15 Best Tips for Disney World Free Dining 2020

I know you’re probably wondering if Disney World free dining is even a real thing. And no, I can’t blame you for having a little bit of skepticism.

I thought it would be great to give you a few tips in understanding how all of this free Disney Dining Plan stuff works.

Christmas Cookie Milkshake (Available Daily at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies) – Cookie butter milkshake topped with whipped cream and aMickey marshmallow straw
Christmas Cookie Milkshake (Available Daily at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies) – Cookie butter milkshake topped with whipped cream and a Mickey marshmallow straw

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Before we get started on the best tips for this vacation perk, let’s understand how the Disney Dining Plan works.

How Does the Disney Dining Plan Work?

The Walt Disney Dining Plan provides you with a set number of credits to redeem for counter service, table service, signature dining, and snacks.

The prepaid meals and snacks are convenient on your stay especially when you dine at the Disney resort hotels, theme parks and select locations at Disney Springs.

Morimoto Asia Sushi Nigiri Chefs Choice
Nigiri and Sushi

The credits can be stored on your MagicBand and receipt is provided after each redemption.

This is similar to putting money on your gift card for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival as it shows how many credits remain after each transaction.

15 Tips for the Free Disney Dining Plan

Magic Kingdom Friars Nook

1 – Know What the Free Disney Dining Plan Is

The Free Disney Dining Plan is a special offer Walt Disney World does every year for a few dates in the fall and winter months.

This promotion is as a great vacation package discount and deal.

2 – Understand How You Can Get Disney World Free Dining

You’ll be able to eat at Disney World for FREE when you purchase a non-discounted 5-night/6-day vacation package.

Festival of the Arts Japan Chirasi Sushi and Haupia Pearl
Festival of the Arts Japan Chirasi Sushi and Haupia Pearl

This Disney Free Disney Dining Plan includes a room at a select Disney Resort hotel and a ticket with Park Hopper option.

3 – Know What Disney Free Dining Options are Available to You

The amount of meals and snacks you receive in each plan depends on the type of plan you choose. Each type of meal or snack can be redeemed using a credit from your meal plan.

It sounds like a lot, but meal plans can be very simple and a great money saver if you do things right.

4 – Know the Disney Dining Plans

Disney has three tiers for the Dining Plan:

  • Quick Service
  • Standard Disney Dining Plan
  • Deluxe Disney Dining Plan

Each of them comes with a different level of service at different rates.

Festival of the Arts Pan-seared Scallop
Festival of the Arts Pan-seared Scallop

Disney Quick Service Dining Plan Cost

 The cost is $55 for adults and $26 for children and includes:

  • 2 Quick-Service Meals
  • 2 Snacks or Non-Alcoholic Drinks
  • Refillable drink mug

Regular Disney Dining Plan Cost

The cost is $78.01 for adults with a rate of $30.51 for children and includes

  • 1 Quick-Service Meal
  • 1 Table-Service Meal
  • 2 Snacks or Non-Alcoholic Drinks
  • Refillable drink mug

Disney Deluxe Dining Plan Cost

The cost is $119 for adults with a rate of $47.50 for children and includes:

  • 3 Meals
  • 2 Snacks or Non-Alcoholic Drinks
  • Refillable mug

5 – Know What’s Included in the FREE Disney Quick Service Dining Plan

Now that we understand the basic terminoly for the DDP, let’s go through what’s included with the free deal.

The Best Sangria at Epcot. Epcot Mexico Sangria
Epcot Sangria in Mexico

This Disney vacation meal plan includes two (2) meals and two (2) snacks or non-alcoholic beverages per person, per night of your stay.

But it’s only available with the Quick Service Dining Plan or the “Standard” Disney Disney Dining Plan.

A good thing about this option is that you’ll be able to use a Table-Service meal for Character Dining or other Disney dining experiences.

For both options you can enjoy both non-alcoholic specialty beverages and beer, wine and cocktails (if you’re 21 or older). 

Listen to Laura, a Disney Expert, breakdown what the Disney Dining Plan is here!

6 – Know What You Get with the Free Disney Dining Plan

The offer allows you to enjoy Disney Resort Guest benefits and amenities.

Afternoon Tea Disney World Food Chocolate Strawberries, Macaroon, Puff Swan Pastry
Dessert at the Garden View Tea Room

The benefits include:

  • Early access to Disney FastPass+ planning
  • Extra Magic Hours
  • Complimentary Resort transportation
  • Standard parking
  • Resort entertainment
  • Select dining options
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7 – Remember the Disney Free Dining 2020 Dates

In order to take advantage of this incredible deal, you’ll need to book your next trip by January 16, 2020 for arrivals on nights:

  • June 27 through 28, 2020
  • July 5 through 7, 2020
  • August 29 through September 8, 2020
Magic Kingdom Secrets at Walt Disney World in front of Cinderella Castle disney world free dining
Cinderella Castle

What is the booking window for the Free Disney Dining Plan?

The booking window is until January 16, 2020.

8 – Stay Up-to-Date with New Offers

What if you missed the Disney Free Dining Plan offer?

The previous dates are just the first wave and it’s rumored that Disney will be adding additional free dining dates for 2020 in the near future.

Slinky Dog Dash Red Roller Coaster at Disney Hollywood Studios
Slinky Dog Dash Roller Coaster

In the meantime, you can receive a FREE Disney gift card if you book your Disney World 2020 package with Destinations in Florida for vacation dates ranging from June 18 to June 25.

