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Free Dining Update: Make your reservations now!


by Dad

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Free Dining is coming. I can feel it in my bones. No, I don’t have any inside sources, but I am seeing hints that it’s just a couple weeks away so I thought I’d do a Free Dining Update.

Free Dining is HERE!!!


Yes, Free Dining for the US was announced this morning.


Dad’s Free Dining in 2016 page


Get started now! Availability is very limited!



Free Dining is here


or not…


Here’s a quick update. Free Dining was announced this morning but only for the UK. No Disney Visa Card promotion announcement today. (I’ve been waiting to see if a late announcement hit.)


What does that mean? Who knows? Will we see a general mess like we did last year? Probably. I don’t think Disney learned anything from the mess.


Stay tuned.



FINAL UPDATE!!!The rumors of a Disney Chase Visa promotion were obviously greatly exaggerated. That didn’t happen.


Something is going to be announced on Monday morning. I expect it to be a general Free Dining for the dates below (starting on August 21) with a room only offer of up to 30% off.


There is a slight chance that Disney will announce Chase Visa on Monday, but I don’t expect it.


Monday morning it is. (Unless Disney gets mad at Dad again and changes the date.)


UPDATE to the UPDATE to the UPDATE:Here’s the latest rumors…


Expect a Disney Visa promotion to hit on Thursday, April 21. The General Public promotion should be available on Monday, April 25.


The dates, as I thought were a little off, but only the starting day. It looks like it will start on August 23rd instead of the 14th.


Of course this is all rumor until Disney actually throws the switch.


UPDATE to the UPDATE: More and more signs are hitting that Free Dining is just a few days away.


The “leaks” are starting to come out. Yesterday the dates were “leaked”. Do I trust the leak? I’m not sure. Some of the dates leaked don’t make much sense, but we’ll see.


Today, the South American Travel Agent that seems to have an inside source posted some more details. They’ve been mostly right over the last few years, but they’ve missed a few details. The basic information has been pretty accurate. The dates are the same as were leaked yesterday, but…


Here’s what they posted today –

Free Dining will become available for booking April 25th


It will cover arrival dates of


8/14 up to 10/1/2016
11/15 to 11/21
11/26 to 11/28
12/10 to 12/21


It will require a three night minimum stay, and a minimum of two ticket days.


Value resorts will offer the Quick Service plan for free and Moderates and Deluxes the Regular Dining Plan


Excluded resorts will include Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation, All Star Movies, Port Orleans French Quarter, Bay Lake Tower, Polynesian Bungalows and Grand Floridian Villas.

I do think that you will have to at least add the Park Hopper option to the tickets, but I agree with the basics. I hope Disney decided to do the Chase Visa promotion, but as I say below, I’m not sure they learned anything from last year.


There are a few other signals like the Travel Agent phones and web site going down at odd times.


The signs are all there. Be sure to get your reservation made NOW…


End of UPDATE to the UPDATE (Be sure to read the rest of this post.)


Snacks at Walt Disney World

Oooh, those are some good looking snacks – Photo by Judd Helms



Free Dining was a real mess last year. And not as the old commercial used to say “a chocolate mess”. It was a total, unabashed, disaster.


I’m getting the feeling that Disney didn’t learn much from my tirade last year and this year may be as disappointing for a lot of people as last year was. Just a feeling I’m getting based on how often the Disney computers have been crashing lately.


One thing we did notice from last year is it was a whole lot easier to change a reservation to Free Dining than to make a new Free Dining reservation. My guess is that will be doubly true this year.


That means, if you want to go to WDW during the Free Dining period which is typically late August through the week before Christmas excluding October and Thanksgiving week (and maybe a few more dates along the way) you might want to make your reservations NOW!!! I mean TODAY!


Also, make them for the resorts that aren’t typically excluded from FD. Here’s the list from last year – The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard View Rooms, campsites and 3-bedroom villas, Port Orleans French Quarter, All Star Movies.


Will that list be the same this year, who knows? But that’s where I suggest you start.


Yes, I know the typical nattering naybodies will be out telling you NOT to make a reservation because that might throw off the balance of the earth and Disney might not even offer Free Dining. To which again I say (I’ve said it for years) BUNK! We’ve been through this for several years. Every year you hear the same refrain, if too many people book it won’t happen.


That might be true, but it would take a lot more people to book than this post will ever reach.


Here comes the Shameless Plug.


Dad always recommends that you use our partners over at Destinations to Travel for all your Disney trips. I believe in them. I not only recommend them, but I talk to them every day. I even book my own trips with them. They will take great care of you and help you every step of the way.


Just click the button below to get started.


