By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

When Will the New Walt Disney World Deals and Discounts Be Out?

By Dave Shute


The Disney World deals, promotions, and discounts I know about are linked to via this Summary of Current Walt Disney World Deals and Discounts.

However, all the time I get search traffic, questions, and comments about the dates of future deals and discounts, like this one from Brandon.

These questions are hard to answer, as it’s to Disney’s advantage not to be too predictable on these promotions.

It doesn’t make much business sense for Disney World to incent people who are perfectly willing to pay standard resort hotel prices to hold off on their reservations so that they can get a predictable further discount later.

So just because a discount was available at such and such a time last year doesn’t mean it’ll be available at that time this year, or next year.

This is particularly true if the economy keeps improving, which will lead Disney to continue to cut back on the scope of its discount programs–which it has promised to Wall Street that it will do.

However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no pattern, nor that observations can’t be made.


I analyzed the 50+ major discount programs Walt Disney World made available to the general public covering stays from 2008 til well into 2011 to see if there were some patterns that might be helpful.

The analysis focused in particular on how many days elapsed between the discount announcement date and the beginning and the ending dates during which the discount could be used.

I then graphed the cumulative distribution of the results.

See the chart to the right.

(Click to enlarge it; when it’s open, click again to enlarge it more.)

The chart has two lines, each the result of independent analysis of the Disney deals.

(That is, the points at the 50th percentile on the red and the blue lines do not represent the beginning and end of the same Disney World promotion.)

The blue line covers the period from the date of the announcement to the first date the discount can be applied.

It helps illuminate whether, if a discount is announced, it will cover your dates.

Note that the blue line hits 20% at 30 days, and 70% at 60 days.

What this means is that 70% of Disney World’s major discount programs open to the general public over the last four years had their first effective date 2 months away or closer, and that half of them (70%-20%) had their first effective date between 30 and 60 days after announcement.

So if you are within 30-60 days of your trip, and no discounts have been announced that apply to it, based on this the odds are 70% that a new discount program, if announced, will begin during your period.  If you are a month away, if a new discount program is announced, the odds are only 20% that it will cover your dates.

In other words, the nearer your dates, the less the chance that any announced discount will cover them.


The red line covers the number of days between announcements and the last effective date of a discount program.

This curve is smoother.  Half of discount programs have their ending date 120 days or sooner after their announcement, and about 90% of programs have their ending date 6 months (180 days) or sooner after the announcement.

This curve helps illuminate when future discounts might be announced.

For example, you may be wondering when Disney will be announcing a discount for January 2012.

Well, if it does so, based on past behavior the odds are about 90% that, if announced, a January 2012 Disney World discount will be announced no earlier than sometime July 2011–that is, six months before.

And the odds are about 50% that, if announced, it will be announced no earlier than sometime September 2011.

So don’t be looking for them now…


These patterns are observations about past tendencies…not a playbook that Disney must follow!

Disney World can, and does, do anything it wants.  It is quite capable of surprises–like the free dining deal announced last year that covered some dates more than 400 days after the announcement!

So take this analysis for what it’s worth…as an illumination based on past behavior, not a display of psychic powers!


This analysis covers only 2008 through 2011–the time during which this site has been up, and I’ve been paying detailed attention.  This period is the same as the downturn, which started showing up in early 2008, and so the analysis may fast become irrelevant if the economy takes off.

There are certain periods where you just won’t see discounts, when demand for Disney resort hotels, or willingness to pay, is predictably high enough that it makes no business sense for Disney to discount–promotions that are offered will exclude them (these excluded periods are known as “black-out dates”) or end before or start after them.

Almost never discounted periods are the Xmas-New Year’s periods, President’s Day week, Easter week, and Thanksgiving week.  Commonly blacked out as well are July, Jersey Week, and Pop Warner Week.

The analysis includes only discounts available to the general public–not passholder discounts, Florida resident deals, military discounts, pin codes for Disney Visa card holders, etc.  For thoughts on a 2012 Military Salute, see this page on  For more on most of these other discount types, see The Tightwad’s Guide to Resort Deals and Discounts.

Current major Disney World promotions for the general public and the military that I know about can be found on Summary of Current Walt Disney World Deals and Discounts.  However, don’t ever give up on finding a discount until after you’ve also checked and with your travel agent.



1 megan { 07.14.11 at 10:40 am }

We are planning on going to DW the first week in December. We were hoping to be able to snag the free dining plan along with this trip. Our travel dates are somewhat flexible. Do you think we are better off going the week before or week after to maximize the chance of getting the free dining plan?

2 Dave { 07.14.11 at 10:47 am }

Hi Megan, yes, I do. in recent years discounts offered in this period have exluded the first full week of December. The weeks before and after are both great…

3 megan { 07.14.11 at 12:22 pm }

Is it true if we arrived for example on the last day of the free dining deal (say Dec 2) it would be extended for us throughout the entire trip?

4 Dave { 07.14.11 at 2:01 pm }

Megan, I’ve heard this as well, but can’t confirm. I will try to confirm and will post another comment with what I learn!

5 Allison Jones { 07.14.11 at 4:43 pm }

Hi Megan! Dave wanted me to chime in with some guidance. He is correct, for discounts…the 2nd and 3rd weeks (before Christmas) in December are much better in regards to getting a discount. The Pop Warner Super Bowl runs December 4-11. Disney rarely offers a discount during this popular week. You have a much better chance of getting a discount (including free dining) by booking your trip the 2nd or 3rd week of this month.

