Disney Dining Plan phased out?

by Ian

Hi, is the Disney Dining plan being phased out for 2014 and if so are they going to replace it with an alternative?

Casey's Corner

Get a hot dog free? Maybe, maybe not – Photo by WDW Shutterbug

Dad’s Dining Do-Si-Do Answer


First, let me clarify. I think you are talking about Free Dining being phased out, not the Disney Dining Plan, so let’s talk about that.

The folks at Walt Disney World sure have come up with an awful lot of ways to help guests save money – or at least think they’re saving money – on their family vacations. Since the Disney Dining Plan has been thrown into the discount mix, it’s been a real do-si-do of dining promotions – Free Dining and Stay Play and Dine have been offered at different times, and Dad’s here to help you make sense of it all.

The short answer is that yes, Free Dining is being phased out. But, Disney has been saying that for years, and each time it’s come back (although with more limited dates). Disney has not come out to say that they will never offer Free Dining again, but Dad thinks that Stay Play and Dine is the promotion that will eventually replace Free Dining.

Since its introduction, Free Dining has been one of the most popular promotions ever run by Walt Disney World, so Stay Play and Dine seems like a good evolution to have guest still feel like they are getting a discount on dining, while Disney keeps just a little bit more of their money. Dad’s been saying Free Dining is dead for years – and now Stay Play and Dine is just the promotion to erase it from existence.

With Free Dining, you can get the Disney Dining Plan for free with the purchase of park tickets and hotel accommodations. With Stay Play and Dine, you have to book tickets, hotel, and the Disney Dining Plan and you get a discount off the entire package.

Dad’s Disney Dining Plan Page

Dad’s not the only one that thinks Disney is phasing out Free Dining. If you look in issue 2 of WDW Magazine my buddy Joe Black talks about the plans for Free Dining in 2014. (He says much the same as Dad with a possibility of a September return.)

It’s no secret that Dad doesn’t like the Disney Dining Plan, unless it’s free, and even then it might not be the best discount available to your family depending on where you like to stay and what your eating habits are. Dad’s friends at Destinations to Travel can help you look at all your options and make the best decision for your family!

Dad’s Destinations to Travel Page


Destinations to Travel

Dad’s Bottom Line

Ian, the dining promotions at Walt Disney World can be confusing. Free Dining is being phased out, and it looks like Stay Play and Dine will eventually replace it – but nothing official has been announced. Whether this transformation will happen in 2014 or over a number of years remains to be seen.

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Comments for

Nov 09, 2013 expedia??
by: Anonymous

Thanks for your quick reply. However, if the dining plan is not of interest to us, is there another reason not to use Expedia?

I went on the disney web-site and their deluxe resorts were $400+ per night. I got the Wilderness for $228 on expedia.

Not a good move??

Dad’s Answer

I’m not a fan of Expedia because of several reasons. If you really do get a great deal it’s OK, but if the prices are comparable it’s not a good idea. They don’t have any customer service if you have any problems. You have to pay 100% when you book. (Disney only requires a deposit and the balance is due later.)

There are other reasons I’m not a big fan, but those are the biggest. I’ve found that if you really dig with Disney (or get a great Travel Agent to help like my friends at /dreamscometruevacations.html) you can usually find the same price as Expedia without all their restrictions and hassles.

Nov 09, 2013 dining plan??
by: martin

I will be a newbie to WDW this Feb. I don’t know a lot about the dining plan – other than it it exists. Can we get the dining plan if we book our resort (Wilderness lodge) through Expedia??

Dad Answers

No you can’t. Just one more reason not to use Expedia.

Nov 08, 2013 FD Pin
by: Anonymous

I received a PIN earlier this week for free dining for select dates in Jan. – March 2014 (basically excluding race weekends), for what it’s worth.

Nov 08, 2013 not confused anymore 😉
by: Stephanie

WHEWWWW! I was worried there for a minute. 😉 We just spent a week there and the Dining Plan saved us so much money…but of course we spent what was saved in the stores. Lol 😉

Nov 07, 2013 Confused about your article
by: Anonymous

I don’t understand because it’s not free dining… You still pay for the food but with the plan you don’t pay as much. The different plans cost money.

Dad answers

You’re right. I wasn’t very clear. I think the question was about Free Dining and not the Disney Dining Plan. I’ve added the first paragraph to reflect the change.

Return to Ask Dad.


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