Friday, August 1, 2014

Disney Dining: How the Quick Service Dining Plan (QSDP) Worked for Us

By: Melissa

Once I figured out how the Quick Service Dining Plan works, I liked it. But we had to get there and actually use it before I really “got” it. The cashiers were patient and coached me through it – more than once!

QSDP, How it worked

Our resort had a “food court” style set-up, so we could get any number of entrĂ©e items at the different stations, then go to one central location to get desserts, sides, and drinks (or snack items). Then, we could all check out at once. The cashier would total the items and determine how many credits we needed to use. Then, we’d just scan our KTTW card (Magic Bands were still being rolled out), and that was it. The receipt would show the items we ordered and how many credits we used, and were left on our account. I do wish it showed what the items we’d ordered would total if we were not utilizing the dining plan. My little OCD heart would’ve loved to have a true cost comparison for the QSDP vs. out of pocket cost.

At a meal at the resort, you have the option of using your refillable mug or getting a bottled drink from the cooler. We chose to get bottled drinks with our meals and save them for later (when we might not be near the food court), because we could easily fill our mugs at the drink stations during meals.
Honor was under 3 during our trip, so she did not receive credits on our dining plan. We could’ve purchased food for her, but we didn’t need to. Between all of our meals, we had plenty to share with her. (More on how we made that work another time.)

We are not high-maintenance breakfast people, so I took cereal bars, granola bars, Pop Tarts, etc. to have for breakfast in our room each day. We also had three TS meals planned, so we knew we would have some flexibility with our QS credits and would be able to utilize a few for breakfast.

Here’s how we utilized our credits: Our stay was Sunday – Saturday. We received 18 snack credits and 36 QS meal credits.

Sunday: We checked in during the afternoon, and paid out of pocket to eat at T-REX at Downtown Disney.
4 Snack credits for dessert at Goofy’s Candy Co.

Monday: Breakfast at Chef Mickey’s (out of pocket) (Jenna’s review here)
3 QS Meal credits for lunch at Cosmic Ray’s
3 QS Meal credits for dinner at our resort
Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party (See my review here)

Tuesday: Breakfast in our room (cereal bars, Pop Tarts, etc.)
3 QS Meal credits for lunch at Pecos Bill’s
3 Snack credits for ice cream bars
3 QS Meal credits for dinner at our resort food court

Wednesday: Breakfast in our room (cereal bars, Pop Tarts, etc.)
3 QS Meal credits for lunch at Pizza Planet Arcade
3 Snack credits for frozen lemonade/smoothies
TS Dinner at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater (out of pocket)

Thursday: Breakfast in our room (cereal bars, Pop Tarts, etc.); 1 QS Meal credit for pancakes & bacon, 1 Snack credit for chocolate croissant to share
4 QS Meal credits for lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue
2 Snack credits at our resort food court for cookie/Rice Krispy treat.
3 QS Meal credits for dinner at Earl of Sandwich

Friday: Breakfast in our room (cereal bars, Pop Tarts, etc.); 1 QS Meal credit for breakfast platter
3 Snack credits for smoothies and Dole Whip
4 QS Meal credits for lunch at Pinocchio’s
3 QS Meal credits for dinner at our resort food court

Saturday: 1 QS Meal credit for quick to-go breakfast items (we were driving home)

We used:

15 Snack credits for snacks during the week, and the remaining 3 to grab quick snacks for the trip home.

32 QS Meal credits for meals. We did leave with 4 meal credits remaining, but we honestly didn’t need the food. If we had paid for the QSDP, I might’ve been more adamant about planning extra breakfasts or something. But since it was free, we didn’t feel like it was a big deal if we didn’t use every single credit.

Something I will definitely do before our next trip is to plan our QS meals a little better. I had no idea how that would work for us since we’d never been and the kids were little. I didn’t know exactly when/where we’d need to eat. I had a list of QS restaurants I wanted to try, and knew what area we would be in, but that was as close as I got.

Also before our next trip, I will utilize this calculator at With completely customizable features, it will allow me to determine if a dining plan would be a better value than paying out of pocket for us. And should we decide against a dining plan, I can get a good cost estimate so there won’t be any surprises.

For more on the Quick Service Dining Plan, see more thoughts on it here. For more about the Disney Dining Plan (DDP), check out Lindsey’s recent posts here and here.

Have you used the QSDP? How did it work for you?

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