• 5-night stay at a Disney Value or Moderate Resort
  • Value Resort guests receive the Quick Service Dining Plan
  • Moderate Resort guests receive the standard dining plan
  • 6-day Magic Your Way Base Ticket is required

Booking and Travel Window:

  • Booking Window: May 3 – Aug. 14, 2010
  • Travel Window: Valid for stays most nights Aug. 15 – Oct. 7, 2010, Oct. 22 – Oct. 28, 2010, Nov. 12 – Nov. 18, 2010, Nov. 27 – Dec. 2, 2010 and Dec. 10 – Dec. 21, 2010


  1. The effect the extension of Free Dining on The Crowd Calendar is already being hotly discussed on “Lines,” but it’s mostly just us speculating about increases in crowd levels.

    Would sure love some insight from you, and your thoughts on what this will do to Crowd Calendar estimates for these dates.

    Thanks – John

  2. Pretty interesting in light of the comments earlier in the year by Disney’s CFO that Disney wants to “wean” guests off discounts. I’m sure they’d like that, but this extension of free dining shows that they’re having trouble getting park attendance back to where they want.

    • Brian, I actually think Disney will keep up with some of the discounts. If you really think about it, Disney might actually be making more money by offering some of them. For example, this “free” dining offer requires both a 5 night stay and a 6 day park hopper pass. In my opinion a word as enticing as “free” might get a) people in the parks who wouldn’t normally be there and/or b) people to extend their stays. Disney makes more money from people extending their park ticket or hotel stay than buy paying for a couple of quick service meals each day. …just something I was thinking about. Thoughts?

      • Betsy, I agree. First, Disney is getting people in the parks and spending $. Obviously they have a need to do that or they wouldn’t offer free dining and then extend it for the 2nd year in a row. Second, as Len and the WDW Today guys have pointed out, you’re paying rack rate on a room to get the “free” dining and it’s often not as good a deal as someone might get with an AP discount, for example.

        Regardless, Disney obviously sees a need to spur attendance (and spend that $ you mention), as much as they wish it were otherwise. And I don’t see that changing much anytime soon.

      • Len and the team have repeatedly shown that “Free” Dining is only a money saver sometimes, because you are paying rack rate for your room. I remember a WDW Today episode when Len talked about free dining only being a good deal at value and sometimes moderate resorts. It actually costs more money at deluxe resorts. He also pointed out that if you skip just one meal, you lose any value whatsoever.

        And I also recall that the savings at a value resort was something like…$20. That’s right, $20 total savings – for the whole trip – for a family of 4. (NOT $20 each, $20 TOTAL!)

        How good is that deal if you can’t get reservations at the restaurants you want, and end up eating (I’ll channel the WDW Today folks and say) at Nine Dragons 3 times?

        You can usually save more by getting a discounted room rate and paying for your dining plan.

        • I must be figuring something wrong. A 4 day Moderate resort stay two week end days and two weekdays during regular season. 2 myw base tickets for 2 adults / 2 juveniles. By my number crunching I save over $350.00 with the free dining rather than a 40% room discount. What am i missing here??

          • I don’t know John. I’m citing Len here from an episode titled “Discounts that Aren’t.” If you’ve found a great deal, and have crunched the numbers, then go for it. (And kudos to you, have a great time!)

            We have an annual pass and Tables in Wonderland, and always do breakfast in our room. (Except for Chef Mickey’s for a sleep in and recover morning.) The free dining just doesn’t apply to our typical WDW trip, and wouldn’t save us any money.

            I’m just saying…it’s important to do your homework and make sure the free dining actually is a savings. Sometimes it isn’t.

          • Thanks for the reply. I just thought I might be missing something in my calculations. I am jelous of your annual pass / Tables in Wonderland. I could see how that could tip the tables the other way.

  3. I was reading that attendance was down at most parks this last few weeks of July. THis included the 4th week-end. I think Disney is trying to make up for the lower crowds by offering yet another discount.

  4. has anyone heard of any room only discounts coming out for Nov? I am in a deluxe too and am there Nov 9-15 so I miss the free dining 🙁

  5. You have to stay in a Value or Moderate for “free” dining to really be a good idea. That or have more than two adults in your party. I run the numbers again and again and it is NEVER cheaper for me. But then I have an AP, TiW, eat dinner every day at a Signature restaurant and don’t order dessert.

    Your mileage may vary. Past performance is no indicator of future results. 😉

  6. My family is going the week of October 16th-23rd. This just so happens to be one of the excluded weeks from this discount. It also got excluded from a 40% off discount last month. This is starting to worry us a little bit. Is there something about this week that makes it more crowded than others? So much so that it should be excluded? The only events I know of are the Food and Wine festival and the Not so scary Halloween party, but those are both ongoing throughout the month. What is it about that week?

  7. Not sure there’s any connection, but the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is running October 17-22 at the Dolphin, Swan, and Yacht Club conference centers. The Symposium typically draws aroung 8,000 attendees.

  8. IT Expo. Hmmmm. Perhaps I should consider disavowing my R&D purity for a trip on my employer to WDW! 😉

    The 10/8 through 10/21 black-out is more likely attributable to the Columbus Day Holiday on 10/11. Minor holiday, but many are fond of stretching vacation days by including holiday time off.

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