Disney Quick Service Dining Plan

discover new ways to boost your Dining Plan

By Darren Wittko

The Quick Service Dining Plan is offered to guests as a way to save money on dining costs. But we also know that Disney needs make a profit. So what's the catch? For starters, menu prices are slightly inflated i.e, the $9 hamburger meal but Disney also bets on the fact that many guests won't use an optimized strategy to actually save real dollars on it. And if you don't use make a plan to save money, odds are you won't meet or exceed the cost of the dining plan. 

TIP: Starbucks locations inside the Theme Parks are a places to redeem snack credits. The items in these locations cost more than snacks at other locations and are a better value.

As a travel professional specializing in Walt Disney World Resort, I have studied all three dining plans at length. My research shows that the Quick Service plan is a good deal for children ages 3-9. So it's ideal for families. But in order for adults to save money, it's a bit more difficult. Start with researching the online menus at the official Walt Disney World website or TouringPlans.com

You can save money with Quick Service dining, but it probably won't happen by accident. 

Boost your savings at these restaurants

The restaurants below have higher than usual menu prices and therefore are a great value when you're on the Quick Service Dining Plan. But it's also a great way to enjoy some of the best meals at Disney World without concern about cost.

For example, the BBQ Cobb Salad with Salmon at the Polite Pig costs $22. Compare that to a 6-piece chicken nugget meal for $9 at Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe. Both are worth the same Quick Service meal entitlement but obviously the salad at the Polite Pig is a better value. 

 

Disney Springs

Bongos Cuban Cafe Express

The Polite Pig

The Smokehouse at House of Blues

Wolgang Puck Express

 
 
 

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

ABC Commissary

Fairfax Fare

 

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

Flame Tree BBQ

Restaurantosaurus

 

A Quick Look at the Quick Service Dining Plan

 With the Quick Service Dining Plan each guest will receive: 

  • 2 quick-service meals
  • 2 snacks
  • 1 resort refillable mug

These entitlements are per person, per package night. The refillable mug can be used at your hotel’s beverage fountain for soft drinks, coffee and tea. Each of your entitlements can be used at any time and in any combination throughout your stay. Just be sure to use them all by midnight of your departure day.  

A quick service meal is similar to a fast-food style restaurant, similar to McDonalds: you place an order at the counter, pick up your tray, and find a place to sit. Most quick service dining locations offer combo meals (ex: burger and fries) and the Dining Plan will include your drink. 

Guests have several new beverage options available including non-alcoholic specialty beverages and, for Guests 21 and older, beer, wine and cocktails with entrees. 

Not Just Burgers and Fries

Many quick service restaurants have decent entrees that go way beyond typical theme park fare. For example, Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe at the Magic Kingdom offers a rotisserie half chicken dinner. It’s not half-bad either. Sunshine Seasons at Epcot offers a wide array of healthy options including a slow-roasted pork chop dinner with a side of wild rice. 

The Dessert Option

Each quick service meal includes a dessert option but only when redeemed for lunch and dinner. Desserts are typically a cupcake, brownie, cookie, yogurt, or a piece of cake.

The Snack Option

Most participating snack items can be found at carts and kiosks inside the parks. Often this will be a box of popcorn, a piece of fruit, or an ice cream sold at one of the carts - try the Mickey Bar it's amazing! Your snack entitlement can also be redeemed for select beverages (coffee, tea, soda or water) though beverages typically cost less than a snack. To boost the value of your snack options head to one of the Starbucks Coffee locations in the Theme Parks or the bakery items at the resort hotels. These items are typically valued at $5 and above whereas a bottle of water in the Theme Parks is only $2.75.

Unlimited Refills

Each person will receive a Rapid Fill Resort Refillable Mug that can be used unlimited times through midnight of your checkout day. The refill locations can be found at the quick service restaurants at each Walt Disney World Resort hotel. The mugs cannot be refilled inside the Theme Parks. 



Is the Quick Service Dining Plan right for you? 

Quick Service dining is ideal for those who don’t want to be locked into an itinerary driven by dining reservations. This is often the case with the Basic Disney Dining Plan and the Deluxe Dining Plan. It can also be right for you if you have multiple children under age 10 traveling with you.  All three Dining Plans offer a convenience to those who prefer to have the bulk of their vacation expenses paid for in advance.

If you are going to stress about dining expenses adding up while on vacation, go with a dining plan. One thing I've noticed when I pay cash for meals is that I spend between $40-$60 for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

By the third day, I start doing the math in my head and start to stress a little about the costs adding up. Sometimes I'll purchase a Dining Plan just for the convenience and the satisfaction that most of my dining costs have been paid for. 

The Quick Service Dining Plan Might be Right for you if...

  • You don't want to be locked into an itinerary driven by dining reservations
  • You have multiple children ages 3-9 traveling with you
  • You're going to stress about the cost of dining while on vacation
  • You want to enjoy the best restaurants but cut down on costs

Avoid these Quick Service Dining Plan Mistakes

  • Using the Quick Service Dining Plan for breakfast is a poor value. There’s no dessert option and prices tend to be cheaper than lunch and dinner. 
  • Not all snacks are the same! Some are worth only $2 while others exceed $5. Ice cream bars and pastry items are often the best value. 
  • While technically considered a snack option, bottled water and other beverages are a poor value unless it’s at one of the Starbucks locations. 

 

Last Update: May 2018 by Darren Wittko