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Free Dining

G-bone

Member
The free dining haters must be quite wealthy. Shame on us for trying to save money I guess. We are a family of four so free dining saves us a lot of money. If you don't like the free dining promotion then go during times when free dining isn't offered. You should have no trouble getting reservations then.

Well said. So are the people who don't like the free dining going at these times and not taking advantage of it and paying for their meals? I doubt it.
 
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xdan0920

Think for yourselfer
Well, as fans (I'm assuming you are one) we really don't want down times at WDW. Sure, they make for great touring... but the money comes from people in the parks. We all want to see Disney World grow and expand, we want new rides and experiences, etc. This stuff wouldn't happen unless the people came! Disney doesn't want down time either... they're a business - they want money! It only makes sense. Why would a company choose less business over more!?! They wouldn't!!!

I have been to WDW twice during free dining... I would still consider it to be a down time (the crowds are still quite low compared to other times in the year) and the dining has always been good. I haven't had any negative experiences during free dining! In fact it's been the opposite... I had some of the best dining experiences. And I've never had to wait that long for my ADR either (which is a complaint that I've heard)... maybe I've been lucky!

And as for that line we heard earlier this year about them scaling back on discounts... we'll have to wait and see. If Disney thinks they can pack the place on regular rates... go for it! The bean counters will tell them if it worked or not!

The thing is, Disney used to have downtimes, and they have always done just fine. I am not talking about 2 months of downtime, but 2 weeks. There used to be a time where you could book a vacation for the 2nd week of september and know you could have a good time, eat where you'd like, when you'd like, all without overwhelming crowds.

Now with the Free dining plan they are jamming the parks, but making less per guest. I personally feel like Disney should scale back these discounts. If you are discounting everything, then it will lead to discounted experiences(see space mountain refurb).

None of this takes in account the negative effect that the DDP in general has on the quality and value of restaurants offered on property. I know this argument has been hashed out multiple times on this board so I will not open up that can of worms. But I should say that I most certainly subscribe to the theory that the DDP and especially the free dining plan has seriously impacted the dining experience on property.

I am sure it sounds elitist, and I do not mean to sound that way, but I really dislike some of these discounts, especially the free dining. I am by no means rich, and do have to save up to take my yearly trips to WDW even with being a Vacation club owner. Free dining has always bothered me, it just compounds year after year. So hopefully they were serious about scaling back the discounts this year, starting with free dining.
 
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Monty

A legend.
Premium Member
In the Parks
No
Well said. So are the people who don't like the free dining going at these times and not taking advantage of it and paying for their meals? I doubt it.
Although I'm not a hater... I regularly go during the Free Dining time frame and don't "take advantage" of it. It simply doesn't save me as much as resort discounts and TiW combined do.

I don't begrudge those who like it using it. Whether to save money or for convenience it's all good. But don't for a moment think there aren't better savings to be had, particularly [but not solely] if you prefer to stay in Moderate or Deluxe Resorts.
 
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xdan0920

Think for yourselfer
The free dining haters must be quite wealthy. Shame on us for trying to save money I guess. We are a family of four so free dining saves us a lot of money. If you don't like the free dining promotion then go during times when free dining isn't offered. You should have no trouble getting reservations then.


I am not wealthy, I would just prefer disney to offer a premium experience. I just made a long post regarding why I dislike the free dining so I will not rehash that. Just wanted to point out that I am not wealthy, and that I used to like going during those downtimes that are now filled with free dining guests.
 
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NewfieFan

Well-Known Member
The thing is, Disney used to have downtimes, and they have always done just fine. I am not talking about 2 months of downtime, but 2 weeks. There used to be a time where you could book a vacation for the 2nd week of september and know you could have a good time, eat where you'd like, when you'd like, all without overwhelming crowds.

Now with the Free dining plan they are jamming the parks, but making less per guest. I personally feel like Disney should scale back these discounts. If you are discounting everything, then it will lead to discounted experiences(see space mountain refurb).

None of this takes in account the negative effect that the DDP in general has on the quality and value of restaurants offered on property. I know this argument has been hashed out multiple times on this board so I will not open up that can of worms. But I should say that I most certainly subscribe to the theory that the DDP and especially the free dining plan has seriously impacted the dining experience on property.

