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Walt Disney World’s FREE Fall Dining = Save $400-$900 (Select Dates Only…Book Now!)

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Guest Post by Julie Harrington-Travel Planner

If you have ever stayed at a Walt Disney Resort and/or contemplated making reservations at one of these resorts, you may have discovered that on occasion, Walt Disney offers up a very special and limited-time promotion called FREE Dining. The FREE Dining promotion allows you and your room-mates  to eat completely free with the purchase of select packages on select dates.

To take advantage of this FREE Dining, purchase a non-discounted 6 night/7 day Walt Disney World Resort and Ticket Package at select hotels during the following dates:

* September 30, 2012 – October 4, 2012
* October 19, 2012 – November 1, 2012
* November 9, 2012 – November 15, 2012
* November 23, 2012 – November 29, 2012
* December 10, 2012 – December 13, 2012

* Select Disney Value Resorts will offer the FREE Quick Service Dining Plan and Select Disney Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts will offer a FREE Disney Dining Plan. Excludes campsites, 3 bedroom Villas and Art of Animation – Little Mermaid Rooms. Excludes gratuity and alcoholic beverages.

Keep in mind that rooms are limited and will book up quickly so you’ll want to make your reservations soon. If you have ever taken advantage of this free dining promo, please share your experience below!

(A BIG thanks to Julie Harrington-Travel Planner with Mouse Tales Travel for letting me know about this awesome promo! If you need help planning an upcoming Disney vacation or would like to take advantage of the free dining promotion, you can contact Julie at (978) 707-9047 or follow her on Facebook.)


Be sure to check out Julie’s other guest posts…

Hip Tips to Take a Frugal Disney Vacaction

Hip Tips to Save on a Disney Cruise

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75 Hip Readers Commented

  • Tara says:

    Darn our trip ends a few days before the 30th. Have you heard anything about the military discount being extended into the 2012-2013 year? I really wanted to go in October, but we booked for the last week of September instead. I’m still super excited and we are getting a great deal, but it’s still too hot in September. lol

    • Julie Harrington says:

      Tara, Nothing yet about about Military Discounts being extended after the 30th. If you follow me on Facebook, I will definitely let everyone know when they extend the current Military Discounts. If you have a great touring plan, then you may not notice the heat as much :). Hit the parks first thing in the morning. Go back to the resort for lunch and some pool time. Then hit the parks again in the evening when it cools down.

      Julie
      julie.harrington@mousetalestravel.com

  • michelle says:

    We went last year during free dining. It was AMAZING. I wont go any other time. The parks were not crowded as its the slowest time of year to go. The food was wonderful. There was no stress worrying how much things cost bc it was all included! LOVE DISNEY!

    • Michelle,
      Thanks for the great comment. FREE Dining is a GREAT time to head to Disney. Cost Effective and heading to Disney during the Fall is nice weather and you have the chance to see Disney during Halloween or Christmas. Disney, Holidays and FREE Dining. BINGO :)

      Julie Harrington
      julie.harrington@mousetalestravel.com

    • Marisa says:

      Ditto! We took the kids last September for the 1st time. It was great ! We received a pin code in the mail, so we booked yesterday for December , sept was a little to hot last year!

      • Yvette says:

        Hi Marisa,

        Could you please tell me what the pin code was for? Was it for up to 30% off rooms? I got 3 of them in the past but let them expired. I’ve booked ours already, just curious.

        Thanks!
        Yvette

        • Shelly says:

          Yvette, if you have already booked and it’s within the Free Dining dates, you can add the free dining onto your package! Disney is Awesome!!

  • meredith says:

    Any idea if you have to actually purchase your vacation or can Disney Vacation Club members take advantage of this too?

  • Summer says:

    We live in FL and go twice/yr. LOVE Disney and for those with kids with food allergies, Disney is the most accomodating place we have ever been…..seriously, just amazing. So much so that we wrote a letter thanking them. My daughter has massive food allergies: gluetn/wheat, soy, all dairy, eggs, peanuts, beef, oats, bananas, etc etc and they were able to accomodate her everywhere we went- the chef came to our table and prepared her a meal in a seoarate part of the kitchen with diff pots/pans specifically for her. Truly amazing.