In regards to the discount, it varies per discount. I know that is kinda a vague answer, but some discounts we are able to book the 1st night of a guest’s vacation during the last day of a Disney discount. Each discount is different how it is loaded into the system and some discounts will allow us to book it and some discounts will not.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Allison Jones
Destinations in Florida Travel

6 Dave { 07.14.11 at 6:00 pm }

Thanks Allison!

7 Megan { 07.15.11 at 2:16 pm }

Thank you both for the very helpful information, and very timely responses! What a great resource this website has been for us!

8 Dave { 07.15.11 at 2:54 pm }

Thanks Megan and have a great trip!! …and feel free to tell your 1000 closest friends about the site!… Dave

9 Leah { 08.15.11 at 3:33 pm }

Great site…wish I would have discovered many years ago!

Question is this…we are going to WDW in mid-October 2011 and do not hit free dining that is offered before or after our trip (total bummer). In past years (during this same time frame) we have always gotten something (bounce back offer, free dining). We are super nervous that nothing will come our way. Why no offers during this time and do you think something will come our way (like the Annual Passholders 40% off).

Thanks for your time!

10 Dave { 08.15.11 at 9:46 pm }

Leah, recently there’s never been a free dining deal without a room rate deal showing up soon after, with many fewer blackout dates. Keep your fingers crossed….

11 Leah { 08.15.11 at 11:00 pm }

Thanks Dave! Again, great site,

12 Dave { 08.16.11 at 6:34 am }

Thanks Leah…ps rumors are going around that a room rate discount of up to 35% will be coming out soon, with the only blackout being Thanksgiving week. I’m gonna post on this today…

13 Leah { 08.16.11 at 9:51 am }

Thanks Dave. We have been seeing offers in the UK, Annual Pass holders, pin codes for those who go to conferences…so many…so we are eagerly awaiting.

We will keep checking your site for sure.

14 Dave { 08.16.11 at 10:20 am }

Check out also, especially the stuff at the top of the right sidebar–rumors (and facts!) about deals often show up there first!

15 Ginette { 08.16.11 at 9:48 pm }

Hey Leah,
Looks like I am going to same time in October and was so upset about not getting Dining. I have made myself sick every day waiting for a room discount. Dave, I read your site and I am praying that something will come out. I just hope I don’t lose sleep anymore and this happens fast! I was really banking on the dining…oh well! I hope this rumor becomes true. Thanks everyone.

16 Leah { 08.17.11 at 11:14 am }

Ginette…I am glad I am not the only one waiting. I am up early every morning checking websites so that I can call and get a deal. I am feeling like Cinderella watching all others go to the ball with reduced rates and free dining 😉 So I am hoping that…someday our price will come!

Thanks to Dave for sure!

17 Dave { 08.17.11 at 10:29 pm }

you go girls!

18 Leah { 08.18.11 at 5:31 pm }

Is there a certain day of the week that special offers come out? Or is it random?

Do you think with the big D23 weekend they may announce it then?

19 Dave { 08.18.11 at 5:44 pm }

Leah–I haven’t studied that question so this is just off the cuff–I’ve heard that Wednesdays are a common day, and myself have noticed a lot of Sundays.

I don’t think D23 is a good venue for an announcement of a discount program–they are more working the other side of pumping the reasons to visit…

My guess is that if it comes out it will come out after D23 and maybe a week or even longer after as they get more data on how well the Dining deal is filling the hotels and what’s going on with other advance booking…a new deal would be for their next fiscal quarter, not their current one (which ends towards the end of Sept) so there’s no real rush…but this is just a guess!!

Remember a watched pot never you-know-whats!!

20 Leah { 08.18.11 at 6:31 pm }

Thanks! Yea, you are right about that watched pot. But I have to save money somehere so that I can do some damage at the Food & Wine Festival (love Poland)). You’ve been great, I appreciate all your help.

21 Dave { 08.18.11 at 7:36 pm }


22 Ginette { 08.19.11 at 11:00 am }

I’m sorry I cannot stop on this subject. If Disney Visa were to release something for October dates, do you think it will be a mailing or advertise online? And if so, would this happen before September that you are estimating for the general public? I am like Leah just getting so nervous that my dates are getting closer and still no discounts! I know the saying says don’t expect things but I sure was expecting dining and now I would like something! Thanks for all your help with everything…you are full of information!

23 Dave { 08.19.11 at 11:13 am }

Ginette, I’m sorry but I don’t know!

24 Ginette { 08.19.11 at 3:37 pm }

Thank you anyways. Will try to stop with the same question over and over again!!

25 Dave { 08.19.11 at 3:42 pm }

🙂 If you keep asking, evenutally I’ll know the answer…

26 Heather { 09.14.11 at 5:54 pm }

We are planning on going to Disney world april 27, 2012 to may 6 th. I’m trying to see if there is a trend to the discounts the offer during this time frame. Would you know what they usually do?

27 Dave { 09.15.11 at 6:09 am }

Hi Heather! No guarantees, but yours is a period that has been usually offered discounts in recent years…

28 Jerry Topolski { 09.15.11 at 11:10 am }

Hello Dave,

Your website is fantastic. I have been taking my family to Disney for the last few years, alwasy in the first week of January. There has always been a promotion run in this period. This year we are booked for January 2 to 9, 2012 (the first few days after New Years). Thus far I have not seen a promotion. Do you have any sense of whether something may be offered for this week. I note that there is an ongoing promotion which begins for trips on January 8, 2012. Do you think we booked too close to New Years?

