We have been hearing rumors, that we since have substantiated, that Disney World will be releasing Magic Your Way package discounts to the general public on April 10, 2008. So, I know what you are asking yourself, will this be the free dining discount everyone is hoping for, or something completely different?
Since the Disney Dining Plan was introduced in 2005, Disney World has offered it for free as a “discount” during some parts of August and September each of the past three years. Here are the travel dates for the past free dining offer:
- August 21 – October 4, 2005
- August 13 – September 30, 2006
- August 26 – September 22, 2007
Based on discounts released late last year for travel during 2008, which offered the dining plan for free, we believe Disney will release the free dining discount again in 2008. Here are the travel dates for those discounts:
- UK Resident Free dining: August 10 – September 27, 2008
- Bounceback offer for WDW guests: August 30 – September 27, 2008
While it is possible that Disney may release another discount, and not the free dining, we fully expect to see the free dining released on April 10 to the general public. Expect the following time line:
- April 7, 2008 – Free dining to be released to Disney VISA cardholders
- April 10, 2008 – Free dining to be released to the general public
- August 30 – September 27, 2008 – Travel dates for free dining
So, with the free Disney dining coming up, here is what we suggest you do:
- Book your package now for the resort and dates you want during the expected availability dates. We suggest you use an experienced Disney only travel agent like Mouseketrips. Please note that in order to get the free dining (assuming it is released), you must book a Magic Your Way package that includes the Disney resort and park passes. The park passes can be as short as 1 day passes, but they must be included.
- Pay the$200 deposit on the reservation. If the availability dates change, or the discount ends up not being what you expected, you can cancel up until 45 days before your start date and get your deposit money back.
- On April 10, let your travel agent rebook the reservation for you, getting you the free dining added to your reservation. If you are working with an experienced Disney travel agent, they will take care of that for you, and notify you of the changes. It will probably all happen before you wake up.
- Start making your dining reservations, as you will be within the 180 day window. You can do this before April 10, but if you cancel your reservation, you will have to call back and cancel any reservations.
[Update 4/7/08] – Disney World has released the free dining program as we expected, currently to Disney VISA cardholders, and on April 10 to the general public. For more information, please see the Disney VISA free dining deal.