  • Jenn says:

    Can you buy tickets for Christmas at Disney? Do you know how much they are?

    • Jenn,

      Yes I can get you tickets for the Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party. Just send me an email and I can get you pricing for them.

      Julie Harrington
      julie.harrington@mousetalestravel.com

    • Colleen says:

      Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Ticket pricing

      When Purchased in Advance:
      Ages 10 and up ($58.95 + tax) Ages 3 to 9 ($53.95 + tax) – November 9, 12, 15, 25, 27, 29 December 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18
      Ages 10 and up ($64.95 + tax) Ages 3 to 9 ($59.95 + tax) – November 16, 30 December 7, 14, 20
      Ages 10 and up ($67.95 + tax) Ages 3 to 9 ($62.95 + tax) – Friday, December 21, 2012

      When Purchased on Event Date:
      Ages 10 and up ($64.95 + tax) Ages 3 to 9 ($59.95 + tax) – November 9, 12, 15, 25, 27, 29 December 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18
      Ages 10 and up ($64.95 + tax) Ages 3 to 9 ($59.95 + tax) – November 16, 30 December 7, 14, 20
      Ages 10 and up ($67.95 + tax) Ages 3 to 9 ($62.95 + tax) – Friday, December 21, 2012

      Official page where you can buy tickets: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/magic-kingdom/special-events/mickeys-very-merry-christmas-party/

  • Marie says:

    so bummed, we have already booked our trip for Nov during that time frame and not at a resort and praying that they extend the Military discount as well.

  • Nikki says:

    We booked a non-discounted 7 night trip in one of the value resorts from Dec. 5 – 12th. Any chance that qualifies for the dining plan? We’d really like to have the dining plan for the convenience and didn’t know how much additional cost it would add.

  • Sarah says:

    I’ve been twice on the dining plan. The first time it was free, the second time we paid for it but got a discount on the room (so it worked out to be about the same per person both times). I really enjoyed going in September! Lines were short and we were able to do SO much more than when we went in March. The only down-side is that it’s hurricane season so there is a chance you may get hit with one on vacation – not fun :( There were warnings when we went in September but all we ended up getting was a day or two of rain.

  • Karizma says:

    Is this included in the California resort too or just Florida?

  • Jannel says:

    I am planning a trip for Feb. 2013 and have heard that they are trying to get rid of FD in 2013. I only go when I can get that promo. Have you heard anything about 2013 yet? I know discounts wont be out yet but I am hoping they dont do away with FD!

  • Rei says:

    We (2 adults, 2 kids) were thinking about going in Jan 2013…do you think a better deal will pop-up by that point? Or do you recommend revising our plans and go during the free meal promo?!

  • julie p. says:

    Mousesavers website is a huge help with $ saving tips!

  • Susie says:

    Tip: Be sure to make reservations “priority seating” for your table service meal. The good ones fill up quickly even in the off season. You can score some meals at places you couldn’t normally afford to eat with this package. We’ve booked Disney vacations using a variety of promotions and this one is by far the cheapest way to go when staying on property. The bill for our dinner was usually around $200 if we had to pay for it, with the free disney dining plan it was zero dollars. It also paid for our lunch (about $70), at a counter service (fast food type), and a snack each day. We have 4 in our family. If you go during Nov or Dec the awesome Christmas lights and decorations will be up, which makes it even more magical for adults and kids alike.

  • Kristen says:

    I’m a little confused about how this works – sorry! So you book a 6-night stay and your dining is free the whole time? Because some of the date ranges you listed are not 6 nights (like Sept. 30 – Oct. 4 or Dec. 10 – 13). Is your dining only free on the days listed, or do you get free dining if your trip includes any of those dates?
    Thanks!

  • jbooz12j says:

    Julie,
    Can you give me info on the military discounts through 2012? I wans’t aware they had a special going on. Thanks!

  • jbooz12 says:

    Julie,
    Can you give me some info on the military discount for 2012? I didn’t know there was any special going on. thanks!

  • rach says:

    I wouldn’t advise anyone to go at Christmas. It is the busiest time of the year. The first time we went, we spent thousands…its an expensive vacation, plane tickets, hotels, park tickets. The park was so crowded it was miserable. The lines.were ling and it took all day to ride two or three things. They kids didn’t get to see some.characters then bc they didn’t have time to wait in the crazy long lines. If you wanted to have a conversation, you literally had to pull the stroller or your family off the main path onto a side area to talk or get run over. Also, it gets cold in orlando at Christmas. We were wearing sweatshirts and jackets and freezing the whole time. I would NEVER go at christmas again.

