I’ve been hearing rumors of Disney World offering free dining this fall. Having just checked, I can safely say that this isn’t yet advertised on their website. I’ll keep an eye on it, though, to let you know if this comes to fruition. In the meantime, I got to wondering… how free is the free Disney Dining Plan special offer?
The plan gives you one table service meal, one quick service meal, and one snack per person per night (not day) of your vacation. You also get a free refillable mug per person, which you can refill at your resort.
As far as the quick service meals and snacks go, free truly is free. There is no tip to leave. However, with the table service meals, a tip of 20% is customary. A table service meal at Disney World can easily cost you $30 per person. Even if the meal itself is free, a family of five is spending an easy $30 per day on tips. For a 4 night/5 day trip (which is usually the minimum length-of-stay to get the free dining plan), that’s $120 that you spent to get your “free” meals. Granted, eating for five days at WDW for $120 is a super bargain. However, there’s also the time investment to be considered. If you’re like us, you are so on-the-go when at the World that you barely have time to toss a taco down your throat while dashing from Pirates of the Caribbean to Splash Mountain, much less spend 1 1/2 hours or so each day on a sit down meal. Is the free food worth the time it takes to sit and eat it?
In any event, you get a cute mug out of the deal…