Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Free Food! Yes Please!

I wanted to preface this entry by saying that I wanted to wait to publish this blog post until I had confirmation that the information was now appears that it is. :)

Disney is officially offering free dining as their next promotion for August and September. (At least right now for Disney Visa holders...I expect that it will be open to everyone else starting on the 30th of this month.) So, for trips booked Aug. 15 - October 3, free dining will now be available. (The offer must be booked by June 21st, as a warning.)

For those of you who can take advantage of it, free dining is one of my favorite promotions. While it may not be as good as the Buy 4 Get 3 promotion that had preceded it, this is one promotion that seems consistent and is a really good deal to take into consideration. I know I'll be booking free dining, even though I have an AP because it will turn out better for us than an AP discount would...even though I have to buy a one day park ticket, since free dining is only available as a package and room only bookings then wouldn't count.

I knew that we were gonna book our trip for September for a while now. September just seems our go to month for a trip. Crowds are lighter, the weather is usually nice, and well, did I mention that the crowds are lighter? Plus, this then means that while before, when we went down there, we might not have eaten so well, since we'd have to spend the money for it and now, well we'll get to eat like kings! :)

And who doesn't want that? I know a lot of people complain about how much food it is. Me, I have no complaints...I eat what I want and it's FREE! How can you complain about that? lol!

I've done the free dining offer once before. Of course, this was before Disney changed the dining plan rules. When we got it before, the appetizer was offered and tip was included...but still, even though those two things are taken away this time, I'm still looking forward to this. I have a lot of restaurants that I've been wanting to try and for me, the best way to do that is when I don't have to pay for it. :) And of course, there are the standards that I always eat at too that I want to try to eat in this time again too. (For FREE!!! Can you tell I like free! lol!)

There's only one thing I'm kinda nervous about...and that is if I will get my restaurant choices that I want. This year will be the first year during the free dining promotion that the ADR system will be set at 90 days.

So, what's the hiccup with that? Well, by the time this promotion ends, most of the people who have booked free dining would have already done it. And that means they will all be trying to schedule their ADRs first thing in the morning their 90 days out. Which means, getting up early the morning of your window day is crucial and that the chances of getting your first and possibly second choices may be very slim. (Before, when it was 180 days out, I would call and get my top choices before free dining was even offered...that way, once it was, I was guaranteed and knew I already had the places that I really wanted set in stone and it was way easier to get them.)

Which is why, if you are doing free dining, make sure you have a nice long list of restaurants jotted down and be very flexible with your times and choices. And don't be disappointed if you maybe have to try something that isn't one of your favorites. In essence, definitely be prepared. (Oh...and I'm also hearing to "complicate" matters that the online dining system might be going up soon too.)

Also, know that if you don't get your top choices on the day you call, make sure you try to call periodically just to check to see if there are any cancellations for the day you wanted. I know that last year, while I wasn't using free dining, I did go during free dining period and I called 3 weeks before my dates and got a cherry time slot at 50s Prime Time...right during dinner. And there were multiple slots available all around you never know what will happen. Just keep trying. :)

So, for those of you who are taking advantage of this deal...yay! But whatever you do, don't call for ADRs on June 13th. That's when I'll need to call to schedule mine. :) I want my top choice restaurants. And you all would want me to have those right? That means I get to bring research back for the blog and the show! This purely is a research trip...that's all it is, I promise. lol!


Amanda said...

I'll be going in September as well. I'm also nervous about the 90 ADRs - I am a planner and I liked the 180 days out much better. Hopefully, we'll all get what we want :)!

Sandie said...

Hi! We just booked our trip for August and chose the free dining. Are there restaurants that you suggest we should put as first priority? Some we should just skip? It will be a group of two families totalling five kids ranging in ages of 4-17 plus a set of grandparents and a 30 year old single uncle. (is that specific or what?!) It looks like you know a lot, so any expertise would be appreciated. It looks like I also need to figure out when 90 days out is too!

Unknown said...

Sandie, I wanted to let you know, that I emailed you a response back, since I had some questions for you! :) Email me back and I'll be happy to help you!