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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Disney World Free Dining is Back for 2018! - All the Details


by: guide4wdw - Collin

Disney World Free Dining is Back for 2018! - All the Details

Despite my personal thoughts that free dining could possibly end this year, it looks as if it's back for another year of free Disney dining for select stays. Before we go into a few free dining tips and things to consider, here's a closer look at the offer itself:

Chefs De France - Free Disney Dining 2018

Disney World Free Dining Dates:    

Booking Dates (when you can book your stay and receive the offer): 

4/24/18 to 7/7/18 

For stays: 

8/20/18 through 9/29/18 

11/24/18 through 11/27/18 
12/7/18 through 12/23/18

What to Consider Before Booking 

If you are looking to book this offer you will want to be aware of a few things along the way. First and foremost make sure it will be saving you money! Sometimes the requirement to book a resort room on property at a non-discounted rate in order to book the free dining promotion can be more expensive than booking otherwise on a different offer or percentage discount. Specifically for annual passholders, depending on your dates, you may be eligible for different discounts that could make your stay cheaper, even if you buy the dining plan out of pocket in addition to the resort you book. The kicker to all of this is the specific requirement of booking a "non-discounted" room. Oftentimes what you save on a discounted room more than makes up for the cost to add the dining plan of your choice out of pocket (but that is not always the case). 

Many guests still find booking the free dining plan offer a better plan for them on the basis of convenience, but if you book with a travel agency they can and will weigh the differences and choose the most cost effective option for you. As always, we recommend Destinations to Travel for your booking needs. It's who we use and recommend and they help us out along the way (free quote request form below). As always, you can book this offer through Disney on your own as well with no variation in cost. 

What is Free Dining?

If you've made it this far in the article but haven't yet heard about what free dining actually is, you've come to the right place and it could be the ideal offer for you. Free dining in and of itself is an add-on offering to a Disney vacation that is provided as a booking incentive for select dates each year. In the beginning, free dining was an incredible deal. The price was fair and the offer included not only the deluxe but also the moderate tier resorts giving guests the opportunity to receive standard tier free dining at almost any dining location in Walt Disney World on a meal credit basis. Each guest traditionally received one snack credit, one quick service meal, and one table service meal during each day of their stay.  

As the plan grew in popularity, the structure changed slightly and now includes two snack offerings, one quick service offering, and one table service offering. You also receive a free refillable drink mug to be used at the resort of your choice during your stay. If you are looking to book the recently debuted promotion but are interested in upgrading from the standard dining plan to a deluxe dining plan you can pay the difference to do so with this offer. Personally, I wouldn't upgrade to deluxe. It sounds like an awesome way to travel but the standard plan is typically more than enough food for guests of all ages. Unless you are looking to book a culinary adventure and that will be the focus of your stay, I would stick with standard and save yourself a bit of money. 

On the contrary, if you book a value or moderate resort and intend to book this offer, I recommend upgrading from a quick service dining plan (included in the offer for those resort tiers) to the standard plan in order to experience more of the table service offerings on property. The quick service plan only includes two quick service meals, two snacks, and a refillable mug. I really think it's worth the upgrade and you'll likely enjoy a more elaborate dining experience during your trip. The difference in cost is about $20 per person per day to upgrade to standard and around $40 per person to upgrade to deluxe.       

Epcot - Free Disney Dining 2018

Ticket Requirement       

In order to take advantage of this rate, you will be required to book a 5 night 6-day Magic Your Way Package with park hopper. The park hopper option has not always been a requirement but it will be this year. According to Disney's site, packages for other lengths of stay may be available. 

Included Resorts   

Here's a closer look at what resorts are included in the offer. As always, there is a limited amount of availability for the offer dates at each resort. 

In this case, the following resorts will be eligible for Quick Service Dining Plans:
Disney's All Star Resorts (Music and Sports) 
Disney's Art of Animation Resort - Family Suites Only 
Disney's Pop Century Resort 

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort  
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort 

In regards to those that will receive Regular Dining Plans:
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village and Jambo House Villas
Disney's Beach Club Villas 
Disney's Boardwalk Villas 
Disney's Old Key West Resort 
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa 

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney's Beach Club Resort 
Disney's BoardWalk Inn
Disney's Garden Floridian Resort and Spa
Disney's Yacht Club Resort

Note: Offer Excludes campsites, 3 bedroom villas, and Little Mermaid Standard Rooms at the Art of Animation Resort.  

The Strange Disney Free Dining "Loophole"

If you're concerned about just missing the offer dates window, you'll want to consider this somewhat strange aspect of the promotion. Offer eligibility is based on when you check in to your resort. If you arrive on a date that is available for the offer but your stay extends past the end of the offer window, you will still be eligible for free dining. However, if you arrive on a date that is not included in the offer dates, you will not be eligible for free dining even if your dates continue on into an eligible date or series of dates. 

The best way to understand this is to think strictly about your arrival date. Everything is based on when you arrive at your chosen resort. If your dates are already set and part of your stay is included but not your arrival date, there is a work around but it's not the best workaround. To utilize the 'loophole," book two stays on corresponding dates. It wont be ideal but you'll end up receiving free dining for at least a portion of your stay. The round about way booking strategy will come with a few challenges but could save you quite a bit of money if you are traveling with a large party or staying an extended amount of time. 

Disney World Free Dining 2018

Our Other Dining Plan Posts and More Information

This post only really scratches the surface of the realm of free dining tips available across our site and other sites. If you're looking for a few more in depth tips, don't forget to check out our other posts below: 

Your Thoughts
As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you're there, and we'll keep the conversation going in the future. We're not the largest Disney community, but we're one that's there and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are! 

Ready to Plan?

Need help planning your vacation? Let our friends over at Destinations to Travel (FREE - no obligation quote request form below) help you out at no additional cost to you! Their services are free and a great way for you to help out the site at no extra cost to you! Here's a closer look at why I recommend an Authorized Disney Travel Planner!

Last but certainly not least, if you're starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You'll probably even save money along the way.

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