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Disney World Free Dining 2016?

Tusker House Animal Kingdom

One of the most popular promotions that Disney has historically released just about every year is the free dining package. This promotion adds on the Disney Dining Package for free if you book a non-discounted (full price) Magic Your Way room + park ticket package. Disney announced the free dining promotion for 2015 a few months ago but I have already started getting inquiries from readers who are looking into their 2016 trips if Disney will be releasing a package for next year.

Is Free Dining a Good Deal?

Yes it is a very good deal, one of the best promotions that Disney releases. Even though you have to book a full price package, getting in on a free dining package can save you big bucks when it comes to your vacation, you’ll still come out way ahead.

The quick service dining plan for costs $42.84 ($17.47 children) and the full dining plan costs $61.84 ($20.96 children) per person per night. If a typical family of 4 (3 adults and 1 child) were to pay for the dining package for their trip it would cost them and additional $583.96 for the quick service and $825.92 for the full service dining plan.

Rose and Crown

Rose & Crown is a good option for full service dinner

The Quick Service dining plan comes standard with value resort bookings, the regular dining packages comes standard for moderate and above resorts. You can pay to upgrade from the quick service to regular dining (if you need all of that food) but I would recommend against it.

Will We See Free Dining in 2016?

Disney generally releases the free dining promotion during the slow times of the year to help drive visitors which I’m sure helps keeps rooms full. The biggest issue with the free dining packages is there is no guarantee that they a) will release a free dining package and b) what dates the free dining promotion will be.

Looking back historically here are the dates for the past few years that Disney has released free dining promotions:

  • August 2010
  • May 2011
  • August 2011
  • March 2012
  • July 2012
  • May 2013
  • August 2013
  • May 2014
  • April 2015

Again those were the months/years that Disney announced the free dining packages, most times the dates were for the following season. As you can see from the dates there are a few months during the course of the year that you can hope to expect a free dining package announcement.

Since 2010 August and May have been the months of choice for free dining announcements which were for travel dates in the fall. If we group April with May and the July dates with August you’re looking at a late summer or early spring announcement dates.

San Angel Inn is a Good Spot for Lunch

San Angel Inn is a Good Spot for Lunch

There are many factors that could change when the free dining packages are announced, Disney uses them as marketing tools to help fill rooms during slow periods – such as the fall which is why we see it during the fall most years.

Booking Challenges
The biggest complaint that I hear from guests every year is the very limited number of rooms and dates that are available for the free dining packages. Disney chooses specific dates at specific resorts that are showing lower capacity to offer the package for. I have heard from guests calling up just a few days after the promotion was announced only to find that most of the dates were taken already.

Since this is such a popular promotion many of the rooms and dates are booked immediately when the announcement is made; the very limited number of rooms are taken very quickly. You’ll need to book as quickly as you can and be flexible with the dates you go.

Tips for Scoring a 2016 Free Dining Package 

  1. Keep an eye out for an announcement on here on Frugal Mouse (http://www.frugalmouse.com) in the August/July  or April/May timeframes during 2016. Usually we’ll start hearing about some rumors in the few weeks leading up to the official announcement, I’ll post all information and rumors as soon as I hear about them.
  2. Be flexible – if a free dining promotion is announced be ready to book that day, you’ll also need some flexibility on where you stay and when you go. Disney releases packages on specific rooms on specific days, to take advantage you’ll need to adjust your vacation dates to match the promotion dates.
  3. Act quickly – Since this is such a popular money saving promotion, available rooms will go quickly, usually a bulk of them within a few days. Ideally if you are able to book the same day the promotion is announced to give you the most flexibility.

Don’t wait for a free dining promotion announcement to book your package if you are planning to stay on-site. Disney allows you to change the dates of your package as well as apply promotions to existing bookings as they are announced. I always recommend to book on the dates you want then keep an eye out for a free dining announcement.

 

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19 comments… add one
  1. Has the free meal plan promotion for 2016 been released?

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  2. when do you think free dining 2016 will come out?

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  3. Information on Free Dining Plan

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  4. Your advice to book the dates and then apply the promotion may be counter intuitive. .. if the hotels are already full by people pre booking then Disney would not consider that to be a slow season and would have no reason to offer the promotion

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  5. I concur with Leann. If you book before the free dining is announced, that is one less room available for the promotion. If you look at last year, the dates were very scattered, whereas years prior the promotion covered from October thru December with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks. Last year was hit or miss because the resorts were already booked up with place holders hoping for free dining. I always urge folks NOT to book, so the promotion will be more expanded in both rooms and dates.

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  6. Looking forward to hearing the meal plan dates

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  7. Do you have any information on the specific hotels that may be included in the free dining for 2016? My family is a part of 5 so we are limited on resorts we can book. Thanks

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    1. Not sure yet because nothing has been announced. Last year the excluded resorts were:
      Bay Lake Tower
      Villas at Grand Floridian
      Villas at Polynesian Village
      Port Orleans French Quarter
      All-Star Movies
      Little Mermaid (i.e. Standard) rooms at Art of Animation Resort
      Campsites and 3-bedroom villas
      Port Orleans Riverside – only available from 8/28/15 – 10/2/15.

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  8. Have you heard any rumors on whether Port Orleans Riverside will be included in the resorts available for the free dining? Last year it was excluded on some of the dates but the year before it was included.

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    1. In all previous years it has been included so if there is free dining this year I would expect to see it.

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      1. Thanks. I hope that they don’t exclude dates like last year with this resort. This is our resort of choice with a party of five and price. If they exclude it, do you have any suggestions on other resorts that accommodate a party of five that is inexpensive?

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        1. That’s the resort we are hoping for too!!! Sure wish dates would get released!

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        2. We stayed at Carribean Beach Resort last year with 5 on the free dining plan. It was really nice.

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    2. Rumour is it’s included this year. I agree with Leann, if everyone books ahead of time they won’t consider it a slow period.

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  9. Any updates on fall free dining rumors? Sure would be nice to get our trip booked! Hoping it happens soon!

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  10. when will the 2016 free dining plan come out??

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    1. No word of free dining for 2016 yet but stay tuned – I’ll post as soon as I hear something!

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  11. Another very valid source I follow says the announcement will be Monday morning April 25th…

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  12. Odd that you recommend not upgrading to standard dining, but then include San Angel as a good place to have lunch. If you had a quick service plan you couldn’t use it there.

    Reply

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