Disney World Free Dining 2015 Dates

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Walt Disney World typically offers its Free Disney Dining Plan promotion in the spring, with dates for the late summer and fall vacations made public in late April or Early May. Free Dining becomes available for booking to Disney Visa credit card holders a couple of days after the announcement, and then to the general public a few days after that. Free Dining dates for 2015 have not yet been announced, but we will update this page as soon as the dates are rumored or leaked. You can also sign up for our newsletter to be alerted as soon as we hear anything about 2015 Free Dining dates.

In the interim, here’s historical information concerning last year’s Free Dining announcement in case you’re wondering what to expect. Note that the dates are pretty consistent from year to year, with slight shifts for holidays, weekends, and special events (like Pop Warner), or other things that may be excluded from the Free Disney Dining Plan promotion. In other words, if your vacation dates for 2015 had Free Dining offered to them last year, there’s a good chance they will again in 2015–and vice-a-versa.

Last year, the Free Disney Dining Plan promotion became available to Disney Visa cardholders for booking beginning on May 2 for arrival dates beginning at the end of August through late December, with blockout dates. Exact dates are listed below. The general public was be able to book Free Dining packages on May 7. With this Free Dining offer, Value Resort guests receive the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan during the promotion, and guests at Moderate and Deluxe Resorts receive the standard Disney Dining Plan. Upgrading to higher tiers is possible for an additional charge (see details below).

Note that what follows is historical information that was posted for last year’s free dining, and has not been updated for 2015…

Free Dining Dates:

  • August 31 – October 3
  • October 26 – November 1
  • November 9 – November 20
  • December 12 – December 23

If you will be traveling during these dates, we highly recommend making Advance Dining Reservations now, even if you’re not eligible to book free dining yet, or even if you don’t plan on booking it. Everyone gobbles up the good ADRs quickly for Free Dining dates, so if you don’t book early, you will be stuck eating counter service or unpopular restaurants for the duration of your trip. We also recommend booking as soon as possible, as some popular/low capacity resorts book up fast. Also, be prepared to spend a couple hours on hold when you call in the morning that Free Dining becomes available to the general public.

If you need personalized help with planning any aspect of your vacation, or want someone to watch for the Free Dining promotion for you and book it once it’s available–we recommend contacting a no fee “Authorized Disney Vacation Planner” (Disney’s term for a travel agent) to get a quote and to help you plan. They get their commission from Disney, so none of the authorized (key word) planners will charge you for booking their trip and helping. Here’s one such recommended Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.

Here are the room exclusions: All-Star Movies, Port Orleans Resort Riverside, Port Orleans Resort French Quarter, Fort Wilderness campsites, Grand Villas at all resorts (3-bedroom Disney Vacation Club rooms), Art of Animation Little Mermaid Rooms, and the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, are all not eligible for Free Dining.

If you are wondering which hotel to book for the Free Dining promotion, check out our new Best Walt Disney World Hotels for Free Dining post. It gives our preferred option for each resort tier! (more…)

Luigi’s Flying Tires Closing at Disney California Adventure

As Disney announced today that Luigi’s Flying Tires will close on February 16, 2015 to make way for a new attraction opening in 2016, we thought it would be fun to look back at this Cars Land attraction that hasn’t exactly been the most popular with guests, but is an attraction that we’ve loved. We’ll start with some new commentary on the current attraction and some thoughts about the future, with our opening weekend photos below that.

Luigi’s Flying Tires is a ride in Cars Land that opened in June 2012 as part of Disney California Adventure 2.0 at Disneyland Resort. Even prior to the attraction opening, it was reportedly plagued with issues, from the last minute removal of a spin control to the last minute addition of beach balls to spice things up (later removed to reduce load/unload times) to additional guest instructions by Cast Members to explain how to operate the tires by shifting weight and leaning slightly to get the tire to change directions while still hovering. Despite all of these modifications, many guests have still had a difficult time getting their tires to hover, and have spent much of the attraction sitting in place.

We honed our strategy for Luigi’s Flying Tires early-on, and there was about a 1 minute learning curve on figuring out just how much to lean to achieve the best movement. We’ve had a blast with the attraction as a result, and have done it dozens of times over the last couple of years. This has been particularly true more recently, as waits have been non-existent because of other guests having a more difficult time operating tires and the attraction garnering poor word of mouth. (more…)

Disneyland 60th Anniversary Preview

Disney finally announced what’s in store for Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary, and the “Diamond Celebration” looks to be quite substantial, with a new parade, new fireworks, re-Imagining of attractions, and more, all beginning May 22, 2015. We thought it would be fun to take a look at what’s coming, speculate a bit, and offer some commentary on the prospects of the celebration as a whole.

As with all of our posts, we strive not to regurgitate press releases or parrot info that’s widely available, and with countless other blogs and Disney’s own PR department covering the ‘just the facts’ info that has thus far been made available, we aren’t going to fixate on that too much. Instead, this is basically us opining on the announcement and the potential of each offering.

First, I have to say I’m absolutely stoked about Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary. I had just gotten back into Disney during the Disneyland 50th Anniversary with a visit to Walt Disney World, but hadn’t yet visited Disneyland at that time, so I didn’t get to truly experience the festivities (save for the “New Magic Imported From…” at Walt Disney World as part of the Happiest Celebration on Earth) there.

