2012 Fall Disney Free Dining for Disney VISA Cardholders

Travel Dates: September 30 – December 13, 2012.

UPDATE July 12, 2012: Walt Disney World has released this discount to all guests, a Disney VISA is no longer required. For more information, see the 2012 Fall Disney Free Dining post.

Walt Disney World has announced a new round of the Disney Free Dining discount, this time for Disney VISA cardholders only for the travel dates listed above. Not all nights are included however, you must check in on one of the following available dates:

  • September 30 – October 4, 2012
  • October 19 – November 1, 2012
  • November 9 – 15, 2012
  • November 23 – 29, 2012
  • December 10 – 13, 2012

Please note that in order to qualify for the free dining offer, your must check in during one of the available dates above. Your stay can extend outside of the available dates, you will still receive the free dining for your entire stay. Availability is extremely limited, and not all resorts may be available. You cannot check in before an available date and receive the discount, it is all or nothing, and it all depends on the day you check in.

Guests staying at a Disney World Value resort will receive the Quick Service Dining Plan for free. Guests will be able to upgrade to either the Disney Dining plan or the Deluxe Disney Dining plan by paying the price difference. The Walt Disney World value resorts include All-Star Sports, All-Star Music, All-Star Movies, Pop Century and Art of Animation.

Guests staying at a Disney World Moderate, Deluxe or Deluxe Villa resort will receive the Disney Dining Plan included for free. Disney World guests at moderate, deluxe and villa resorts will also be able to book the “Free Dining”, and upgrade to the Disney Deluxe Dining for the normal price difference.

Availability is extremely limited, and must be booked by September 29, 2012. It appears that all suites, campsites and 3 bedroom villas have been excluded from this offer, as well as the standard Little Mermaid rooms the new Art of Animation Resort. All other Disney resorts, including the family suites at All-Star Music and Art of Animations, as well as the other value resorts are included in the offer. Three night minimum stay required, and a maximum stay of 14 nights is allowed per reservation. You must also purchase a minimum 2 day basic park pass per person per reservation to qualify.

Please note this offer is currently only available to Disney VISA cardholders. A $200 deposit per room must be paid with your Disney VISA at the time of booking. We believe this offer should be made available for all guests starting on July 12, 2012.

To book this special Disney World “Free Dining” vacation package, please contact our great sponsor Mouseketrips.

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{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brande July 9, 2012 at 5:51 am

I am so tired of the campgrounds being left out of every deal Disney offers!

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2 Keith July 9, 2012 at 5:58 am

Brande – No possible way they can include them in free dining. The problem with campsites is that they have basically unlimited capacity, so you can show up in a motor home with 10+ people. While the cost is similar to the value resorts, those resorts have a limit if 4 per room, so they can make it work. Plus, the campsites tend to sell out year round. Many people I know actually book a value room to get free dining, plus a campsite, they still come out ahead.

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3 Brenda July 9, 2012 at 6:27 am

I wonder if that means they will include everyone in this promotion…lucky for all to go in Dec…we are Sept..hot, hot, hot…lol

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4 Keith July 9, 2012 at 6:48 am

Brenda – Yes, this offer will be released to everyone, no Disney VISA required, on Thursday.

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5 Jen July 9, 2012 at 6:50 am

Will this offer be available for canadians?

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6 Keith July 9, 2012 at 7:10 am

Jen – On Thursday, this offer should be made available to everyone.

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7 Allie July 9, 2012 at 7:44 am

I am a Disney Visa holder. I have already booked for October 14th through Oct 25th at Pop Century. Can I get in on this offer and how do I do that? We booked through Disney.

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8 Keith July 9, 2012 at 7:48 am

Allie – No, you must check in on an available date, the closest to your dates is October 19. You could split your reservation in two, but that would require buying 2 tickets for everyone, and probably won’t save you any money.

If you book directly with Disney, you have to call them to ask them to apply any discounts that are released.

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9 Tony July 9, 2012 at 8:29 am

So at AOA….am I reading Little Mermaid rooms aren’t included but Cars suites are available for free dining??

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10 Keith July 9, 2012 at 8:33 am

Tony – Correct, the family suites are included, the standard rooms are not. The Little Mermaid rooms are basically sold out for all Fall dates so Disney did not include them in the discount.

