Walt Disney World has announced that it's latest incarnation of the popular "free dining" incentive will run from August 16 to October 3, 2009. Disney Vacation Club members will not receive complimentary dining as a direct result of this promotion but may still find their vacations impacted.
Someone once said that there's no such thing as a free lunch. In the case of Disney's so-called "free dining" promotion, that couldn't be truer. In conjunction with this popular fall promotion, Walt Disney World guests will receive the Disney Dining Plan at no charge when purchasing a vacation package which includes at least 3 nights in a Disney resort (at full "rack rate") plus theme park tickets.
So, in order to get the "free" dining, most guests will be spending thousands of dollars on their hotel room and theme park tickets for a multi-day stay. Although dubbed "free dining", it is little more than a discount package designed to fill Disney's resorts and theme parks, while providing some free benefit to customers.
Disney Vacation Club members can still participate in this promotion--if they are willing to pay for a hotel / ticket package under the same terms as all other guests. Those using DVC points for their stays will not be eligible for the complimentary dining plan. Simply put, there is no incentive for Disney go give away thousands of dollars worth of free meals to a DVC audience already receiving steep discounts on their resort room and Annual Passes.
However, those visiting Walt Disney World during the incentive period of August 16 to October 3, 2009 would be well advised to make their meal plans as early as possible. During the "free dining" promotional period, most Disney restaurants will be booked to capacity months ahead of time. Those who travel without making Advance Dining Reservations will have a very difficult time finding Table Service restaurants which are able to accommodate walk-up guests or short-notice reservations.
Advance Dining Reservations can currently be made 90 days in advance of guests' scheduled arrival date. Reservations can be made by contacting DVC Member Services or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.
Additional details on the "free dining" promotion can be found at website MouseSavers.com.