Dining Plan Tips

I am probably* using the dining plan for the first time in September, and I would love to hear your favorite tips for getting the most out of it. I have found a lot of useful information online, but it’s a bit overwhelming. I have ADRs all set, so I am more looking for tips on using snack and QS credits. It will be me, DH, DS10, and DD7. (The kids appetites vary from not eating at all to starving, seemingly within minutes.)

*probably because I have still not fully committed to the trip for various reasons.

The Dining Plan is a significant amount of food. If you are quite certain that your kids won’t always be starving, you are probably best to pay out of pocket. Especially since your DS10 is considered an adult and will be charged adult price for his plan.

1 Like

You can make those CS credits stretch by ordering three adult meals at a time and splitting the food four ways, remembering that you can always get a cup of ice water at a CS location for no charge.

Also, the recent rule changes allow you to sub out your drink and/or dessert at CS for any item on that menu eligible for a snack credit. Remember again the ice water tip and you can also wind up choosing something savory over something sweet, if you desire. (And, with the next tip, minimizing sweets at meals might be a good idea…)

Pretty much any ice cream item (up to 2 scoops), including sundaes and ice cream sandwiches, are included as snack credits. That’s a nice combination of special treat and cooling off, and many of the larger ice creams are good candidates for splitting.

Otherwise, on snacks, if you’re getting good value out of the TS and CS credits, the best use for a snack is getting what you want at the moment you want it, without having to worry about cost.

1 Like

It’s free dining with a bounce back offer that we have booked. Because it’s the bounce back, we were able to book it at POFQ, which is often excluded from free dining offers. It might ultimately be cheaper to book a RO discount and then eat more cheaply, I don’t think that the savings will be significant and will be harder to track in terms of spending.

There are a lot of great opinions about the value of the dining plan. We personally love it when it’s free - and yes I know it’s not “free” because I give up my room discount but the 25% I would save in room rate is less than food value. That being said, we had snack credits like crazy left over last time and bought prepackaged candy snacks to bring home. Goofys Candy Co in DTD is a great place for this. Excited this time for BOG as breakfast and lunch is a QS credit!

1 Like

Only thing about the ice water tip is that florida tap water tastes (and smells) like rhymes with sass. Some locations (e.g. Roaring Forks @ Wilderness Lodge) draw their ice water through some sort of filtration that makes it taste normal. But when I got ice water from (amongst other places) Cosmic Ray’s, my family wouldn’t/couldn’t drink it due to the sewage flavour.

I think a lot more places are filtering the water now. We have been doing ice water for awhile, and it has definitely improved over time. I also bring little flavor packets or drops with us to help with that issue, and I ask for lemon wherever available.

I hope that’s true - for our upcoming trip, we were considering making good use of the complementary ice water as my wife doesn’t drink soda anymore (and is less inclined to the sugary options such as lemonade). W

1 Like

I would keep the dining since it is “free” and you got a great bounceback offer. We have used it twice with free dining, kept track of all receipts and definitely came out ahead, staying at moderate resorts. When my DD was barely 10 and we had the plan, we would actually buy her a kids meal out of pocket most nights for dinner, as long as we were not at a buffet or family style. This gave us more table service credits for the adults to use, and she was happy with the kids choices.

Oh, I am glad to hear that you came out ahead! That makes me feel more like I am getting a good deal.

Also, I did factor in that exact option to our ADRs - I know that my DS10 will prefer kids meal options where possible, so that will give us an extra signature dining experience.

1 Like

Most of the ice water comes from the coke machines ( like it dies in the resorts). It is filtered through the machine. I am a “water” person and I always make sure I have my resort mug with me when eating resort CS. Then, I fill my mug with ice water and get bottled water for later.

1 Like

We tried to book as many single credit, TS dinners as possible. (For example, instead of using two credits for the Poly dinner show, we used one credit and went to Ohana - we loved the food and my kids had a blast!)
And I agree with PP that you should make best use of your CS credits by buying 3 meals and splitting them 4 ways. They really are a lot of food and you will be able to stretch your credits further over the course of your stay.
I made a rough plan of when we would use our credits before our trip so that I could visually see when we would be eating. We didn’t stick to it 100% but it helped prevent us from scheduling meals too close together, not being hungry enough to make the most of your credits at a certain time, and having any leftover credits at the end of the trip.

1 Like