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11 Tony July 9, 2012 at 8:34 am

OK…thanks! Hopefully something will be still available at AOA on Thursday.

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12 Tom July 9, 2012 at 8:58 am

Do you know if the dates will be the same when the offer is available to everyone? Was thinking of going Oct 17th but might have to move it.

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13 Keith July 9, 2012 at 9:01 am

Tom – Yes, should be identical. These are the same dates that were offered with the PIN code the last few weeks, so I don’t see any changes the next few days.

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14 Matt July 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm

We booked last week for Oct 17th at Pop century, leaving on Oct 25th. We were going to get 8 day park hoppers.. Any chance the math works out to book 2 nights (17th + 18th) and get a single day ticket for the 18th, then book from the 19th to the 25th with the 6 remaining ticket days and the free dining? Also, does free dining apply to all (in this case 2 of us) guests sharing a room? If so, the math may work out..

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15 Keith July 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Matt – So no chance of changing dates? It should be cheaper to do two reservations. You should be able to book one package for 10/19 – 25, with tickets to cover all your days, you can pick up tickets early at guest services. You will need to check out and back in 10/19, but you shouldn’t have to change rooms.

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16 Matt July 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm

That’d be brilliant if we could buy all of our tickets for 8 days together and still get the ticket savings, but check out and check back in on the 19th. In theory, we should be able to just book 2 nights (for 17th + 18th) entirely separetly, then book a package for the 19th through the 25th with our full 8 days of tickets. In that case, we’d really only lose out on 2 days of ‘free dining’
Thanks a lot! You just made my day :)

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17 Keith July 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Matt – Correct. Don’t bother asking Disney about getting the tickets early. It works, they just won’t admit it.

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18 Matt July 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Hopefully my last question :) Does free dining apply to all guests staying in a room, or is it one free dining plan per room? Or is it handled somehow based on tickets bought for the room?
Thanks again!

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19 Keith July 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Matt – Everyone in your room gets free dining, but all guests in the room must be listed on the reservation. If you are trying to “hide” someone, they would not get anything.

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20 Erica July 9, 2012 at 5:36 pm

We have the Little Mermaid standard room booked at AOA beginning 9/30. I read that these rooms are excluded from the “free dining” offer. Bummer! Do you think they will add these rooms to be included in the free dining offer later?

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21 Keith July 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Erica – No, really doubtful they would be added. They are nearly impossible to find at this point, at full rate, I doubt Disney will discount them at all. I would look at moving to a family suite or another value resort. The family suite might be a wash once you figure in free dining, another value resort will certainly be cheaper.

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22 heather July 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm

We are going to October 15-21.We bought four days of park hoppers for the dates of 16,17,19,20 for a family of four. The 18 we are doing the not so scary halloween party. Would it be worth splitting our reservations just to save on two days of dining???

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23 Keith July 9, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Heather – Really doubtful. You would have to buy additional tickets, the free dining requires the purchase of 2 day base tickets for everyone. That alone is going to be quite a bit more than the free dining for 2 nights. I would say at this point, if you can’t move your dates, hope for an alternate October deal to be released.

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24 Courtney July 10, 2012 at 3:00 am

I have reservations starting on October 6, just missing free dining by two days. It would probably be cheaper to add two days to my stay to get free dining. I was thinking of changing my reservations to begin october 4th to get in on the offer. It would be the 5th before I could officially check in. Would that work?

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25 Denise July 10, 2012 at 6:38 am

Already booked POR last January with dining plan I am thinking with no discount. I didn’t really get a breakdown of my package. Will my room rate probably exceed value of free dining plan now? Is it worth it to switch to value and pay difference for regular dining plan?

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26 Carol Smith July 10, 2012 at 6:41 am

I am going to Walt Disney world from, Nov. 28th thru Dec 6th, but I don’t have a Disney Visa Card, can I still get the free dining plan?

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27 Mike July 10, 2012 at 6:56 am

Keith, last year fall free dining and room only discounts were announced 8/3/11. Now that fall free dining has been announced ealier this year, do you expect fall AP and general public room only discounts to follwo shortly or not till August?

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28 Suz July 10, 2012 at 7:16 am

When is the wine and food festival this year in Oct ?????

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29 Keith July 10, 2012 at 9:22 am

Courtney – No, if you don’t show up on 10/4, Disney will cancel your reservation, so probably not an option for you.