  • Destinations to Travel


Dad’s Bottom Line


So the bottom line is, Dad “knows” Free Dining is coming soon. The best way to get Free Dining, in Dad’s opinion, is to book your reservation in advance. Like NOW! Today!

disney world parks

disney world parks


disney hotels

disney hotels


the fire pit at 'Ohana



Comments for

Apr 30, 2016 Got our free dining :}
by: Sharon We received our visa free dining offer just after midnight on April 25th {happy birthday me!} so on Tuesday, we were attempting to make reservations on line and the web site was so bogged down we called, so as Terry kept dialing the phone I kept on line and had our trip in our cart but it would not let me pay, so I started dialing and got through, actualy a short wait on hold and then spoke with the most wonderful cast member.

We were not able to get our first choice, at the Riverside but this time is a new adventure, booked two rooms, bringing bro and sis in law for their first trip I love taking people for their first Disney trip. So last night I went on line and booked a surprise trip with the dining package for my daughters graduation she will be going in December. How magical. and BTW we only purchased two day tickets because we have a stock pile of tickets and still get the free dining plan for the whole trip.

HAVE a MAGICAL day and good luck the free dining is still available just look for dates and new places. Ours in not much more expensive then riverside were staying at the Coronado springs resort which looks wonderful.

Apr 29, 2016 disapointed
by: Anonymous I booked my disney vacation monday april 25, the computers crashed, needless to say after trying to get through all day I was unable to get the free dining as they said they sold out, I was able to get a room, but they did not give me the 25% off promotion either. I called disney the following day, sat on hold for over an hour to be told that there was no more free dining available , so my total doubled as they gave me no other promotion.

Apr 26, 2016 Weighing the promotions
by: Michele We have a package booked at the Poly for nov 6-12, of course, this year, free dining isn’t available for these dates, which makes no sense to me. However, don’t they normally release a 30% off discount that time of year as well? I’m freaking out a little that I may need to cancel or move to another resort. I was really hoping to get something that week. Totally bummed. Do you know if the room discount will be released? In the deluxe resorts, that’s a better deal than free dining.

Dad’s Answer

Michele, I gave up trying to understand Disney promotions.

Yes, they will have a room discount that will come out later. The same thing happened last year so just be patient. It will all work out. (I hope.)

My guess is it will be 25% like the room discount they announced yesterday.

Apr 25, 2016 No Visa Notification
by: Disney Mom But I was able to change my reservation online. Stinks that we had to add park hopper. Instead of saving $500 we only save $220. but alas any savings is good at all.

Thank you for the notification. if you hadn’t posted an update, I never would have known and I would have been soooo upset.

I didn’t get any notification from Disney Visa. boo on them.

Apr 25, 2016 Free dining online
by: Anonymous Hi Dad, I was able to change my plans online this am at about 6:20am. Our original plan made several Months ago was for PO Riverside. I canceled that early yesterday and rebooked for Coronado for the same dates, 11/28-12/3. I had planed to start calling early this am but was able to just go online and change plan early this am. I am a long term Disney Visa holder and had used that card for my booking. I did not get any announcement from them this year.

Apr 25, 2016 Free Dining
by: Anonymous I just made my reservation. It appears that there may be more rooms available to Visa Cardholders and for a longer time (8/14 for Visa and 8/23 for general). I checked Disney this morning and I wasn’t able to get what we wanted. However, about 1/2 hour ago, I got an email from Visa, used the link in the email and was able to book exactly what we wanted. Very happy!!!!

Apr 24, 2016 What time will it drop?
by: Kelsey Does the offer typically hit at 12 midnight? Theoretically meaning you could edit your plans online? Or will it be closer/right at 7AM when phones roll over? Love your page! You helped ignite my families Disney obsession in 2012 when we planned our honeymoon. Thanks for all the tips!

Dad Answers

Kelsey, thank you for the kind words. I sure would give it a try, but it hasn’t worked in years past.

Usually it all starts when the call center opens at 7am Eastern. By 7:01 the phone wait times are like Space Mountain on a busy day.

Apr 23, 2016 Free Dinning
by: Pete I’m planning on booking a trip for August 12 2016. If the free dinning starts during my stay do I get the free dinning? I appreciate any feedback. Thanks

Dad Answers

Pete, unfortunately, no. All Disney promotions are based on your checkin date. So even if the promotion starts the day after you arrive you won’t be eligible.

Apr 22, 2016 free dining
by: Anonymous just announce so we can get on with the planning of our vacations this is what everyone is waiting for just announce it

Apr 21, 2016 Disney Dining
by: Anonymous So I called first thing this morning also for free dining for Disney Visa Card holders. Not today, they say. Dad, I always have loved your website. It’s really helpful. Keep us posted if you hear any more details on the free dining! Hope I can snag one this year! Our vacation is already booked!

Apr 21, 2016 Free Dining
by: Mary OK, well it looks like it didn’t start this morning. Thanks for trying, Dad, and keep us updated if you hear anything new.

Apr 21, 2016 Visa Card Holder
by: Disney Mom I just got off the phone and they said Disney Visa Card Holders don’t have any current Free Dining Promotions.

Are there some magic words I’m supposed to say or will it be later in the day?

Are we (as card holders) supposed to get an email or notification of some sort?