29 Dave { 09.15.11 at 11:44 am }

Hi Jerry and thanks!

I think it’s likely that there’s no discount (and won’t be a discount, in my guess) both because a lot of schools have Jan 2 off, and because (more importantly) the marathon is the weekend of the 7th.

As Disney is trying to tighten up its discounts, it’s avoiding dates where it thinks it can sell a lot of room nights anyway…see this for more:

30 Derek { 09.19.11 at 2:06 pm }

What are the best dates in December for deals and minimal lines. I would like to take my wife and two kids to WDW. we will be coming from Nebraska so I am also investigating best places to stay, meals, airline tickets etc… Thanks for any advice.

31 Dave { 09.19.11 at 3:35 pm }

Hi Derek!

The best December dates for low crowds begin the Sunday after Thanksgiving and run up until about 12/21 or 12/22.

For the only current deal with arrival dates during this period, see this:

For the other basics–where to stay, dining, etc–see the home page:

Hope this helps and have a great trip! Dave

32 Danielle F. { 10.17.11 at 12:18 am }

Hi Dave – Like all your other readers…WOW – I am SO impressed with your fact based and none sales approach to Disney – so awesome and refreshing.

We try to go to Disney RIGHT after Labor day – most kids are in school and crowds are perfect. I know there is a risk for hurricane…but all the other factors are too good to pass up.

Question is – I am having a hard time trying to figure out your graph on discounts. What are the chances and when of seeing a discount for the beginning of September?
Also, do you know, if they offer free dining with a value resort that is just the counter service, can you upgrade to the regular dining for the difference in price? Hmmmm, questions questions! Thanks so much for your help!

33 Dave { 10.17.11 at 7:06 am }

Hi Danielle! Thanks for the kind words….Getting free dining in September is as close to a sure thing as there is in the uncertain world of Disney discounts. It opens up anytime from March to June. And yes, you can upgrade the free counter dining to reguaklr free dining by paying the cash difference!

34 Danielle F. { 11.08.11 at 10:24 pm }

Hi Dave…I read somewhere on here about “What I should do now”…something about booking my resort stay but NOT the dining until it gets closer in case it comes out as free dining. I have bunny trailed so much I can’t remember where I saw that, can you explain that. I don’t want to get into a situation I can’t get out of. Do you know what I am talking about? Thanks so much again! Danielle

35 Dave { 11.09.11 at 7:41 am }

Hi Danielle, you can generally re-book a reservation to change it to a deal if a dela comes out. It’s easiest to do if you book through a travel agent (see the from on the lower right)–and tell them that such is your hope, as they will steer you to hotels and dates that are more likely to be available in the deals.

36 Amy { 11.14.11 at 10:36 pm }

Hi Dave….trying to plan our first ever trip to Disney with my husband, 2 children and my parents for next Spring. My travel options are April 21-28 or May 5-12. Any thoughts on whether there will be a discount during these times or if one date has a better chance of having a discount or not. Thanks a bunch!

37 Dave { 11.15.11 at 4:28 am }

Hi Amy, there’s really no telling on discounts. Either could be discounted. I like your April dates slightly better.

38 annette milton { 11.28.11 at 4:53 pm }

What must I expect to pay for a trip by car to DW for parents and 11 and 14 yr old children (4) , minimal sleeping accommodations, Dec. 24–29, 2011? At this late date, what is the best way to go about making arrangements? Thank you for any help available.

39 Dave { 11.28.11 at 5:20 pm }

Hi Annette–that is the most crowded and expensive time of the year–I can’t recommend it.

Tix and the least expensive hotel (a “value” resort) will cost you on the order of $2000. You’ll need to add food to that and souveniers–more than $500 more… for these hotels see this:

The easiest way to do this is to work with a travel agent–see the box on the lower right of this site…

40 Brian { 12.30.11 at 4:36 pm }

Any rumor on if there will be a discount offered for a mid June 2012. We are looking to book a vacation that is right outside of their current special offer period. I think we will hold out for a month or so to see if anything comes up.

41 Dave { 12.30.11 at 5:14 pm }

Brian I haven’t heard of anything but such rumors don’t usually emerge until a week or so before they come out…

42 Melissa { 12.30.11 at 5:50 pm }

Hi! I just discovered your site and love what I’ve seen so far. I have a couple of questions. We went to WDW for our honeymoon in May, 2002. We arrived on May 20th and the crowds were SO LOW until the weekend. We are planning to go back for our 10th anniversary and will be there from May 21-May 27. After looking at your site it looks like the crowds are actually going to be pretty about a 5-7, is that correct? Also, there is a current room promo going on right now. Do you think there will be another promo for the time we are going? We were hoping for a food plan or gift card (We went in November, 2010 and got a $300 gift card which was NICE!). Also, I’ve heard rumors that Disney is phasing out the discount promos and that soon there will be none at all–especially ones for free dining. Have you heard anything about this? Thanks so much for your help!! Can’t wait to investigate your site more!

43 Dave { 12.31.11 at 9:38 am }

Hi Melissa, and thanks!!

