Saturday, 11 May 2019

Free Disney Dining 2020 for UK Guests

If you didn't already know I love Disney and the idea of one day being able to visit Walt Disney World as a family fills me with excitement but my goodness, all that magic comes at a hefty price. So today I'm going to break down for you one of Disney World's most popular offers for UK guests: free Disney dining.

I'll be talking a bit about what it actually is and why it might be a great option for you and your travel party as well as what other Disney fans honestly think of the free dining offer.

Magic Kingdom
Thomas Kelley | Unsplash

Note: Thrice Upon a Dream has now moved to Wonder and Grey!

It's my understanding that there are similar offers available for guests in other countries but alas, you'll have to do a spot of research as this post looks exclusively at the offer available for UK guests visiting Walt Disney World in 2020.

Please be advised that all the information regarding this offer is correct at the time of writing and I do not take responsibility for any outdated or incorrect information. You can find more information about this in my disclaimer.

Free Disney Dining for UK Guests (2020 stays): 

What is it?

From April 25th 2019, UK guests booking a package holiday to moderate, deluxe or deluxe villa resorts at Walt Disney World for selected dates in 2020 will qualify for a free dining plan for everyone in their booking party. You need to be staying for five or more nights between January 1st and March 29th or between April 19th and October 3rd in order to be eligible for the offer.

(Source: Disney Parks

Those staying at a moderate resort will qualify for the Quick Service Dining Plan while those opting for a deluxe or deluxe villa will be eligible for the Disney Dining Plan. If you want to stay at one of Disney's value resorts, sadly you are not eligible for the free dining but you will still get free breakfast which is a nice bonus. 

For more info on the Quick Service Dining Plan, why not check out this awesome video from Liz  Cashman!

In addition to the free dining plan, you will also receive $200 Disney Spending Money per booking when you book before July 2nd 2019. That's money you can spend during your stay while you're in the Parks or at your resort. Free spending money? Yes please!

Don't forget that UK customers already get a 14 day ultimate ticket for the same price as a 7 day ticket with free Memory Maker. That's even more savings! 

The offer is ridiculously popular, so much so that on the day of its release we didn't see wait times drop below an hour with the largest number of users waiting ahead of us being almost 26,000! Yikes!

Luckily the hype died down fairly quickly allowing us to access the offer a few days later without any waiting - though it should be noted that there were less options available due to the high demand upon its release.

The offer continues to run until October 22nd 2019 so if you still haven't made the most of this fantastic deal, there's still time!

RELATED: In Defence of Childless Millennials at Disney

Did the Free Disney Dining Offer
Work Out Cheaper For Us?

Our next Walt Disney World adventure isn't likely to be before 2024 unless we win (a) the lottery or (b) a competition but I'm obsessed with fantasy bookings. It's a little bit of fun but it also helps us to establish how much our dream trip is likely to set us back.

The benefits of staying on Disney property are preferable to us, largely because renting a car and driving ourselves around isn't a viable option. Although many off-site hotels do offer free shuttles to the parks and usually come up as much cheaper (and often more spacious) alternatives to those on Disney property, we just can't ignore the extensive network of transportation available if you stay at a Disney hotel.

The dining plan is of particular interest to us because we're a family of three who like to eat but aren't great with money. Personally, I've got my eye on those snack credits because hello, I live and breathe snacks. But there's also the obvious reason again: budgeting. Paying for your food in advance, in our eyes at least, gives us that safety net of knowing that regardless of how much money we are able to take with us or what we've spent on merchandise that we will always be fed.

So taking all of that into account, how has the offer affected our family's estimated price point?

I'll be honest, I was sceptical going into the offer because there's a huge price jump between the value resorts and the moderate resorts. But when those prices came rolling in, I was shocked. The free dining offer would have saved us £1000 and given us a bigger room with bigger beds plus all of the added benefits of the offer (for example the $200 spending money) in comparison to staying at the cheapest value resort and paying full price to add on a quick service dining plan. With that said, it was also significantly cheaper to book the value resorts during this offer (free breakfast only) and then pay the little bit extra to upgrade to the quick service dining.

Would we consider doing the free dining offer in the future? Absolutely.

What Others Think 

of the Free Disney Dining Offer

Since I've had no first-hand experience of booking this offer or using a Disney dining plan, I decided to reach out on Twitter to see what others thought of the deal and if it works out as better value for them.

Top Tip: Check out the linked blogs and vlogs for even more incredible Disney content!

As there is no "one size fits all" approach to planning a Walt Disney World holiday, the responses I received were definitely varied!

Most were in favour of the free dining offer (and/or dining plan in general):

Some responses acknowledged that the free dine offer is not always cost effective but that with annual price rises, the free dining offer might end up being a godsend. 

Still, it doesn't work for everybody and sometimes there are better ways to save money on your Disney trip.

Is Free Disney Dining Worth It?

Well, the truth is that the only person who can answer that question is you

It really does depend on what you and your party want to get out of your trip. If you're looking to save big amounts of money then perhaps staying off-site will work out better for you. If you're planning to do several days off Disney property to visit other attractions then again, this might not be the most practical option.

But then again, you may find that the benefits of the offer outweigh these cons especially if, like us, you like the peace of mind that you've got at least the majority of your food sorted ahead of time.

My only recommendation would be to research, research, research and then make the best choice for your party based on all of the information in front of you.

RELATED: A Day Well Spent (at a Disney Park) 

No matter how you choose to book your holiday to Walt Disney World, I hope that you will visit my little blog again in the near future for even more content to help you make the most of your stay! Happy booking! 

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