The amount can range from $50 to $150 on your Disney Gift Card.

ORDER NOW to secure your theme park ticket reservation in the parks! GET MY TICKETS.

9 – Take Advantage of the Disney Vacation Payment Plan

The best thing about booking your Disney vacation is that you don’t need all of the money up front. You can reserve your hotel, tickets, and dining with just a $200 deposit.

Star Wars Galaxy Edge Flying Equipment at Disney Hollywood Studios

After that, you only need to make payments for your trip.

10 – Know the Differences in the Disney Dining Plan Based on the Resort You Choose

Walt Disney World Resort hotels are divided up based on the price with Deluxe Villa Resorts being the most expensive and Value Resorts being the least expensive.

When you stay at a select Disney Deluxe Resort or Disney Deluxe Villa Resort, you will get the Disney Dining Plan with lots of dining options.

Christmas at the Polynesian Resort with Tiki God in Holiday Garb
Disney’s Polynesian Resort

If you stay at a select Disney Value Resort or Disney Moderate Resort, you will get the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan.

Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels

You can use this vacation deal at these resorts for arrivals most nights 6/27/20 – 6/28/20, 7/5/20 – 7/7/20 and 8/29/20 – 9/8/20 and will include the FREE Disney Dining Plan.

  1. Animal Kingdom Lodge
  2. Beach Club Resort
  3. BoardWalk Inn
  4. Contemporary Resort
  5. Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  6. Polynesian Village Resort
  7. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  8. Yacht Club Resort
Boardwalk Inn Disney Gingerbread House Display with Majestic Christmas Tree
Disney’s BoarWalk Inn Resort

Disney Moderate Resort Hotels

You can use this vacation deal at these resorts for arrivals most nights 6/27/20 – 6/28/20, 7/5/20 – 7/7/20 and 8/29/20 – 9/8/20 and will include the FREE Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan.

  1. Caribbean Beach Resort
  2. Coronado Springs Resort
  3. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  4. Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  5. The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Discount Disney Tickets

Disney Value Resort Hotels

You can use this vacation deal at these resorts for arrivals most nights 6/27/20 – 6/28/20, 7/5/20 – 7/7/20 and 8/29/20 – 9/8/20 and will include the FREE Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan.

  1. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – Family Suites only
  2. All-Star Music Resort
  3. Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
  4. Pop Century Resort

11 – Know the Exclusions for the Free Dining Plan

Elderflower Sangria at Epcot
Elderflower Sangria at Epcot

Although the Free Disney Dining Plan includes a lot of perks, you should know what restrictions are a part of the offer.

The Following Resort Rooms are Excluded from the Free Dining Deal

  • 3-bedroom villas
  • Campsites
  • Cabins at Copper Creek villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Bungalows at Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
  • Little Mermaid Standard Rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Festival of the Arts Canada Triple Chocolate Mousse with Gold Shavings disney world free dining,
Festival of the Arts Canada Triple Chocolate Mousse with Gold Shavings

12 – Know the Key Takeaways for the Free Disney Dining Plan

All of this information can be confusing and has caused great debates online questioning the need for the plan. I don’t want you to be confused about how it works.

You already have enough to worry about for your Disney trip.

Where are disney parks with castle, epcot ball, hollywood tower hotel, and tree of life at animal kingdom.

Things to Remember Before Booking Your Trip with this Deal

  • Each person in the same room must have the same package
  • Your Disney theme park tickets are valid for admission on the date of your check-in and will need to be used within 9 days of check-in per Disney
  • You cannot use this offer with any other Disney discount or promotion
  • Disney will only accept advance reservations for this free dining offer
  • Gratuities are not included
  • Booking or changing your reservation online is far quicker and easier
  • Free Disney Dining Plan promotion is based upon ARRIVAL date.

13 – Use Your Dining Credits for Special Events

I’ve learned that the Disney Dining Plan works best for events like the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. I say this because you can get a lot of the snacks without using as many credits.

This is my favorite way of using the Disney Dining Plan.

14 – Work with An Authorized Walt Disney World Vacation Planner

An official planner has the latest deals, tools, and resources directly from Disney. They’re extremely knowledgeable on all things Disney dining!

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Japan Frushi
Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Japan Frushi

15 – Determine Where You Want to Eat

Before you embark on your dream vacation, you should map out all the places where you want to eat. That way you can maximize your credits and learn how to use them in a way that best suits you on your vacation.

The official Walt Disney World Website has a list of all the restaurants on property and the cost of the food.

Final Thoughts

Planning the ultimate Walt Disney World vacation can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. I’m all for you saving your money, but I love when you can save your time too.

Epcot Le Cellier in Canada. Red Apple whiskey cocktail, colorful green wedge salad, fries topped with creamy brown gravy and cheese.
Epcot Le Cellier in Canada

The Disney World free dining promotion is cool if you’re able to make it work for your situation.

If you plan on staying offsite, then this will not matter to you.

Is Free Disney Dining worth it?

Yes and no.

You will have to spend a decent amount of money on your vacation package depending on the resort level you get in order to take advantage of the offer.

However, if you’re a first-time visitor, then it may help alleviate the guess work of budgeting for food and what to eat.

Disney world free dining with red and pink cupcake sprinkles of Lady and the Tramp
Save on Pinterest for Later!

If you enjoyed this guide, then read more Disney Planning Tips!

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!

NikkyJ

Planning a trip soon? If so, read the Disney Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!

(Original Article Date 2018/Updated January 8, 2020)

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