BREAKING: Room Discounts & Free Dining for Disney World Out Tomorrow (Dates & Details)

Walt Disney World has released another teaser about the new discounts dropping tomorrow (April 9, 2024) that include the second wave of Free Dining and room-only deals for summer through holiday travel dates. This shares dates and details, plus what’s still unknown about the special offers and educated guesses we can make to fill in the info ‘gaps’ based on past precedent.

These join the long list of special offers that have been released thus far for 2024 Walt Disney World vacations, with discounts for Annual Passholders, Floridians, Disney+ subscribers and Disney Visa cardholders. For every other special offer that’s currently available, see All Current Walt Disney World Discounts for 2024.

Unfortunately, that list is actually not so long right now, as many discounts have been unceremoniously and prematurely pulled from the Walt Disney World special offers page. We discuss what’s happening towards the beginning of that post (link above), but the point of mentioning it here is so vacation planners know they need to lock something in sooner rather than later. Walt Disney World is trying to incentivize longer and earlier reservations, which is what it looks like is happening again with the upcoming discounts…

Beginning April 9, Disney Visa Cardmembers can get a Free Disney Dining Plan when purchasing a non-discounted 4-night, 4-day Walt Disney Travel Company package that includes a room at a select Walt Disney World Resort hotel and theme park ticket with a Park Hopper option.

Walt Disney World teased that last week–now we also know the arrival dates that will be eligible:

  • July 1-31, 2024
  • September 1-7, 2024
  • December 9-21, 2024

Full details will be released on the morning of April 9, 2024.

Beyond that, our expectation is that this will follow all of the normal “rules” of Free Dining. (See our comprehensive Guide to 2024 Free Dining at Walt Disney World and scroll past the long section of predictions, since those are no longer relevant now that Walt Disney World has told us the deal is coming.)

The most notable “rule” of Free Dining is that Value and Moderate Resort guests receive the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan (QSDDP), while Deluxe and Deluxe Villa guests receive the standard Disney Dining Plan (DDP). The latter has much more value, but Deluxe Resorts also cost a ton more money on average. In the past, guests at the lower tier resorts have been able to pay the difference to upgrade from the QSDDP to the DDP.

Beyond that, expect pretty much the same terms and conditions as the first wave of 2024 Free Dining, just swap Disney+ stuff for Disney Visa stuff. Table service restaurants may have limited or no availability at time of package purchase (a common complaint with Free Dining in past years has been the lack of ADRs for those who arrived without booking anything in advance).

Free Dining cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Disney Dining Plans exclude gratuities, which will need to be paid out of pocket at table service restaurants. Children ages 3 to 9 must order from a children’s menu, where available. The number of packages allocated for this offer is limited. Everyone in the same room must be on the same package.

The first Free Dining offer excluded the following room types: 3-Bedroom Villas, The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Bungalows at Polynesian Villas & Bungalows.

Additional eligibility details usually include the requirement that you use a valid Disney Visa Card or Disney Rewards Redemption Card to pay the deposit, and that the Disney Visa Cardmember must stay in the room.

If you have more questions not answered by the above, we’d recommend reading our 2024 Free Dining at Walt Disney World FAQ. That covers everything we know–and expect–at this point.

In today’s tease, Walt Disney World also indicated that starting April 9, guests can book “summer travel and save up to 30% on a room at a select Disney Resort hotel when you stay five nights or longer.” That’s all that was shared about this particular room-only discount, but there’s a lot we can parse from that brief quote.

The first is the likely eligibility dates. Walt Disney World calls this a deal for summer travel, which is instructive. While we were highly confident that a room-only discount would drop alongside Free Dining (as Walt Disney World is a week late on the next release based on historical release dates), what we were unsure of was whether it’d be: 1) a classic room-only rate; 2) a book early and save more deal; or, 3) a stay longer and save more discount (or both #2 and #3).

Based on the above, we now know that it’s #2. (That is, unless Walt Disney World doesn’t know when summer ends. And in fairness, the lines on “seasons” are kinda fuzzy in Florida.) That makes complete sense and is completely consistent with long-term past precedent–just not more recent discounts, which have incentivized earlier bookings and have offered much longer lead time.

Historical discounts indicate that the date range for this room-only discount will be approximately July 8 to October 3, 2024. That’s the normal timeline for the late March/early April room-only release, adjusting slightly for other deals that have already been released. There’s about an 75% chance those are the exact dates, with another 20% chance the deal ends on September 22/28/30, and the remaining 5% that it starts a few days later. There’s high confidence in roughly those dates, though.

Again, that’s unless there’s also a book early and save deal, in which case the end date could be December 23-25. But it sure seems like Walt Disney World would’ve mentioned that in this tease if that were the case, and not referred to it as a discount for “summer travel.” December definitely isn’t summer, even by Orlando standards. (For those anxiously awaiting holiday discounts, this would most likely put the October through December release in mid-June.)

When it comes to discount tiers for the room-only rate, we can look back to 2024’s first stay longer and save deal for likely rates:

  • 30% off most Deluxe Resorts
  • 25% off most Moderate Resorts
  • 20% off most Value Resorts
  • 10-15% off popular resorts, for example:
    • Polynesian Village Resort
    • Art of Animation Little Mermaid Rooms
    • Port Orleans French Quarter
    • Villas at…Pretty Much Everywhere
    • Club Level Rooms
    • Suites at Moderates & Deluxes

A lot of this can change from discount to discount. For example, I wouldn’t bet on French Quarter having a lesser discount. Ditto that for Villas, Club Level, or suites. But I would expect the Polynesian and Little Mermaid rooms to not offer the maximum savings, as that’s often the case.

