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?


Animal Kingdom – Africa and Harambe Market

DAK-Harambe-MickeyIn case I’ve failed to mention it lately, we love Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  I actually waffle between Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom when asked to name my favorite park.  There may be more attractions at Magic Kingdom and all the lands are unique and fun, but Animal Kingdom draws me in so much more!  Asia and Africa, even Dinoland U.S.A. – all so well-themed and detailed in a way that it’s nearly impossible NOT to spot something new on each and every visit.

Animal Kingdom – Africa and Harambe Market

Recently, we had an afternoon to stroll through Animal Kingdom and soak up not only our usual favorite places – we also visited some new places, like the Harambe Market, for the first time.  In spite of the fact that it was December 26th and we expected high crowds and long lines, we found the park easy to navigate.  Before, after, and in between our FastPasses for Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris, we had time to take things at a leisurely pace and loved every minute.

For today’s Friday Five, I’d like to give you the top five moments of our afternoon at Animal Kingdom.

  1.  Gorillas!  I never miss an opportunity to visit the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and this time was no different.  I was hoping to check up on the baby gorillas we’d seen on our last visit and was delighted to find mammas, babies, and dad(?) taking a lie-down right in front of the observation window.  Gorilla-Mother-and-BabyThe area was understandably crowded, but I was willing to wait patiently for an opportunity to move closer to the window for a good look.  DAK-Baby-GorillaI was happy to see a roped-off perimeter and cast member on hand to keep guests from getting right up to the glass – It’s good to know that care is taken to make sure the gorilla family has relatively undisturbed time to rest.  I watched the babies play and nurse and be adorable for several minutes before moving on to take the safari.Thirsty-River-Bar
  2. BEST use of a former FastPass distribution area! The new Thirsty River Bar has moved in to the old Expedition Everest FastPass machine location…and what a welcome addition it is!  We stopped for a refreshment just after returning from our Yeti-hunting adventure.  Thirsty work that Yeti business!Thirsty River Bar Menu
  3. Zuri’s Sweets Shop – After the whole “Poop Candy” controversy, I’d wondered if this place was even worth a visit.  I was imagining a very small, limited-offering-type candy shop.  I was completely wrong! Zuri's-Sweets-Shop The place was large with a broad inventory selection that kept me browsing for quite a while.  Very cool stuff!  The sweets selection was made up of a few animal-themed choices and I was enjoying the cute and clever offerings.  Zuri's-SweetsI don’t have much of a sweet tooth and was planning to walk away without making a purchase until I noticed the fudge selection included a maple nut choice.  Maple flavored candy always reminds me of those Russell Stover Easter Eggs – you know what I’m talking about?  They’re chocolate-covered with a flavored cream center.  When I was little, the maple ones were my absolute favorite!  Zuri's Sweets Maple FudgeFeeling nostalgic suddenly, I bought a piece of that fudge and tucked it into my backpack – forgetting all about it until the next day.  Oh, boy!  That fudge was heavenly – tasted exactly how I wanted it to – and I managed to make it last for several days.Harambe-Market
  4. The Perfect Details in Harambe Market!  I’d listened to podcasts and read reviews and trip reports about this phenomenally themed addition to Africa.  Even after seeing dozens of photos, I was surprised and so pleased by what I experienced first hand.  Harambe-Market-Flyers Harambe-Market-BicycleI guess I was worried that the area would not match the incredible details of the rest of the park – that it would be “less” than the rest by virtue of its newness.  I love it when I’m wrong at times like this.  Harambe-Rubber-Stamp-Ad Harambe-Herbalist Harambe-Cast-MemberIt’s perfect!  It fits seamlessly into the rest of the park and is full of miniscule details impossible to completely discover in one visit.DAK-Hidden-Mickey
  5. Excitement is in the Air!  There’s a real feeling of anticipation – a collectively held breath, if you will, about what’s coming next.  For me it was like the new areas are little teasers for the monumental attractions and experiences currently under construction.  When the Sunset Safari and the Rivers of Light open, the park will be completely transformed into a nighttime destination.  Then when Pandora – an entire new land – comes to life, Animal Kingdom will, I believe, really come into its own.  I cannot WAIT!
Are you and Animal Kingdom fan?  What are you most excited to see in this park’s future?