by Canadian Diva
Our family just came back for a fantastic trip to WALT DISNEY WORLD. We were especially happy to try the QUICK SERVICE DINING PLAN this time. Although on previous trips, we have been on a Disney Dining Plan, this was the first time we did the QUICK SERVICE DINING PLAN, and let me tell you, we loved it!
Knowing ahead of time that we will be on the Quick Service Dining Plan and anticipating all the DELICIOUS meals that the Quick Service Restaurants all over the Walt Disney World Theme Parks, Disney Springs and Walt Disney World Resorts have to offer, we knew we had to have a PLAN so that we don’t waste time wandering aimlessly thinking about what to eat.
First, it was crucial to know exactly what to get with the Quick Service Dining Plan. The Walt Disney World website breaks it down, see below. Also when you arrive, there are brochures and pamplets as well as signs around the resorts outlining the Dining Plan.
Note: you must stay at a Walt Disney World Resort and have a package to be able to get a Disney Dining Plan. For a FREE quote on a Walt Disney World package, contact Patricia at All for Dreams Travel.
QUICK SERVICE DINING PLAN (as of 2018) according to the Walt Disney World website:
Each guest 3 years old and older (your 2 year old and under is FREE and can eat off your plate) is entitled to (per night’s stay), TWO Quick-Service Meals and TWO Snacks.
Also each guest, ages 3 and over will receive a refillable drink mug! You can refill your mugs “at self-service beverage islands at Quick-Service locations at any Disney Resort hotel.” The Walt Disney World site also states that, “Guests ages 3 to 9 must order from a children’s menu, where available.”
There has been changes from previous years, which is HUGE. See this….
“Guests have several new beverage options available including nonalcoholic specialty beverages and, for Guests 21 and older, beer, wine and cocktails.”
So for EACH Quick Service meal which includes lunch, dinner AND breakfast you get: ONE Entrée per credit AND ONE Non-alcoholic Drink however if you are 21 years and older you get an ALCOHOLIC Drink WITH your meal. Here is what the Walt Disney World website states as what you can get as a beverage with your meal…
“A single-serving nonalcoholic beverage includes items such as:
- Artisanal Milkshakes
- Fresh Smoothies
- Premium Hot Chocolate
- Soda, Coffee or Tea
A single-serving alcoholic beverage includes items such as:
- Beer or Cider
- Wine or Sangria
- Mixed Drinks and Specialty Cocktails
Most beer, wine and mixed drink beverages included, some exceptions apply. Guests must be age 21 or older and present “
Here is what they say about SNACK options which doesn’t even begin to expand on what they have to offer, however here are the basics listed.
items such as:
- Frozen ice cream novelty, popsicle or fruit bar
- Popcorn scoop
- 12 oz. coffee, hot chocolate or hot tea
- Prepackaged milk or juice
- Piece of whole fruit
- Bag of snacks
- 20 oz. bottle of Coca-Cola®, Sprite® or Dasani® water
- 20 oz. fountain soft drink”
You can check their website to see what is not included.
We enjoyed the FLEXIBILITY of this plan (and I’m not talking about the SUPER STRETCHY BURGER below).
With the Regular Disney Dining Plan, you get a Table Service per nights’ stay and although we absolutely LOVE so many of the Table Service Dining in Walt Disney World, especially the Character Meals, it does take a big chunk of the day. You also have to make Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) for most Walt Disney World restaurants 180 days in advance. For this particular past trip, because we have a preschooler, we didn’t want to be tied to a Dining reservation every day. The Quick Service Plan allowed us to eat when we wanted and wherever we wanted as there are hundreds of Quick Service Restaurants all over the Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts. And it’s not only Burgers and Fries! There is a wide variety of home cooked like meals, International eats and special dietary meals!
Disney Magic Diva has written a great article that lists all the Table Service restaurants at Walt Disney World should you want to make reservations you should check out here along with Pixie Dusted Diva’s Guide to Character Meals here.
