Yes, Free Dining is Truly Dead

I keep getting asked about Free Dining. (Here he goes again.) Yes, now I truly believe Free Dining is dead and gone (with a few small exceptions). Yes, I’ve been saying Free Dining is dead over and over for the last 2 years (silly Dad) but this time I think it’s true. Let me explain.

Remember, I’m just the messenger. I do not now nor have I ever worked for Disney or any of it’s subsidiaries.

Yummy food at 'Ohana

Yummy food at ‘Ohana

But first, let me rant a bit about the greatest swindle Disney ever perpetrated on mankind. (Remember Dad has a strange sense of humor.) Yes, I said swindle. This is one of the best marketing ploys ever. It’s one Ali Hakim (from Oklahoma) or Harold Hill (the Music Man) or even Max Klinger would be proud of. I wish I could market like Disney.

What am I talking about? The swindle of Disney Dining Plan (DDP) of course. Disney has swindled people into thinking the dining plan is great for everyone. They “say” you can save up to 30%. People everywhere rave about how much money they save with the Dining Plan. Please.

Yes, you might save a bit of money with the Disney Dining Plan. Mrs. Mom and I saved about $10 on our trip last October using the Dining Plan, but we ended up getting a couple of desserts we would never order (and they were pretty awful) and we ate at some of the most expensive restaurants that we could. With a few different choices, we would have lost money.

But Dad, isn’t it good if it’s free?

Of course, it’s good if it’s free (it’s not really free but that’s a whole different story), but if getting it free makes you want to pay for it the next time you go to Disney World, then Disney wins.

Now Dad, isn’t “swindle” a bit harsh.

Maybe, but it’s the way I feel. I bet 75% of guests lose money on the Dining Plan either by not using all the credits, or by not choosing restaurants that would give the best bang for the buck or just by choosing the wrong plan (choosing the Deluxe plan and eating at Quick Service restaurants all the time). So yes, getting people addicted to the DDP is probably good business, but it’s not good for us.

So why do you say Free Dining is dead?

The Spring Discount that’s going on now (hotel and ticket discounts) is the 3rd discount in a row that didn’t offer Free Dining to the general public. Also the spring discount is always better than the fall, so I don’t expect it for the fall either.

Do you have any inside information?

Nope. Disney doesn’t tell me anything. (Hey, I’m the guy that pronounced Free Dining dead a couple of years ago.) I don’t have any inside sources, I just know the patterns that Disney has used over the last few years.

What’s the chances of you being wrong again?

Slim and none and Slim just got on the 5 o’clock train. Really, I could be wrong (it’s happened before). In fact, I hope some guru at Disney reads this and says, let’s make ole Dad look bad again. And trots out Free Dining tomorrow. (That’s kinda why I write this stuff, it’s to get Disney’s attention and for them to prove me wrong. It’s worked before.)

Yes, I know that Disney is sending out Pin (post card) offers with Free Dining. I also know that it is being offered to European guests as we speak. But, I still think it’s Dead, Dead, Dead for the general public.

Last question Dad, don’t you sell the Disney Dining Plan to anyone who wants it?

That’s kinda a tough question to answer, but yes, Pixie and Pirate Destinations will sell the Disney Dining Plan to anyone who wants it. Then they will help you design a restaurant plan that will take full advantage of the DDP so you won’t lose money. Shout, I’ve even got an old spreadsheet that will show you if it makes any sense for you to add the Dining Plan. Check it out. Yes, it’s old and needs to be updated, but you can still figure out if the DDP makes sense for your next vacation.

Yep, Free Dining has bit the dust.

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Yes, Free Dining is Truly Dead — 4 Comments

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