Right about now, people start to get nervous: Historically, Disney has offered free dining for the fall and early spring for almost a decade, but that doesn’t stop people from worrying that it won’t happen. This year there’s even more reason to be concerned since Disney did not offer free dining for the January through March time period. As we get closer to the time (mid-March) when free dining opens up for September and there’s not even a whisper of it happening, I start to worry as well.
First, let me say that I do not have any inside information, nor have I seen any credible rumors. Having said that, I do think you’ll see free dining at least in September. Historically, this had been one of the slowest times of the year prior to the advent of free dining, with kids having just gone back to school. However I, as well as most of the travel agents I know, have doubts about free dining being offered after September. I certainly hope it will be, but Disney has been promising to end it for years. Why not now, when they have the Fantasyland expansion up and running?
Where does this leave the guest? First don’t panic and cancel your vacation. Instead, book the vacation you can afford now, that way if the discount you’re offered isn’t what you expected, you’re not strapped financially. Further, take the first discount you get. A lot of people say they’re going to wait until free dining is announced before they book their vacations and there are some good reasons behind doing this, but since there’s no penalty for switching discounts later, take what’s available. This is especially important now because in recent years, the first discount offered for a time period is usually the best. Finally, make sure you get your discount the day it’s announced because we never know how many rooms will be available under the offer.
Best of luck. I’ll be waiting along with you.