FREE Things to Do at Singapore’s Changi Airport for Kids + Adults

Ever since my daughter turned 1, we’ve taken an annual trip to Indonesia to visit my family. Next week, she’ll be going on her 7th transatlantic flight (our 4th one with just the two of us) and her 7th transit in Singapore’s Changi Airport, arguably the most complete and entertaining airport in the world.

The time we spend inside Changi Airport is always a lot of fun as there are things to do, eat, and see that could keep you busy for days.

ACRONYM KEY
TA = TripAdvisor Rating
SGD = Singapore Dollar

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GET CONNECTED, FOOD, SLEEP, ENTERTAINMENT,
PLAYGROUNDS, SPAS, FREE SINGAPORE TOURS, SHOPPING

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GET CONNECTED

The first thing I always do when I arrive at Changi is get access to the FREE WI-FI. There are four ways to set this up:

1. Text Message via Mobile Phone
This is not ideal for international passengers due to roaming charges. If you’d like to go this route, enter your mobile number on the WiFi login page to receive a One-Time-Password via SMS/text message.

2. WiFi Password Kiosk
Simply scan your passport at these WiFi Kiosks to obtain a password for 3 hours of free WiFi access. Renew at any similar kiosk once the 3 hour period ends. They are located strategically across terminals and inside some gates.

3. Information Counters
Simply approach the counter and present your passport to the customer service agent to obtain a password for 3 hours of free internet access.

4. Computer/Internet Stations
If you don’t have a Wi-Fi enabled device, there are internet stations with computers throughout the airport.

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FOOD

At Changi Airport, you will find a huge variety of food from all over the world, from your typical American fast food joints to sushi, ramen, donuts, and pastas. One of my favorite things about Singapore, however, is the “Singaporean” food. With it’s Chinese roots and it being a central hub to many Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, the food options at food courts and hawker centers can seem ENDLESS, and possibly, a little overwhelming for a first timer.

YOU WILL HAVE TO GET RID OF ANY BEVERAGES AND NON-TSA APPROVED LIQUIDS BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT.

At Changi Airport, you go through the typical TSA airport screening as you enter your gate just before departure.

FOOD TO CONSIDER TRYING

Of course, the following is a very short list compared to the long list of actual options you’d have eating in Singapore. Here are just a few ideas of things you might consider ordering if you come across it while at Changi Airport instead of … yet another burger, sandwich, or spaghetti.

I haven’t even scratched the surface with the following examples of food you can eat at Changi. A *** indicates a popular dish in Singapore and a must try.

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Laksa***,
Airport Staff Canteen
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Nasi Lemak***,
PappaMia T1

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Singapore Chili Crab***,
Seafood Paradise T2

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Carrot Cake*** (w/ white radish NOT carrot),
Airport Staff Canteen


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Curry Puff***,
Tip Top T1, T2, T3

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Rendang***,
Curry Time T3

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Hainanese
Chicken Rice***
,
Airport Staff Canteen

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Kaya Toast,
Ya Kun Kaya Toast

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Char Kway Teow***,
Kopitiam T3


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Kway Chap,
Airport Staff Canteen 

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Fried Hokkien Mee, Ngee Kee
Airport Staff Canteen

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Duck Porridge,
Airport Staff Canteen

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Yong To Fu w/Tom Yum Broth,
Kopitiam T3

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Bak Kut Teh,
Rong Chen T2

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Cendol,
PappaMia T1
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Roti Prata,
Kopitiam T3  

 

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Nasi Padang,
Airport Staff Canteen

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Mee Rebus,
Airport Staff Canteen

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Mee Siam,
Airport Staff Canteen

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Mixed Rice,
Airport Staff Canteen

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Mala Fragrant Pot
Airport Staff Canteen

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Ban Mian,
Airport Staff Canteen

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Mee Sotong,
Airport Staff Canteen

PLACES TO EAT

 
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1. Food Courts for Local/Asian Food

Kopitiam
Hours: 24 Hours

Terminal 3, Public Area, Basement 2

Straits Food Village
Hours: 24 Hours
Terminal 2, Transit Area, Departure Transit Lounge Central, Level 3

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 2. Airport Staff Canteen

Find some of the best and cheapest hawker fare for as low as 3 SGD (that’s under US$3 a plate.)

