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Free Disney Dining Plan - could it be the end?

Discussion in 'Restaurants, Dining, Dining Plans' started by Wendy, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Wendy
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    Wendy A hui hou kakou makuakane Staff Member Administrator

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    When Disney introduced the free dining plan, it was to encourage people to go and fill up their hotels dueing their quieter months. Now that things seem to have picked up and there doesn't seem to be a quiet time anymore, do you think Disney will stop the free dining.

    I think that the UK were offered it for a short time this year, but I don't know that I have seen it offered anywhere else. With all the offers that I seem to get and see from Disney it is for hotel discounts only and not free dining.

    What do you thnk could this be the end of free dining at Walt Disney World?
     
  2. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    I think it'll end when and if they can fill the hotels at the quietest times which probably isn't the case right now. I'm sure they're CLOSER to that situation than they've been since pre-2001 but still having empty rooms at certain times hence the UK offer.

    The UK offer is pretty poor this year though I notice? quick service only and if you want any DECENT dining plan, you have to upgrade to it! A far cry from the old days when we'd get free proper dining plan with gratuities included and so on.

    They're gradually eroding ALL the discounts that much is certain :( with scarce regard for those of us who've been faithful to them in the dark days.

    All I can say is, I spend less and less time, and hence money, inside Disney these days. The dining is what's mainly killed it for me. As two adults, we never really did the meeting mickey stuff, for us it was about the countries at EPCOT, the shows, the fireworks and of course, a lovely meal each evening. Since the dining plan has reduced the quality of the meal service and the prices have gone up, they've lost us and we now just dip in for half a day for fireworks when we want.

    This year we're going to have to seriously consider whether it's even worth renewing our APs.

    I guess Disney don't care as long as the parks and hotels are full but with just a little bit of attention to the loyal locals and loyal APs, they'd keep that good faith which they needed post-2001 and who knows, they may need again one day!
     
  3. Johnie
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    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

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    The free dining plan was pure marketing genius. It enabled us to try lots of Disney restaurants that we had never tried before and now seem to want to always want to go to. My dilemma now is to try and remember how we used to do Disney before free dining. Of course my fabulous Connections vouchers are no more and prices are ridiculous even with the TIW discount.

    Sigh to be honest, I'm seriously considering not going in August or Dec. I'm thinking of giving Disney a break.
     
  4. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    We have never used the Free Dining and never will. It isn't worth paying more for the hotel for just the two of us. I'd be happy to see it go, especially if it meant returning the signature restaurants to their former glory.
     
  5. Johnie
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    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

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    Free dining may go away but doubtful DDP will.
     
  6. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    I'm with you on this. It never made sense for us to forgo the hotel discounts just to get free dining! Perhaps it worked better for other people but I never really saw how :shrug1:

    Sadly though, the dining plan itself will still remain and it's that which has ruined the restaurants :( not just the free component
     
  7. Shellyamc
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    Shellyamc Serious Forum Regular

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    I do hope it stays at least until November, it would be a nice bonus for us to get free dining.

    Sorry..we enjoy the dining plan and have made great use of it on our past few trips. :sorry:
     
  8. Wendy
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    Wendy A hui hou kakou makuakane Staff Member Administrator

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    Shelly there's not need to say sorry :hug2: I'm glad it works for you, I should imagine it works out very well for families.

    I would think there will be something until the summer as this is when the UK free dining ends, but there doesn't seem to be many pin emails around offering free dining. All I am getting now is 30% off selected Disney Resorts, yet before I was offered the discount and free dining.
     
  9. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    ABSOLUTELY!!!!! it must work out one way or another for a heck of a lot of people or no one would be using it :lol:
     
  10. robertcraig
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    robertcraig Serious Forum Regular

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    WHITHOUT the free dinning maybe i wont eat as much and return from holiday not quite as heavy
     
  11. Wendy
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    Wendy A hui hou kakou makuakane Staff Member Administrator

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    :lol: Robert that's what holidays are for :lol:
     
  12. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Totally agree Keith. :yes:
    One good thing has come out of it though. Ever since the various dining plans have ruined the on-site dining experience for us, we have ventured further afield for dinner and found some fabulous restaurants outside WDW, many of which are a darned sight less expensive also.
     
  13. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    That's so very true! The columbia in celebration for example, we've had so many wonderful meals there which we would never have tried if Disney had kept up its quality
     
  14. Britchick
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    Britchick Serious Forum Regular

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    the DDP worked out cost wise when we stayed in OKW in 2011 as they also gave 40% off.
     
  15. Johnie
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    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

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    Free dining was an awesome deal for us when it first cane out. We would stay at Pop and were able to get the regular dining plan without an up charge. We could stay for a week with 2 adults and 2 teens, buy a 1 day base ticket for less than $1000. Now it's a 2 day ticket and about $2300. Not a good value for us any longer.
     
  16. robertcraig
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    robertcraig Serious Forum Regular

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    I loved free dining I went to many restaurants and had some great meals and did not have to worry about the cost
     
  17. BUTTERHEAD1
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    BUTTERHEAD1 Addicted to Mickey

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    The free dining was/is a great discount for us, I think it was less than 2,500 for 7nights,tickets and food for the four of us in August. If they do away with free dining I would be more inclined to stay and eat off property. I would also split my time between US and WDW. When the kids were younger I felt like we needed to be on property to have that 24 hour magical feeling but now that they are older I'm okay to stay off property.
     
  18. Johnie
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    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

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    It definitely is a big seller. If I had a big family, I would probably use it more.
     
  19. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    Personally I think Disney could have come up with better ideas than giving away food to draw people in. One thing I like about dining at Disney is that I generally don't have to worry about having too much to drink and then driving back "home". However, the menus are starting to get boring with practically every restaurant offering the same items.
     
  20. Britchick
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    Britchick Serious Forum Regular

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    if they do get rid of the free dining do you think people will buy it out of pocket because from my calculations you'd have to eat the most expensive things at the most expensive restaurants to get your monies worth. And if people don't buy it will the restaurants have less people eating at them- i certainly wouldn't pay a lot of the prices and therefore go out of business or would they reduce their prices meaning more people that didn't have the dining plan would eat there?
     

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