Updated January 2, 2019.
Free Dining is an amazing deal (for some) in which a dining plan is received when booking a My Magic Plus vacation package. This package includes a resort reservation and tickets at full price with a free dining plan. A family of 2 adults and 2 children ages 3-9 would save $152.55 per night with the Quick Service Dining Plan, while a family of 2 adults and 2 children over the age of 9 would save $206.93 per night. You can see why this promotion is so popular!
In 2019, a 5 night stay and a minimum of a 4 day Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus ticket per person is also required to book a free dining package. Dining Plans this year continue to include an alcoholic or non-alcoholic specialty beverage at each meal.
When is it Offered?
While traditionally released in the spring (usually April), Disney’s 2019 Free Dining promotion was released January 2. This promotion is valid for arrivals most nights July 5, 2019 through September 30, 2019.
Remember that you only need to arrive during these dates. As long as your arrival date is within the promotion dates, you will receive free dining throughout your trip (for up to 14 days).
Disney has been offering Free Dining for fall travel dates each year since 2006. It was initially offered to boost fall attendance. Fall attendance has risen significantly since this promotion began and the promotion has become more limited each year. Many guess that this promotion will stop being offered in the next few years.
It is speculated that Disney released the promotion early and added summer dates to get attendance rates up before the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. It seems that people may be waiting to book a trip until the opening dates of the new Star Wars land are released.
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How Do I Get It?
Disney’s 2019 Free Dining offer is an extremely popular promotion and certain travel dates traditionally sell out on the first day. Because it was surprisingly released early, you may have a little more time than that. It is recommended that you book this package as soon as possible for the best availability. You must book your trip by February 10, 2019 to receive Free Dining.
Resorts included in 2019:
- All Star Music
- All Star Sports
- Art of Animation – Family Suites Only
- Pop Century
- Port Orleans- Riverside
- Caribbean Beach
- Coronado Springs
- Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Beach Club Resort
- BoardWalk Inn
- Grand Floridian
- Wilderness Lodge
- Yacht Club
- Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House and Kidani Village
- Bay Lake Tower
- Beach Club Villas
- BoardWalk Villas
- Boulder Ridge Villas
- Copper Creek Villas and Cabins
- Old Key West
- Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
- Saratoga Springs
It is important to note that as long as you arrive during the free dining promotion dates, you get free dining throughout your stay, even if your vacation extends beyond the promotion dates. If you begin your trip before the promotion starts and your trip extends into the promotion dates, you are not eligible for free dining. If this happens to you, you are able to book a split stay. This means that you will have two reservations; one for the beginning of your trip and another for when the free dining promotion starts. You could stay at the same resort or two different resorts. In this case, you will only receive free dining for the second portion of your trip.
It is speculated that another wave of free dining will be offered later this year for November and December free dining dates.
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Will It Save Me Money?
It is wise to crunch the numbers before booking Disney’s 2019 free dining promotion to see if it offers you the best value. Free dining does come with restrictions. There are a limited number of rooms and some resorts are excluded. It can’t be combined with any other offer, meaning you will pay full price for your room. In recent years Disney has been requiring the purchase of Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus tickets when booking this package. The combination of these restrictions means that a room only discount or other offer may save you more money than a free dining package.
In 2019 those staying at a Value or Moderate resort will receive the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan while those staying at a Deluxe Resort will receive the Disney Dining Plan. You are able to pay the difference and upgrade to another dining plan. If you’re staying in a Value or Moderate resort it will cost $22.99/night per guest ages 10 and up and $4.20/night per guest ages 3-9 to upgrade to the Dining Plan or $63.75/night per guest ages 10 and up and $19.70/night per guest ages 3-9 to upgrade to the Deluxe Dining Plan. If you’re staying in a Deluxe resort it will cost $40.76/night per guest ages 10 and up and $15.50/night per guest ages 3-9 to upgrade to the Deluxe Dining Plan.
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Disney’s 2019 free dining offer saves a lot of money for some and actually costs more for others. It is important to do the math to see if it is cost effective for you. Sometimes a room discount and basic tickets are a better deal. If you’re only getting Park Hopper tickets to get free dining, you may end up paying more for free dining due to the more expensive tickets and full priced room.
Did you find this useful? If so, you may be interested in purchasing my Disney planning course, Disney World Vacation Planning Made Easy.
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