Terminal 1
Hours: 7AM-8PM

This is the biggest canteen with more than 25 stalls. Follow signs to the restrooms with red doors and take the elevator down to Basement 1.

Terminal 2
Level 3 Mezzanine, near parking area. Locate the Starbucks on Level 2, take the nearest elevator to the car park at Level 3, walk up the staircase, turn left, and look for the unlabeled iron door.

Note: CNN featured an article about the airport staff canteens HERE.

 3. American Fast Food Chains

Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, KFC, Krispy Kreme, McDonald’s, Subway

 4. Restaurants

There are too many restaurants to list here. Find the complete list at the official website of Changi Airport.

 Image Source  5. Convenience Stores & Pharmacies

Find toiletries, unique regional snacks, and other basic needs at one of the available 24 hour convenience stores.

7-Eleven (Convenience Store)
Open 24 Hours
Terminal 1, Departure Transit Lounge West, Level 2
Terminal 2, Departure Transit Lounge South, Level 3

Cheers (Convenience Store)
Open 24 Hours
Terminal 2, Departure Check-in Hall, Level 2
Terminal 3, Arrivals Hall, Level 1
Terminal 3, Departure Transit Lounge North, Level 3

Watsons (Pharmacy)
Limited Hours

Terminal 2, Outside Transit Area, Level 2
Terminal 3, Level 2, Departure Lounge, Near B Gates
Terminal 3, Outside Transit Area, Basement 2

 
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 6. Recommended Specialty Food

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao
Decent dim sum.
Terminal 1

Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert
Delicious custard egg tarts.
Terminal 2 & 3

Ippudo Express
A branch of the popular ramen shop in NYC.
Terminal 2 & 3

Thai Express
I loved the branch in Jakarta which closed down, so while the Changi location hasn’t been as great, I tend to go back just to order my favorite mango salad (but only when the mango is still green). 
Terminal 3, outside of Transit Area

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SLEEP + NAPPING

If you have a long layover, you’ll probably want to get a little sleep.

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1. Snooze Lounges (Free)
Terminal 1: Transit East, Level 3, Transit Area
Terminal 2: Sanctuary Lounge, Transit North Pier, opp E5
Terminal 2: Oasis Lounge, Transit North Pier, Opp E11
Terminal 3: Transit North Mezzanine, near to Singapore Food Street
 
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2. Pay-Per-Use Lounges

Terminal 1
Dnata LoungeTA 3.5* Airside
Plaza Premium Lounge: TA 4* Level 3. Departure West

Terminal 2
Ambassador: TA 3.5* next to the Sunflower Garden.

Terminal 3
Ambassador: TA 3.5* near Movie Theatre
Dnata Lounge: TA 3.5* Departure Transit Hall, Mezzanine
The Haven: TA 4* TA Outside transit area, Arrivals Hall

 


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3. Aerotel Singapore

TA 4* Terminal 1: Level 3, Departure/Transit Lounge, near Gate D41

 
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 4. Ambassador Transit Hotel & Lounge (50+ SGD)

TA 4* They have hotel rooms that you can rent for 6 hour blocks or a marginally less expensive lounge for you to nap, shower, and use the gym. The hotel has been fully booked twice on my visits, so I’d recommend booking in advance.

 5. Off-Site Hotel

This last option means leaving Changi Airport, but leaving/returning to the airport is pretty fast and seamless relative to other countries’ airports, and there are plenty of nearby choices for you to book a hotel room with free airport transfer.

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ENTERTAINMENT

1. Take a FREE Tour of Singapore

Assuming you have a transit of more than 5.5 hours, you can sign up for a FREE 2.5 TOUR of Singapore. All you have to do is register at least one hour before the start of the tour by visiting the Free Singapore Tour (FST) Registration Booth (near Transfer Lounge F in Terminal 2, or Transfer Lounge A in Terminal 3) upon arrival. Make sure that your passport is on the visa waiver list by checking HERE.


