How to Save $$$ at Disney World with Free Dining 2018

by Sarah Scoop
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Great news Disney Parks fans, Disney World Free Dining 2018 is up! If this is the first time you’re hearing about Free Dining, you might be a little confused and overwhelmed. Not to worry, I’m here to explain how to save money by booking your Disney World trip during Free Dining 2018.

The Rules

Disney World Free Dining is a period of time in which guests can book packages and receive free dining plans. This year, you have between now and July 7 to book your trip during the following dates:

  • August 20 – September 29, 2018
  • November 24 – November 27, 2018
  • December 7 – December 23, 2018

If you have an existing trip, you can also modify your reservation to get this offer. The catch? You have to arrive during these dates to qualify. What that means is that as long as your first night is December 7th or September 29, for example, you’re good. If you arrive on November 23 and your stay is during the period of free dining, you can’t get the deal. I booked a trip this morning and, when I went through the Free Dining page, it highlighted the offer dates so I wouldn’t miss out.

The second catch? You have to stay at least 5 nights and have the Park Hopper option for your tickets. When I went to book the offer this morning, it only gave me the Park Hopper/Magic Your Way option for my tickets. I highly recommend going through the Free Dining page to make things easier.

Sorry, King Triton, but The Little Mermaid rooms don’t count. I’ll miss you this year!

The Dining Plan

Having the dining plan, in my experience, was 100% worth it. But I’ll admit that the cost of adding it to your trip can be a little pricey. For those who don’t know, Disney has three dining plan options: Quick-Service, Standard, and Deluxe. The plans entitle you to the following each night:

  • a refillable mug
  • 2  Meals
  • 2 snack credits

On the Quick-Service plan, the two meal credits are Quick-Service, which means you can get an entree or combo and a drink. On the Standard plan, your meal credits are 1 Quick-Service and 1 Table-Service credit. The table service credit entitles you to a drink, an entree, and a dessert. The Deluxe plan lets you choose from 3 meals, so they can be Table-Service, Quick-Service, or a mixture of the two.

With Disney Free Dining 2018, you get one of these dining plans completely free. The catch? Your dining plan option depends on your hotel. Value and Moderate resorts get Quick-Service for free, while Deluxe and Deluxe villas get the Standard plan for free. If you don’t want the plan you qualify for, you can upgrade your plan for a small price difference.

The second catch? There are a handful of hotels that don’t qualify. For instance, All-Star Movies and The Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation don’t count. Need a complete list? Check out the Free Dining offer page!

My total for two at Chef Art’s would have been $88, but it was covered by the Standard Dining Plan credits!

How Much Does FD2018 Save?

Well, that depends on which plan you end up with and whether or not you upgrade. In my experience, it saved me more than a couple hundred bucks. Here’s the cost breakdown for the 2018 Dining Plans per night for adults:

  • Quick-Service: $52.49
  • Standard: $75.49
  • Deluxe: $106.68

The amount saved with Free Dining might be completely different for you and your crew. For me, it saved major funds. I booked my trip this morning under the Free Dining deal and received free Quick-Service. I upgraded my party of two to the Standard Plan for approximately $22 per night. After comparing the cost of our trip with and without the deal, crunching some numbers with the upgrade, being on the Standard Dining Plan with the Free Dining deal saved us over $500.

Is it Worth it?

It’s up to you, but I say absolutely! Disney Dining Plans cover your meals for the length of your trip. For families that usually go without the Dining Plan, or for anyone wanting to see what it’s like on the plan, I highly recommend taking advantage of this deal. Free Dining is a major incentive that fans go nuts over! The Disney Dining Plan provides the extra peace of mind knowing that the trip is 100% paid on arrival. There’s something freeing about being able to order without looking at prices and eat at restaurants you wouldn’t normally try. There’s something even more awesome about being able to do that for free.

Want to take advantage of Disney Free Dining 2018?

Visit the Free Dining offer page of Disney World’s site and make your arrangements from there!

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