Crowds should be similar to what they were in your last late May visit. DIsney is cutting back promotions as much as it can–but I doubt they will go away entirely…they will be less frequent, have less savings, and have more blackout dates…

44 Barb { 01.13.12 at 3:37 pm }

Hi Dave,
What do you give for odds on a free dining plan (or other Nice Discount) for the week after Thanksgiving this year? It’s ranked #2 on your board, and so we are hoping that Disney wants to lure us in with it : )

45 Dave { 01.13.12 at 4:01 pm }

Hi Barb! In the past few years Disney has offered some kind of deal for this week. No guarantee it will do so next year–but I’d say odds are better than 50-50…

46 Ashley { 01.15.12 at 10:17 am }

We are planning a Feb. 2012 vacation. What is the best time during this month for discounts. There are 3 adults and 2 kids, 7 &2. We were thinking Feb. 21-28th. Is there free dining in Feb. Thanks.

47 Dave { 01.15.12 at 10:57 am }

Hi Ashley, the most expensive part of February 2012 is the 16th until the 25th, and the most crowded part is the 16th through the 26th. Prices are still high after the 25th, and are quite low before the 16th. See this:

There had been discounts for the earlier part of February, including free dining, but all their “book-by” dates have passed.

There’s still one deal for the later part of February, but it needs to be booked by January 22–see this:

48 Evelyn { 01.24.12 at 1:01 pm }

We are annual passholders and we are planning a big trip for 5/12/12 to 5/19/12, to Walt Disney World. Does anyone know when the annual passholder specials will be announced? Thanks for everything..

49 Dave { 01.24.12 at 2:56 pm }

Hi Evelyn! My sense is that passholder discounts are out a only a couple of months ahead (but I haven’t done the math–just what I’ve noticed), so I’d expect May discounts out in Feb or March

50 Dave { 01.25.12 at 12:18 pm }

Oops–Evelyn, passholder dscounts for into June are out…I will also email you on this…

51 Heather { 01.30.12 at 12:33 pm }

Hi, we are planning our trip to Disney World from April 27th to May 6th. So far there is only the one discount out there for up to 30% off. Do you think they will be coming out with any other offers between now and the time we leave? Just that the we really did not save that much with this discount that is currently running.

52 Dave { 01.30.12 at 1:54 pm }

Hi Heather, it’s hard to say but if I had to bet the answer would be no other discounts, unless the economy takes an unexpected turn. If other discounts come out, based on the past they might be free dining or free tickets for kids…

53 Kylie { 02.06.12 at 5:02 pm }

My family and I are going to WDW Aug 29-Sept 3 for my 21st birthday, have there been any patterns of discounts coming out around this time?

54 Dave { 02.06.12 at 6:57 pm }

Hi Kylie, yes there is. The past few years Disney World has made free dining available then, plus some other deals–like room discounts. No guarantees, but I’d expect to see the same this year. See this for more:

55 Cari { 02.09.12 at 12:07 pm }

Hi, Thanks for a fantastic site!! We are planning to go to WDW around August 19th for 3-4 nights. If we book now, what happens if they suddenly offer free dining, after we’ve already paid for it? Should we pay for the whole package now, or wait on the dining option until closer to the time? This is all a little overwhelming!!! Thanks so much, Cari.

56 Dave { 02.09.12 at 12:50 pm }

Cari, thanks!

Definitely don’t pay for the whole package now–just the deposit–and ideally do a “room only” reservation. This gives you the most flexibility for later changing. Another option is to use a travel agent (see the form on the right) and tell them what your hopes are–that way they can set you up so that redoing the reservation is most possible…

57 Larissa { 02.22.12 at 12:40 pm }

We are planning our first trip to Disney this year….Jersey week….because we are from Jersey and don’t want my kiddos to miss too much school. I just stumbled on this site and it is great! We are really hoping for a free dining plan that week….will it be blacked out because it’s Jersey week?

58 Dave { 02.22.12 at 1:28 pm }

Hi Larissa! Yes, if there is a free dining discount in late fall, Jersey Week will almost certainly be blacked out…

59 Alexsandra { 03.15.12 at 9:56 am }

I am planing on going to Disney World from Jan. 22-30th. From what I’ve read on your site, it is one of the best times to go (low room cost, and low crowds). I was just wondering if Disney ever offered discounts on room rate or free dining around these dates? Since I’m a mom traveling alone with a 2 year old and a four year old, I would like to stay at the Polynesian for monorail access and any discount would greatly help my budget. Thanks!
P.S. Great site with amazing advice.

60 Dave { 03.15.12 at 11:20 am }

Hi Alexsandra, and thanks!

Other than scattered ride closures and cold weather, that’s a great time to go–low prices and low crowds.

There’s no predicting whether you’ll get discounts then…by policy Disney is cutting back on deals as the recession slowly fades–but those were eligible dates for a 2012 deal–see this:

61 Mike { 03.21.12 at 12:37 pm }

Hi, in the past years, we have received a Free Disney Dining Deal Promotion in the mail in the month of March for arrivals from mid April to mid August. What are the chances we are still on that mailing list and any word on this promotion coming out this year?

62 Dave { 03.21.12 at 12:51 pm }

Hi Mike! No idea about the mailing list, sorry.

63 Christie { 04.16.12 at 12:26 pm }

Do you have to be on some kind of mailing list to get these promotions mailed to you?

64 Dave { 04.16.12 at 12:31 pm }

Hi Christie–other than having the Disney visa card, I haven’t heard anyone who has cracked the code on how to get the discounts sent to them…

65 Christie { 04.17.12 at 11:03 am }

Thanks I will apply for a Disney Visa Card then.

66 Angela { 05.01.12 at 12:13 pm }

Hi Dave-

Any idea about discounts the week directly after Thanksgiving (11/25-12/2)?