    • Amanda says:

      Totally agree! We were there at Christmas and attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I thought it was a nightmare! I will never go in December again.

      • Amber says:

        Oh, we went at Christmas and it was our first time ever! So, yes it was amazing, but WOW the crowds were terrible and we didnt get to do even half of each park :( But the weather cant be beat!

  • Dana says:

    We have been 2x with the free dining promotion and will not go again without it. We used table service credits to do character dining that otherwise would have not been affordable for our family. The flexibility is wonderful and the price ended up being around $200/day for our family of 3 to have a room, park tickets, and food. We can’t do a local amusement park and hotel that inexpensively. I hope WDW sees the value in this promo and keeps it indefinitely! We are planning again for late Jan 13 and hope they release FD dates for 1st quarter soon!

  • angela says:

    I would appreciate if anyone wants to chime in on this question. We have one child– who will be 2 1/2 in September. What is a good age to take kids to Disney? Should we wait until she is older?

    • Anonymous says:

      Angela, I took our daughter for the first time when she was 2 1/2 and she had a great time! Of course, she was already done with napping at that point, and it makes a huge difference.

      If this is the only trip that you plan for her childhood I would wait until she’s a bit older and has some memories of the trip…however we go about every two years and each stage of the kids ages brings something new to the Disney experience.

    • Memoi says:

      We just went with our kids, including one that was a little over 2 1/2. She enjoyed meeting the Princesses, and enjoyed some of the rides; other ones she hid her face and did not want to look (even shows like Mickey’s PhilharMagic, it took her a little while to want to look). She spent most of the rides on her grandpa’s lap, hiding her face, but she did have fun on some things. If this will be a one time thing, I would not consider it to be the best age to take them (and she fell asleep for the parade), but, depending on the child, they may have fun, plus you don’t pay anything for kids 2 and under, so that is a plus as well (at least that is how it was when we went last month)! You will probably need a stroller and to plan for a nap, or at least to not spend all day there from early AM to late PM. If you do the dining plan you may not need this, but we brought snacks and water/drinks in a soft cooler and that was great for the kids. We didn’t have the dining plan; we actually stayed at a house we rented that was very close and drove there every day and liked it that way since we were 11 people total, so it was cheaper for us that way.

      • VB says:

        We had a large family vacation as well last October. So I had a 3 year old and a 1 year old. Everything for the youngest was free and my daughter has so many memories and asks all the time when we are going back.
        I really wish we could do the FD because the food is delicious and wish I had enjoyed more of it but it is just more cost effective to stay offsite especially if we go as a large group. We can rent a house near WDW for $500 to $1000 depending on number of guest. There are numerous ways to get discounted tickets (we did a time share presentation which saved us about 30% on tickets). Not to mention southwest has discounted rates often and discount codes. Car rentals are really cheap there and there are discount offers I get from my insurance company. For the four if us a 7 night stay I have found a total of about $2000 for 4 days at WDW 2 at universal, house rental and plane tickets. There are other ways to bring the cost down too. Such as gift card deals at the grocery stores.along with redeeming rewards on apps or sites like swagbucks to bring the cost down. If you give your self enough time you can cut hundreds off that price which right now I could say that $1800 is what we would pay if we tabulate right now. Not including the food but if you eat before you get to the park take snacks you will save$$$ that way too.

    • Jenifer says:

      We took our 21 month old in January and he loved it! He admired the characters from a distance. During our character dinners we would snap pics with characters behind him and then they would move on without him noticing. One of us took him back to the hotel for a nap while the other stayed with the older two. Honestly, it worked out perfect because mom and dad needed a nap too! It made our trip great!

  • Courtney Lyons says:

    You just need to check in on one of the dates listed, and the rest of your trip will include the free dining. If u check in before those dates you will get no free dining at all. I called this morning right at 7, waited 45 min on hold, but finally got through and got the free dining. We’re staying at PO Riverside in the royal guest room…can’t wait!

