Anyone wing it and just do mostly QS meals?

I just cancelled our DP after researching and realizing it was just WAY more food than we would eat. I feel like that alone has alleviated some of the stress of planning. That said, we will be there Thanksgiving week when the crowds will be intense. I AM planning on trying to secure at least 3 TS ADRs for dinners, but wondering if anyone has ever just decided to do QS the majority of the time. We are not big breakfast people, and will likely grab coffee and a muffin or something similar, then early-ish lunch , afternoon treat and then dinner around 7 pm or so.


Kids are 11 and 13 so no worries about tired, crabby littles…

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We did it, just DH and I, one year on a short trip we took for our anniversary. I had hoped it would leave the trip feeling looser and less regimented. I ended up feeling sort of lost and uncertain of what to do next around mealtimes. I wouldn’t do it that way again personally. Even if I didn’t do the DP (which we won’t for a while now that our kids are still kids but Disney adults :roll_eyes: ) I would still plan TS once most every day.

We almost exclusively do QS.

Do you bring your own snacks or breakfast foods? When I did a trip three years ago with just my kids, I brought granola bars and mini muffins and that was breakfast so saved $$. Thinking I may do something similar again. Our resort (Grand Floridian) also has Keurigs in the room so we will also bring our own pods for coffee before leaving for the day.

Some trips, when money was tight, we brought in our own food for a lunch. Usually some sandwiches, nutrigrain bars and crackers. Breakfast we would eat in our condo/house (we haven’t stayed on Disney property, so we would have a Condo with full kitchen).

To further save money, when you do QS, we don’t pay for drinks and just get water, plus for the younger kids we would just get the entree with no side (which isn’t listed on the board, but always available). Then we could share, for example, fries from two full entrees, etc. As the kids have gotten older, we have done that less often. :slight_smile:

For years I made one ADR a trip. There are some really great QS options.

I would have no issue except that you really have to plan where you will eat, and at what time. This will avoid being hangry, and the whole “where should we eat” conversation. Plan which QS you’d like to go to, and PLAN to be close to that QS place at a time where you’ll want a meal. I’d also highly suggest doing this at slightly off times to avoid the masses and lines. The QS quality control is all over the map. Do your research on which places you’d like to eat at. Avoid the garbage.

I agree with seebee as far as planning (or at least eating before you get TOO hungry!). For my last solo trip I only had one sit-down meal. I think it’s completely possible to get quality (and quantity!) food for quick service.

I agree with bringing some breakfast stuff – last time with the family we took an Uber to the grocery store and got bananas, juice, granola bars and bottled water… that freed up time and money to have a really great (guilt-free) margarita at Cava later in the day (among other things, of course).

We often buy a few different things at counter service and share; it lets us try new stuff without springing for a giant meal.

Another option for sit-down is to go to the resorts; there are often places with lower crowds (Cape May Cafe, for example… or most restaurants in the Swan and Dolphin. We have always been able to go there for a good, uncrowded meal.)

That’s a good point. But I would suggest instead picking, ahead of time, several places around the park that would meet your needs. That way, whichever one you are closest to at the time you wish to eat, you now know where to head. There is always something nearby, but if you don’t know ahead of time, you might end up wandering around trying to find something instead.

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This! This is one of the reasons Disney is so enjoyable to us as a family. We plan–everyone’s needs/wants are taken into consideration ahead so they know the plan. I don’t think it matters if you plan only CS (we’ve had good meals at CS everywhere on property except HS), just that you have an idea of what you want, where, and when. No one complains that we eat CS tacos at lunch because they know the next meal is X and their favorite restaurant will be tomorrow. Other vacations, such as the beach, that don’t involve planning meals and activities ahead often result in lengthy bargaining sessions to make everyone happy. We have 4 kids, so making everyone happy at one time is an oxymoron, but Disney is the closest we get.

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Glad to see this posted. See so much about dining plans and tons of TS, signature dining. We are DL vets, headed to WDW for first time next month. Family of 5. Have ADR for TS for most lunches. Done research on the CS and other options for other meals, including Disney Springs. I know we’ll spend a lot, but don’t need characters, buffets, drinks and desserts with so many meals LOL

You could also do one of the lounges at some of the signature restaurants (like HBD and Tiffins). It would be a change from QS but without the stress of making ADRs.

Are kids allowed in the lounges?

Lol i hope you’re not one of those people that schedules a Be Our Guest dinner reservation for 6 people and gets like 2 appetizers and 2 entrees and has everyone just share everything?

Yes, they are. Nomad lounge (Tiffins) is great.

We don’t typically do sit down dining. When we do, however, we budget paying for everyone to eat normally. :slight_smile: We’ve done Rainforest Cafe at Disney Springs twice that way, for example. Last time, bill was $150 plus tip.

My wife and I are looking forward to doing our 25th Anniversary trip where we can eat like grown-ups all week long. (Well, sort of grown-ups. Nothing with fish, and nothing with words we don’t understand, etc. We aren’t really adventurous eaters!)

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My take for my family:
We are in Chicago. LOTS of great food. Lots of great ethnic food. WDW food can be decent, but there is nothing we can’t get better at home for a LOT cheaper. So, we don’t stress too much about food. We do a character buffet or two, and a few decent sit downs, but we research the QS options, and choose wisely. Some of the QS places are not very good at all, imo, and some of them are VERY good.
I think Flame Tree could charge more for that full slab platter. (shhhh)
I think Pecos Bill’s fajita platter is total garbage.

These are just opinions, and I’m sure some ppl think my taste buds have to be off, because plenty of folks absolutely love Pecos Bill’s. I think anyone can eat very well at QS only, but you have to really do your research.

We tried the quick service dining plan one year to see if we would be ok with it. We are huge fans of having the dining plan for convenience purposes when we travel to disney. We went during fall break, so it was pretty busy and found that the quick service food for dinner (when we normally did table service meals in the past) was terrible. We never had a problem with the quick service food at lunch but for some reason the food wasn’t good for dinner and most of the restaurants were dirty and filled with un-bussed tables. We even attempted to hit QS restaurants that we have always been fond of and found them to also be lacking. We regretted this choice for most of the trip. We even tried to find a sit down restaurant that we could just pay cash at but didn’t have a ADR so we were stuck. Maybe if you have a few sit down reservations you won’t have the same experience as we did. For reference, we aren’t much for breakfast either and we travelled with two teenagers as well. You can bet I arranged to have the regular dining plan for our June 2018 trip!!

On our first visit we did 5 park days and only ate QS. We did have in mind ahead of time which places we wanted to eat and had scouted the menus though. Second visit we did 5 park days again with all QS except one TS at Via Napoli and then one out of the park meal. Both of those visits were at Thanksgiving. The QS meals suited us fine for those trips because we purposefully planned to try and cram as much as we could possibly do into those 5 days and didn’t want to waste time at lengthy sit down meals.

I will admit that we commented that sometimes we felt like cattle being herded through the QS places and sometimes we found ourselves propping ourselves up in a corner or on a ledge somewhere because there were no tables. So, definitely not the most relaxing way to do it. For our upcoming trip we are planning to build in more TS meals to change it up a little.

Although I sometimes “wing it” with regards to touring, I always have my dining locked in. I’ll say up front that I’m a “foodie” who considers meals in unique restaurants to be as much a part of the WDW experience as going on rides or seeing shows. I have never used the DDP, and probably never will unless someone gifts me the DxDP.

I plan a “snack” breakfast either at the resort or in the park (usually the latter) and then a TS for lunch and dinner - virtually every day. I don’t like and rarely eat fast food when I’m not on vacation, and there have been very few QS “meals” at WDW that I would voluntarily eat again (snacks/desserts are a different story; there are quite a few of those I like very much).

On the occasions when I do plan a QS lunch, I know before I enter the park where I will be going.

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