67 Dave { 05.01.12 at 2:09 pm }

Angela, there’s no guarantee, but that’s a very common period for discounts…

68 Krystal { 05.03.12 at 11:50 am }

Thinking of changing vacation to either 11/27-12/3 or 11/30-12/6 timeframe due to fantasyland openings. Do you think with all of the recent announcements there would be any special offers at that time? If so, are we talking free dining or room discounts? Thanks!

69 Dave { 05.03.12 at 6:31 pm }

Hi Krystal!

First, did you see this?

And also this?

I don’t expect much impact on crowds, and thus expect Disney will probably discount the week beginning 11/25, but not the week beginning 12/2, then again the week beginning 12/9. These discounts are most likely to be room rates, tho free dining is possible…

70 Krystal { 05.04.12 at 3:44 pm }

I can’t seem to wrap my head around your chart as to when deals will most likely be announced. So when would you guess that any Late November special offers might be released? Later this month or next month or is that wishful thinking?

71 Dave { 05.04.12 at 5:13 pm }

Hi Krystal..I have to admit that this chart is not my best work 🙂 For what it’s worth, discounts for that time period last year were announced in early August

72 Florence { 05.08.12 at 3:33 am }

Hi Dave! Stumbled on your site… very impressive!!
2 questions: Thinking about doing a Disney cruise and WDW resort combination trip 11/4-11/13. Do you have any suggestions on getting a deal, perhaps by booking together? We’re thinking about staying on the resort 11/9-13, any ideas about discounts then?

73 Dave { 05.08.12 at 7:22 am }

Hi Florence and thanks!!

I don’t track the cruise line so am probably not the best person to answer…but for WDW itself, it’s unlikely that you’ll get a discount for the earlier part of your dates as they fall during Jersey Week, which is rarely discounted…see this:

74 Christine { 05.30.12 at 10:23 pm }

Have you heard if (and what they may be) there are going to be any discounts for Oct 2012? We are planning on going Oct 9th thru the 15th! Thanks!!!!!!!!!!

75 Dave { 05.31.12 at 6:26 am }

Hi Christine! No news yet on discounts in October. Last year, they came out in August. One of the offers last year was free dining, but it covered very few October arrival dates–see this:

Deals they offer, what hotels are included, and the scope of arrival dates are all driven by how well bookings in the hotels are going anyway. If the economy continues its slow upward move, then deals will be no better than 2011, and may be even less. If the economy takes a nasty turn, then deals are more likely…

76 Ry's Mom { 06.13.12 at 9:07 pm }

Hi Dave:
What a fabulous site! My two boys and I are heading to Orlando February 9-16 but we can’t book anything until December 1. Hopefully we can get a discount so we can stay on site. Does anyone have luck with the weather during that time? We live in eastern Canada so the average temperature is -4 with 5 foot high snow banks!

77 Dave { 06.14.12 at 8:09 am }

Thanks! February weather is variable–see this: –but it will be better than -5 and 5 foot snow banks!

78 Gerri { 06.15.12 at 1:39 pm }

I am loving this site!!! you are doing an incredible job!! I never thought to ask, but since I have seen so many asking–We would like to go to Disney around the beginning of december. My dates are completely flexible, I would just like to be able to see it decorated for Christmas. When would you suggest? I had received a great offer for our family to come the week of Dec. 4-12, but I hate to book it and find out free dining gets offered the beginning of July. Thanks!!!

79 Dave { 06.15.12 at 1:44 pm }

Thanks Gerri!!

Couple of things. Any deal is unlikely the week that includes the 4th, as it is Pop Warner week. See this:

The week after though is commonly discounted…

You can also set up your reservation so that its most likely to be able to be converted in a discounted one if one comes up with little or no penalty. Using a Disney specialist travel agent is the best way to do this…See, for example, the form on the right side of this site–that will send you to my travel agent partners…

80 Vanessa { 06.16.12 at 10:10 pm }

Do you think Disney will release Kids Stay and Play Free for August? We’ll be there August 17th-24th and would love to have this discount.

81 Dave { 06.17.12 at 7:38 am }

Hi Vanessa, I don’t. They haven’t done that particular discount model for a while, and the other August discounts have been out for a while now…

82 Tina Kennedy { 06.18.12 at 6:30 pm }

We are looking to visit Disney for the first time this Oct,18-22. This will be our baby girls 10th birthday . We need help with where to get the best deals……..Thanks Tina Kennedy 🙂

83 Dave { 06.18.12 at 6:37 pm }

Hi Tina! There aren’t any deals out for those dates right now. If/when any do come out, they’ll be here: In the meantime, you may want to look at this:

84 Elizabeth { 07.09.12 at 2:15 am }

Loved your article! Hoping to go to Disney this December. I’ve been looking at the 15th-22nd, and one of the deciding factors is free dining, unless I can convince my family to run on water and sandwiches for a week. Wanted to know if you think it’s likely for them to do it this year. I’ve been checking every day, but nothing yet. And if they do release it, is there a particular day of the week specials come out? Thanks so much!

85 Dave { 07.09.12 at 4:59 am }

Hi Elizabeth! Rumor this morning is that the deal will come out this Thursday, but won’t be offered your arrival date (in December, just the 10th-13th is rumored to be the arrival dates in the deal.) That’s just rumor, no one will know for sure until it is out. That said, last year’s equivalent offer did not cover many Saturday arrival dates…

86 ag { 07.09.12 at 9:03 am }

we are looking to visit next august to take advantage of the free meal plan deal (provided it’s offered again). how does that work? if you make a reservation during the time it’s offered, do you automatically receive the free plan or do you have to wait to make a reservation until the special is offered? (which would be waiting a little too long for me). thanks for any advice, this site is wonderful!

