Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan Review

When Megan and I were planning our recent trip to Walt Disney World, I mentioned our interest in trying the Quick Service Dining Plan.  With two snack and two counter service meal credits per day, we believed we’d have much more flexibility in our park touring versus our typical vacation habit of booking one or more sit down meals per day.  What we were hoping for:  Delicious food, tasty snacks, and a good value.

Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan Review

What we spent – Regular price for this plan is $48.19 per person per night of stay.  We got a small Disney Vacation Club discount, which brought our price down to $46.34 per person per day for a total of $278.04.Disney Quick Service Dining at Pecos Bill's

Where we ate – First, let me say that we enjoyed the meal choices we made very much!  We arrived on Sunday and had lunch at Pecos Bill’s (Magic Kingdom) then dinner at Wilderness Lodge’s new Geyser Point Bar and Grill. The next day (Monday), we enjoyed lunch at Harambe Market and dinner at Flame Tree Barbecue.  On Tuesday we had lunch in the Mexico Pavilion (Epcot) at La Cantina de San Angel.Tuesday night we didn’t use a credit and enjoyed our one-and-only table service meal at Paddlefish in Disney Springs.  That left one credit for the following day when we had lunch in the Morocco Pavilion at Tangierine Café.  This picture does not do it justice.  Our first time there and boy, was it delish!

What snacks we chose – We had to have Mickey ice cream bars in Magic Kingdom, but after that we got as creative as possible.  Mickey Premium Ice Cream BarWe enjoyed chocolate filled beignets from the Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in the France Pavilion (oh, wow!).  Stopped in Karamell-Kuche in the Germany Pavilion for a salted caramel cupcake, caramel corn, and a hunk of caramel (my absolute fave).  With one last snack credit, we grabbed some bagged pretzels at Saratoga Springs to eat on the way home.

The verdict –  We did not go hungry, that’s for sure, and were happy we purchased the plan.  Out of pocket, our meals would have cost about $210.68 with tax.  That left about $67.36 of the meal plan price for snacks.  Between us we got 12 snacks and I know most of them were over $5.  So we broke even.  We didn’t try to order the most expensive options on every menu and ate where we wanted to with no consideration for which restaurants would be the best value on the plan.  We also ordered bottled water (relatively cheap compared to soft drinks) with every meal in order to stay hydrated.  The ease of pre-paying for most of our meals was super convenient and budget-friendly.  Using our Magic Bands to access our meal and snack credits was great too.

What we’d recommend:  Don’t skimp on snacks because you think you’ll want to use them for something better later.  Use the two each day as you go or you’ll be like us and have to snack like crazy (or stock up for later) on the last day.

Have you tried the Quick Service Dining Plan?  What did you think about it?

 

My Disney Mother’s Day Experience

Sometimes, when your kids prove that they’ve been listening and learning the best things in life from you it’s pretty magical.  It’s what we hope for during all of that other stuff…you know…potty training, ballgames, homework, dance lessons, laundry, nagging, emergency room visits, late-night-worrying, and the rest.  Parenting mistakes were made to be sure – some big, some small.  Turns out, in spite of all that, kids can turn out to be very awesome humans in spite of your having had no manual for raising them.  Our children are adults now and on Mother’s Day, they went all out to give me an experience I’ll never forget.Disney Mother's Day Experience

It started Saturday night as Megan, Grant, Joseph, Lyndsey, Raymond and I were out at a party for our nephew’s upcoming wedding.  Joseph and Megan told me that when the party was over, they were both spending the night at our house.  Knowing we were planning to run together in the morning, I thought this was just a fun and happy convenience.  I envisioned staying up watching movies and hanging out.  They had other plans and I was told to go to bed.  Never one to pass up the opportunity for a good night’s rest and only a little disappointed, I did as I was told and wondered what they might be up to.

My Disney Mother’s Day Experience

Sunday morning, everything looked the way it had when I went to bed.  We grabbed some breakfast and hit the road for our weekly long run.  I was still clueless what the rest of the day would hold.  When we got home, I played outside with Junior for a while, took a shower, and was informed at that time to “stay out of the kitchen”.  This was going to be challenging!  The kitchen is very much the heart of our home.  I love to cook and when we’re all together, we tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  Together.  I turned on the TV, found a movie, and settled in to wait.  From time to time, I secretly took pictures of what I could see of the kitchen action (there were some serious game-faces).My Disney Mother's Day Experience

There was a LOT of activity going on in the kitchen.  To keep me out, I was served my favorite Epcot beer, Innis & Gunn, in a Rose & Crown pint glass.  After a while, I was brought a big spread of cheese, crackers, spreads, and prosciutto.  Junior faithfully stayed by my side, but it wasn’t easy.  For either of us.  The WAITING!  The MYSTERY!

Raymond, who’d been working outside for most of the afternoon, came in and set the dining room table.  I asked for someone to bring me a bottle of water and the response from Joseph was, “I can’t right this second, I’m flambéing something.”  Now I was imagining flames shooting everywhere and the potential for catastrophe, because, hey!  It’s what moms do, right?  I stayed right where I was (I should get major points for that) and before long, dinner was served.

The made-from-scratch bread looked familiar and when I found out there was a dipping sauce made from a Guinness reduction, I was on to them!  We were eating food from Raglan Road!!!  This Disney Springs restaurant has been one of our all time favorites for many years.  We have had so many great dinners there!  Those memories are precious to me and clearly Megan and Joseph know it.  I was blown away and very excited to sit down and dig in.  (Clearly, in my excitement I was unable to take a clear picture of the bread.)

