Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Upgrading Disney's Free Dining Promotion

Being mildly obsessed with eating, I am a big fan of Disneys' Free Dining promotion. I speculate when it will come out, the restrictions, which plan will be offered in each resort category, and so on. Yeah I know I have a problem, but hey-I gotta be me.

I've been keeping the faith that we will soon see another Free Dining promotion for late Summer/Fall. So I thought I would do a post (in the event a promo does come out) about a little trick we always take advantage of-upgrading the dining plan you are given for free, to a plan you like better. While not free to do this, it can get you out of a plan you don't care for (for me that's the Quick Service Plan) and into a better plan, with more options, for a reduced cost. We almost always pay to upgrade to the Deluxe plan. What can I say-I LOVE this plan. I just can't do burgers & nuggets for an entire vacation. But if the resort you are staying in is only offering the the Quick Service plan, then maybe paying to upgrade to the Plus plan it worth it to you. You get more dining options and the ability to do character meals and can even use 2 sit-down credits toward a Signature dining experience. You can also go up 2 tiers to the Deluxe plan-even if you're staying in a Value resort.

So how does it exactly work? Real easy:

1) First you book a Disney package, including room & tickets and you get one of the plans for free. Which plan depends on what Disney is offering at the time, but usually the Values get the Quick Service plan. The Moderates have gotten both the Quick Service & Plus plans, and the Deluxe resorts usually get the Plus plan. Notice my liberal use of the word "usually"-meaning Disney can and has thrown curve balls. But this is usually (there it is again) how it goes.

2) Then you decide which plan you would like to jump to. Do you want to go Quick Service to Plus? Or Quick Service to Deluxe? Or maybe even Plus to Deluxe? No problem. You just let your agent or Disney (if you're booking direct) know which plan you would like to upgrade to and they will simply add on the DIFFERENCE IN COST from the plan you are getting for free and the plan you wish to upgrade to.

**Now keep in mind that the cost of the dining plan is a per person, per night charge. So if you're getting the quick service plan for free for 2 people, you would add $37.10 per day ($18.55 each person) to the total cost of your vacation.

3) Plan your dining! Make your advanced dining reservations 180 days in advance. It wouldn't be good to upgrade to a better plan, only to be locked out of all the places you want to eat.

It's pretty much that simple! I've listed below the cost to upgrade from the different plans. I also listed the peak and non-peak travel costs & dates. Just don't forget this is per person, per day, when doing the math.

The NON-peak Dining plan cost to upgrade: 

To Upgrade from the Quick Service Plan to Plus Plan
$18.01  Adult
$2.84   Child

The Cost to Upgrade from the Plus Plan to the Deluxe Plan
$44.38 Adult
$9.68   Child

The Cost to Upgrade from the Quick Service Plan to the Deluxe Plan
$62.39 Adult
$12.52 Child

Dates for non peak pricing:

1/1/13 - 2/13/13
4/7/13- 5/30/13
8/4/13- 12/12/13

Peak travel time dining plan cost to upgrade:

To Upgrade from the Quick Service Plan to the Plus Plan (during peak season)
$19.36 Adult
$43.84 Child

To Upgrade to from the Plus Plan to the Deluxe Plan
$45.33 Adult
$10.75 Child

To Upgrade from the Quick Service Plan to the Deluxe Plan (during peak season)
$64.69 Adult
$14.59 Child

Peak travel dates are:

2/14/13 - 2/23/13
3/8/13 -   4/6/13
5/31/13 - 8/3/13

If you're still unsure or have questions-email me at and I will be happy to answer any questions you might have :)