87 Dave { 07.09.12 at 10:02 am }

Hi Ag and thanks! There’s nothing automatic, so you can either book, and then convert to the deal later if your resort and arrival dates are eligible (best handled through a travel agent, so they set your reservation up so that it’s most convertable) or wait…

88 Elizabeth { 07.09.12 at 3:14 pm }

Thanks so much! I’ve been searching for answers and that’s the most informative one I’ve gotten! Just wondering if you think it will be offered the following Monday on the 17th, or if the 13th is the very last day. I know in years past it has gone later than the 13th, hoping they may do the same this year.

89 Dave { 07.09.12 at 3:41 pm }

Elizabeth, it will be open for booking for weeks…we’ll know exactly how long when they announce, but it won’t be just a few days…

90 Christy { 07.19.12 at 4:46 pm }

Hi Dave,
I am looking at taking my family to Disney World for the first time next year. We are look at April 30- May 4 but are flexible with our dates. Does Disney World typically offer any promotions during this time period? Thanks so much!

91 Dave { 07.20.12 at 10:39 am }

Christy, yes, but Disney is trying to cut back on its discounts so there’s no guarantee..

92 Susan { 07.20.12 at 3:04 pm }

Wow!! What a site, this is awesome!!! I feel like I have researched and researched but this is the best site I have found. We are planning a trip for January 2-January6. I think from what I have found this will be a good time as far as crowds. Any thoughts on deals for that week? I almost went ahead and booked until I saw this site. Also, how long can I wait until I book?

93 Dave { 07.20.12 at 4:11 pm }

Susan that week will be crowded and not discounted because of the crowds…see this

94 Andy { 07.21.12 at 11:41 am }

We are planning a trip for the first week in February (mainly because of the price and low crowds). I know it’s a ways away, but do you think they will offer a free dining plan then? Also, we went during this week two years ago and had a blast, are most Of the attractions generally re-opened during this week?

95 Dave { 07.21.12 at 2:49 pm }

Hi Andy, dunno on the free dining, but see this for Feb 2012’s arrival dates: I’m sure some rides will be closed, but the vast majority will be open!

96 Tom { 09.06.12 at 2:28 pm }


any ideas about when (if any) free dining promotions will be available for September – Octobre 2013? when should I ckeck out?


97 Kristin J. { 09.06.12 at 3:41 pm }

Hi Dave! Love your site! I am a veteran Disney traveller, but am finding so much interesting information!
I am planning a trip the last week in Jan 2013. Any idea (based on historical data), if and when they’ll offer a discount (hotel or dining)?
Thanks again for maintaining the site. It has made my afternoon! 🙂

98 Dave { 09.07.12 at 6:46 am }

Hey Tom, for September, offers should come out in March or so, and for October, if offered, around July or August…

99 Dave { 09.07.12 at 6:49 am }

Hi Kristin and thanks!

Last year’s free dining for the equivalent 2012 period came out in August…this year the equivalent deal stops in Dec. I can see Disney waiting quite a while for a 2013 offer, to see how the Fantasyland expansion is received and its impact on bookings…for eligible Jan 2012 dates, see this:

100 Patti Persia - { 09.07.12 at 11:31 am }

Hi! I am a travel planner with Destinations in Florida – if you are really planning on going to Disney at that time you can always book your trip sans the discount. One of the perks of working with a travel planner is discount watching – I will make sure that you get the new discounts when they are released!!

101 Dave { 09.07.12 at 1:13 pm }

Thanks, Patti!

102 Rod { 09.22.12 at 3:47 pm }

I am planning a trip for my wife and me and our 2 adult sons and their wives for early December 2013. This will be a Christmas present for our children and their spouses, so I plan to book early to make sure we get the rooms/plan we want. We were wondering if we book now and Disney offers discounts that would be applicable for the time period we are there would these discounts be automatically applied to our trip or do I have to watch the discount promotions and contact Disney myself in order to get the discount? Thank you for you assistance your website has already answered many of our questions.

103 Dave { 09.23.12 at 7:59 am }

Hi Rod! No, Disney will not automatically apply deals–you need to track them and then work with Disney to apply them if they fit your hotel and arrival date…

104 Amy { 09.28.12 at 10:50 pm }

Hi Dave
We are going april 11 – 18, 2013. We are planning on staying at the AoA in a family suite. I have not booked the room yet. When do you think a discount for that week my be released and what is the best way to search for discounts? Thank you!

105 Amy { 09.28.12 at 10:52 pm }

Sorry my email address to you in the last message was not complete. I have resubmitted to you the correct one.

106 Dave { 09.29.12 at 1:33 pm }

Hi Amy, discounts for then, if they come out, will likely come out in December or early 2013. The simplest way to check on such is to come back to this page every now and then:

107 Amy { 09.29.12 at 8:26 pm }

Do you suggest i book now and then try to get the discount applied or wait to see if one comes out in a few months? Our dates are april. 12- 18 and we want to stay at AoA. We are a family of 4. Is it worth it to pay 3x as much for the famìly suite. On a separate matter, i was pleasantly surprised to see that week is 12 of 52 weeks out of 2013 to visit with low crowds because it is school vacation week here in MA. Thanks for your help.

