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Vacation Planning Tips & Tricks Discuss Is it worth waiting for the free dining plan? in the Vacation Planning forums; I've been wanting to plan a trip to WDW, I am wondering if I should wait for September to take advantage of the free dining plan/lower room rates/less crowds. Is ...
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    Artemis908's Avatar
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    Is it worth waiting for the free dining plan?

    I've been wanting to plan a trip to WDW, I am wondering if I should wait for September to take advantage of the free dining plan/lower room rates/less crowds. Is that time of the year the cheapest time to visit? I just want to save as much as money as possible!





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    Re: Is it worth waiting for the free dining plan?

    You really just have to do the math, sometimes discounted room prices are a better deal than the dining plan. I did free dining in August 08, and it worked out really well, and the crowd levels were great, the crowd calender over at touringplans.com was very accurate, I used it to determine the dates I chose, which was the week of Labor Day. One word of advice though, even the the crowds are great, it is still very hot this time of year, I had to grab a shower mid-day most days I sweat so much.









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    Re: Is it worth waiting for the free dining plan?

    Also, be sure to ask if the free dining plan is returning this year. I heard Disney is making some major cutbacks now that their attendance figures are rising.
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    Re: Is it worth waiting for the free dining plan?

    I did the free dining this past November and it was good because of the Food and Wine Festival, the kiosks at F&W accept the dining card for snacks so that really worked out well for us. On the other hand when you go for the free dining you have to pay rack rates for you room so not so sure how "free" free dining is. But it is cheaper then going at peak times and less crowded. What other times of year were you considering?
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    Re: Is it worth waiting for the free dining plan?

    Hi!
    We have always gone in September. Right in the middle before Food and Wine starts. As a family of 6 the free dining pays off really well with us. The lines are so short. That to us is such a great incentive. Soar'in had a 5 minute wait in the morning. The usual wait time at the most is 20 minutes. That was on Everest and Space Mountain! Even if you don't get the free dining check out the discounted rates for rooms. The fall is such a great discounted time. It just really works out with free dining because of the amount of people in our party. MouseSavers.com - Disney Discount Source - Disney World Discounts, Disneyland Discounts, Disney Cruise Discounts shows all the discounts being provided. Or just do what we do and book with mouse fan travel. They will research all the discounts and let you know what would be the cheapest. Just ask them and it's free.
    You might hit a hurricane in Sept. We have been blessed to miss them! One year we left on a Saturday when Jeanne was coming on the same day!
    How exciting for you to be planning a trip!
    Hope this helps! Whatever time you chose you will have a magical trip!

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    Re: Is it worth waiting for the free dining plan?

    I like the dining plan, but it is not as worth as it used to be. Also, we usually go when they offer the free dining plan. It is really worth it from my point of view. I have done many deluxe & regular. Deluxe is now too much food. Regular is just right for us. I love going in January! Wonderful weather and not as crowded!


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    Re: Is it worth waiting for the free dining plan?

    I took my family in Sept 08. We did get the 4days 3 free deal with the free dining plan. I was a heck of a deal. The parks were not crowded at all and it saved time and money as well.

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    Re: Is it worth waiting for the free dining plan?

    I've never got the free dining plan but we always get the dining plan every time we go to WDW. If you can get it free and you are flexible with when you go I would say it's worth it. The convenience factor alone is why we get it.

    Have you ever had the dining in the past?

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    Re: Is it worth waiting for the free dining plan?

    For us, no. We've done 43 trips so far and never used the plan. We don't want to schedule dining times are don't care for the TS restaurants or the food. Twenty five years ago, dining at WDW was a good experience, not anymore. We also have AP's and stay deluxe and the room only discount is better than whatever you could save on food. Like I said, we don't want any schedules and wouldn't want to go thru the hassle of trying to get reservations when we want. We've found thru the years and trips our eating habits change in Florida and the heat, big meals we don't do, we also share most CS meals being they are so huge. Disney to us is about the atmosphere and parks, not the food. Sorry to say, picnic lunches at the pool with fixing we picked up in route at our grocery stop mean more to us than the restaurant stuff.

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    Re: Is it worth waiting for the free dining plan?

    I really think it depends on several things...
    How big an eater are you?
    Do you want to do character dining?
    How 'healthy' an eater are you?

    If you enjoy lots of small, healthy nibbles all day, and don't care about character dining, it's probably not for you.

    If you want character or prime dining spots, and you're willing to use multiple 'sit down' credits for those experinces or if you are someone who is big on "3 meals a day", you can totally work the plan to your advantage.

    Health conscious eaters may not find the plan to be for them if they don't eat a big meal at some point each day or two. You may not find a lot of variety in the parks for healthy choices. Disney is doing way better with healthy choices, but there's still not a ton.

    Overall, I think the dining plan is a value to those who are willing to do the work. Plan ahead, make ADRs early, and plan to combine multiple sit down meals to go to premium character or dining experiences.

    Hope it helps!

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    Re: Is it worth waiting for the free dining plan?

    No deal Disney has put forward so far really compares to free dining. We went in Sept. of 09 and it was well woth the money. I ended up spending just under a hundred dollars a day for hotel, tickets, airfare, and of course food! - I do suggest upgrading to deluxe dining, if you go during free dining. You can't beat 3 full meals a day plus the two extra snacks a day. - It really makes it a hasstle free vacation knowing you don't have to pull out the wallet for food. -- Free Dining is the best - (Mid September also proved to be the least busiest time I've visited. The longest wait time was 30 mins for Toy Story Mania. And almost all restauraunts were accepting walk-ups) - It really made for a great and hasstle free 9 days!
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