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Getting value from QS dining plan

Ceejayzvan

Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
Managed to get free dining for our July 2020 trip. It's our first time to WDW and I would love advice on how to get the most out of our dining plan. I've seen many times don't buy bottled water. :D I get the impression from trip reports that you can use your QS credits for table service meals, but might have to use two credits. I'm especially interested to know if I can use QS credits at Chef Mickeys. Your advice is welcome!
 

Queen of the WDW Screne

If you don't like it then you can leave
Premium Member
In the Parks
No
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No you cannot use multiple QS credits to eat at a TS restaurant like Chef Mickey's.

If you want to eat at TS restaurants then upgrade that free QSDP regular DDP.

The regular DDP is a much better value in my opinion.

How to get the most out of ANY dining plan is to go for the most expensive items on the menu, always get a specialty or alcoholic drink, and use your snack credits for more expensive items.

Personally I don't bother trying to get the most out of it.
I get the dining plan because of convenience plus if I go during free dining and upgrade it saves mre more than if I used a room discount and added a dining plan.

If I'm in need of a drink more than a snack I do not hesitate to use a snack credit for a bottle of chocolate milk, if I'm not in the mood for steak I'm gonna order chicken even if it is less expensive, if its hot and I'm feeling dehyrated I'm skipping the alcoholic beverage...

One thing that I do though is do not use credits for breakfast.
We are not big eaters early in the morning so we bring items from home like protein powder, oatmeal, granola bars, pop tarts etc and then we tend to be hungry for lunch before the usual lunch time crowds so we eat early lunch and its a win win with less crowds in the restaurants and then less crowds in the lines during peak meal time.
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
CS credits are only good for CS meals and snacks -- so no Chef Mickey's unless you want to upgrade to the DDP or pay for it out of pocket.

If you go to the "WDW Prep School" website, they have a ranked list of the "best value" counter service (a/k/a quick service) restaurants (and table service restaurants, if you were to decide to pay to upgrade) for the dining plan, with "best value" meaning "most expensive average prices."

In general, the best way to maximize your value on any Disney dining plan is to use it at the most-expensive restaurants and snack kiosks on the plan, and order all of the most expensive stuff at each one, avoid ordering anything the plan doesn't cover, and of course, don't leave a single meal or snack entitlement remaining at the end of your trip.

Since you have it for free, however, and aren't trying to "save money," with it, my advice would be to ignore all of that. Go to the best-rated CS restaurants, or the ones that simply appeal to you the most or work best with your schedule, and order what you'd most enjoy eating within your entitlements, without regard to what they'd have cost you if you had to pay out of pocket. It's your vacation and you're eating for free, so you might as well eat what you like. If there are particular favorite foods you want to seek out, touringplans has a menu item finder tool that's fun to play around with, and tells you which items are designated as DDP snacks: http://touringplans.com/walt-disney-world/menu_items?

If you want to find out how much your meals would tend to cost you out of pocket (whether at CS, TS, or any combination), there's a tool at distripplanner.com that you can use to compare the out-of-pocket averages with the cost of any of the three Disney dining plans, customized for your party size and configuration, visit dates and restaurant choices.
 
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Jon81uk

Well-Known Member
Some of the best-rated and most delicious quick service places are also the most expensive and therefore give good value on the plan as well.
A few examples of places you might want to try are
Flame Tree BBQ at Animal Kingdom (DAK)
Satuli Canteen at DAK
Be Our Guest LUNCH only at Magic Kingdom (dinner is table service)
Tangerine Café, Morocco in Epcot

Also better value on snacks is to use them for ice cream sundaes and other things around $6 instead of using them for bottled soda. But also don't spend cash on the soda only to find you have too many snacks left at the end of the trip, if you aren't using both snack credits every day then its better to use them for things you need like the soda bottles than to get to the end of the trip and have to buy up loads of packaged stuff you don't need.
 

JillC LI

Well-Known Member
I agree that it is probably worth it to pay the upgrade to the regular DDP. Then you can get a bunch of buffet table service meals which it sounds like you want.
As for water, the reason you don't want to waste your money on it is because you can get a free cup of cold water by walking into any quick service place.
 

Ceejayzvan

Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
Some of the best-rated and most delicious quick service places are also the most expensive and therefore give good value on the plan as well.
A few examples of places you might want to try are
Flame Tree BBQ at Animal Kingdom (DAK)
Satuli Canteen at DAK
Be Our Guest LUNCH only at Magic Kingdom (dinner is table service)
Tangerine Café, Morocco in Epcot

Also better value on snacks is to use them for ice cream sundaes and other things around $6 instead of using them for bottled soda. But also don't spend cash on the soda only to find you have too many snacks left at the end of the trip, if you aren't using both snack credits every day then its better to use them for things you need like the soda bottles than to get to the end of the trip and have to buy up loads of packaged stuff you don't need.
Thank you for these suggestions! Looking at the menus is making me so hungry. I can't wait to try them.
 

