Disney Dining Plans are one of the most popular add-on perks to Walt Disney World Resort vacation packages. In case you aren’t familiar, the Disney Dining Plan allows families to prepay for their sit-down meals, quick service meals, and snacks so they can enjoy their Disney World vacations with less financial stress.
Related: Dining at Walt Disney World Resorts
Disney Dining Plan and Free Dining
The official description of the Disney Dining Plan reads:
Delight in classic dining options and enjoy a mix of Quick-Service and Table-Service restaurants. You’ll dine at one of each every day (per night of stay), so you can easily plan your meals with the rest of your vacation fun!
Along with the Disney Dining Plan, during select months of the year thanks to a seasonal promotion, Disney would offer free dining to select Guests who had a vacation package booked.
However, for the time being, Disney World has temporarily halted the Disney Dining Plan add-on, including the free dining offer. The website states:
This is something that has been in place for several months now due to operational changes amid the ongoing pandemic, most likely due to the fact that there are limited dining offerings currently available at Walt Disney World Resort.
For example, only a handful of dining locations are offering character dining at this time, which is also a modified experience. Additionally, buffet-style restaurants are no longer serving buffets and instead, if they are open, are serving meals family-style.
Other changes include the fact that not all quick-service locations are open as well as dinner shows, such as Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue, being put on pause.
Read More: Additional Updates to Disney World Dining
At this time there is no word on when the Disney Dining Plan, or free dining, will come back to Walt Disney World, but that doesn’t mean Guests aren’t still disappointed that this perk is not available.
So with all of that being said, we are diving into everything we know right now, including when we could possibly see the return of the Disney Dining Plan — and free dining!
When Could We See Free Dining Return?
Well, the short answer is we won’t see free dining come back until Walt Disney World brings back the Disney Dining Plan. But with that being said, we are wondering when Disney World may bring back this popular add-on.
As mentioned earlier, at this time there are only a handful of dining locations at Disney World that are currently offering character dining, which is a modified experience. For example, Disney characters walk around the restaurant and pose for photos from a safe social distance, but Guests cannot get their autograph books signed or hug the characters due to the ongoing pandemic. Some of the locations that currently offer this modified character dining experience are Topolino’s Terrace, Chef Mickey’s, Garden Grill, and Hollywood & Vine.
Additionally, buffet-style restaurants are no longer serving buffets and instead, if they are open, are serving meals family-style.
Other experiences, such as dinner shows, are currently unavailable as well. So with all of this being said, Disney World will likely not bring back the Disney Dining Plan — or free dining — until these experiences come back to the Resort.
However, with more and more people getting vaccinated, and with COVID-19 cases continuing to go down, Walt Disney World could potentially begin bringing back some of these experiences, such as more modified character dining and dinner shows. Additionally, Disney World may opt to increase capacity in each restaurant, thus allowing more people to dine at each location. Once they do so, it is possible that Disney Dining Plan — and free dining — could return as more Guests would have more dining options at the Florida Disney Resort.
The Disney Dining Plan is a great way to encourage Guests to visit as it is easily one of the most popular amenities the Orlando resort has to offer. Once the Disney Dining Plan comes back, Disney World may decide to start offering free dining to select Guests as a promotional offer, again, encouraging more Guests to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth.
Again, at this time there is no word on when the Disney Dining Plan, or free dining, will come back to Walt Disney World. Stay tuned to Inside the Magic for the most up-to-date information.
Do you miss the Disney Dining Plan? Let us know in the comments below.