By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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Don’t Give Up Yet on Free Dining

By Dave Shute


Disney World Free Dining for the Fall of 2013 from yourfirstvisit.netDespite all the unavailability on Thursday, people have been finding since then that the same dates and rooms that were unavailable then have been bookable Friday and today.

Start with the links to these deals on Disney’s website, and if that doesn’t work, call. Disney’s page on the free dining at Disney World is here, and its page on the room-only discount is here.  The number is 407-939-7729.

And if that doesn’t work, ask if you have, or beg for, a pin code!!  Word is that another round of pin codes is out!


Disney was inundated with calls on Thursday (you can only change a reservation by talking directly to Disney) –6 hours spent on hold were reported as common, especially for travel agents who have special lines that couldn’t take the demand.

As a result, many people on hold–and others with travel agent bookings waiting to hear–double-booked deals while waiting to change their old bookings.

Eventually they canceled one of their bookings, and eventually, it seems, these rooms went back into the free dining pool.

There’s a thread with examples of the kinds of rooms that are being cancelled here.

Now all Disney deals are subject to availability. Some resorts aren’t offered at all, and many of the more popular among the rest have a very small number of rooms allocated to a deal.  This is particularly true for free dining, which is a very expensive and complicated promotion.

Word is from at least one cast member that Disney had initially not planned to make this offer at all (which is what I’d been predicting), and when it did, both dates and room allocations were much tighter than in the past.  That, combined with system failures, is what presumably led to Thursday’s zoo.

But all is not lost!  Keep trying! And if you have no luck this weekend–try again daily on the website, and call again every now and then.

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1 John { 08.03.13 at 1:17 pm }

Hey Dave,

This is the first trip I have planned to WDW and I kinda got too excited and ordered MVMCP tickets a couple months ago for 5 of us for December 1. Now that free dining does not include these dates I may consider changing dates. Is there any way of changing the dates of the MVMCP to an earlier date? Can I sell them on stub hub? or do I just have to eat the cost if I decide to shuffle dates? I am hoping for a pin code for Nov 30-Dec 5 because it would also be nice to keep all my ADR’s but if I don’t get one I have some decisions to make. Also do you have any idea if the pin codes would likely be mailed or e-mailed or both?


2 Dave { 08.04.13 at 8:56 am }

First John, on the pin codes, just call—see this:

Leave all your stuff alone until you are firm on keeping or changing. Your ADRs, by the way are fine. You can move them to a new reservation, if you make one. You may not have much luck so long after the offer on getting free dining on another date, but do see this:

For some reason MVMCP tix are non-refundable.

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3 AMEY { 08.04.13 at 12:04 pm }

Thanks to your heads up, I knew Thursday was going to be the “announcement” day for the new deals – whether it be “free dining” or not. So, I was up early looking for the announcement. Unfortunately, I had booked my trip weeks ago with AAA and my agent doesn’t come in on thurs until 10:00 a.m. I got tired of waiting for her and so I called Disney and waited for 58 min on hold, but got through to a very helpful WDW agent. He gave me the “new” pricing for our stay in Nov at the Polynesian – either with the “free dining” or “30% off” room rates (for our standard room). Unfortunately, because of AAA, he was unable to book the new stuff for us – the 30% off would have been the better deal for us and would have saved us a little over $400!!!!!! So, I desperately called and called AAA until I received my agent who was totally baffled by the WDW announcement and was overwhelmed at now trying to get through to WDW at 10:30. No duh! I told her that all the disney “insider” websites knew there would be some announcement today – not sure what – but she should have been prepared (and perhaps come in a little earlier). Anyway, I’m still not sure what happened but she called me later in day (around 4:00) to tell me that there were no more discounts for the Poly for “stand” rooms, so I think we are now in “lagoon” view and it is costing us “only” $200 more than our old price. What?!?!? Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure an “upgrade” to lagoon for 5 nights for only $200 is a “deal” for some people, but we don’t care about the view and I don’t want to be paying MORE than we already agreed to – ESPECIALLY when I could have had a $400 discount if I could have changed the reservation myself earlier in the day!! I told her I want her to keep trying for either discount and get back to me. She said she would try again on Friday and let me know. I didn’t hear from her on Friday, so I left a message on Saturday morning and she left a message back that no discount opened up – so i’m still out another $200 INSTEAD of a DISCOUNT!!! HELP!! This is totally unacceptable. I went through a travel agent to try and save myself some trouble (my father passed away in April and I’m still swamped with taking care of that stuff) and this has been nothing but a royal headache. Any suggestions of what would be the best way to get the satisfaction I want (the discount we should’ve gotten!!!)???? Thanks for all of your help!

4 Dave { 08.05.13 at 7:02 am }

OMG Amey, what a PIA.

I don’t have any great ideas but to keep trying online yourself (by doing it online you don’t have the pesky “I already have a reservation” problem…”, and to consider an option other than the Poly. For my deluxe rankings, see this:

If you decide to check alternatives to the Poly, note that most deluxes also have separately-listed “Deluxe Villas Resorts” with studio rooms comparable to the room in the main house. So if you like Wilderness Lodge, check not only the Wilderness Lodge itself but also for a studio in the Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

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5 Mike H { 08.04.13 at 7:38 pm }

Every single time I click on your links with the Free dining or resort only … always brings up the Disney site with their message ‘ page not found’

6 Dave { 08.05.13 at 7:03 am }

Mike, the links work for me in IE, Chrome, and Firefox… if they still are a non-go for you just search in google “Disney Special Offers” and you’ll find your way to the pages…

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7 Lisa { 08.04.13 at 9:46 pm }