Ceejayzvan

Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
I agree that it is probably worth it to pay the upgrade to the regular DDP. Then you can get a bunch of buffet table service meals which it sounds like you want.
As for water, the reason you don't want to waste your money on it is because you can get a free cup of cold water by walking into any quick service place.
Thanks for the advice! We are most likely going to stick with the QS dining plan. At the moment, Chef Mickeys is the only restaurant that's the must-do, so we'll probably pay OOP for it.
 

Queen of the WDW Screne

If you don't like it then you can leave
Premium Member
In the Parks
No
Thanks for the advice! We are most likely going to stick with the QS dining plan. At the moment, Chef Mickeys is the only restaurant that's the must-do, so we'll probably pay OOP for it.
Just keep in mind that upgrading to DDP would be about $23 per day per adult and the cost for dinner at Chef Mickey's is about $62 per adult.
Its just something to think about.
If you were going somewhere that you could order a la carte you could choose a menu item that makes upgrading to the DDP more of a wash ya know what I mean?
I'd just recommend you do your math to see if its worth upgrading or paying OOP.
 

trojanjustin

Well-Known Member
In general, the best way to maximize your value on any Disney dining plan is to use it at the most-expensive restaurants and snack kiosks on the plan, and order all of the most expensive stuff at each one, avoid ordering anything the plan doesn't cover, and of course, don't leave a single meal or snack entitlement remaining at the end of your trip.
In general the best way to maximize your value is to not get the dining plan. But if not that, then this.
 

Ceejayzvan

Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
Much appreciated. I think I need to crunch the numbers. It's all new to me and I get a little confused. o_O
 

danyoung56

Well-Known Member
As for water, the reason you don't want to waste your money on it is because you can get a free cup of cold water by walking into any quick service place.
For me it's a big limitation to try to park storm while carrying an open cup of water. The bottles work great for me - they're ice cold, and the're Dasani, my favorite water!
 

Jon81uk

Well-Known Member
In general the best way to maximize your value is to not get the dining plan. But if not that, then this.
That is certainly true if paying for the dining plan, it is rarely worth paying cash for it.
But as part of a free dining package it may be the best discount and it is worth checking the numbers on what other discounts are available.
 

DimpledDevil18

Well-Known Member
I agree that I feel the standard DDP is the better deal so it may be worth it to upgrade if you do enjoy Table Service meals.

A few tricks that I learned is depending on how big of a breakfast person you are, sometimes you can definitely use your snack credits on a breakfast item and opt for a QS lunch later. The muffins and pastries at the resort food courts can be quite filling.

Also if you choose to have breakfast at your resort in the morning (or any meal really) keep in mind that your resort mug is refillable but if using a QS credit you are entitled to a drink, so make sure to take it. Often I would grab a bottle of water to hold on to for the parks and refill my mug with something from the drink station for my meal.
 

Hcalvert

Well-Known Member
I agree that I feel the standard DDP is the better deal so it may be worth it to upgrade if you do enjoy Table Service meals.

A few tricks that I learned is depending on how big of a breakfast person you are, sometimes you can definitely use your snack credits on a breakfast item and opt for a QS lunch later. The muffins and pastries at the resort food courts can be quite filling.

Also if you choose to have breakfast at your resort in the morning (or any meal really) keep in mind that your resort mug is refillable but if using a QS credit you are entitled to a drink, so make sure to take it. Often I would grab a bottle of water to hold on to for the parks and refill my mug with something from the drink station for my meal.
I don't know about the new changes in 2020, but you used to be able to get a dessert/snack item at a resort QS instead of a drink since you have the cup as part of the DDP.
 

Jon81uk

Well-Known Member
I don't know about the new changes in 2020, but you used to be able to get a dessert/snack item at a resort QS instead of a drink since you have the cup as part of the DDP.
That changed in 2017 I think when they took dessert off the QS meal. It used to be you could switch the dessert and/or drink for another snack, then they change QS meal to being main/combo and drink only and gave an extra snack. Since then it isn't advertised that you can swap out for snacks, so it may be possible but probably not.
 

Ceejayzvan

Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
I heard portions can be really big at WDW, so I'm okay if dessert isn't included in the meal. Does anyone know if you can switch out the drink for a dessert/side? Just curious.
 

Queen of the WDW Screne

If you don't like it then you can leave
Premium Member
In the Parks
No
I heard portions can be really big at WDW, so I'm okay if dessert isn't included in the meal. Does anyone know if you can switch out the drink for a dessert/side? Just curious.
Only time you can do that is at a resort because you have a refillable mug. Even then I usually grabbed a bottled drink.
You can't substitute in the parks and really why would you want to give up your drink? You need to stay hydrated.
BTW the meal comes with a main dish and side dish like burger and fries or green beans etc.
If you want a dessert you can use a snack credit.
 
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