How hard has it become to get free dining in Sept.?

Because of some things that have come up, I’m going to have to move our May 2017 trip to the fall. I’m looking at the last week of September and saw that it has a good chance of being during the free dining promotion usually released.

I remember this past year when free dining came out, that there were some rumblings of how hard it was to get it, so I’m wondering if I should prepare for the possibility of not getting it. Don’t want to get my hopes up if the reality is that the chances are slim. I’m a stay at home dad who gets up really early, so I have no problem camping out on the phone for a few hours if needed!

So I guess I’m just asking, if you tried to get it, what your experience in getting free dining for this year was. Were you able to get it or were you denied?

We are planning on staying at Pop if that matters.

That’s always the time we plan to go and have been successful up to this point. However, they always say there’s no guarantee that free dining will even be offered. It seems like each time we go they add something on like park hopper or waterpark, and not all room are available. It seems like it gets trickier each time we go, but we have always been able to get it, and we love it.

1 Like

We had a much harder time this year than in the past. I went through a TA, she was on the phone as soon as the promotion was released, but we did not get free dining right away. She was able to get us the free dining about 3-4 days after attempting it everyday after the original release. The good news is we have free dining for our trip coming up on 9/24-10/1 (staying at CBR); it just took a little extra work. Good luck!

I will be at CBR 9/24-10/2 :slight_smile:

1 Like

We had an amazing ta that was able to get it the day it came out, but she had to cancel and re reserve our trip so it was a little nervewracking. They do only have it for certain hotels so make sure you are prepared to change hotels if you need to. Good luck with your trip!

1 Like

Yes - this! It seems like there are more restrictions every time and it gets trickier to get! We did happen to get it this year for the first time ever and were surprised b/c this is the first time the week after Thanksgiving, when we go, we have gotten it. We’ve usually gotten the room discount which is nice too.
I would plan on not getting it, but if it’s a time when it’s usually offered just be on the lookout for it, as we know Disney changes things all the time!

I should add that we originally had our reservation booked through a good TA but she texted me the morning of and said there was no availability at the WL (where we’re staying) for free dining. Of course having to look into it myself, I did, spent 3 hours (not exaggerating) on the phone (mostly on hold) w/ WDTC and much to my delight was able to book a new reservation with free dining at WL in a room type I wanted! I was SO excited b/c for the 4 of us (2 adults, 2 kids (10 & 8) it was a substantial savings. Unfortunately for my TA I canceled the reservation she’d made b/c she was till unable to modify and get me free dining. So even if you have a TA working on it, and they can’t find what you want, check for yourself just to be safe!!

1 Like

I agree with this! We were able to get it for Sept. but we had to upgrade our room at WL to courtyard, plus add the park hopper. We had some extra disney rewards dollars to use so I ask my TA if we could upgrade again to WL club level (we’ve never done CL before). She couldn’t find anything but continued to be persistent and finally was able to upgrade our room at a greatly discounted rate with a Back to school offer, plus we still had the free dining. It’s by far the best deal we’ve ever had and I think you just have to be persistent (or have a TA who is willing to be persistent for you) to get the greatest deals. I’m so thankful for her!

That’s awesome! :smiley:
We did actually have to upgrade to park hopper as well, which we didn’t need really, but even with the increase for ticket prices, we still saved a ton because of the reduction of cost due to free dining.
Did you say that you got free dining but it was also combined with a room discount? I’ve never heard of that happening!

I know? Everything I’ve read says that’s not possible. I’m not sure how she did it. But it even states on the room reservations Back To School offer, and I still have the free dining.

It might have something to do with the fact that we upgraded the room. We did pay a lot more for the Club Level than what we were paying for the standard room, but it was less than the rack rate.

We already had our room booked with a TA at CBR for 9/24-10/1. She was unable to get free dining the first day it was available, but got it 3 days later. From what I read, other than the pirate rooms, CBR was one of the most difficult to get. WL and some of the deluxe resorts were available when I looked on the first day. I think you will need patience and a little flexibility.

I cannot speak to the availability of free dining but I can say that I have read a few articles that state the 30 percent room discount is a better bet, if available.

This year I originally booked at POP in Sept with FD, then I rebooked at CSR because I wanted a Mod and the regular dining plan. I know there are better deals out there but I like the FD because it gives the trip a more inclusive feel. As long as you book shortly after FD is announced you should be fine in getting a room at POP (as long as FD is announced for next year).

I logged on 5 minutes after it went up and had no problem getting 11 days in the beginning of September at CBR in a standard room. I later wanted to add a day and spend months searching and calling and was finally able to add it after the promo ended, I had a ro for the 1 day, but they were able to switch it over.
The bb for fall doesn’t include all of September so I’m not sure what that will mean for next fall.

I booked our trip for 9/15-9/19 on June 29, less than three months out. It looks like free dining opened up in April, so my booking was probably about two months after it opened.

Then, I had to change the dates and made a new reservation for 9/16-9/20 on July 6. Still no issue.

I was shocked to read how hard a time so many people said they had after my experience booking it quite late without any problem.