Denise – I am not sure I understand. If you booked a package with the room, tickets and dining, the free dining discount should just remove the cost of the dining from your package. Without knowing who is in your party, ages of kids, your current package, etc. I have no idea what is better for you. Consider contacting a travel agent and have them take over the reservation, they will make sure it is right and will be able to get you the best deal.

Carol – This discount should be released to everyone on Thursday. Everyone = Everyone

Mike – I have no idea. We still have yet to see any AP or FL resident deals for September, which is what I would expect next, though those could cover all Fall dates, guess we will have to wait and see.

Suz – The Epcot Food and Wine Festival runs from September 28 – November 12, every day.

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30 Bobbi July 10, 2012 at 10:23 am

Will the general public offer have the same blackout dates? We have already made our reservation and purchased airplane tickets for the week of Nov. 3-10. I am really hoping that Disney is not excluding this week also. Thanks!

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31 Keith July 10, 2012 at 10:26 am

Bobbi – These are the exact same dates that were included with the PIN code that has been sent out over the last few weeks. I just don’t see anything changing, that just doesn’t happen.

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32 Bobbi July 10, 2012 at 10:38 am

Do you have any idea what the rationale is behind the excluded dates?

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33 Keith July 10, 2012 at 10:49 am

Bobbi – Disney releases discounts for dates that need some help in booking, which is why dates like Christmas week and Spring Break rarely see discounts, they don’t need the help. When you see black out dates like this, Disney feels those nights are pretty full, so no additional help is needed, or a big discount like free dining isn’t needed. We may see a lesser deal, like a room percentage discount for all Fall dates, we will just have to wait and see.

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34 Heather July 10, 2012 at 11:20 am

Since they are not offering this special for the week that I am going October15th. Does this mean there is a higher crowd this week? Is there some kind of special event going on?

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35 Keith July 10, 2012 at 11:25 am

Heather – No special events that I am aware, just simply that Disney feels the hotels are full enough without offering free dining. I don’t have any other explanation why some days are included and other are not.

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36 Matt July 10, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Keith – I called disney today to ask about booking 2 separate nights to get me to the 19th, then booking the package starting the 19th to include the tickets we needed for the 17th and 18th. Sure enough, as you said, they insisted that your tickets are linked to the package room reservation and won’t be active until the package date starts. How do we get around this?
And thanks again, you have been a huge help.

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37 Keith July 10, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Matt – This has been an unofficial deal for a few months now, no one at reservations will confirm it, though I have known plenty of people who have done it.

I have been hearing rumors that last few days that Disney is doing away with this, due to fraud, so I am hesitant to suggest that you do it now. Not sure what to say. Guess you can try it, but know going in that you may have to buy an extra day’s ticket at the gate.

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38 Kari July 10, 2012 at 8:25 pm

How fast will these offers go? Do the value resorts usually book up soon after the offer is released? With this, going to try to change my work schedule to leave a few days early to hit an included date, but won’t know if I can for a few weeks.

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39 Keith July 10, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Kari – The value resorts go pretty quickly. You can always book a new reservation and pay the deposit, $200, and cancel in a few weeks if it doesn’t work out.

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40 Jessica July 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Aarrrrrgh…..Every Fall we go to Disney and I agonize about whether to grab the free dining deal in case the room-only discount never shows (the latter’s a better deal for us overall, I believe.) Once and for all, is it possible to just book the free dining package and then cancel and re-book a totally different reservation if a better room-only deal comes out? I’m assuming we would at least know 45 days before our check-in date- 11/26 (I realize we would risk not getting the exact room we want.) I’m just not sure I understand what all the penalties would be if we cancelled a package within the acceptable time frame. Thanks!

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41 Keith July 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Jessica – Yes, any money paid is fully refundable up until 45 days before travel, so before that point, no problems. Those room only discounts can be booked as packages, you just add tickets to the discounted room price, and dining if you want. If the room only deal comes out, and it is a better deal for you, you can just call and switch discounts, takes all of 2 minutes.

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42 Megan July 10, 2012 at 10:53 pm

arggg we booked our air already for dec 5 to the 11th why does disney have to make life difficult! trying to decide if its worth it to spend $175+ to change air and go a week later?! do you think they will later adjust dates on this or was my week also a pin code week?