This is how we PLANNED in advance to have a SUCCESSFUL Quick Service Dining Plan experience.
We first turned to the many Walt Disney World – Quick Service Dining resources. My favourite go to resource is of course RIGHT HERE! The writers of Tips from the Disney Diva (and Devo) have hundreds of wonderful HONEST reviews of many Quick Service Restaurants.
Another favourite resource I turn to is the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. The team over at The Unofficial Guides are the same folks who run Touring Plans, and many other Unofficial Guides (Disneyland, Disney Cruise, Universal Orlando etc.) Their Guide book has reviews of EVERY attraction and Table Service and Quick Service restaurants. They give honest reviews and share reviews from readers as well as score a Thumbs up or Thumbs Down from millions of readers for each Disney World restaurant. This definitely helped to know which restaurants are preferred over others.
Here at Tips from the Disney Diva, we also have so many great YouTube video reviews. See Pixie Dusted Diva’s (and owner of this site) video tip on FREE upsizing your drink here and her enthusiasm over alcoholic beverages included here. Another absolute favourite of mine is A.J. Wolfe of the Disney Food Blog. I love watching her Disney Foodie videos and her voice is lovely, she sounds like someone you would want to be best friends with. SHE is the one that taught me (through her videos) on how to use many SNACK CREDITS as meals (see more on this below).
And I must mention the Disney Food Allergy Facebook Group. My 3 year old son has severe food allergies and this group has been so wonderful and supportive. We ask questions, get great answers and share our Allergy-Friendly Food adventures in Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Disney Cruise. Larry Welnowski, the admin of the Disney Food Allergy Facebook Group, as well as other experienced experts, always provide excellent tips. If you are on Instagram and want to see pictures of great Allery-friendly dishes as well as Food Allergy tips, check out their Instagram account here.
With ALL of the above resources, I had a plan laid out. I love to Bullet Journal as you can read from my article here. I made a specific Travel Journal, and did layouts for our Dining Adventures.
Here is an overall list I did. I titled each Theme Park as well as Resorts and places we would like to visit in Disney Spring. I also made room for specialty drinks and treats that we were hoping to try (hello PETER PAN’s FLOAT). I then went to all the resources listed above and wrote down each Quick Service Restaurant we wanted to visit.
After I had my list down, I did a layout of the whole week we will be staying at Walt Disney World. The weekly layout included each day, a space to write down Quick Service Restaurants for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner as well as snacks that we plan to try. At the top of each day I wrote down which Parks we will be visiting with the our FastPass+ and parks we were considering to Park Hop* to later in the day.
* our Free Dining Promotion came with Park Hopper. If you adding a Dining Plan, it will not come with Park Hopper unless you add the additional cost to it. Please see Travel Agent Patricia for more information on booking a Walt Disney World Vacation.
So did this plan work? YES! I find when you have a solid plan in place, sometimes spontaneous nice surprises come up which makes it all the more special! An example is that we knew we wanted to eat at BE OUR GUEST for lunch and since we enjoyed it so much, we went back for Breakfast a few days later (please note that even though BE OUR GUEST for Breakfast and Lunch are considered Quick Service, you do need to make Advanced Dining Reservations for this Quick Service. Dinner is considered a Table Service and you would need Advanced Dining Reservations for Dinner Table Service too).
I also knew that I really wanted to try Port Orleans French Quarter Resort’s Quick Service even though we were not staying at that Resort. We went to visit the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory (food court of the Port Orleans French Quarter). It turned out to be another one of our favourite meals.
My daughter’s favorite meal was at ABC Commissary in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (see Passholder Diva’s review here). Since my teenage daughter loved it so much, she went back (on her own) again to have this particular meal.
With a PLAN we also “stretched” out our dining credits to maximize the value of the plan. Many people often ask how it’s possible to get the plan when a visitor only receives TWO Quick Service Meals a day (per night stay) and only TWO Snacks per night stay. People wonder, what about the “extra” day and say that most people eat 3 meals a day.