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Heritage Tour (FREE)

Duration: around 2.5 hours
Minimum Transit Time: 5.5 hours
Language: English only

– Financial & Commercial District
– Singapore River & the Merlion
– Chinatown
– Little India
– Kampong Glam

Find out Heritage Tour timings


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City Sights Tour (FREE)

Duration: around 2.5 hours
Minimum Transit Time: 6 hours
Language: English only

– Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade
– Singapore Flyer
– Marina Bay Sands
– Esplanade
– Gardens by the Bay
– Singapore River & the Merlion
– Art Science Museum Singapore

Find out City Sights Tour timings

2. Explore the Gardens


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Butterfly Garden (FREE)
Terminal 3, Departure Transit Lounge, Level 2/Level 3

The world’s first airport butterfly garden has flowering plants, lush greenery and a grotto-waterfall. It contains around 1,000 tropical butterflies from as many as 40 species during the different seasons of the year.  There are also areas where you can learn more about the breeding and feeding of the butterflies.


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Water Lily Garden (FREE)
Terminal 1, Departure Transit Lounge, Level 2, Transit Area

This may not be a large space, but as someone who grew up finding water lilies intriguing, this is one of my favorite spots to walk by at Changi. These plants include the Sacred Lotus and the Amazon Water Lily – one of the largest aquatic plant in the world.

 
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Cactus Garden (FREE)
Terminal 1, Departure Transit Lounge, Level 3, Transit Area

This garden features more than 100 species of cacti and arid plants from the deserts and dry areas of Asia, Africa and America. Part of its popularity may also be the bar within the garden, where travelers can enjoy a drink or two as they relax.

 
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Orchid Garden (FREE)
Terminal 2, Departure Transit Lounge, Level 2, Transit Area

The Orchid Garden features more than 700 orchids of 30 species grouped by their various colours and shapes.

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Terminal 2, Departure Transit Lounge, Level 3, Transit Area

The rooftop garden features several varieties of sunflowers grown in Changi Airport’s very own nursery. We haven’t been to this one but plan to check it out next week.


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Enchanted Garden (FREE)
Terminal 2, Departure Transit Lounge, Level 2, Transit Area

This is one of my daughter’s favorite areas of the airport. This is an interactive and decorative garden that “magically” comes to life with sight and sound by way of motion sensors and LED lighting while you weave through the garden. This “garden” includes a combination of freshly-cut flowers, soft ferns, and stained-glass.

3. Take the Kids to a Playground


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Canopy Playground by T1 Garden (FREE)
Departure Transit Lounge East, next to Outdoor Garden, Level 2, Transit Area

The sign at this playground says that the mostly padded play structure is for kids ages 18 months to 12 years, but it looks like it might be more appealing to younger kids below the age of 7. Vibrant colors, tunnels, a slide, and obstacles makes this a popular choice.

 

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Playground by T1 Level 3 (FREE)
Departure Transit Lounge West, Level 3

 
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Playground by T2 Family Zone (FREE)
Departure Transit Lounge North, next to the Family Zone, Level 2, Transit Area
Playground by T3 SATS Lounge (FREE)
Departure Transit Lounge Central, next to SATS Special Service Lounge, Level 2, Transit Area
Image Source Playground by T3 Basement (FREE)
Basement 2, Outside Arcade

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Playground by T3 A-Gates (FREE)
Departure Transit Lounge, outside gate holdroom A16 – A20, Level 2, Transit Area

This is the biggest free playground at Changi Airport.

 Image Source Image Source Mr. Bean-Themed SingKids Playground (18 SGD)
Terminal 3, Basement 2

This playground has a bouncy house, some slides, a small padded area for younger kids to use ride-on toys, and many other structures. What sets it apart from a regular playground is, aside from the size and sheer amount of equipment, the “Mr. Bean” theme.