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43 Keith July 10, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Megan – No, no additional dates will be added. The dates of the free dining are identical to the PIN code dates, the week you are going is just expected to be more crowded than others, so no discounts.

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44 suz July 11, 2012 at 6:46 am

keith—do you think Disney will offer Free Dining during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival –For Everyone?????

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45 Keith July 11, 2012 at 6:53 am

Suz – As stated in the post above – “We believe this offer should be made available for all guests starting on July 12, 2012.” So yes, tomorrow.

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46 Susan July 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm

If we booked our dining plan through our Disney VISA but the room through Disney Vacation Club and tickets from an outside vendor are we eligible for the free dining?

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47 Keith July 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Susan – Nope. In order to qualify for free dining you must purchase a package that includes your Disney hotel, park passes and the dining plan. The room and tickets are at full rate, you can’t use DVC points to book a room and qualify.

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48 Jessica July 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Thanks, Keith. They had our exact room type and dates available with free dining, so I went ahead and booked. Now at least I know we have some sort of discount in case the room-only deal doesn’t materialize for us… I’ll keep watching for one, but in the meantime I’m going to calculate exactly what our meals will cost us for our week, so I can figure out if room-only discounts actually DO save us more money… On the one hand, we are vegetarians, so we almost always order the cheapest thing on the menu. On the other hand, we tend to do lots of buffets for the variety. On the other, other hand, we stay in deluxe resorts so 30% off makes a big difference. Time for some Disney math!

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49 Keith July 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Jessica – Yep, always better to grab what is available rather than hope that something better comes along. I am pretty sure we will see room only deals, so if your math is done now, should be pretty easy for you to figure out if a new deal is better for you or not.

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50 Rob July 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Kieth, I was just on the phone making reservations in advance of the free dining going public tomorrow. I enquired about the free dining plan. The cast member said my room type would be most likely excluded. I’m staying at BLT in a non suite with a theme park view. You can usually take what a CM tells you to the bank, in my experience anyway. Any thoughts as to why?

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51 Keith July 11, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Rob – Bay Lake is one of those that is rarely available, we rarely see them discounted. There just aren’t many of them available to the public in the first place, so if you only have 5 rooms to rent out each night, and they are always booked, no reason to discount them.

Normally, no, they really don’t know much, however, they have been dealing with the free dining for a few days now, so they probably have a good handle on what is and isn’t available.

If you are just in a studio, I would strongly suggest you consider moving resort, either to the Contemporary or the Polynesian. The studios are tiny, and aren’t really the best option when compared to those other resorts.

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52 tammy July 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm

When will free dining be announced for Jan 2013? Do you think that there will be free dining in late Jan 2013? If so any advantage in booking the package now or should I just wait until it is announced? Thanks.

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53 Amy July 11, 2012 at 8:25 pm

I was told that they put aside a certain number of room levels for visa card holders. Do they also put aside a certain number for regular reservations or do they start where the visa card holders left off? For instance we are doing a standard room but was told the visa standard rooms were gone and we had to move to a garden room.

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54 Keith July 11, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Tammy – If we see it (that is a really big IF), probably not until this deal expires at the end of September. Book now, there will be some discount for January released, you can always apply it later on.

Amy – Nope, Disney VISA cardholders get first shot at availability, no additional rooms should be added. Usually the price difference between standard and garden view is just a few dollars per night, totally worth it.

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55 Steph July 11, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Will the free dining be available at midnight 7/12, or what time do you think we can go online and book??

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56 Keith July 11, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Steph – The call center opens at 7AM EST, the packages should be online sometime after that.

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57 Jen July 12, 2012 at 4:31 am

Its Thursday and I haven’t found the free dining anywhere for non Disney visa members. Did the date change?

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58 Keith July 12, 2012 at 4:56 am

Jen – Too early, it won’t be released until Disney reservations opens in a few minutes.

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59 Karter September 27, 2012 at 11:37 pm

We booked through Priceline for Oct. 21-27 – is there any chance for the free dining option? We are staying at the all star movie resort.

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60 Keith September 28, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Karter – Doubt it, you would need to contact Priceline though. My understanding is that once booked, they will not rebook anything for you. Hurry though, tomorrow is the last day.

PS. Use a Disney specialist next time, it will be cheaper for you, and easier.

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