Why Choose Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan

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Let me tell you…our first Disney trip, five years ago, we chose to NOT include a Disney Dining Plan in our resort package.  Why?  Well, we were “first timers” and uneducated  :).  We assumed, like many people do, that it is WAY expensive, that we could pack our own food for cheaper.  That our resort has a refrigerator, so why not come back and grab a sandwich?  Disney allows small coolers into the parks, we’ll just pack a lunch.  Yea, not so much.  While some of those reasons may be good ones for bringing your own food into the park, we realized it isn’t for us.

However, the Quick Service Dining Plan is perfect for our family.  We chose this option two trips ago, and will never go back to carting our own food around the parks, and here’s why.

1.  We love the flexibility.  We can eat WHENEVER we want since we aren’t tied to a reservation.  We aren’t at the point with our family where we can try to hold our kids off very long from eating.  We don’t like to stop, in the middle of a hot day, to sit down to a buffet or table service meal.

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2.  Snacks rock.  With the Quick Service Dining Option, you get one snack per person, per day.  For me, that’s a pretzel in Germany :).  That’s the snack I look forward to. My kids LOVE the MIckey Ice Cream Bars and Rice Krispie treats.  It’s so nice to walk through the park, and when my kids ask for a treat or a snack, to know I’ve already paid for it.  We just hand our Key to the World Card over to the cashier, and it’s paid for.

3.  Contrary to popular belief, there is a variety of food on the Quick Service Dining Plan.  That is something we realized after our first time using it, two years ago.  Before we leave, I email myself a list of restaurants, mainly in World Showcase, that offer Quick Service Dining.  That way, we can make sure we are trying new foods, and not eating chicken nuggets and sandwiches for every meal.

If anyone is reading this post at EPCOT, promise you’ll grab a Bavarian Pretzel from Germany for me 🙂

I want to know what you think. Are you a Quick Service Dining Plan user? Let me know in the comment box below.

This guest post comes to us from our new friend Carrie. She is a teacher, mom, and avid Disney fan.  She loves planning Disney trips with her family and sharing her magical experiences with others  She blogs at My Favorite Finds about cooking, organizing, creating, and of course her Disney travels.”

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16 thoughts on “Why Choose Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan

  1. i am trying the dining plan for the first time this year if anyone has any pointers i would greatly appreciate them i have 2 kids ages 7-8 they prefer eating pizza and hotdogs more than anything we are staying at the POP this year at the end of sept. whats anyones thought on upgrading to the basic for $200. like i said any info on this pro/ cons on what to do would greatly be appreciated

  2. I have been to DW about 11 times (many have been for business conferences) now, and my wife has been 4 times. We’ve always went with out the dining plan up till our last trip in 2010. We have no kids and really had a blast trying foods and restraints we would have never experienced with out the plan. We figured the cost and for us the experience was well worth and extra cost. We are going back this fall and have purchased the deluxe plan. We are planing our entire vacation around the food. We can’t wait.

  3. Kristin,

    We have gone to WDW twice with special diet issues. My son has peanut and tree nut allergies and we have gone using the regular dining and the quick service dining and both have been great. My suggestion is contact Disney’s special diets department. You should be able to find it by putting special diets into their search function on Disney’s website. The special diets department is great!! They will send you a sheet to fill out if you are using table service (even if not on dining plan) and this will pre-alert the restaurant staff. You will still want to ask to speak with the Chef each time. They will also send you a list of the “safe” foods at the quick service restaurants and snack spots. Again, you should ask to speak with a manager at the quick service which takes a little longer but it always seemed to be worth it.

    Dana

  4. I priced it out, and the QSDP was not a deal for our family. Because my oldest daughter has aged out of the “kid” category, but is still 1) a picky eater and 2) doesn’t eat all that much, it was too expensive to pay adult rates. Instead, we headed to the parks for our 5 days with close to $600 in Disney rewards dollars/gift cards that we used for our meals and snacks. I’m happy to report that we pretty much stayed within that! This included lunch at the Biergarten and breakfast at the Rainforest Cafe! I did pack some snacks, and prefer to drink ice water with meals (which is free), but we did buy one refillable resort mug (with the $600 reward dollars) so my husband could have his morning coffee fix and then get other drinks later in the day. It’s important to price it out and compare to how YOUR family likes to eat.

  5. We will have the quick service dining in September when we go. I did some research before I made the decision, and the biggest factor that swayed us away from sit down meals was 4 very picky kids. I viewed the menus online and realized that most of the entrees added some ingredient that they would HATE. I would have enjoyed it, but this trip is for the kids. The QSD has many options to make us all happy!

  6. I don’t know your specific allergies, but there are salads on a lot of the QSD menus in the parks. I know there are a few sites that list the Disney menus at the restaurants.

  7. Theresa, I am bummed that we are only down to one snack per person per day on this upcoming trip. We are doing two character meals, out of pocket, because we want to experience it.

  8. My last trip (Marathon Weekend this year) was the first time I did Quick Service. We chose it because my travel companion and I weren’t too concerned with table services, since we had a REALLY full schedule with three races and multiple team meet-ups. I was a little bummed, since I’d always had at least one table service a day before, but I LOVED having the Quick Service! We stopped when we wanted to, didn’t feel rushed to get to ADRs, and just generally made our trip much more flexible and relaxed. I leave again in a week and my hubby is the big foodie, so since it’s a delayed honeymoon for us we have table services and I’m almost bummed about that. 🙂

  9. We LOVE the quick service dining plan; I can’t imagine being tied to reservations somewhere or having to be in a specific park on a specific day. I love the flexibility and that my 10 year old can pay for dinner with his card! 😉 A big Thank You to Disney for a pin code that is giving us free Quick Service dining for our trip this November! Yippee!

    (Oh, and don’t forget restaurants in Downtown Disney that are good with Quick Service — Wolfgang Puck Express is a must-do! Honestly our favorite restaurant of the week last visit!)

  10. My family loves the dining plan! Our kids are a little older, and spend a lot of time running around the parks without us. When they want a snack, they can get one, and not have to worry about carrying around money. And we don’t have to guess how much cash we need to send with them each day. Mealtimes are a great time to meet up and spend some time together, and they’re simple since we have already paid for them (or gotten them free if we book our room during a “free dining” special) I’m sad that they have changed snack credits to one per day, though. For our last trip, we got the regular dining plan with one sit down meal, one counter service, and one snack per day. I’m glad we did it because we had never been able to check out many of their full-service restaurants, and they added a new level of fun to our trip.

  11. We are planning our first trip to DW & EC. I’m definitely going with a meal plan. Just not sure which one. I was looking at the Meals Plus Plan. Any +/- to the plans? Also, I have a gluten allergy and wonder about my dining options. Most quick grabs are out of the question. (pretzels, chicken nuggets, sandwiches, etc.) Should I bring my own food? How can I find out if there’s food I can eat on these plans?

  12. Quick service is fantastic – the sit down meals kill ya as we don’t plan our vacations to that level of detail.

  13. We just got back from our 1st trip. We got the quick service dining plan and my sister’s family did not. We ended up spending about the same amount of money, and in our case we got A LOT more for our money. Plus you don’t stress about the cost of everything when its all rolled into the meal plan. Definitely the way to go! Oh, and don’t forget the refillable mugs for your resort. Those also add to the benefit of the meal plan!

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