4. Go to the Movie Theater

Terminal 2
Departure Transit Lounge, near the Sunflower Garden, Level 3, Transit Area

Hours: 24 hours, but closed for weekly maintenance between Thursday 10PM and Friday 4AM

Click HERE for the Screening Schedule

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Terminal 3
Departure Transit Lounge North, near Ambassador Transit Lounge, Level 3, Transit Area

Hours: 24 hours, but closed for weekly maintenance between 1PM-6PM on Thursdays

Click HERE for the Screening Schedule


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There are also plenty of other areas throughout the terminals where you could sit down and watch the news or sports.

Look at one of the many airport maps while you’re there, take a walk around, or approach an Information Desk to find out where these areas can be found throughout the airport.

5. Play Games for FREE

Changi Airport features an Entertainment Deck located in Terminal 2, at the Departure Transit Lounge next to the Sunflower Garden on Level 3.

 
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 Playstation 3 (FREE)

Games:  Coming Soon

 
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 XBox 360 (FREE)

Games: Coming Soon

 XBox Kinect Room (FREE)

Games: Coming Soon

 
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 LAN Gaming Room (FREE)

Games:  Coming Soon

 MTV Video/Music Booths

Listen to music and watch music videos.

6. Slide Down the Longest Slide in Singapore


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Terminal 3, Arrival Hall, Level 1, Public Area

Hours: 12PM – 10:30PM Daily
Requirements:
Must be 1.3m-2m or 51″-78″ to slide.

Cost: 
This slide is sometimes free to travelers boarding T3. In addition, for every $10 spent at T3 of Changi Airport in a single same day receipt*, visitors can redeem one ride at the Terminal 3 Level 1 Information Counter.

Cross off the world’s tallest indoor slide in an airport from your bucket list. At 4 stories tall and 12 metres high, you’ll get a thrilling experience and a chance to revisit the kid in you.

7. Ride the Skytrain

Image SourceImage Source Hours of Operation: 5:00AM – 2:30AM

This automated driverless people mover isn’t just a convenient way to move between Terminals 1, 2, and 3 at Singapore Changi Airport, but also a great way to entertain the kids! It takes approximately 4 minutes to get from one terminal to another. All stations are air conditioned and offer screens indicating the arrival time of the next train.

Neat fact: This was the first driverless and automated system in Asia when it opened in 1990.

8. Take a Dip in the Rooftop Swimming Pool or Jacuzzi


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Cost: SGD 17
Hours: 6am-12am daily

Terminal 1, Aerotal Airport Transit Hotel, Departure Transit Lounge, Level 3, Transit Area ( near D Gates)

This rooftop pool is located at the Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel at Terminal 1 and free for all guests of the hotel, but anyone willing to spend 17 SGD can use the pool, jacuzzi, poolside bar, and/or the shower facilities. Travellers are invited to relax and enjoy these facilities while waiting for their next flight.

9. Try Your Hand at Arts & Crafts

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Wood Block Rubbing Station

Create your own imprints from rubbing surfaces of icons inspired by local Singapore culture and Changi Airport. Take home a piece of personalised momento from Changi today!

Terminal 1
Viewing Mall, Level 3, Public Area

Terminal 2
Departure Transit Lounge South, next to the Orchid Garden, Level 2, Transit Area

Terminal 3
Next to the Fountain area, Level B2, Public Area
Departure Transit Lounge North, Outside gate holdroom B1-B4, Level 2, Transit Area

10. Visit an Exhibit

 
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Kinetic Rain

Terminal 1

Kinetic Rain is a moving sculpture that was installed in July 2012 after having been created over a period of two years by artists, animators and programmers from the German design firm Art+Com.

It is quite literally one of the most beautiful and mesmerizing examples of moving art that I have ever seen in person.

 
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 Changi Aviation Gallery

Terminal 3

This is an area for those interested in learning about the history of aviation in Singapore and Changi Airport’s ground operations. Kids who have an interest in airplanes might be delighted to see actual models of unusual aircrafts or learn about how inflight meals are prepared and how pets travel on aircrafts. They also provide fun kid friendly fact sheets.

