If you have been looking around online for the past few days you have noticed there are rumors circulating. The word is that Disney will be releasing FREE dining promotions on April 24, 2017. That’s next Monday. This is very exciting, BUT… remember as of right now it is just a rumor. However, sense we are getting close to the time that promotions are historically released, let’s talk about the possibilities of FREE dining for fall 2017.
If you know me, you know I love Disney dining. I have always been an advocate of using the dining plans. You can see some of my reasons why here. However, last year we went without the dining plan and tracked our expenses. You can see the breakdown of it here. Yes, it is true that you can save money on food by not buying the dining plan. HOWEVER, if there is FREE dining for fall 2017, that means you can save a ton!
Here are how the promotions have historically worked
- Dining plans only work if you are staying at a Disney Resort
- In the past if you stayed at a value resort, you got the Quick Service Dining Plan, if you stayed at a moderate resort you got the Plus Dining Plan, and if you stayed at a deluxe resort you received the Deluxe Dining plan.
- There is usually a minimum night stay.
- There are usually black out dates during the period that the promotions run. If you check in during the promotion you receive the deal even if you stay into the black out dates.
- For example if the FREE dining for Fall 2017 is from September 1 – September 29, October 7 – 18, and November 2- 22nd (this is only an example, not actual dates) as long as you check in during the valid dates you receive the promotion for the entire length of stay. So, if you check in on October 18th and stay for 7 nights you receive free dining for your whole stay.
- If you have a dining plan that includes table service meals you will still need to pay the gratuity, just like if you had purchased the plan.
- You will still have a very small expense, which I believe is a tax on the dining plan. It is minimal and well worth spending for free dining.
The Mouse for Less has a great list that shows the dates for free dining during past years. This can be a good way to anticipate what could be released for free dining for fall 2017, however, there are no guarantees.
What the Rumors are for FREE Dining For Fall 2017
Here are some of the “details” that have been thrown around for the promotion that is rumored to be released:
Dates stated in the rumors
- August 13 – September 30, 2017
- November 14 – 20, 2017
- November 25 – 27, 2017
- December 8 – 23, 2017
The big thing that is standing out is that the rumors are stating that Moderate and Value resort guests will receive the quick service dining plan while the Plus Dining Plan will go to Deluxe resorts. If this is the way the dice fall for the promotion this year I will be disappointed. When paying to stay at a moderate my personal opinion is that you should receive a bump up on your dining plan. There are also rumors that Port Orleans Riverside will be excluded from free dining, which is a bummer for families of 5 (like mine) that prefer to stay in 1 standard room instead of having to get a suite or two separate rooms. If Caribbean Beach is open families of 5 could go there, but they are undergoing major refurbishments.
What to Do Next?
If you are thinking about taking advantage of FREE dining for fall 2017 if the promotion is released here is what you need to do:
- Choose the dates you want to go, but be flexible.
- Consider making a down payment on a trip right now. If the promotions are released you can call back and have Disney apply the promotion and move your dates if they need to so your trip qualifies.
- Keep your eyes and ears open. FREE dining promotions fill up fast. Disney only releases so many rooms for each resort with promotional pricing. You do not want to delay or you might miss your chance at the deal.
- Consider working with a travel agent. Disney Authorized Vacation Planners can handle all of this for you at no extra costs. Check out this for more information.
- Sign up to receive an email notification when promotions are released: