Since having children every spring we await the announcement of the free Disney dining and because I am the money saving mum then it seems only right to share with you top ten tips to get the most from your Disney free dining plan!
Don’t use a quick service credit for a Disney dining breakfast
There very limited places to grab a QS breakfast within the parks. To get the most for your buck you are better off buying breakfast using snack credits or even taking something with you (we tend to take a box of cereal with us and some croissants that we can eat whilst getting ready in the morning). We then save the QS credits for a larger more expensive lunch or dinner. UNLESS you are very lucky and bag yourself breakfast at Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom where a bowl of cereal will set you back in the teens(!) then it’s not worth using a quick service credit at breakfast.
Same goes for your table dining credit too; I accept it may be difficult as the majority of breakfasts are the character breakfasts but because breakfast is not that expensive in comparison to lunch and dinner it’s not the really the best way to get your moneys worth UNLESS you do one of the Disney character meals and experiences. Next time we are going to see what other character meals they have on offer at lunch and dinner for sure and get the most for our bucks!
QSDP’s DON’T have dessert included anymore
HOWEVER in place of this they have given you a extra snack credit to get a desserts you want one. Desserts are still available at table service restaurants though so don’t panic! They also sometimes let you substitute your dessert for a side dish such as a salad or soup so if theres nothing you fancy then for sure ask what they can do for you.
You don’t HAVE to use your credits daily
Yes your Dining Plan credits are calculated per day but they are pooled. So over 14 nights you will be entitled to ALL your credits from day one and you have the ability to use them as and when you want be it all in one go or one/two a day. They are your credits to do with them as you wish – just remember though they all need to be used by midnight on the day of check out!
Gratuities (tips!) are NOT included in the dining plan.
You will need to take these into account and require payment for these per table service dining you do. One tip a fellow Disney lover shared with me only the other day was that they just add their tips to the room using their magic band then at the end of the vacation they use their free $100/$200 gift card you get when staying in a moderate hotel (or above) to pay of their gratuities. I thought this was an excellent use of the gift card for sure and that way you needn’t to really worry about tips at all!
If you are going to have any credit left chances are they will be snack credits!
But don’t feel like you have to grab something from carts thats going to melt in 5 minutes; pop to your resort store or inside a shop in the parks and you will find foodstuffs that are wrapped or in bags (such as goofy candy!). That way you can save them for the journey home or even take home some sweet treats for your friends!
The beautiful Be Our Guest restaurant in the middle of Magic Kingdom theme park offers probably one of the best valued quick service meal available on property.
Dinner is table service but lunch is currently classed as a QS. From experience though I would actually place it in between both QS and table service in that you order at a counter, you get your own drinks, cutlery etc and seat yourself too but they bring the food to your table. No waiter is available and no gratuities are required making one of the although the most expensive restaurant on property; the best value for QS dining! Be sure to check out my Be Our Guest review over on our vlogging channel here.
Share your meals!
Because your credits can be used as and when you want to and don’t have to be used daily; there is absolutely nothing stopping you sharing a QS meal. We do this regularly. The kids will be more than happy sharing an adult meal and us using just one credit then using two credits for two kids meal and having leftovers. Again, credits are pooled and are not distinguished between adult and children HOWEVER, particularly at table service dining, you will be expected to order your child a meals from the child’s menu. QS is not as strict and again because Disney haven’t yet restricted the credits on your reservation there is absolutely nothing in place (yet!) to stop you going and ordering an adult meal all around if there are no children in sight!
If you do happen to have some QS dining credits left then you can exchange them for snacks.
Per 1 QS credit = 3 snacks so again if you do have some left don’t feel like you are going to waste them if you don’t go grab yourself a hot dog or something….I mean it isn’t the best use of them ordinarily but if they are just going to go to waste grab some snacks instead! Anything with the purple DDP logo next to the name means it’s a snack.
Don’t waste snack credits on bottles of water.
You can walk up to any counter that sell drinks and ask for a FREE iced water! Not only that but you can also bring your own bottle and refill at the numerous fountains around ALL parks too! Also, following on from the dessert changes, if you do happen to wants dessert with your QS meal; cast members do allow you to swap for your drink for a dessert so consider asking for just an ice water or up your bottle before entry and bag yourself a declious dessert instead!
Feel free to share any hints and tips for others below – I would love to here them too! I could probably post sooo many more to be honest!