    • Jenny says:

      I booked this morning as well, only on hold for about 5 minutes. We are also staying at POR in a royal room with garden view. We are checking in Dec 10, can’t wait!!!

  • cindy says:

    Do they do this promotion in the spring also. We were thinking of taking our kids for the first time in the spring for my son’s 5th birthday?

  • Jaden Paige says:

    I have done the free dining before and it is INCREDIBLE!!! You basically only have to take your one room key with you everywhere as it’s your room key, dining pass, and park ticket! I am wishing wishing wishing we could go this time!

  • cindy says:

    Can anyone tell me from experience when Disney is the least crowded?

    • Mandi says:

      Early May, and the end of September through mid October. :) In my experience. And according to the people we talked to who work there. :)

    • Jenifer says:

      We went the second week in January and had a great time! Crowds were low! Also, a few years ago we went the first week of March and it was great.

  • Ginger says:

    @Angela – I took my daughter to WDW at 2. It was actually great b/c everything was FREE for her. Just make sure you bring a stroller!!!

  • shannyn says:

    I had the Dining plan when we took our trip. Best money spent. I also took the time to reserve our restaurants. The only thing I would’ve done different is get the photo pass also.

  • Niki says:

    We have five children and find the free dining plan to be a waste. Our children are unable of eating the entire meal provided, as am I. I can’t stand wasting food :( Disney used to offer a kids stay and play free promotion. Haven’t seen it since May 2011 but I am hoping it returns! We’ve always packed a suitcase of breakfast and snacks. We also get a rental car (we have tons of family in Orlando) and buy our non-packable necessities (water and milk) off site. If you are debating the dining plan, also keep in mind that most of the restaurants require an advanced reservations (sometimes MONTHS.) When we are on vacation, we like to RELAX and let our kids enjoy themselves; not worry if our Tram ride to the boat will take to long to get us to whatever random restaurant we have a six month old reservation at. Also, the cash you save buying your own water, most likely pays for the rental car.

  • Cinthia says:

    Hi! My husband really wants to go to disney but we cant stay for a whole week because of his job. If we book for just 2-3 nights on those dates can we still get free dining?

    • Colleen says:

      Free dining requires a minimum stay of 3 nights and a minimum of a 2 day base ticket for each person in the room ages 3 and up.

  • midwifenv says:

    We were considering Nov 29th thru Dec 7th. Would we be able to get the free dining since one day is within the promotion?

    • Kristen says:

      You may want to email Julie to be sure, but I think it’s only valid if you stay for 6 nights :(

      • Kristen says:

        Oops – sorry that was supposed to be to the person above you!!

        I think you would be able to get free dining if you check in on Nov 29. Julie told me that if you check in any of the days she listed you can get free dining, so yay!

    • Colleen says:

      The free dining promotion is determined by your check-in date. If you check-in on Nov 29th your entire trip (up to 14 days) will qualify for free dining. If your check-in day is not on the list but some of your other days are, you could do a split stay.

  • Jenny says:

    I booked this morning for December 10!!! It was the week were planning anyway, so excited to have the free dining, saved us $600!

  • Thank you EVERYONE for the love. Right now I am working on the many quotes that have come my way from all of you. I will not be able to respond to questions on here as quickly as I had hoped. If you do have a question please feel free to email me and I will respond a lot quicker.

    Thank you so much.

    Julie Harrington
    julie.harrington@mousetalestravel.com

  • Diana says:

    What about the Swan and Dolphin Hotels, is that excluded? We were going to renew our season passes when we got there so if we alter our plans to take advantage of this deal, can we get the magic your way tickets and then pay the difference to renew?

  • Sakura says:

    This is great! We are heading out there October 26th, this saved us over $1800 off of our total package! We live in the west, so disneyland is home for us. We can’t wait to experience Disneyworld!

  • mary says:

    we had our trip planned and saved us 1000$ had been waiting for months for this to pop up thanks!!!!

