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The Case For The Quick Service Disney Dining Plan At Walt Disney World

Although most of talk is about Disney’s “Deluxe” Dining Plan, a good case can be made for the Quick Service Plan for a lot of families. To review, Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan includes 2 counter service meals and 2 snacks per person per night of your resort stay, plus a refillable resort mug per person. The cost in 2017 for this plan is $48.19 for adults ages 10 and up and $20.88 for children (ages 3-9) per day. In 2018, a slight increase makes the cost $52.50 for adults (10+) and $21.74 for children (ages 3-9) per day. Part of this increase is because in 2018 each Quick Service meal (for breakfast, lunch or dinner) will include an alcoholic beverage option for guests 21 and older. As I see it, the three chief benefits of a Quick Service Dining Plan are budget, efficiency, and quality.

Budget/Value

The value of the Quick Service plan is debatable, but if you compare apples to apples you could benefit by adding the quick service plan to your Magic Your Way package. You can look up menu prices online to estimate how much you would spend on typical Disney Day. Make sure that the Quick Service Dining Plan is a good value for your families needs and also consider the convenience in having all of your meals pre-paid to make your Disney vacation an all-inclusive type experience. Not every combination of counter service meals and snacks will produce the same value for you.

Efficiency

There is no question about it, dining at counter service restaurants is much faster than dining at any table service restaurant. Yes, you will encounter a line to place your order if you decide to eat at a peak time and you will have to wait at the counter to pick up your food, and sure, you may have to walk around for a couple of minutes to find a table to accommodate your party. Still, this is much less time spent at a meal than table service even with an early dining reservation time. Our hope is that the Mobile Food and Beverage option on the My Disney Experience App will be made accessible for those wanting to use their Disney Dining credits in the near future. We will say however that most table service establishments take at least 45 minutes to 1 hour or more out of your park touring time to be seated, order, receive your meal, eat your food, and pay your bill – so Quick Service even without Mobile Ordering is still time saving!

If you factor in a slow server, an overbooked restaurant, or a shortage of cooks you may be looking at a longer stay at the table. If you reserve a table at a restaurant with an added experience like character dining or a Signature restaurant, you are looking at an even longer meal time away from the parks. At character meals you often have to wait for that last character to make his or her rounds, or maybe you were “skipped” by a certain character. By virtue of the fine dining experience that Walt Disney World’s Signature restaurants wish to convey, eating at one of these establishments naturally takes longer to enjoy the cuisine.

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Now, many people are very happy to spend the time to enjoy the setting, theme, and food of a table service restaurant in Walt Disney World, and many consider it an integral part of their Disney vacation experience. To some the time saved waiting in line to meet characters by eating at a character meal is well worth it. However, there are families who would much rather maximize their time on attractions rather than eating—in this case the Quick Service plan may be the best fit. Or, if you have children who don’t do well in table service restaurants for whatever reason you may want to consider a Quick Service plan to spend more time in the parks and less time at a table.

Quality

Just because you are not eating at Disney’s table service restaurants does not mean you are sacrificing the quality of your food, or the variety of choices available. Many counter service locations rival the sit down restaurants. Of course you will still encounter the typical theme park “fast food” of burgers, chicken nuggets and pizza, but each park has its fair share of unique and delicious counter service. At the Magic Kingdom Be Our Guest for lunch has to be the stand out counter service location. From the elaborate theming to the menu selections (counter service serving braised pork, tuna nicoise salad, and vegetable quiche) this is a must-do. Over at Epcot you have a plethora of choices for great food and beautiful settings. Sunshine Seasons is the big winner in Future World with its food court layout and outstanding menu featuring Asian cuisine, oak-grilled meats. In World Showcase you have your choice of delicious eateries: Les Halles, La Cantina de San Angel, Yorkshire County Fish Shop just to name a few. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a bit lacking for my personal taste in counter service, but you can’t deny that a few of their locations offer some unique menu items. My favorite spots at the Animal Kingdom are Satu’li Canteen, Yak & Yeti Local Foods Café and Flame Tree Barbecue. All of the meals that I have eaten at these spots have been hot and tasty, and the outdoor settings are very pretty. And this list doesn’t even go into the great quick service food that can be found in the resorts and Disney Springs. To sum it up, if you choose your quick service dining locations wisely, you will not be disappointed with the quality, atmosphere, or the variety of foods available to you.

There are so many things to see and do on a Walt Disney World vacation you really have to make a list of priorities, and if dining is not at the top of the list then the Quick Service Dining plan might be the best package for your family (or perhaps no dining plan at all). You will find it a budget friendly option, an efficient way to eat and get back to touring, and you can find a great variety of foods within Walt Disney World’s quick service restaurants.

About Sarah Chapman

I am a long time Disney fan since I was hooked on Walt Disney World with my first trip in 1987. Since that time I’ve tried experiencing everything I can in the parks, with a total of 30 visits and counting (I’m always planning my next trip) to Walt Disney World—not to mention Disney Cruise Line and even (shhh!) Universal Orlando and Sea World. I’ve turned my Disney obsession into a profession helping others plan their magical vacations as a Dream Vacation Maker at LBAC Travel. I am a work at home mom to three wonderful boys, and each one has been properly indoctrinated with all things Disney. Walt Disney World is definitely our “Laughing Place.” Look for me on Facebook at Facebook.com/SarahLBAC for updates, discount announcements, tips, tricks and planning advice for your next vacation. You can also find me on Instagram (sarahdreamvacationmaker) and Pinterest (sarahlbactravel).