My Disney Mother's Day ExperienceAside from Irish Brown Bread, there was an incredible Cashel Blue Cheese Salad with fresh raspberry vinaigrette, Lamb Pasta Ragout (this dish has like 17 different ingredients) and finally, Traditional Bread and Butter Pudding for dessert (incredible!).  Pictures do NOT do this meal justice.  My Disney Mother's Day ExperienceIt was ALL so delicious!!!  Joseph as master chef with Megan as his sous chef spent five hours cooking up this amazing meal…just for me.  After we finished eating, I received The Raglan Road Cookbook as a gift.My Disney Mother's Day Experience

From their earliest childhood, we tried to teach our children to value experiences over things.  It’s a fact: Creating happy memories will mean more in life than accumulating stuff.  I think they learned exactly what we intended and I couldn’t be more proud.  (Thank you Megan and Joseph!  I love you!!!)

 

 

Disney Dining – Off the Beaten Snack

The tried and true, wildly popular, well-known Disney snacks are great!  Essential contributors to Disney vacation happiness, those Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars, churros, Mickey-shaped pretzels, and Dole Whips are must-haves for masses of fans.  But there are so many more options!  What about those?  Let’s talk about the lesser known but just-as-delicious Disney World snacks. (My apologies, turkey leg fans, I just can’t include you’re precious poultry treat here today…or ever.)

Disney Dining – Off the Beaten Snack

I consider the iconic snacks – you know, the ones mentioned above that are made into souvenir magnets and such – to be “tier one” Disney snacks.  Those would be followed by the slightly less popular “tier two” selections.  Those include Magic Kingdom popcorn (I’ve never had it, but I hear it’s the best in the World), Mickey krispie treats, and funnel cakes.  Also in this category are cupcakes like Butterfinger, Red Velvet, and the ones decorated like Disney characters, the Studios’ Carrot Cake Cookie, and those amazingly fancy candy/caramel apples.  I suppose my beloved Citrus Swirl would also fall into the tier two category (being slightly less popular that that frozen pineapple concoction). Starring Rolls / Red Velvet Cupcake

Finally, there are the snacks that fall out of the mainstream and into “tier three”.  These include some of the tastiest and best snacks in Disney World that are not available in every park.  Thus, they’re less well-known.

Think about the offerings in World Showcase like School Bread in Norway (Kringla Bakeri og Kafe), Macarons in France (Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie), caramel popcorn in Germany (Karamell-Küche), and the Churros with Caramel Sauce in Mexico (La Cantina de San Angel).  That caramel popcorn got me through Hurricane Matthew!  The School Bread, macarons, and churros are still on my to-try list.  Disney Dining - Off the Beaten SnackAlso in Epcot there’s the Croissant Donut from the Refreshment Port (YUM!) and let’s not forget that kiosk over in Italy where that Espresso Gelato “Affogato” is sold – so incredibly delicious!  I’ve mentioned the cinnamon glazed almonds and pecans before.  I’m not sure where else they can be purchased, but I always enjoy them during a visit to Animal Kingdom.  Finally, I’ve got to add the Cheeseburger Spring Rolls from the Adventureland egg roll wagon.  Yet another thing I haven’t tried, but I keep hearing how good they are.

The point of all this?  So many snacks, too little time!  I’m training like crazy for the Dark Side Challenge with just two weeks to go.  All that running makes me hungry and has me daydreaming about what snacks I’m going to have while I’m at Disney World.  Seriously, if running 19.3 miles in two days doesn’t justify a few extra snack calories, I don’t know what does.  This is a short trip and if I had more than four days to snack, I wouldn’t have to pick and choose.  Decisions, decisions…

Do you have a favorite Disney snack that I haven’t mentioned?  Please, tell me what it is and where to find it!

 

Considering Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan

With all the details nailed down for April’s Disney World visit, Megan and I have moved on to planning June’s “Epic Mother / Daughter Disney Summer Road Trip”.  This vacation will be different in a lot of ways…Not the least of which is it’s GIRLS ONLY and we couldn’t be more excited to have some time away together.

We’re planning to thoroughly explore Pandora and take advantage of Animal Kingdom’s nighttime Extra Magic Hours at least once.  We’re also planning an afternoon and evening in Magic Kingdom so we can do all our favorite attractions and see the new Happily Ever After show (replacing Wishes).  For sure we want to grab a few hours in Epcot’s World Showcase and based on all of that, we decided maximum flexibility will be key to our Disney happiness.

Normally we enjoy at least one, if not more, table service meals on every day of a Disney World visit.  We have our favorite places and also a list of to-try restaurants waiting.  When Megan and I talked about where we might like to eat and when we wanted to book ADRs, we realized how much time those meals might cut into the free-style park touring plans we were really looking forward to.  That’s when I remembered the Quick Service Dining Plan.

Considering Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan

With two meals and two snacks per night of stay, we’ll be good to go and our food will be mostly pre-paid.  Since we’re driving, we can bring breakfast foods and use our meal credits for lunch and dinner.  Booked through the Disney Vacation Club site, we’d pay $46.24 per person, per day ($279.04 total).

I must confess…I did book one ADR for the last night of our stay, but this would actually work out perfectly.  We’d have one Quick Service credit left over to use for lunch on the day we leave AND we’ll get to try Paddlefish in Disney Springs for the first time.

No doubt about it, we will certainly miss the guys on this trip, but by making plans that are different from our usual Disney vacation style, we think we’ll have a great time!

Have you tried Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan?  What restaurants did you choose?