I am sure it sounds elitist, and I do not mean to sound that way, but I really dislike some of these discounts, especially the free dining. I am by no means rich, and do have to save up to take my yearly trips to WDW even with being a Vacation club owner. Free dining has always bothered me, it just compounds year after year. So hopefully they were serious about scaling back the discounts this year, starting with free dining.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree! I don't think the Space Mountain refurb and the discounts they offer have anything to do with each other. Discounts are offered to entice people to come.

And again, why would Disney want even 2 weeks of down time? That's two weeks to make money off people! I personally think you can still have a lovely time in September... but that's my opinion. I wouldn't call it "overwhelming crowds" by any stretch of the imagination. Now June... that's overwhelming crowds!!!

They might be making less per guest but I'm sure that Disney has done the math. I guess they're making more off filling the resorts at discounts than half filling (or whatever) at regular price!

And yes, the argument about the quality and value of the restuarants is a big one. I myself, think that some of these changes would have occured anyway dispite the existence of the DDP. Prices go up all the time and shrinking menus is probably just another cost cutting measure that may have occured anyway. But it's debatable and one we'll never really know the answer to. The DDP exists!

The one thing we do know is the DDP has filled restaurants... which is something the "suits" like... I'm sure!
 
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Without getting argumentative, I would like to make a point about "even two weeks of downtime" being good or bad for Disney. I do understand the corporate model of making more, more, more money by attracting crowds at every moment the park is open. That looks great on paper and to share holders. What it does not take into account is that those downtimes are perfect opportunities to expand a company's intangible wealth. By that I mean, give your employees some breathing room to re-charge and remember why they like this job and like people. Give them the opportunity to really feel "magical" about their job, not just dish magic out because it's required. I think it is well understood that not even great employees can perform their best at maximum productivity ALL of the time. Also, the downtimes were perfect times to do much needed maintenance without disappointing *too* many guests. I firmly believe this absolutely does correlate to the bad SM refurb, along with other items that have been neglected. Now that there are crowds all the time, when can you close a major attraction without disappointing many guests? The guests that chose to go at downtimes knew that they were trading short lines and uncrowded restaurants for potential ride closures, shorter park hours, and iffy weather. The crowd cycles served a purpose that can't be quanitfied but absolutely added value. Just my two cents.
 
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G-bone

Member
Although I'm not a hater... I regularly go during the Free Dining time frame and don't "take advantage" of it. It simply doesn't save me as much as resort discounts and TiW combined do.

I don't begrudge those who like it using it. Whether to save money or for convenience it's all good. But don't for a moment think there aren't better savings to be had, particularly [but not solely] if you prefer to stay in Moderate or Deluxe Resorts.

This I can see and makes sense. Thanks. I only go every couple years so don't have the option to choose from numerous discounts so this is all I have.:animwink:
 
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xdan0920

Think for yourselfer
Without getting argumentative, I would like to make a point about "even two weeks of downtime" being good or bad for Disney. I do understand the corporate model of making more, more, more money by attracting crowds at every moment the park is open. That looks great on paper and to share holders. What it does not take into account is that those downtimes are perfect opportunities to expand a company's intangible wealth. By that I mean, give your employees some breathing room to re-charge and remember why they like this job and like people. Give them the opportunity to really feel "magical" about their job, not just dish magic out because it's required. I think it is well understood that not even great employees can perform their best at maximum productivity ALL of the time. Also, the downtimes were perfect times to do much needed maintenance without disappointing *too* many guests. I firmly believe this absolutely does correlate to the bad SM refurb, along with other items that have been neglected. Now that there are crowds all the time, when can you close a major attraction without disappointing many guests? The guests that chose to go at downtimes knew that they were trading short lines and uncrowded restaurants for potential ride closures, shorter park hours, and iffy weather. The crowd cycles served a purpose that can't be quanitfied but absolutely added value. Just my two cents.


Excellently put, you make so many good points in your statement that I will just say, I agree with everything you said.
 
