By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

A Hint on Fall Free Dining at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute


Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Magic KingdomOne of my crack sources–the mysterious J–just emailed me to let me know that free dining for the fall of 2013 will be out shortly for South American and European visitors.

The booking window will open May 9, and the offer will cover arrival dates of September 2 through September 25.

At the values, the offer is the quick service dining plan for free, and at the moderates and deluxes,  the offer is the regular dining plan for free.

I refuse to read too much into the arrival dates right now, so my takeaway is that since this offer will soon be out for much of the rest of the world, we’ll see an August/September free dining deal out for US residents visitors in May as well.

Well, I hope it includes August…

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1 Sharmon Brannen { 04.23.13 at 5:34 pm }

I realize you do not have an official answer for me, but I was wondering if any discounts or free dining in Dec. have occurred in the past? We will be visiting the first part of December this year. Thanks!

2 Sarah { 04.23.13 at 11:05 pm }

Hi Dave,
I was just looking at the numbers for our family to see if I wanted to add the dining plan to our trip. I was going to call them tomorrow and add it. My question is….do you think I should wait now and see what happens? Will it make it more complicated if I add dining now and then have to call back and have them change it? Or would it benefit me in any way if I book now? (aka…space available)

3 Mike { 04.23.13 at 11:17 pm }

Hey Sarah, if you have a travel agent, they will monitor the promotions and automatically apply the promotion for you if your resort and other factors make it qualify for you. As an opinion, I would wait to add it because you can add the dining plan really late. Of course, the other consideration is deciding what restaurants you want to eat at, and how packed they get at that time of year, so that’s something else to consider. I hope I’ve helped, good luck!


4 Dave { 04.24.13 at 7:31 am }

Sharmon, traditionally there have been lots of discounts in the the first half of December, both room rate and free dining.

This year, I don’t expect to see free dining then–see this for why

And every year, Pop Warner week has been excluded from these discounts–in 2013 that means around 12/7 and following. See this:

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5 Dave { 04.24.13 at 7:37 am }

Sarah, it’s pretty straightforward to change to free dining if the deal comes out, and your hotel and arrival dates are eligible, so I’d go ahead and book now…

6 Dave { 04.24.13 at 7:38 am }

Thanks, Mike! But she can book her restaurants without the Dining Plan, so long as she’s in the 180 day window, and later convert them to the plan if needed, right?

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7 Elana { 04.24.13 at 10:43 am }

Do I have any chance at free dining in October or should I bite the bullet and rent dvc points instead?

8 Robert { 04.24.13 at 5:33 pm }

Hi i have been reading other sites and they’re saying that those dates are for the U.S. visitors.

9 Dave { 04.25.13 at 7:35 am }

Hi Elana…if I were you, I’d just rent the points. It’s just a forecast, and I may be wrong, but there’s not been a single free dining offer so far this year, and I can’t think of any reason why October would be different…

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10 Dave { 04.25.13 at 7:39 am }

Robert, yes they are for visitors to WDW in the US, but not for US residents. I’ll fix the wording to make this clearer! Thanks

11 Elana { 04.25.13 at 7:52 am }

Thanks, Dave! That’s what I was thinking. Love your site by the way!!

12 Dave { 04.25.13 at 8:04 am }

Thanks, Elena! 🙂

13 Sharmon Brannen { 04.25.13 at 8:45 am }

Thanks! I was really hoping for a discount but at least we will be there. I am not nearly as disappointed at the lack of a discount as I am about leaning of Pop Warner week! We will be staying at a moderate resort and maybe that will keep the noise level down. However, I am not looking forward to evenings at the parks now. The anticipated low crowd levels played a large part in choosing the week we plan to visit.

14 Dave { 04.25.13 at 9:46 am }

Sharmon, crowds will still be low overall…although you do have to be careful that week to be at the right parks the right days–see the second half of this:

15 Dad { 04.25.13 at 6:15 pm }

I see your challenge and raise you a throw down.


16 Dad { 04.25.13 at 6:23 pm }

Hey Dave,

Free advice for you. Always check the email before you write something. Seems I might owe you some breakfast.


17 Dad { 04.25.13 at 6:34 pm }

Or maybe not.