108 Dave { 09.30.12 at 5:56 pm }

Amy the issue of “worth it” for the family suites is personal and hard for an outsider to comment on. That will be a good week–while a number of Northeastern states have it as break, 1. almost no one else does, and 2., many of those who do also have Presidents Day week off, and go down to Florida then instead of April! On the deals front, you can book now, and then call to get any deal that may apply to your arrival dates and hotel applied later…

109 Amy { 09.30.12 at 9:03 pm }

Thank you, Dave. You are so very helpful! One last question…I know you are working on finishing your review of the Little Mermaid rooms at AoA, but I would like to book and wondered if you had any advice on the best location to ask for in the Little Mermaid buildings? I understand that overall they are not located in a convenient section of the resort, but if we book there what should we aim for? Thanks again!!!! You are the best!

110 Dave { 10.01.12 at 7:37 am }

Hey Amy, you want to ask for an hourglass lake view room in Building 7, closer to the Lion King section. This gives you the best combination of noise, distance, and views…

111 Becca { 10.30.12 at 12:28 pm }

Thank you for this site — very, very helpful! We are looking at 2nd week of Aug 2013. When should we expect discounts, if any? Is it better to book early and hope a discount will come out? How do we have them applied? Is it easier to make adjustments booking directly with Disney or with an agent? Thanks again!

112 Dave { 10.30.12 at 2:31 pm }

Hey Becca–that’s not such a great week–see this: Weeks in late August have much lower corwds and more likely deep discounts. Take a look at the link. If deals for those dates come out, it could be late spring. It’s usually easier to work with a travel agent, but then you lose some control. The TA can set you up so that it’s most likely you’ll be eligible for a deal, and then convert you if one comes out…

113 Becca { 10.31.12 at 5:21 pm }

Maybe I’m reading it wrong? It looks like for a moderate resort, beginning 8/4/13 is a great time to go — pricewise. Value Season 2? We are not as concerned about crowds. Thank you, again.

114 Dave { 11.01.12 at 10:50 am }

Becca, I was thinking of two things I don’t like about that week compared to, say, the end of August.

One is its very high crowds compared to low crowds at the end of the month, and the other is the fact that late August traditionally has free dining–which doesn’t mean that it’s a lock, but if it happens you could save among the three of you another hundred bucks a night on top of the low late August prices… See this:

115 Sherri { 11.25.12 at 1:40 pm }

Couple more questions. Is the free dining available if we book through DVC (buy from a 3rd party)?

Due to limited flights from our area, we can fly on either Monday or Friday (2-4th week of October 2013). We are planning on staying a week. Do you have a suggestion which would be better?

116 Dave { 11.25.12 at 1:50 pm }

Sherri, no on the free dining. You can only get that (if it’s offered) buying a package directly from Disney (or directly from Disney via a travel agent.)

Sounds like you are thinking about Allegiant Air?–I’m just guessing since they are the only airline I know of with such infrequent schedules. If so, I’d look for another option, as they fly into Sanford, not MCO, and are thus another 30-45 minutes further away from WDW than the airlines that fly into MCO. Disney’s Magical Express does not cover Sanford, so unless you were planning on renting a car, you’ll have a huge cab fare in and out…

117 Sherri { 11.25.12 at 6:28 pm }

Actually it is Allegiant, and we are renting a car. Don’t like to deal with the buses and such, plus it gives us the ability to go shopping or to another park. So Does the arrival day matter?

118 Dave { 11.25.12 at 7:08 pm }

Great, Sherri…just wanted to make sure you knew! I can be a busy body 🙂 …

If you are staying 7 nights, then your arrival day doesn’t much matter.

Sat-Mon is busiest, and Fri and Sat tend to be the most expensive hotel nights. But with your trip length you’ll have those whenever you arrive.

That said, I’d have a small preference for the Monday arrival, as that means your first few days–when you are still learning your way around–are the lighter days…

119 mary { 01.02.13 at 5:48 pm }

we are planning our first trip as a family of 4 to wdw for mid to late oct 13, what types of deals/ discounts might we see?

120 Dave { 01.03.13 at 7:23 am }

Hi Mary! It’s really hard to say. There’s not been a lot of discounts for October in the past few years (they have been offered, but with many excluded dates) and Disney is by policy sharply cutting back its discounting. So I would not count on anything, and if something does come out, great. Discounts for those dates, if they do come out, would most likely come out in June or July…

Follow on Facebook!

121 JR { 01.12.13 at 11:42 pm }

We are going to WDW from 6/7/13-6/16/13 we would fall into the spring deal right now. Do you think it is likely for a free dinning deal for this week?

122 Dave { 01.13.13 at 10:44 am }

Hi JR, no one will know for sure for a couple of months, but if I had to bet, I’d say “no” on free dining, as they’ve already not offered it for 2013 dates for which they did offer it last year…

123 Stacy { 01.18.13 at 4:16 pm }

Any thoughts on the dining plan being offered in May this year? We are hoping to go May 1st -8th – we really don’t want to spend all the extra on the food – rumor has it that you can now bring in food to the park like lunches?

124 Dave { 01.19.13 at 7:55 am }

Stacy, my bet is that it won’t be offered, but that’s just a guess based on recent trends. And yes you’ve always practically been able to bring in food–if you are subtle about it, not a cooler or grocery bags, but sandwiches fruit and water in a backpack is fine…

Follow on Facebook!

