villas).
One of my meals is always in the room (I take sandwich stuff). Pretty much every day I'll eat at Cosmic Rays in MK (about $10; x2). The rest of my meals are at the food court at the resort ($7-8; x2).
If we ate a meal a day at each, it would only be about $460 (but we wont). The only thing we're doing different is eating at the California Grill (my dad has never eaten there). That and maybe a meal or so at Rainforest Cafe -- would be roughly the same amount anyway give or take.
May 4th, 2010, 01:35 AM #5
California Grill is good. Go on a night when they're doing fireworks at Magic Kingdom, and you can watch them from the observation deck. They pipe the music in so it's in sync with the fireworks.
May 4th, 2010, 02:00 AM #6
Yeah, we've already got the reservation for a fireworks night (Their Tamarind Beef is freakin awesome). We were going to try and do Le Cellier but getting a reservation there is always a pain.
I'm not much of a table service person when it comes to WDW, but he wants to try CG. If I do decide to sit down anywhere it's Beirgarten (or Rainforest). When I go down there by myself it's usually just Cosmic Rays every day (I'm a burger junkie, lol).
May 4th, 2010, 02:21 AM #7
Here's our dining plan:
Breakfast: 9/27 Donald's Safari Breakfast, the rest at counter service, probably Wolfgang Puck Express or Pepper Market most days.
Lunch: 9/28 (Grace's Birthday) Cinderella’s Royal Table, 9/29 Akershus, a few days of food samples (for Snack Credits) at Epcot's Food & Wine Festival, and various counter service meals for the rest.
Dinners: 9/27 Sanaa, 9/28 (Grace's Birthday) 1900 Park Fare, 9/29 Le Cellier, 9/30 Hollywood Brown Derby Fantasmic Package, 10/1 California Grill, 10/2 San Angel Inn, 10/3 'Ohana, 10/4 Tutto Italia, 10/5 Whispering Canyon Café, 10/6 Yachtsman Steakhouse, 10/7 Narcoossee’s, 10/8 Le Cellier.
Some we'll be trying for the first time: Sanaa, Hollywood Brown Derby, San Angel Inn and Narcoosseee's.
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