2019 Walt Disney World Free Dining is now available…for United Kingdom residents! (Sorry, for those of you sitting on pins and needles about the likely release of 2018 Free Dining for U.S. residents next week.) In this post, we share dates and details about this promotion, and whether the discount might make sense for you.
If you’re an American and are excited to read about this promotion because it might offer some insight or clues into the future of Free Dining for us…don’t. Not only does this have absolutely zero connection to the U.S. Free Dining promo, but reading the details of this will likely make you bitter with envy. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you!)
First, the details of the 2019 Free Disney Dining Plan discount for UK residents. You’re eligible for this promotion if you book a full-price Walt Disney World hotel and ticketpackage for a minimum of 5 nights for travel datesJanuary 1 through April 7, 2019 and April 26 through November 30, 2019 (Deluxe Villas through September 16, 2019 only). You must book the Free Dining promo by November 6, 2018.
Guests staying at Value Resorts receive free breakfast, which should actually be a generic quick service credit that you could–and should–use for a different meal. Moderate Resort guests receive the Quick Service Dining Plan. Deluxe and Villa Resorts receive the standard Disney Dining Plan. Unless I missed something, it looks like every resort is available for this promotion, with the only notable exclusion being the Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation.
Guests booking the promotion also receive a $200 Disney gift card and Memory Maker for unlimited PhotoPass downloads. They are also eligible to purchase Disney’s 14-Day Ultimate Ticket for the price of a 7-Day Ticket, which also includes an exclusive Toy Story Land MagicBand. (This is ticket is not sold in the U.S., which may be why it sounds unfamiliar to some of you.)
Another “bonus,” albeit it not one tied directly to this promotion, is that the nightly parking fees recently announced for Walt Disney World hotels will not apply to visitors from the UK and Ireland through December 31, 2019. (We’re guessing this is a matter of notice required by law in the UK, but we will be keeping a close eye on it; perhaps Disney is considering walking back its parking fees after backlash?)
Aside from a slight shift in the blockout period, which varies every year and is based upon the Easter holiday (you could fairly reliably predict when this same promo will be offered in 2020 by simply adjusting for Easter 2020), this 2019 Free Dining promo for United Kingdom residents is nearly identical to the 2018 offer.
Now, if you’re an American Disney fan eyeing this mouthwatering offer, wondering why we don’t get something this nice, there are a few explanations. All of these explanations stem from something we always stress on this blog when discussing discounts: Disney never offers promotions out of corporate benevolence. Discounts exist to incentivize people to fill hotel rooms. (Walt Disney World is a hotel business that also operates some theme parks.)
In the case of doing more to attract “holidaymakers” from the United Kingdom, the rationale here is two or three-fold. First, that long flight over the Atlantic means UK visitors need a greater incentive to head to Florida instead of, say, Disneyland Paris. Second, despite the pound having rebounded a bit this year, it’s still not exactly strong versus the dollar right now.
Finally, UK guests are generally some of Disney’s biggest whales (I mean that in the flattering way, no implications about dining habits intended!). These visitors come for two or more weeks–hence the 14-day ticket–and drop a lot of money on Walt Disney World vacations.
The average length of stay for guests from the United Kingdom is significantly longer than the 5-day average for Americans, so Disney does what it can to entice these lucrative guests to come to Walt Disney World. If you’re a Floridian, you might consider thanking UK visitors for your lack of state income taxes. 😉
If lengthy vacations were commonplace in the United States, you can bet Walt Disney World would try to attract domestic guests with comparable promotions. (Before you reply in the comments that you do visit Walt Disney World for vacations of that duration–you’re a fan who just read all the way to the end of a blog post about a promotion that is not applicable to you. They’ve already got you.)
That’s about it in terms of the 2019 Free Disney Dining Plan promo for UK guests. If you’re among the 5.1% of this blog’s visitors who can take advantage of this deal, hopefully this info is useful. Deals for the United Kingdom are not exactly our wheelhouse, so if you’re a European who can offer any insight into how this offer stacks up to other promotions targeted at your region, we’d love to hear your thoughts!
What do you think about the 2019 Free Dining discount for United Kingdom residents? Wish we got offers like this in the United States, or do you prefer getting the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan at the Value Resorts? Share any questions or additional thoughts you have in the comments!