My family (3 adults and 1 child) are planning our next August 2019 trip to WDW. We want to stay 14 nigths in one of the Disney resorts (we do not know what). As we know that 2019 prices are not available, we are trying to do our simulations considering 2018 rates and offers.
One think that we are considering is to buy one Annual Pass (AP) and get the room only discounts for AP and the other benefits for AP.
We have read that in past years the rooms discounts for AP in August were between 25-35%, depending on the resort. For the same time, room only discounts for general public were only 15-25% (more or less).
Considering that room-only discount for AP could be a great discount for a 14 night stay, we do not know if it is better the free dining discount.
If the quick service dining plan is $52.5 per adult and $21.74 per child, in our case with the free offer we would receive a discount of $2.509,36 (3 adults + 1 child and 14 nights).
It is hard to find a room only discount that reach 2.509,36, isn't it?
Is it worth the free dining plan vs AP room only discounts?
It could be some mistakes in our thoughts so please help us and explain us our experiences with AP room only discounts vs free dining plan."
Free Dining in August 2019? Maybe Not
Mmmm, who wants to eat at San Angel Inn? - Photo by Brett Svenson
Santiago, howdy. That's for the question.
Depending when you're arriving in August, you may or may not be able to get Free Dining. Typically it's offered in late August. The last couple of years it has started in mid-August. So if you're coming early in the month Free Dining might not be an option.
That being said, we're not totally sure Free Dining will be available in 2019. Every year Disney cuts it back more. Less rooms are available. More dates are blacked out. You have to purchase more options. The last couple of years it's been a real bear to book. Most people didn't get the dates or rooms the wanted.
Plus, there is real talk that 2018 will be the last year for Free Dining. We'll see. I've been saying Free Dining is Dead for a long time, so I'm not predicting anything here.
Next, you need to be sure you are comparing Apples to Apples. The current prices are not the prices, even in 2018, that Free Dining will be based on. Before Free Dining rolls out this year there will be a price increase on hotels. I've expected it for weeks, but it will happen before the fall promotions come out. Once that comes out then you can start checking price differences.
Also, you don't know what "view" you'll have to purchase. When the Free Dining Discount comes out, the cheapest rooms are the first to go and there's not many of them. You have to be pretty lucky to get a Standard View room. Most people end up with a higher priced room option to get the Free Dining package.You might end up paying for a pool view room, a water view room, a theme park view room and that's gonna bring that price for your package way up.
In fact, a lot of people have found that it's just not economical to use Free Dining promotion. It may turn out to be. But those are some things you need to look into when you're calculating it.
Here's what I would suggest. In July, when the 2019 packages are announced, book your trip. Don't wait. Book it early. There is a big price changed planned for hotels in 2019 that will come probably in late 2018. So book as early as possible. Go ahead and put all of your tickets in.
When the August discounts are announced for 2019, probably in April, see if Free Dining or your Annual Passholder discount will save you more money. Whichever one saves the most use that.
Get Some Help
I would also highly recommend you get in touch with our partners at Destinations to Travel. This is what they do. They work to get you the best deal available. They will check Annual Pass discounts versus Free Dining. They'll check out all discounts and see which give you the best deal. Even if the discount comes out 6 months after you book the trip, they'll check. They monitor all reservations and apply discounts that come up.
Go ahead and give them a shout today. I know it's a long time, but start getting to know them today. Just fill out the form on our Destinations to Travel page.
The bottom line is you got to do a lot of math and you need to wait to do an apples to apples comparison. It's a long time until 2019. So you've got some time. The new 2019 packages will be available to book in July. Free Dining or not, book your package in July.