Update: See below for information about recently-announced 2018 Free Dining for Kids!
It’s that time of year again – time to start placing your bets on when the 2018 Free Disney Dining Plan will be announced. We all know how popular free dining has become in recent years and we’re betting that this year won’t be any different!
The Disney World free dining offer includes a free Disney Dining Plan with the purchase of a Walt Disney World Resort hotel and ticket package. The “free” part of the name pulls you in, but just remember that you’ll be paying full price for your resort hotel room when you book free dining. And this year – for the first time ever – alcohol is included in the Disney Dining Plan, which might be a game changer as far as the offer is concerned!
In the past, free dining was announced for less crowded (non-peak) times during the year – late summer, early fall, and early winter (before the holiday season). But let’s be honest, there’s really no such thing as a non-peak season anymore. So if an offer comes out this year, we’re expecting the options will include more summer dates.
In 2017, free dining was announced in mid-April, so that could be when we can expect it this year. And, based on previous years, we’re thinking that check-in dates for 2018 might include mid-August through September, the second half of November (excluding Thanksgiving week), and some of December.
As we mentioned, the 2018 Disney Dining Plan now includes alcohol, which means guests ages 21 and older can can choose either one non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered) or one single serving mixed cocktail, beer, or wine (where offered) with their meal entitlement. This applies to the Quick Service, Standard, and Deluxe Dining Plans! The question is – does this impact Disney’s need to offer Free Dining? Will the dining plan be more popular with alcohol added? We’ll see!
Disney World Free Dining For Kids Package is Here!
In late-March, Walt Disney World announced the availability of the Free Dining for Kids Package! Booking is available through August 1, 2018, for most arrival dates from May 28, 2018, to August 30, 2018. All three Disney Dining Plans are eligible, but like all free DDP, Free Dining Plans for Kids are available only at select resorts.
How to Get Disney World Free Dining
The key to planning around the Disney Dining Plan dates is to book as soon as the offer is released. There is always a limited number of rooms available during free dining — and if recent years are any indication, they’ll go very quickly. Last year, guests staying at Deluxe resorts were offered the free Standard Disney Dining Plan, while guests at Moderate and Value resorts were offered the Quick-Service Disney Dining Plan for free.
A good tip is to book one of the resorts usually included in the offer ahead of time. When free dining is announced, simply add free dining to your vacation package (quickly — it does sell out).
The Disney Dining Plan can be a good deal, but we always recommend crunching the numbers, especially when “free” dining is involved. Check out our DFB Guide to Walt Disney Dining for a full chapter on whether it makes sense for your family.
If you want to stay on top of the Dining Plan info and release dates, sign up for our newsletter! We’ll let you know as soon as booking is available for free dining.
Are you planning on booking free dining this year? Let us know in the comments.