18 Kelly { 04.26.13 at 6:43 am }

Everywhere else I am reading, they are saying that these will be the dates for US residents also. What are your feelings on this? I am arriving August 25 and was hoping for the free dining plan which we have always gotten for the last few years. I will be totally bummed if no discounts will be offered at the end of August…and totally surprised due to this being peak Hurricane Season.

19 Valerie { 04.26.13 at 9:58 am }

I too am arriving on August 25. If I am staying until Sept 3 and the promotion started September 2 does that qualify? Or do I have to arrive after the promotion starts?

20 Dave { 04.26.13 at 12:57 pm }

Carl, I’m not entirely following your train of comments–but I accept the challenge, and look forward to breakfast, whoever pays! And also see this:

21 Dave { 04.26.13 at 1:15 pm }

Hey Kelly, I have no opinion on what other people might be saying…but do see this:

22 Dave { 04.26.13 at 1:19 pm }

Hi Valerie, the promotion dates–whatever they end up being–are arrival dates. But do see this:

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23 Pippa { 04.30.13 at 5:10 pm }

Free dining has just been released in the UK for 2014, all dates excluding Easter (spring break) until the end of November.

As an aside – love this site and am using it a lot to plan our first visit in October/November 2014.

24 Dave { 05.01.13 at 7:55 am }

Hi Pippa and thanks for the news and the love! The UK free dining–that’s the Virgin deal, right, not an “everybody” deal?

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25 Anna { 05.01.13 at 8:59 am }

We are going Oct 18th. Any chance for free dining then or is it usually only in September? Are there any events going on around that time that I should be aware of?

26 Pippa { 05.01.13 at 6:30 pm }

Hi Dave,

I have seen the offer on lots of sites including the offical Disney (UK) site. Have to book by 1st July.
This is the link, but you might get redirected to the US site

27 Dave { 05.02.13 at 6:46 am }

Hi Anna! My guess is that there won’t be free dining then. See this for why:

There’s a couple of special things going on in October. See this:

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28 Dave { 05.02.13 at 7:02 am }

Thanks Pippa–I actually got on the UK site! This is a really good deal…

29 Gail { 05.02.13 at 3:21 pm }

Any word on free dining or any other deals for the middle of August to the first week in September for Canadians?

30 Tony { 05.03.13 at 2:18 am }

Any idea when I can book and April 2014 stay? I’d like to get it booked so I can pay it off a little over time.

31 Dave { 05.03.13 at 7:27 am }

Hi Gail, nothing that I know about. If from a computer hooked to a Canadian network you search for “Disney World Special Offers” you’ll find a page with any Canada-specific stuff…

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32 Dave { 05.03.13 at 7:43 am }
33 Marjory { 05.03.13 at 9:41 am }


I’m planning to visit Disney September 15-22, probably there will be free dining. Is it possible to upgrade free dining? Let’s say go for the deluxe instead of the regular dining plan? (We’ll be staying at a moderate resort). And if possible, what is usually such an upgrade fee?

34 Dave { 05.03.13 at 10:49 am }

Hi Marjory, sure you can. You just pay the difference between what the free offer would have cost if not free, and the hihger-level plan…

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35 Cassy { 05.07.13 at 12:30 pm }

Just received an email from Disney yesterday. This offer is available to US residents. Disney VISA cardholders can book now and the general public can start making the reservations on May 9.

36 Dave { 05.07.13 at 2:48 pm }
37 Trey { 05.09.13 at 10:02 am }

Now available to the public (for those dates)!

38 Dave { 05.09.13 at 10:25 am }
39 Kristin { 05.10.13 at 1:40 am }

Just got my email for returning Disney vacationers free dining plan for all that book by August 14 for vacation dates for the rest of 2013. Was thinking of doing a short trip in August because I’ve never been to the water parks with my kids but I also never seen the Christmas decorations what is a good time to go that’s not too crowded but able to see some of the Christmas festivities?

40 Dave { 05.10.13 at 1:40 pm }
41 Celena { 05.22.13 at 9:52 pm }

Hi Dave,
Do you have inside scoop on promotions for October 2013?

42 Dave { 05.23.13 at 7:32 am }

Sorry, Celena, I got nothing…

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