Hi Dave,

Thanks for all your info for the FD. I called my travel agent to let her know about all the info I was reading ahead of time. So when it was available I would call her so she could get us the discount on our reservation. So when Thursday hit and IT WAS THERE I had to wait to call her at 8am PST. She came in early and was waiting for my call. She called me back around 11am PST and with great relief she was able to reduce our 10 day package at Coronado Springs with deluxe dining by over $900. AWESOME. She was on hold for about 2 1/2 hours. Earlier we changed our AOA little mermaid reservation to Coronado springs and it paid off. We still paid $300 less at CO than if we stayed at AOA since it’s not in the FD discount. It all worked out. Now we just have to wait 103 day before we leave for the most magical place on Earth. Thanks again. I enjoy reading all the article posted here. Keep up the good work. 🙂

8 Dave { 08.05.13 at 7:03 am }

Yay! Lisa!!!!

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9 AMEY { 08.05.13 at 7:52 am }

Thanks, Dave. We will definitely consider the Wilderness Lodge Villas for a future trip we have planned with friends – I think the larger accommodations will work nicely for two families and I’m sure I;ll be picking your brain for that trip. For now, I wanted my daughter;s first trip to wdw to include the Polynesian – which has always been my fav place. Of course, we are hearing that the fridges are being removed and we may not get one and the lobby is scheduled to be redone (actually the whole GCH) with the waterfall removed – UGH! In the end, I hope this splurge for the Poly is worth it. will be so disappointed if we arrive and the waterfall is gone and the GCH is under construction and we have not fridge. this whole experience for our trip so far has been so un-disney like – not sure what is going on. have never had these problems in the past – although it has been years since i have been to wdw and i suppose they, like so every other place, has lost their customer service edge. it’s been a heck of a year and we are soo looking forward to this trip. hope it all works out. thanks again for your time and suggestions.

10 Dave { 08.06.13 at 7:45 am }

Hi Amey! I don’t think that the lobby renovation dates for the Poly are known yet. When they are, Steve will post them here:

I’m so sorry this has been such a trial so far, and just hope that the trip itself…even if you have to use the ice bucket a lot!–is just plain wonderful…

11 AMEY { 08.05.13 at 8:29 am }

to Lisa (above) – I need your travel agent!!!! Wow, what a difference. My AAA lady is their Disney “specialist” and has been going there for 30 years and she is basically clueless.

12 AMEY { 08.06.13 at 8:05 am }

Thanks again, Dave. We are still really excited about our trip and are hopeful that all of this stress will be behind us once we arrive. Spoke with a WDW rep last night. there are still plenty of FREE DINING DEALS available. The room discounts for the Poly are gone as of right now. She couldn’t help me out because of the AAA thing, but she said I should keep checking in case more room discounts open up. Have you ever heard of this? Do you think there is a chance they will “add” more rooms (at Poly) or is it based upon if someone cancels??

13 Dave { 08.06.13 at 8:49 am }

Amey, I can only guess on the “why”–all I know is that people continue to be able to book deals this week that were sold out (for those dates/resorts) last week!

14 Linda { 08.06.13 at 12:12 pm }

I just wanted to say that I agree with your advice to keep trying! I called at exactly 7am on Thursday and waited for an 1hr and 45 mins only to get disconnected before the call was answered! I called back when I could around 11 and only waited for about 30mins but by then my first choice for a room at Port Orleans was gone. I booked Wilderness Lodge in the mean time, but I kept looking online… and then on Saturday a Royal Room just randomly popped up. I scrambled to the phone, didnt wait more than 10 mins and was able to book the room. Broke a nail for my efforts, but it was worth it! Keep trying everybody!

15 Dave { 08.07.13 at 7:43 am }

Great news, Linda, and thanks for weighing in!

16 Twins Mama Disney { 08.06.13 at 7:39 pm }

We booked free dining last night but it looks like we got the last Cabin at Fort Wilderness FD for now. When I looked online, I couldn’t find any, but when I called I got one! Keep trying folks they are out there!

17 Dave { 08.07.13 at 7:54 am }

That’s great!!

18 Lisa { 08.06.13 at 10:46 pm }

You might try Disney Coronado Springs. A lot of the times it’s over looked because it’s a convention center. But, from every thing I’ve seen and read about it, it’s a Deluxe resort with a moderate price. So if you can’t get the resort you are after try Coronado Springs. It just might surprise you. Good luck.

19 Dave { 08.07.13 at 8:02 am }

I love Coronado Springs, but it’s not even close to a deluxe resort…what it does have (becasue, as Nicky points out, it’s the only moderate with a convention facility)is many more amenities than any other moderate. For a multi-page review form my visit earlier this year, see this:

20 Jill { 08.07.13 at 6:49 am }

So, do you think Disney is releasing smaller room blocks for FD this year as a way to cut back on the deals?

21 Dave { 08.07.13 at 8:07 am }

Could be, Jill…or there could be systems issues…or it could be that a lot of the block was scarfed up by the widespread pin codes that already went out in much higher volume than recent years..

22 John { 08.12.13 at 10:32 am }

Do you have any idea if the pin codes include different dates/resorts than the GP offer? I saw on the DIS board that some of the RO pins were for a higher percentage discount than the GP so I was wondering if the pin offers were exactly the same or had some variation. I called again (for our first week in december trip) but had no pin of any kind yet. I will keep trying though as I hope they may continue to offer pins if there are enough empty rooms. It seems like a lot of people switched reservations to get the free dining and/or had double reservations and will or have cancelled. Oh well, its something to hope for anyway.

23 Dave { 08.13.13 at 6:42 am }

John, I’m sorry but I don’t know….

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