Dad Answers

In the past, emails have gone out, but late in the day.

Apr 20, 2016 Disney Visa and free dining
by: Princess Lis Hi! I already have a vacation book, so I’m just waiting for the announcement for free dining to apply to our existing reservation. To better our odds, I have just gotten the Disney Visa card today, but I’m concerned that if we do get the email for free dining (April 21st for Disney Visa holders) I will also need to verify the card numbers which I do not have yet. Do you know if I will physically need to have the card at the time of modifying the reservation? Thank you so much! Very informative website!

Dad’s Answer

You will need a card number and for the card to be active, so yes, you probably need the actual card.

Apr 18, 2016 ?
by: Anonymous why not just wait till the offer is released and book then?

Dad’s Answer

I’m just passing on that it was easier to change reservations than to make new reservations last year. Sure you can make a new reservation when the discount comes out. (Unless the phones and computers crash again like they did last year.)

Apr 16, 2016 Moderate or Value Resort?
by: AB I currently have reservations Dec 16-23 at Pop Century and hope to add free dining. I am a Disney VISA cardholder and hope to have advance notice of the promotion. My question – would I do better to upgrade to Port Orleans-Riverside and not pay the upgrade for dining? I have 4 rooms booked for this time and most traveling with me are adults. I really want in on the free dining.

Dad Answers

It might depending on which resort you are staying in. Just do the math. How many adults? It’s about $20 per adult to upgrade the dining plan. If you have 3 or more adults in a room then it might work.

It’s going take some work when the discount is announced. You are going to have to get several comparisons. Just ask.

Apr 16, 2016 arrival date
by: steven we are booked at POP CENTURY from nov 14 thru 23 will we qualify for free dining?

Dad’s Answer

Steven, if the dates are what are currently being rumored (November 15 -21) and you arrive on the 14th, no you would not be eligible. You could do a one night reservation for November 14 and a second one for the 15th through the 21st.

Check with our friends over at Destinations to Travel for the latest and details of how to make it work if it happens.

Apr 15, 2016 Dining Upgrade?
by: Kimberly Do you know if Disney let’s you upgrade your free quick service dining to regular dining with a fee?

If so any idea how to calculate how much that would be?

Thank you 🙂

Dad’s Answer

Disney has always let you in the past. You just pay the difference in price whatever it is.

Apr 15, 2016 Free Dining Dates
by: Michele Hi there! Love your site! I have reservations at the Poly for November 6 through 12….looks like free dining wont be available during those dates? Will the 30% off discount be coming out as well? I’m totally bummed right now 🙁

Michele, I can’t say anything for sure, but Disney normally does a room discount during the fall. They even have one during the summer so I would be very surprised if they don’t.


Apr 15, 2016 How do we add promo
by: Michelle We already have a vaca planned for 9/25-9/30, 6 day park hopper, staying at the Coronado. All seems to be in line for the free dining promo…how do we add it to the reservation…do I need to call or can I add it on the website ? What time typically does the call center open, is it 7am EST like the advanced dinning ? If promo opens on the 25th how far in advanced do they announce 1 day, 2 days ??
Thanks !

Dad Answers

Michelle, You will have to call Disney and have them add Free Dining to your reservation.

There will not be any warning. The day it goes live, the phones will be flooded even before Disney makes the formal announcement. Expect to be on hold for HOURS. I’m not kidding. It’s a real mess. (And yes, the call center opens at 7AM Eastern.)

That’s one reason I always recommend you use a GOOD Disney Travel Agent. They do all the work for you and you don’t have to spend those HOURS on the phone. You might check with our partners at Destinations to Travel. If you made your reservation within the last 30 days, you can transfer it to them and they’ll do all the work.

Apr 15, 2016 Dining Plans for Jan 2017
by: Anonymous Is there anyway of getting the free dining plan in January 2017. We are staying for 8 or 9 days at the Contemporary.

Dad’s Answer

Probably not unless you like outside the US and Canada. We won’t know the promotions for January until sometime in the fall.

Apr 15, 2016 Does DVC members get free dining?
by: Anonymous Are DVC members included in this free dining?

Dad’s Answer

Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to DVC members unless you want to book a regular reservation.

Apr 08, 2016 Confused about free dining.
by: Anonymous We are going to disney is sept. i am not sure how the free dining works. i am especially confused about making reservations at certain hotels. What does that have to do with free dining? One of the hotels we are staying is AoA in the little mermaid room, so what does that mean if they offer free dining? People in those rooms get free dining? If so, is it at that hotel or…? Is there anything special we need to do to actually get the free dining or just show up on our arrival and its free?

Dad’s Answer

Free Dining is a promotion Disney offers to entice people to book their trips in Disney Hotels during slow times of the year. The promotion is if you book a package that includes a room at selected Disney Hotels and park tickets, Disney will give you the Disney Dining Plan for free.

There are a lot of restrictions and those change from year to year, but that’s the basic outline. You can see more at my Free Dining at Disney World page.

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