Will there be a free dining offer this year? Will it be restricted? Here are our thoughts looking at the offers past history.
As we enter 2020, people are starting to think about their 2021 Disney World holiday. 2021 is a special year because it's Magic Kingdom's 50th. Those celebrations might begin on or around October 1st (as Magic Kingdom opened October 1st, 1971), and if you paid attention to the free dining plan that was released in 2019 for 2020, you can see that Disney was warming up to this.
Each year the free dining offer is introduced, it does get reduced in some ways. Luckily us Brits do get a pretty good deal compared the free dining offer Americans get which is quite a bit more restrictive. The free dining for 2020 (released 2019) was a little more restricted for us though, as some room types and resorts were completely excluded. What frustrated people the most about it though, is that the free dining didn't include October and beyond, which it did in previous years.
Sadly, don't expect that to change.
I said it then and I'll say it again now. That October change was likely Disney's way of breaking us in with the fact that it could be the same for 2021, due to the 50th anniversary celebration. We've seen quite a few people waiting and holding off their trips to be there for that.
While many people are cautiously optimistic free dining will continue, some people are coming to terms with the fact a year could arrive where it no longer gets offered. I don't think we're there yet though. I have no insider information so can only speculate, but cutting it off would likely lose too many families from the UK. I think it'll gradually get more and more restricted as the years go by. The parks appear to be quite crowded, if you haven't noticed. Of course, Disney being a luxury endeavour, if any economic downturn arrives, holidays are the first to get cut from people's budget, and its in those times Disney offer even better deals.
On the plus side to the 50th celebrations, I think it increases hope, because just like they did with offers in the summer before Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens, they're going to want to incentivise people to come before the big celebrations begin, too. Otherwise it's going to be quiet summer (infectious diseases notwithstanding).