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How to Get Prepped for Disney’s Free Dining Discount


Free Dining To-Do

The internet has been absolutely ablaze these past few weeks with news that Disney World’s Autumn 2017 Free Dining promotion is on its way. Technically there is no way to officially know when Fall promotions will hit until Disney officially releases them.  However, there are ways that those who are hoping to nab these coveted discounts can begin to do a bit of prepping to make sure you’re straight in there come discount day.  Here’s a few ways that you can get a jump start on booking any upcoming Disney promotions.

1. Get up to speed on the best dates.  Though there is absolutely no guarantee that Disney will do a FREE dining discount or that the dates will remain the same as years prior, it does pay to do a bit of research.  Historically, the offer does tend to fall around the same time of year each time it is offered.  For instance 2016 FREE Dining covered the following date ranges.

  •  August 23 – October 1, 2016
  • November 15 – November 21, 2016
  • November 26 – November 28, 2016
  • December 10 – December 21, 2016

So start thinking about dates within these ranges that would work for you were a similar promotion to be made available this year.  Disney doesn’t usually offer these promotions in the Spring or Summer so thinking you’ll get FREE dining if you plan outwith August – December is not impossible but unlikely.

2. Research what resorts are usually included in the offer. When it comes to offers like FREE dining, where you stay can be pretty important.  With 25 resorts on Walt Disney World property, a large majority of hotels will be covered by the offer.  However, there are also a handful that are usually left out.  For instance you have a better chance of getting the discount were you to stay at Pop Century than in a Little Mermaid Room at Art of Animation which is usually exempt.  To save you having to come up with a Plan B. Check out this article on best resorts to pick for a discount.

3. Start to plan out your package.  The more groundwork you can lay down when it comes to making a FREE Dining booking the better.  Disney discounts have become increasingly unpredictable and you may simply wake up one morning to find out that FREE Dining has hit and – BOOM! Pandemonium.  Prepare for this situation by doing your planning.  By having a clear idea of your dates, resort preferences, preferred park tickets and budgets, you can make sure that you’re able to make your booking on the day with a minimal amount of stress.

4. Consider securing your package in advance.  As any good Disney travel agent will tell you, one of the services TA’s provide is the ability to apply discounts to your packages even after you’ve booked.  If you want to be sure you’ve got the resort of your choice, why not make a booking early and then apply FREE Dining after it comes out? A good agent should be able to do this with a quick phone call (provided that there’s variability) or if you haven’t booked with an agent, you can do this by calling Disney directly.  It may provide you with that extra little peace of mind in knowing that you are getting the package that’s right for you.  Disney also offers a brilliant changes/cancellation policy.  It allows you to make any changes to your booking up to 30 days before your departure with no fees or penalties. This means that if you don’t get the discount you’re looking for, you can cancel your booking a start planning for next year.

5. Pay close attention to trusted Disney new sources.  If your 2017 Disney travel plans are largely dependent on the big Fall promotions then it pays to check your favorite Disney news sites daily for word about a possible release date.  It is rare for a promotion to catch Disney-insiders totally unawares.  With a bit of a scour of popular sites you’ll usually get a sense of when its time to get ready to make that booking.  What Disney site do I recommend the most? Our sister site over at Chip and Co of course!

6. Sign up to receive FREE dining updates.  We here at Disney Addicts have set up a special email list so that we can send you an update as soon as FREE Dining has hit.  If you’d like to be in the know just pop me an email at mroden@mickeytravels.com with FREE Dining as your subject.

With a little bit of preparation, nabbing a great Disney discount doesn’t have to be hard work.  If you’d like to get a jump-start, why not fill out our form below to receive your FREE quote?


Find articles like this helpful? Then why not consider working with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner? As an agent with MickeyTravels, I’ll help you find your perfect package and will be on hand to help with things like nabbing those hard-to-get dining and Fastpass reservations.  Best of all my services are absolutely FREE!  Get in touch at 1.800.801.4025, via email at mroden@mickeytravels.com or follow along on Facebook. 

Image copyright Disney.


Melissa Roden
Follow Along

Melissa Roden

Agent Specializing in Disney Holidays at MickeyTravels
Melissa is a Disney-loving mom who can often be found at the parks with her six year old daughter.  When not euphorically eating a Dole Whip at Walt Disney World, Melissa enjoys helping others plan their magical vacations with MickeyTravels and sharing her Disney knowledge at Chip and Co. and Disney Addicts. Follow along on Facebook or Twitter.
Melissa Roden
Follow Along


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