Disney is poised to announce a new round of its “free dining” packages for the third year in a row. Under this promotion, guests are required to pay full Rack Rates for Disney resort accommodations and buy their park tickets through Disney. In return they receive the Magic Your Way Dining (aka Disney Dining Plan) for free for all nights of their stay. This discount package will reportedly be available for check-ins from 8/26/07 to 9/22/07.
While full details have not been released, rumors indicate there may be a number of changes in the promotion compared to prior years. First, the check-in period is only four weeks—at least two weeks shorter than in prior years. In prior years a minimum 3-night stay was required in order to take advantage of this promotion. In 2007 it appears that minimum stay may be extended to 4 or 5 nights. There may also be changes to the ticket requirements. Previously the minimum ticket requirement was just a one-day, one-park pass for each guest. This made the promotion particularly attractive to Annual Passholders who had already purchased their ticket media.
Details are expected to be released later today with booking open to Disney Visa Reward cardholders only from 4/9/07 to 4/11/07. The general public would be eligible to begin booking on 4/12/07. An excellent source for information regarding this program is the website MouseSavers.com.
Disney Vacation Club members are not eligible to receive the “free dining” for point stays during this period. While this may seem unfair, it’s important to note that there is very little that is free about the “free dining” promotion. Participants must pay full published rates for each night at a Disney resort. That rate starts at $315 per night for resorts like Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club. And there is also the ticket purchase requirement and the minimum stay. Some would argue that Disney has already been quite generous to DVC members by offering the Dining Plan at face value with no ticket purchase requirement and no minimum stay.
DVC members can always take advantage of this promotion if they are willing to book a cash stay under the published terms. Some considering extended trips in the fall may wish to consider a multi-day cash stay under the terms of this promotion, combined with several nights at a DVC resort using their points.