This is where the creative planning kicks in again. The portions of each meal is HUGE. Usually a person won’t be able to finish a whole meal, especially if you are able to get one of the specialty drinks or alcohol that come with your meal. Knowing this in advance, I planned for many meals for my kids and I to share.
For example: during a couple of our breakfast meals, my children could not finish all of their waffles and bacon, so I would get a fruit cup as a snack for myself and my children would share their meal with me. Or we would split the sides that come with the meal such as French fries or cut a piece of meat in half. It saved meal credits and we were still full sharing meals this way.
I learned from A.J. Wolf of the Disney Food Blog that many snacks can be like meals and we definitely had “snacks” as meals as well. Look below at the snack we got as a MEAL (thanks A.J. Wolf).
And I wish I took a picture of the small bowl of Chicken Soup I got at the Landscapes of Flavors in the Art of Animation resort. Many single servings of small soup at Quick Service Restaurants are SNACK credits! SCORE!
For those early morning ROPE DROP days, we would get “snacks” like Bagels and Muffins a day or two in advance, store it in our Resort Refrigerator, and have a quick breakfast while getting ready early in the morning. I would run and get drinks like Coffee, Tea or Lemonade from the Refill stations with our Refillable mugs to drink with our quick breakfast snack. We would make it for Rope Drop, enjoy shorter wait time for rides and then have a larger big breakfast or early lunch at a Quick Service location. Below is a photo of the Bagels and Tea Cakes we got on our first day at Erin McKenna’s Bakery in Disney Springs. My son has severe allergies so he has to eat gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free foods. Going to Erin McKenna’s on our first day to stock up on “SNACKS” was perfect for my son to have a quick Breakfast each morning.
Tip: at the Resorts, you already have your Refillable Drink Mug to refill drinks. Since your Quick Service Meal comes with a drink as well, we would pick up a bottle of juice or a bottle of water ( we really liked the more expensive “SMART” water that has electroytes in it) and store it in our Resort Refridgerator We would drink it in the early mornings if we were not going to the food court or bring it into the parks with us to have an extra drink. You can get single servings of Beer or Wine that come with your Quick Service meal and store it in your resort refrigerator. There have been many reports that Guests are able to “trade” in their drink at the Resort Food Court (because they already have a refillable mug for a drink) for a dessert or snack, however it depends on the manager and Cast Member you are dealing with. One manager told me it wasn’t possible but many others have allowed it. Always ask the CM or Manager on duty.
And here’s a great tip from Tammy DeBock Wright, who is the admin of many popular Walt Disney World Theme Park and Resort Facebook Fan pages (Coronado Springs Resort, Port Orleans Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort, Value Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios).For many Quick Service meals, she says you can get 3 SIDES instead of a full entrée (as a Quick Service Meal). Tammy gives this example, if you go to The Polite Pig in Disney Springs, and if you don’t want a big order of meat, you can get the 3 sides like BBQ Cauliflower, potato salad and the tomato and watermelon salad. And when you get the 3 sides for your entrée you are entitled to your specialty drink or alcohol! This tip can expand your choices even more on the Quick Service Dining Plan. Please note that some Quick Service Restaurants, may not allow 3 SIDES as a complete meal which would include an alcoholic beverage or speciality drink. Always, ask a Cast Member or talk to a manager if you would like to have this option. It is up to them if they will allow it.
AND don’t forget, if you have ANY Quick Service Credits left at the end of your vacation (our family actually DID NOT have any, we used every Quick Service Meal and Snack Credits right up until we were heading to the airport), you are able to trade in a Quick Service for TWO Snacks (many visitors have reported that they were still able to get THREE snacks per Meal Credit, which was the case before the NEW dining plan offerings, however always check with a Cast Member). There are so many packaged SNACKS that can be Souvenirs for friends and family to bring home to.
So have a PLAN, follow it as much as your vacation will allow, and make some room for flexibility, It will ease the “food” stress of your vacation and will maximize your Quick Service Dining plan to it’s full potential!