Free Dining Plan. Is it a good deal?

Each year, during specific dates, Walt Disney World offers a special deal that gives guests a free dining plan when they purchase a specific vacation package. A free dining plan automatically seems like a great deal. And it very well may be for the vacation you are looking to take, but it’s not the best deal for everyone. To be able to acquire the free dining plan on your vacation package, you must purchase a minimum 4 day park hopper pass and pay full price for your accommodations. This may align perfectly with your plans and therefore it will be the ideal package for you. But there are guests out there who do not want to visit all of the parks during their vacation. Or maybe you don’t plan on park hopping. Or maybe you want to take in Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. There could be a number of reasons why these requirements don’t appeal to you. 

So let’s take a comparative look and see if this special offer benefits you. 

I’ve selected three different Disney resorts, each from a different category: All-Star Sports (a value resort), Caribbean Beach (a moderate resort) and Animal Kingdom Lodge (a deluxe resort). The offer we’ll be using to compare is for a family of four. With a value resort and moderate resort the dining plan included is the quick-service plan. With a deluxe resort the Disney dining plan is included. These offers are what you would get and the cost with the current Free Dining Plan deal. 

All-Star Sports

5 Night Standard Room

4 Day Park Hopper Pass x 4

Quick-Service Dining Plan x 4

$2,727.60

Caribbean Beach Resort

5 Night Standard Room

4 Day Park Hopper Pass x 4

Quick-Service Dining Plan x 4

$3,384.07

Animal Kingdom Lodge

5 Night Savana View

4 Day Park Hopper Pass x 4

Disney Dining Plan x 4

$5,029.96

The next grouping of offers is for the exact same dates. I eliminated the park hopper option on the passes and brought it down to a 3 day park pass. With a 5 night stay you may be getting in late the day you arrive and don’t want to rush off to a park or maybe you want to spend a couple days by the pool or you’re planning on taking in one of the dinner shows. Again, there can be a variety of reason for not wanting to be at the parks for every day of your vacation. I added the dining plan that was included on the offers above. These rooms are at a discounted rate as a part of the Play Big and Save Offer. So let’s take a look.

All-Star Sports

5 Night Standard Room

3 Day Park Pass x 4 

Quick-Service Dining Plan

$2,818.54

Caribbean Beach 

5 Night Standard Room

3 Day Park Pass x 4 

Quick-Service Dining Plan

$3,269.58

Animal Kingdom Lodge

5 Night Savanna View

3 Day Park Pass x 4

Disney Dining Plan

$4,625.46

The difference is pretty clear. If you are planning on staying in a value resort, then this Dining Plan deal is the way to go! You are out ahead on cost and in value. You get more time at the park and it’s cheaper. The moderate resort is pretty much the same. It’s not so much a deal as it is same dollar value. As for Animal Kingdom Lodge, there is a large difference. If you are planning on staying at a Deluxe resort then it doesn’t look like the free dining plan is the way to for you. Unless you plan on spending every moment at the parks. That means no water parks, no Disney Springs, no pool hopping. Every day, all day, the parks. 

Hopefully this post cleared things up for you, and helps you make a sound decision for your fall Disney vacation. Or help you with dreaming about your Disney vacation for Fall of 2020. This deal comes out every single year, you can count on it. Happy Planning, Friends. 

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