Mom and Daughter at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Room
  • On May 19, 2008
    Christine from NJ Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    Experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    My family will be visting Disney Sept 13-20 to take advantage of the free dining. I have been trying to make priority seatings and sadly most of the restaurants we want to eat at are booked. Will the crowds be heavier than normal due to the free dining?


    You have discovered the trickiest part of traveling during free dining.

    The crowds will not be heavier than normal.  Disney began the free dining promotion to generate park traffic in an historically low attendance period.  There are still fewer park visitors then than there are at other times, but the difference is that most September visitors will be staying on property and using the free dining.  What does that mean?  Well, the parks will be less crowded than they are in say July, but the Extra Magic Hours, buses, and restaurants may not seem any less busy at all because so many people are staying on property.

    I suggest that you make alternative dining reservations ASAP.  Take whatever you can get and think you might enjoy, then continue to call and check for openings in the restaurants you really prefer.  You definitely need to reserve now so you have something, but cancellations can and do happen all the time, so don't give up hope on getting your first choice.  Even after you arrive in Disney you can check for availability - you may be surprised!  Just don't forget to cancel the meals you won't be using, so someone else can get in also.
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Meet the Panelist: Heather, Kentucky

I'm a member of the original 2008 Moms Panel and am happy to be back again to help you plan! We are DVC members who visit 2-3 times per year with our 3 young daughters, and I am only one visit away from being able to say I've stayed in every Disney resort! Learn More About Heather

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