 

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GET PAMPERED

If you aren’t traveling alone with kids like I am, why not take the opportunity to pamper yourself before your final destination?

Below is the shower at the pay-per-use Ambassador Transit Lounge.
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Take a Shower 

Visit one of the available pay-per-use lounges to take a shower or visit a gym. Scroll up and check the “Sleep” section of this post to find a list of lounges at Changi Airport.

 Image Source Feed Fish … your Dead Skin (SGD 22)

Fish treatments where garra rufa fish eat your dead skin was very popular when I lived in Jakarta. Do your research to see if it’s for you and try it here:

Airport Wellness Oasis
Open: 24 Hours

Terminal 1, Departure Transit Lounge, Near Gate D, Level 2


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Go for a Massage, Manicure, Facial, or Spa Treatment

There are plenty of FREE Osim massage chairs throughout the airport terminals for you to use … and even, for some, to nap on (see photo on the left).

If you aren’t interested in a free massage, you can also have your hair done, get a manicure and pedicure, have a full spa treatment done including a body scrub, or get a facial.

See a complete list of businesses inside Changi that offer Hair, Beauty, and Spa services HERE.


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FREE Makeover at Dior Beauty House

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DUTY FREE SHOPPING

The shopping options at Changi Airport are ENDLESS. From casual wear to high end designers like Hermes and Chanel, you can find a wide array of places to shop for goods while avoiding hefty taxes or the hassle of collecting your receipts to obtain a tax refund at the end of your trip.

Find a complete list of stores at the official website by clicking HERE.

 

How Much Can You Really Save? FREE Dining Plan at Walt Disney World 2017

Every year, Disney World releases a variety of Special Offers for reservations made through their website or phone. One of the best offers by far is the annual Free Disney Dining Plan, especially for families who plan to visit the table service or character dining restaurants when they head to Disney World. Free Disney Dining Plan is a promotion Walt Disney World offers every year for select dates in the fall and winter. It is now available for select dates between August and December 2017 – as long as you book before July 7, 2017!

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WHAT IS A DINING PLAN

One of the most expensive things you’ll likely spend on when you visit WDW is the food. Each character buffet lunch/dinner will run you about $45-$60 (before gratuity) per adult and a quick/counter service meal will run you between $15-$25 depending on what you order for drink/dessert.

For guests who stay on property and book through Disney, the Dining Plan is an option you can add to your reservation. The condition is that ALL members of your party MUST purchase a Dining Plan.* Here is a highlight of the 2017 Dining Plan prices you’d be paying WITHOUT the Free Disney Dining Plan promotion.

* PRO TIP: If you have a family member who is only coming for 1-2 nights, you can add them as a “day guest” to avoid booking and paying for a Dining Plan for the entire trip. 

 

DISNEY DINING PLAN 2017 (NON-PROMO RATES)

PER ADULT, PER NIGHT (ages 10+) PER CHILD, PER NIGHT
(3-9yo)

Quick Service Dining Plan

2 quick-service meals
2 snacks
1 refillable mug

$48.19 $20.88

Regular Dining Plan

1 table-service meal
1 quick-service meal
2 snacks
1 refillable mug

$69.35 $24.95

Deluxe Dining Plan

3 table service meals (can be applied to quick service, but you’d be losing money)
2 snacks
1 refillable mug

$106.68 $38.75

 

WHEN IS THE FREE DISNEY DINING PLAN PROMO VALID

August 21* – September 30, 2017
November 14 – 20, 2017
November 25 – 27, 2017
December 8 – 23, 2017

*Disney Visa Cardholders can book the Free Disney Dining Plan promotion for arrival dates beginning August 13, 2017.

This promotion is valid for booking through July 7, 2017.