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Korfar

Active Member
Dinning plan

Everyone has valid points. We have been 5 times over the last 7 years. 3 of those times we did not have the dining plan. This included a June visit. Personally I think the crowds are still better in September even with the free dinning plan. That is when I would go with or without the plan but if they are going to offer it then I will take it for sure. I am waiting for what specials they come out with for this September. Why book at full fare when discounts are available. The savings on food allows us to lengthen our stay by a few days and save some money. I see nothing wrong with the free dinning plan. If your argument is that you don't like the people that it brings in then there are other times you can go when it isn't offered. In my opinion everyone should be able to experience the magic and joys of WDW and if free dining helps some people be able to visit WDW then that is a good thing.

In a way Disney did create a monster with the free dining. They will not be able to get an accurate gage of the September bookings since so many people are waiting for the free dining plan. I assume that is how they decide on the discounts based on current bookings for the fall months.
 
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G-bone

Member
I was wondering if anyone knows the actual number of free dining packages Disney offers not only to Visa card holders but then to the general public? Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Just to get an idea of how many people/families take advantage of this promotion. I'm sure it's never listed but just wondering.
 
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tonya

New Member
The free dining haters must be quite wealthy. Shame on us for trying to save money I guess. We are a family of four so free dining saves us a lot of money. If you don't like the free dining promotion then go during times when free dining isn't offered. You should have no trouble getting reservations then.

Thank you! Finally someone in the same boat as our family! I would LOVE to be able to take advantage of the dining plan---Let's see, 3 meals a day times 4 people times 7 days times $8 a meal=$672. That's a lot of money folks. Anybody wanna give me your pin number? :drevil:
 
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NewfieFan

Well-Known Member
Thank you! Finally someone in the same boat as our family! I would LOVE to be able to take advantage of the dining plan---Let's see, 3 meals a day times 4 people times 7 days times $8 a meal=$672. That's a lot of money folks. Anybody wanna give me your pin number? :drevil:

Maybe it was just a joke... but you can't use someone's pin even if they gave it to you. It's attached to a name, sorry! You will have to hope you get one yourself or wait to see if there is a public discount!
 
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xdan0920

Think for yourselfer
Free Dining Guests... wretched creatures.

:ROFLOL::ROFLOL:

Lest anyone get the wrong idea...

I am sure most guests taking advantage of free dining are quite wonderful people. So for me:

Free Dining = wretched promotion.

BTW...In a stroke of irony I have received a free dining pin code.
 
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partyoffour

New Member
U all are to funny been looking at this board for a few years and the same stuff is always fought over. Free dining and pool hopping:ROFLOL:

BTW I am going to take advantage of both :wave:
LOL JK about the pool part but not the free dining
 
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tink65

Active Member
Well I am a free dining person! We have enjoyed the free dining promotion since 2005. We always went in September anyway to celebrate our daughter's birthday so that promotion has never influenced our decision as to when to visit but it has certainly made it more affordable. We started our annual September visits in 1997 when our daughter turned 3 and this year she will celebrate her 16th birthday at the World! I have seen an increase in attendance over the years but still nothing compared to spring and summer!
 
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pjulie75

Member
I think the free dining is amazing, I am hoping I can catch it for next year, it would save us a lot of money. Paying from UK with flights etc it is really expensive and any saving would be fantastic - more money to spend in the park, so Disney will be getting my dollars either way:ROFLOL:
 
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stlbobby

Well-Known Member
Free Dining Guests... wretched creatures.

This makes me sad. It's not really in the WDW spirit is it? I'm a DVC member and never used the free dining myself, but I've sent people on great vacations that they otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford. I'd hate to think of them as wretched.

I will say I have noticed that September used to be dead, but not anymore. I am always amazed at how well Disney keeps the parks filled now. Of course I have longer waits, but there are also later hours and more money going into refrubs and expansions. It is always a trade off.
 
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JimboJones123

Well-Known Member
No matter how many are brought in for Free Dining, September mornings at MK before 10:30 offer guest the absolute best that can be had at WDW as far as crowds are concerned. We had one Saturday in 2009 where we ordered waffles at Sleepy Hollow. Ate. I walked to Splash to get Fastpasses and back.

Total guests seen walking 40 minutes into the day: 14. Total boats with riders on Splash Mt.: 2.

It was one of the greatest experiences of my life enjoying an empty park on a Saturday morning. I will never miss an early MK day like that again. We had 3 of them over our trip. We also had 2 at Epcot. Studios was always packed, as was DAK.
 
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