125 Katie { 02.04.13 at 1:49 pm }

What happens if I book my package and then a month or two later they have a free dining offer? Is it better to book the resort without dining and then add it later….can I still get the free dining offer if I would do it that way? Sorry if this is discussed elsewhere on the site!

126 Dee { 02.05.13 at 3:54 am }

Wonderful site!
I know Disney does what it wants in regards to discounts and no one knows for certain what, if anything, they will offer, but I would love your prediction on the first full week of December 2013 (check in November 30th). I hear Pop Werner week starts later than normal this year, so do you think there is a chance of free dining offered the first week of December? Is that a normal free dining time?

Out of November and December this year, which week do you think is most likely to have free dining?


127 Dave { 02.05.13 at 8:16 am }

Hiya Katie, if your arrival dates and resort are eligible, you can call Disney if one is announced and convert your package to free dining…

Follow on Facebook!

128 Dave { 02.05.13 at 8:44 am }

Dee, if you force me to predict, I’d say no free dining in December, but if there is any, it would be the first week!

Follow on Facebook!

129 Lori B { 03.10.13 at 4:45 pm }

My family have finally settled on nov 10-16 so we should be arriving just before Veterans Day with the hopes that the jersey week people should be leaving on that Sunday or Monday. Last year they offered free dining on that weekend. What are the chances they might do it again. I’m also staying at a moderate resort(POR) because some sites are predicting that in order to qualify for free dining you should need to be staying at a delux or mod in order to get QSD

130 Dave { 03.11.13 at 7:21 am }

Hi Lori, it’s just a guess, but I don’t think we’ll see a lot of free dining in 2013. See this:

Follow on Facebook!

131 Debra { 07.13.13 at 4:02 pm }

Hi! Just wondering if you had any idea what discounts might be available or February 2014?
Are there cheaper times if February or is the whole month value?

132 Dave { 07.14.13 at 8:06 am }

Hi Debra, only the first part of the month is value–see this for the exact dates:

Discounts for the month–especially early and late in February–are likely, but won’t come out for months, as discounts right now just go into September, and the next announcement likely will only take offers into December.

Follow on Facebook!

133 Amy { 07.15.13 at 11:38 am }

Great website!
We are planning our first Disney vacation for the first week of Feb 2014 with our kiddos 2 & 5. Haven’t booked it yet but we are thinking Art of Animation (family suite) and debating the Dining Plan. Any predictions on whether there will be free dining or room discount? My husband really wants a discount on something! Thanks!

134 Dave { 07.16.13 at 7:41 am }

Hi Amy, and thanks!

I would expect a room rate deal to be available then. Free dining is a lot harder to predict!

Follow on Facebook!

135 Della { 07.21.13 at 7:15 am }

Traveling to Disney week of Oct 27. Do you predict any specials during this time?

136 Dave { 07.21.13 at 8:41 am }
137 Della { 07.21.13 at 9:47 am }

Awesome! Thanks for the heads up… Will keep eye out for when they come out

138 Maria { 08.10.13 at 8:09 pm }

Hi! We are planning a trip to Disney Jan 3rd to the 10th, 2014. Do you think there will be any discounts available at that time and when might they come out? Thanks!!

139 Dave { 08.11.13 at 8:12 am }

Hi Maria, there may well be room-only discounts for then. If so, they’d likely come out around November 6, and perhaps earlier.

140 Chris { 08.28.13 at 1:21 pm }

Dave, Really good site, thanks. We currently have two 9 day trips booked and are waiting for specials to come out to determine which one we cancel. We would ideally like the Free Dining special. Our two time frames are: March 3, 2014 – March 12, 2014 and March 17, 2014 – March 26, 2014. Thoughts on both of those time frames? Would prefer the earlier one due to Daylight Savings Time as the fireworks and light parade are much earlier. Thanks.

141 Dave { 08.29.13 at 7:01 am }

Hi Chris, and thanks!

I don’t expect free dining for either date–see this:

There’s a good possibility of a room rate deal for the earlier date, but not the later one–see this for a likely deal–and note its black-out dates:

Was this even remotely helpful? Then mosey on over to the home page, and like it on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest!

142 Juanita { 03.10.14 at 4:32 pm }

Hi Dave, I am trying to understand your promotions chart. We (family of 6) are planning on visiting DW 11/30 – 12/6. When can I expect to see a discount for that time frame? What type of specials do they run? I have my cart ready for a stay at the Animation Resort, with dining & 6 day tickets. Im anxious to book but would hate to know I could get a better rate if I would just wait. Thanks

143 Dave { 03.11.14 at 7:44 am }

Juanita, if a deal comes out for your dates, you can call Disney or get online to try to re-book into it just as though you had never made a reservation. (There’s no guarantee you’ll get the deal, as tons of others will be trying to, but having an existing reservation neither hurts nor helps.) So there’s no real value to waiting if you are determined to go then! In 2013, deals for December came out in early August.

Leave a Comment | Ask a Question | Note a Problem

My response to questions and comments will be on the same page as the original comment, likely within 24-36 hours . . . I reserve the right to edit and delete comments as I choose . . . All rights reserved. Copyright 2008-2017 . . . Unless otherwise noted, all photos are by me--even the ones in focus--except for half a dozen from my niecelets . . . This site is entirely unofficial and not authorized by any organizations written about in it . . . All references to Disney and other copyrighted characters, trademarks, marks, etc., are made solely for editorial purposes. The author makes no commercial claim to their use . . . Nobody's perfect, so follow any advice here at your own risk.