Free Dining Confusion

OK, so this years free dining change is sort of throwing me off. I’ve heard that the decision to have the free dining promo for earlier in the year was made to sort of draw crowds away from the time SWGE is opening, but I thought I saw that wasn’t opening until December? Are we thinking free dining will go back to the fall next year, or could this change be more permanent? I know Disney could do whatever they want, but I guess I’m just asking opinions. We were hoping to get this discount in 2020 after Thanksgiving. I will be pretty bummed if it’s changed for good :frowning_face:


I would not expect free dining to return for two years after SWGE opens. If then, in a very limited way.


We don’t know when SW:GE is opening. Any time from mid October is possible at the moment.

I have no idea about free dining though!

Free dining (and other popular promotions) are only given out when Disney feels like rooms on property are not being filled. Historically, those times were in the fall when most school districts were in session so Disney experienced a lull. They found a way to fill that lull via Free Dining. In more recent years, the summer months have become more of a lull period so we are seeing this year that they are offering the draw-in during those months. Also, as the years have passed, Disney has added more and more caveats to the promotion. You MUST buy this many days worth of tickets, you MUST include hoppers, you MUST stay so many nights, etc. I have a feeling that Disney might still “offer” or “advertise” a “free-dining” promotion in future, but, like it is now, it will have very strict instructions and very limited availability.

All of that said (I’m not known for being brief), for lots of families free dining ends up costing them more than what they ACTUALLY need. I’ve found for my situation that a good room-only discount paired with paying for meals OOP actually saves us money.

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  • Free dining offer only includes ice cream and drinks and is only valid with Disney After Hours admission purchase

It’s funny ‘cause it’s true :joy::joy:


Unfortunately my sister is dead set on the dining plan, and since we share a room for vacation (to cut costs lol the irony) that means we all get the dining plan. Having to free dining promotion would definitely help! We will do at least 5 day tickets with hoppers, so I don’t think qualifying would be an issue. I guess I just cross my fingers and hope for a break!! If not, oh well.