I’m very much an “Anniversary Person” and the anniversaries I’ve experienced for Walt Disney World’s 40th and EPCOT Center’s 30th on those specific days have been fun, but lacking in terms of what I think they should have been. The last ‘big’ Disney anniversary I experienced in person was Walt Disney World’s 25th Anniversary, and I was only 11 at the time, and don’t remember a ton of it, besides the merchandise my parents bought. I also remember the Cinderella Castle Cake, which I loved as a kid. (Sorry, hope I don’t get my Fan-Card revoked for that!)

Anyways, let’s take a look at what we know is coming, along with some things that are likely coming… (more…)

Sorcerer’s Hat Removal at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Note: This post was originally published two years ago as an editorial concerning why the Sorcerer’s Hat should be removed as part of the rumored overhaul of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Two years later, that overhaul still remains a strong rumor, but there has been confirmation that the Sorcerer’s Hat finally will be removed in early 2015. Removal of the Sorcerer’s Hat began on January 7, 2015 and will occur in phases through the spring. We thought it appropriate to republish this post. It’s as timely now as it was in 2012. 

With a lot of rumors that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is set for a massive overhaul and expansion presently floating around, I thought it would be a good time to weigh in. No, not on the substance of what will be added specifically. I don’t pretend to have any “insider” information, although I am hopeful that Kathy Mangum’s relocation to Florida means something other than Cars Land coming to Florida (my preference would be for it to remain exclusive to Disney California Adventure so that park can have its own unique draw). I’m referring to something far more important–something that needs to be removed as part of any overhaul at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Big Sorcerer Hat (also known as the BAH–I’ll let you mull over that acronym in your head). Over the years, the number of people who like the Big Sorcerer Hat exactly where it stands has surprised me. To be clear, I have absolutely no issue with the Big Sorcerer Hat, I just think it’s not thematically appropriate for its present location in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and should be removed on that basis.

For years, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre had acted as a thematically appropriate “weenie” at the intersection of Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards (not necessarily the park’s main icon–by most accounts Earful Tower was meant to be that) drawing guests down Hollywood Boulevard, which was themed, unsurprisingly, to various design styles of old Hollywood. Grauman’s itself similarly represented old Hollywood, being a re-creation of one of the most iconic theaters in Hollywood. It similarly fit the theme of Sunset Boulevard and transitioned nicely into the surrounding area. While the architecture down the Boulevards might seem like a random mish-mash, it is far from that. In fact, close inspection reveals that the Imagineers went to painstaking lengths to model the buildings after period locations in Hollywood. All of these buildings are representative of an idealized old Hollywood (“the Hollywood that never was and will always be”), and create a clear visual motif and theme to this portion of the park. (more…)

TCM to Sponsor Great Movie Ride: Why This Matters

Turner Classic Movies is entering into a sponsorship/strategic partnership with Disney, one that will include a sponsorship of the Great Movie Ride in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, as well Walt Disney Studios providing TCM with vintage movies and episodes of TV series like “Disneyland” and “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” for a periodic programming block on the channel called “Treasures From the Disney Vault.”

The first change under the sponsorship will debut in early 2015, with the films in the pre-show theater queue and finale of the Great Movie Ride receiving a refresh thanks to Turner Classic Movies. Additional changes have not yet been announced, beyond some new branding (see poster below) and TCM to “inject brand authority” into the attraction, whatever that means (also see below). TCM will also attempt to encouraging guests to explore the world of classic film once they leave Walt Disney World.

There are a ton more details about the partnership in this New York Times article, but since I don’t see value in regurgitating info press release style here, I’ve covered only the salient details above. You can read that article for more specifics. Instead, I want to offer commentary focusing on why I think this is a big deal.

Actually, at first blush, it may not seem important at all. Perhaps even bad, if you love the pre-show film and its infinite quotability, as I do. No changes to the substance of the attraction have been announced, so this really might end up being a non-story.

I think that’s a fairly cynical view, although I can understand why Disney fans might be cynical about anything good happening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I am not quite this cynical… (more…)

Journey into Imagination Refurbishment

We recently shared that the popular rumor that Journey into Imagination will receive an extensive overhaul is making the rounds again. It’s unclear when refurbishment will actually occur, but we are hoping for something in 2016 after the Frozen attraction opens in Norway. In the past, there have been signals that something big is potentially in store for the Imagination pavilion, the only questions are “when?” and “what?”

That’s unclear at this point, but the downtime was rumored to be for almost all of 2014, but that never happened. When something does finally occur, all signs point to Captain EO being jettisoned to the outer limits, with a new 3D film replacing it, and a substantial overhaul to Journey into Imagination. With the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train now open and other expansion rumored for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom not opening until 2016 at the absolute earliest, it seems possible that an overhaul of Journey into Imagination will be Walt Disney World’s “big” move for 2016 or 2017.

Whenever a pavilion at Epcot is expected to have significant downtime, there is always the understandable concern that the downtime is actually Walt Disney World’s way of quietly killing the attractions inside. Fans have witnessed this happen too many times to be completely trusting of the “refurbishment” designation for a pavilion that is only moderately popular. For a number of reasons, I highly doubt that’s what’s going to happen here, but the concerns are still valid.

I have no inside information on this potential refurbishment, but some of you have been asking for my take on these rumors as you know that I’m a huge Journey into Imagination fan, so here goes… (more…)