In addition to the 40% off deal for Visa cardholders, Walt Disney World has released more new discounts today! One is a room-only discount at select resort hotels for early 2020, while the other is the free Disney Dining Plan for kids. In this post, we’ll share the details of these discounts, and share some analysis as to how much money you’ll actually save with each.
We’ll start with the latter of these offers, which is probably what caught your attention anyway, as “FREE DINING!” is unquestionably the most popular term in the Disney Discount Dictionary. (It’s a thing…or at least, it should be.) Although it should be apparent, this is not the normal Free Disney Dining Plan promotion; this is a “kids eat free” deal. If you’re looking for the full offer, there’s a Free Dining Bounceback Deal for May – Christmas 2020, but only current resort guests are eligible (meaning it’s not available to the general public).
However, we expect Free Dining to be released again at some point in Spring 2020. If you want to be notified immediately about any “real” Free Dining news, sign up here for our FREE Disney newsletter here.We monitor drop date rumors and for the last several years have consistently given our subscribers an early heads up when Free Dining goes live. (Ask anyone who has waited on hold over the phone with Disney for 3+ hours just how important this can be!)
Anyway, with the “Kid-Sized Package Offer,” you get a free Disney Dining Plan for kids ages 3 to 9 when you purchase a non-discounted vacation package that includes a Value Resort room, theme park tickets, and the Disney Dining Plan for all adults in your party.
The Kid-Sized Package Offer is valid for arrivals most nights from January 1, 2020 until March 7, 2020. This Walt Disney World discount must be booked by January 1, 2020.
The Kid-Sized Package Offer is only valid for All Star Sports, All Star Music, All Star Movies, Pop Century, and the Art of Animation family suites. No other resort tiers are eligible, nor are the Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation. As with all Walt Disney World special offers, some room types and dates won’t be available. Flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to deals like this.
All 3 tiers of Disney Dining Plans are eligible for this offer, and the kids receive the same DDP as the adults purchase. Meaning that if the adults buy the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan, that’s what the kids receive. Same goes for the Quick-Service Dining Plan or standard Disney Dining Plan, meaning the amounts you’ll save depend upon both the number of kids in your party and the Dining Plan you choose.
In addition to kids eating free, you’ll receive the Frozen Welcome Pack. This includes a voucher for one stroller rental for the length of your stay, one in-park 5×7 photo print per room, and one merchandise bag per room including a plush, book, and two treats.
We’ve never been a fan of any of these discounts that take advantage of the goodwill and hype surrounding the “Free Dining” term, but instead offer what amounts to “Free Dining Light.” This version is among the worst offenders, as you’re paying full price for the most expensive components of the WDW vacation package.
However, this is potentially a good deal for parents (or a single parent) wrangling several kids. If you have, for instance, one adult and three children in a room, the math could work out in your favor. Similarly, a larger and more diverse party could strategically ‘stack’ one of their rooms with one adult and all of the kids and book a second, separate reservation with another room and the below resort-only discount.
As with all Walt Disney World discounts, there are potentially ways to leverage this offer to your advantage if your party fits certain narrow parameters or you can hack it. By and large, the “average” family isn’t going to find worthwhile savings with the “Kid-Sized Package Offer,” though.
Next up is the “Give the Gift of a Magical Stay” room-only discount. Although it’s being released in October, the name and verbiage suggest that this is Walt Disney World’s “Christmas present” discount.
With this offer, you can save up to 25% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels for stays most nights January 1, 2020 through April 25, 2020. You’ll either need to book this by January 1, 2020 for the earlier travel dates or March 7, 2020 for the later travel dates offered under this promo.
In addition, you’ll receive a $30 Disney Gift Card per person (ages 3 and up) on the reservation when you upgrade to a package by adding 6-day or longer theme park tickets. (Pro tip: keep this as a room-only discount and purchase from one of the options in our Discount Walt Disney World Ticket Tips post–you’ll save more money and come out ahead that way!)
Here’s a chart showing the discount rates for each tier and resort:
This offer excludes the following resorts and room types: all 3-bedroom villas, Fort Wilderness Campsites, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas, and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows.
Pretty much the exact same offer is available for Florida residents and Annual Passholders, but with an additional 5% or 10% off, respectively. (For this reason, it’s always worth crunching the numbers to see if one person in your party should buy an AP to take advantage of the better promos and other discount offers.)
As with most discount release days, Walt Disney World’s phone lines are already jammed and the online system is moving at a glacial pace–when Stitch isn’t eating the pages. If you’re at all flexible about your resort choice or room preferences, consider waiting until later this evening or tomorrow when things calm down a bit. You’ll save yourself a lot of headache and frustration!
In reviewing historical Walt Disney World discount numbers and dates, this is almost identical to this year’s room-only discount, with a release date about a week later and an end date two days earlier. Aside from minor differences among resorts and exclusions, the percentages are identical.
Overall, some of these room only rates are attractive, especially on the AP and Florida resident end of the spectrum. Savings at Value Resorts are more meager, to the point that anyone with multiple kids might be more inclined to take a harder look at the kids eat free offer that was also released. Nevertheless, it’s all pretty standard.
With that said, there were fears that the debut of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge would cause Walt Disney World discounts to dry up or become non-existent, and clearly that’s not the case. Identical offers for 2020 as this year is probably about the best-case scenario anyone could’ve predicted earlier this year, especially given that these deals start only a month after Rise of the Resistance opens and continue through the likely opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. All of this bodes well for future 2020 Walt Disney World discounts, especially Free Dining…
Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of these 2020 Walt Disney World discounts? Which, if any, will you book? Have any trouble with availability for your travel dates or preferred resort? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!