 

WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS

Guests booking the Free Disney Dining Plan promotion for Value or Moderate Resorts will receive the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan (a $48.19/$20.88 value per night), with guests staying at Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resorts receiving the Regular Disney Dining Plan (a $69.35/$24.95 value per night). You can, however, choose to book a Value resort and pay the difference to upgrade from the FREE Quick Service Dining Plan to the Regular Dining Plan which upgrades 1 quick service meal per day to a table service/buffet/character dining meal.

Minimum Stay: 3-night/4-day “for domestic markets” according to phone reservation CM, 5-night/6-day according to website*
Minimum Ticket: 2-day Park Hopper per guest ages 3+

* I was able to search and apply the offer to search for a 3 night stay in September.

Get a FREE dining plan when you purchase a minimum of 3-night/4-day Magic Your Way room and a minimum of 2-day Park Hopper tickets per person. I spoke to a Cast Member about not needing a ticket due to being an annual passholder, and they told me that EVERY guest staying at the hotel would need a minimum of a 2-day Park Hopper ticket regardless but that if I purchased one, I could apply the amount spent on it towards the cost of my annual pass when I renew my Premier pass through Disney World OR exchange it for another ticket that would be used on a future visit. Mitchell, a CM from the Ticket Services/Ticket Research department of WDW, told me it would be no problem to exchange & upgrade the 2-day Park Hopper for myself with a 10-day Park Hopper for my daughter to use on a future trip.

 

RECOMMENDED TIME TO GO

With the chosen dates of the special offer, Disney allows you to apply your snack credits to the many delicious offerings at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival (Aug 31-Nov 13), one of my favorite times to go to Disney World. It also happens to be one of the least crowded times of the year to go – September. BUT, how do you pass on Christmas at Disney World? (Seriously, it’s MAGIC.) Christmas decorations go up in early November, so you’d have plenty of time to take advantage of this offer while enjoying the magic of the holidays at Disney World. Keep in mind that some of these dates also mean more expensive resort rates.

 

HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR ACTUAL SAVINGS

When booking special offers like these through Disney World online or by phone, they typically don’t break down the cost of the trip for you.

I did a brief search to see a comparison of what my package total would be for a 7 night trip:

Date: September 17 – 24, 2017
Resort: Value, All-Star Sports
Room Type: Standard Room
Tickets: 6-day Park Hoppers for 1 adult & 1 child
Dining Plan: Regular Dining Plan*

*The Regular Dining Plan is a small upgrade from the free/included Quick Service Dining Plan for Value resorts.

Free Disney
Dining Plan
Separate Bookings (w/Dining Plan) Separate Bookings (No Dining Plan) Price Difference
(w/Dining Plan)
Standard Room  Included $985.19 $985.19  –
6-Day PH Tickets  Included $971.94 $971.94  –
Regular Disney Dining Plan  Included $660.16  –
TOTAL $2132.98 $2617.29 $1,957.13 $484.31

You may actually save more when you’re applying this promotion to something other than the Value resort.

To calculate whether or not the Free Disney Dining Plan promotion is really worth it for your family, feel free to use the following guide:

 

FREE DISNEY DINING PLAN 2017 VALUES
PER PERSON/PER NIGHT

RESORT TYPE 3N/4D 4N/5D 5N/6D 6N/7D 7N/8D 8N/9D 9N/10D
Quick Service Dining Plan $144.57/10+
$62.64/3-9
$192.76/10+
$83.52/3-9
$240.95/10+
$104.40/3-9
$289.14/10+
$125.28/3-9
$337.33/10+
$146.16/3-9
$385.52/10+
$167.04/3-9
$433.71/10+
$187.92/3-9
Regular Dining Plan $208.05/10+
$74.85/3-9
$277.40/10+
$99.80/3-9
$346.75/10+
$124.75/3-9
$416.10/10+
$149.70/3-9
$485.45/10+
$174.65/3-9
$554.80/10+
$199.60/3-9
$624.15/10+
$224.55/3-9