The other thing we saw with this year’s first stay longer and save more deal was that it applied to reservations of 5 nights or longer. If you book 1-4 nights, you can expect to see discounts that are 5% off less. (Meaning a range of 5% to 25% off.) Again, all of this is what happened with the first deal like this of the year, and it could differ this time. We think it’s probably very instructive, as that was also a ‘book early and save more’ deal that encompassed July 8 to October 3, 2024 travel dates. It’s thus pretty easy to envision an almost identical repeat of that!

This also brings us full circle to the point about Walt Disney World prematurely pulling discounts. The above ‘stay longer and save more’ discount is actually still available…just not the July 8 to October 3, 2024 travel dates part. Those dates were quietly pulled a month or so ago, so only the travel dates between now and July 7, 2024 remain. (Usually that happens the other way–earlier travel dates get removed before later ones.)

In the past, Walt Disney World used to release discounts with a “book by” date noted up-front. In the last year, they’ve gotten away from that practice. On some occasions, they’ve removed them early (with notice); other times, booking is open-ended and the discounts just disappear.

We suspect that Walt Disney World has been toying with the way they’ve been doing discounts, trying to entice planners to book early with attractive offers while also creating a false sense of urgency. In several cases, they’ve circled back with additional discounts even after those offers have ended in order to fill unsold rooms and hit occupancy targets. That’s exactly what we’re seeing here, especially if this discount ends up being exactly what was released before (up to 30% off stays of 5 nights or longer for July 8 to October 3, 2024).

In a nutshell, this is the Disney Vault strategy–but applied to discounts. It’s savvy strategy when it comes to incentivizing obsessive Walt Disney World vacation planners…but arguably less effective with casual guests who might only visit once, see no discounts for their dates, and book vacations elsewhere.

Given what we’ve seen this year with WDW’s discount strategy, it also wouldn’t be completely surprising if there’s a third wave of Free Dining. When this deal was first teased last week, we were skeptical of this possibility. At that point, we wrote that the offer including travel dates in December–the 12th month of the year–meant it was already at the end of the calendar. Normally, special offers occur on a timeline.

However, we noted that it doesn’t mean a third wave of Free Dining is impossible. If you look back to the 2019 playbook, there were three waves of the discount released–to different groups (general public vs. Disney Visa) and different date ranges. The only reason I could see a third wave this year is if Walt Disney World occupancy targets end up falling well short of expectations for August through November, and they need to scramble to offer something last minute.

Now that we have the actual dates–and see what Walt Disney World is doing reviving the ‘stay longer and save more’ deal, I’m much more optimistic about the possibility of a third wave of Free Dining. It doesn’t meant that it definitely will happen, but I’d say it’s closer to 50/50 now. The best month of eligibility being the closest one (July 2024), skipping August entirely and having limited dates in September–the two slowest months of the year–and then having availability again in December is suggestive of that.

It doesn’t seem like the dates have been chosen on the basis of actual occupancy projections. It looks more like there’s near-term urgency to fill rooms in July, which is fast-approaching, followed by a desire to entice in December. Another wave of Free Dining for August through September (and maybe bits of October and November) doesn’t seem the least bit far-fetched. But it’s equally possible they’ll stick to room-only deals for those timeframes, or roll with another novel discount.

Finally, Walt Disney World teased that there would be “a new room offer for Florida Residents and more!” I cannot recall the last time there was a new offer for Floridians but not Annual Passholders–usually, when a deal is released for one or the other, it comes to APs first and then FL residents.

In other words, I’d say there’s a 99% chance of both Florida Resident and Annual Passholder room-only deals. My guess is that it’ll max out at 35% off for Annual Passholders and 30% off for Floridians, with travel dates of July 8 to October 3, 2024. That would be consistent with past precedent and the current Florida resident ticket deal.

Beyond all of that, there’s also a chance of another Disney+ subscriber discount and maybe a Disney Visa cardmember room-only rate. Honestly, I’d bet against both. It’s fairly rare to see multiples of the targeted affiliation discount–and this batch already has the Disney Visa Free Dining deal. Adding another to the mix would mean a grand total of 5 new discounts, and it’s rare to see that many.

We’ll be closely monitoring the 2024 Walt Disney World discount situation, keeping our ears open for more news about other special offers. Should anything be released or rumored for future travel dates, we’ll send you an alert if you sign up for our FREE Walt Disney World newsletter.

If you’re already overwhelmed, you might just want someone else to do the work for you. Free Dining is Walt Disney World’s most complicated promotion, and can be a huge headache to book. Between limited availability and navigating a sea of rules and restrictions, it’s easy to get frustrated, have problems, or be unsuccessful in scoring a reservation.

To that end, we always recommend that Walt Disney World first-timers or regulars who just don’t want to deal with the hassle use a travel agent. (Click here to request a free quote from Be Our Guest Vacations, an Authorized Disney Travel Planner that we recommend.) Most legit travel agents do not charge for booking Walt Disney World vacations (and you don’t pay a premium to use them–Disney pays them commission, so they’re free to you), so that’s really the easiest way to go. But if you’re going to go that route for Free Dining, you need to do so ASAP. Don’t expect to request a quote on the morning of April 9 and receive an immediate response–you need to get your ducks in a row now.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!


Excited that room-only discounts will be released to the general public, Florida residents, and Annual Passholders? Planning on booking those or the second wave of Free Dining for Disney Visa cardmembers on April 9, 2024? Think this leaves the door open for a possible third wave of Free Dining in 2024? Thoughts about the 2024 Free Dining dates, package requirements & rules, or anything else?  Agree or disagree with our commentary? Any questions? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!

20 Responses to “BREAKING: Room Discounts & Free Dining for Disney World Out Tomorrow (Dates & Details)”
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