  • Lisa says:

    Collin Thank you so much!! This post saved my family over $1,000.00!!! We already had our trip to Disney booked for the 24th – 30th. Since we were leaving one day after the free dining promotion ends….I wasn’t sure if we would be able to get it. So, I called. I could not believe it when the Disney lady said hang on, I see one room left, it’s a preferred room, and let me fix this so you get the dining for free. When the magical disney lady finished waving her magic wand, my bill went from $4,124.75 to $3,089.95. That is a $1034.80 savings!!! I was so excited and I had to share my story with you and all the wonderful readers of your blog. It’s one thing to get free toothpaste and all the samples in the world, but to save this much money has really made a huge difference for my family. Thank you!!!!!

  • Crystal says:

    We are going in September – this will be our third year in a row using the free dining promotion and we love it! We eat dinner at places that we would never spend the money on otherwise – lots of character meals for the kids, too. My husband loves all the buffets. I like knowing that our meals are taken care of and we can order what we want without having to worry about how much it’s going to cost. (you do pay gratuities though, so keep that in mind!). You do have to make reservations in advance, but that’s easy to do and in fact, if you use a travel agent, they’ll most likely take care of that for you if you want them to. I personally like somewhat having a plan when I go! The crowds are low at this time, too!

  • Robert says:

    We just got back froim Disney and everyone around us was using their dining plan. We had 18 of us and at the time of booking we did not take advantage of this great deal because we thought you needed to stay 6 nights. I found out a few days before we left that the plan advertised for 6 nights but was available for less. I called but Disney was not helpful. Dining was very expensive and I wish that when we booked our rooms at BLT that the Disney Cast Members would have mentioned it to us.

  • Gail says:

    My 17 yr. old daughter and myself went to WDW for the 1st time ever Sept. 23 to Oct. 2, 2012 We had a preferred room at Disney’s Pop CenturyResort and the free dining plan. So, we got the free snacks, free quick service meals which were incredibly generous and great tastin and at at restaurants we would never of had to oppotinty to eat at because of the plan…just pay a tip at the end of the meal ( if you wish)! WE saved lots of money and ried to always make sure we ordere the most expensive meals to get the best value. We had all but one of our resrvations made before we left Canada to go to Disney World. So, we got to eat with characters and princesses and have wonderful entertaiment at Spirit of Aloha at the Polynesian Resort ( takes 2 dinner couplons per person but takes 2 hours!). I wouldn’t want to go to Disney World again without the free dining. I had brought along cereal and lots of granola bars but this wasn’t needed…in fact the night before we left- we still had 4 qucik service meals left to use…so we were buying food and giving ti away to other vacationers…mostly people with kids…so we gave free full size milk and fruit plattters etc. We also didn’t use all of our snacks so we bought the most expensive candy treats we could before we left…like Goofy’s gummy bears, or the Goofy’s gourmet jelly beans etc. We loved the trip except for the heat and humidity which we were not used to…the temps were about 33-35 C ( or 96 to 100 F degrees) daily and humidity about 40-60 %…the line-ups weren’t fun but we apparently went at a pretty good time for lower crowds…Would like to go again because NOW- we would actually know what the heck we were doing and where to go and how to use the bus system etc. etc.

  • Crystal says:

    I just called for the free dining for the nov. days showmen and was told it was not offered. What do I do now??

    • Crystal,
      If you are still interested in heading to Disney World next month, there is a Room Discount being offered for November. If you can move your travel dates to anytime Jan 2-March 7th, there is a discount that can save you on a package of Room, Tickets and Dining Plan. Please take a minute and send me an email and I can get you some pricing. julie.harrington@mousetalestravel.com

      Have a great night.
      Julie

  • Judy Newton says:

    say your web sight. looks like the real deal and you are concerned for the people going to WDW . I We my daughter(age26) and myself are going thr in Oct. 2013 sometimes whithin the first 2 weeks We would like to receive the –( free dining plan.) How do I get this info? place to stay at with the play stay dine-( I guess this is the best package to use.) . for the best ecocomial, discount restort. using Southwest airlines. And discount tickets how do I get those? We swill be staying 5 nights or 6 . How far in advance do I have to make the Rev. to get the good cheep deals. Is there any discounts for Sr. Citizens ? I am 63 when we go, and so far in good health.

  • K says:

    I was reading the free dinning deal was for * October 19, 2012 – November 1, 2012. Do you think they will offer this in 2013 and will include Art of Animation this time? In addition can you still get this deal if you are checking out the day the deal starts? (we are thinking of checking out on 10/19/2013)

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