FREE DISNEY DINING PLAN 2017 VALUES
PER 2 ADULTS

RESORT
TYPE
3N/4D 4N/5D 5N/6D 6N/7D 7N/8D 8N/9D 9N/10D
Quick Service Dining Plan $289.14 $385.52 $481.90 $578.28 $674.66 $771.04 $867.42
Regular Dining Plan $416.10 $554.80 $693.50 $832.20 $970.90 $1,109.60 $1,248.30

FREE DISNEY DINING PLAN 2017 VALUES
PER 2 ADULTS + 1 CHILD AGE 3-9

RESORT TYPE 3N/4D 4N/5D 5N/6D 6N/7D 7N/8D 8N/9D 9N/10D
Quick Service Dining Plan $351.78 $469.04 $586.30 $703.56 $820.82 $938.08 $1,055.34
Regular Dining Plan $490.95 $654.60 $818.25 $981.90 $1,145.55 $1,309.20 $1,472.85

FREE DISNEY DINING PLAN 2017 VALUES
PER 1 ADULT + 1 CHILD AGE 3-9

RESORT TYPE 3N/4D 4N/5D 5N/6D 6N/7D 7N/8D 8N/9D 9N/10D
Quick Service Dining Plan $207.21 $276.28 $345.35 $414.42 $483.49 $552.56 $621.63

Regular Dining Plan

$282.90 $377.20 $471.50 $565.80 $660.10 $754.40 $848.70

 

 

Planning Your First Trip to Disney World

Are you planning your first trip to Disney World? Or possibly your first trip there since you were a kid yourself? When I finally went back for an actual trip in 2015 over 15 years after the previous trip, I couldn’t believe how much Disney World had changed. I went for a week and probably managed to see under 15% of it.

1. Decide Which Time of Year To Go & Decide On A Budget

If you have flexibility, check the crowd calendar. If you don’t, make sure you book your plane tickets and figure out hotel reservations AT LEAST 8 months in advance to avoid paying exorbitant prices. Personally, my favorite time of year at WDW is Halloween, Christmas, and the Food & Wine Festival; so I go annually at the end of October/early November. My daughter is 4 so it’s still an option, but it’s probably not going to be possible once she’s in elementary school.

2. Decide Which Park You’ll Be Visiting Every Day

Figure out which day you’ll be spending at which park. Keep in mind the fact that Disney World is 40 square miles, about the size of San Francisco. I generally use TouringPlans to gauge the expected crowds by day and plan my trip around that.

3. Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR)

ADRs are hard to come by, especially for locations that offer character dining. You can start to book dining reservations 6 months before your trip, which by 2 months before your trip can help you figure out which Fastpasses you’d like to book. Booking dining reservations that far in advance may sound nuts to you if you’ve never been to WDW, but trust me – I learned this the hard way. If you intend to go to two of the toughest places to get a table at – Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table, you will need to figure out what precise day you will be able to book ADRs for the first day of your trip and reserve your table at 7am EST that day. And then you’ll need to repeat the process daily until the last day of your trip.

4. Fastpass+

Regardless of what time of year you go, there are a number of rides that will ALWAYS command a long wait time. Enter the FASTPASS+. These will be useful, but you will need to do the same thing I recommended with the ADRs and figure out what precise day you will be able to book your first set of Fastpasses for the first day of the trip and secure the hardest ones to get.
              MAGIC KINGDOM
              Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
              Space Mountain
              Peter Pan’s Flight
              EPCOT
              Frozen Ever After
              Test Track
              Soarin’
              HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
              Toy Story Midway Mania!
              Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
              ANIMAL KINGDOM
              Expedition Everest
              Kilimanjaro Safaris

5. Study the Maps

The parks are pretty huge. It can take you 20mins to get from one side of a park to the other, and more when there’s a lot of people traffic. It’ll be much easier for you (and on your little ones’ feet) to plan your day around your fastpasses and ADRs. There are apps and websites like my personal favorite, TouringPlans, that will help you plan out your day by breaking down your trek between rides and wait times into minutes. It’ll maximize the use of your limited time at Disney World and cost only a small fee of under $15 for a year of access.