View Full Version : Mostly counter service?

Family Fun Mom
08-10-2006, 02:07 PM
Does anyone NOT make a million ADRs before their trip? We had the DDP during free dining last year. It was great for many reasons, but we weren't crazy about having to plan our entire trip around restaurants. It was almost stressful because we had to clock watch so closely and carve out at least two hours for our table service meals (three if we had to travel from one park to another, or to another resort). We also had to plan our other meals carefully so we could be sure we were hungry at the time of our ADR.

Disney restaurants are attractions within themselves, and we loved most of the ones we tried, but I really don't like being on such a strict schedule while on vacation. We're thinking this time we'll forgo the dining plan (we may stay at SOG and won't be eligible for it anyway) and do mostly counter service meals. We were really happy with most of the CS restaurants, they're pretty good.

I would rather spend my Disney time riding rides, watching shows, and soaking up the parks. Am I alone here? Does anyone else do mostly counter service meals?

08-10-2006, 02:11 PM
You know even though I think the dining plan is a great deal and I have it booked on our DVC stay with rented points. I am almost sure we are going to drop it because of the reason's you gave. I think we are only going to do one TS meal and its close to the end of our 6 night stay at O'hanas. I think we can eat pretty healthy with lots of choices with the counter services and eat when we get hungry and when we can. I may change my mind, but I am almost positive we will do it this way..

08-10-2006, 03:11 PM
Yup, we do mostly CS. We do a few TS meals each trip, and that's enough for us. :) So therefore, we aren't doing the Dining Plan.

08-10-2006, 03:17 PM
We love the DDP and I dont mind having a schedule we still get to do a whole lot. When we arent on the plan we do mostly CS..

08-10-2006, 04:09 PM
In all my trips(7) to Disney I have never had a TS meal. I don't like to have plan my eating 180 days out. We enjoy the freedom of CS. When we go to Disney it is all about the rides. But we eat to live not live to eat. So to each his own.

08-10-2006, 04:56 PM
In a week's trip, I'll only do one, maybe two TS meals - and those are for lunch. I'm not a big eater anyway. Frankly, I simply prefer to grab snacks here-and-there.

08-10-2006, 04:58 PM
we usually do two TS meals per week.

DD and I share a lot of meals, not big eaters here. Our trip this year is in two weeks, and it's gonna be hot, hot, hot. Kills your appetite anyway.


08-10-2006, 05:26 PM
Until last year on the free DDP, we ate mostly at the snack places and CS meals. We ate probably 2 TS per week.

Now, I'm going back with free dining again, and I like having my meals planned out. I probably wouldn't pay for the DDP, but I like having it. It helps that my kids need some down time during the day, so we go back for a break in the afternoon then head to an early dinner before going back to the parks for the evening.

08-10-2006, 06:20 PM
Especially on our first couple trips but each trip it seems we do a little less. I enjoy them but do feel that they eat a lot of park time up and we like park time. I also like them more for the atmosphere than for the food and honestly, my kids (18 & 9) prefer the Counter Service food better anyway and that saves me (really DH) money! DD and I were discussing this yesterday and she's like "you know what Mom? I'd rather have Pecos Bill than Primetime or Whispering Canyon." I do however like to do both and will be doing mostly CS with a couple TS's thrown in for good measure on our upcoming trip in December. Can't wait!

08-10-2006, 08:08 PM
Lots of people feel the way you do. Many don't do Table Service for the sheer fact that they don't want to miss the good stuff.

Doing lots of counter service isn't a bad thing - infact, do what is best for you. Enjoy.

08-10-2006, 09:40 PM
When our family went in June for 6 days, we only had 3 ADR's. We were not on the dining plan only because I thought it would be way too much food! We enjoyed the counter service and does allow more free time. Besides, the CS are MUCH cheaper and you can save big bucks going this route! :thumbsup2

08-10-2006, 10:11 PM
We just got back on Tuesday evening and I don't get how folks can eat at a 2 hour dinner every night at DW. By the 5th night we were all sick of planning dinner. Thank God we didn't get the dinning plan it would be a waste for us. We did 3 nice meals in 6 nights and the rest we got counter service. One night DD and I split and appy & salad, and the boys got of course a full steak dinner. When it is hot I just can't seem to eat much more than salad. I really should be much thinner. Maybe its the desserts that I got 3 out of 6 nights. Well it was vacation.

08-10-2006, 10:51 PM
While the dining plan was fun on our first WDW trip last year, I don't think I would do it again. It was way too much food, I did feel like every day revolved around where we were eating, and I missed out on some snack items I would have rather had than an entire meal. I'm a pretty plain eater, so I don't feel the need to try all the restaurants - I'll just stick with the ones I found that I liked and get snacks at CS for the rest. At the end of the day, it will probably equal what we spent on the dining plan...although it sure is nice to order whatever you want and not have to physically hand over the cash!

08-10-2006, 10:55 PM
Our last two trips were 9 and then 12 nights. We like to spread out our park days and do a nice TS on our non park days. It is a great Disney fix after a day of swimming, boating, biking, etc.

08-11-2006, 04:13 AM
Then there are those of us for whom TS meals ARE part of the whole experience. We do CS on the dining plan because it is included, and can be convenient, but when I am on vacation I would much rather have a TS meal; it is not time wasted for us. As stated before, many people don't want to spend the money or the time...or plan their schedule months in advance; we don't mind having a TS meal everyday.

08-11-2006, 07:03 AM
We were going to get the dining plan for our upcoming trip in April 2007, but after seeing half of Epcot and just about all of DTD deleted from the plan, we decided not to get it. We will be doing mostly CS, but I still plan on booking a couple of ADR's for lunch: Tony's, LTT, Sci Fi and maybe Chef's de France.

08-11-2006, 08:46 AM
We've gotten to where the only TS ressies we get are at the resorts for a dinner or two, late in the day, with plenty of time to leave any given park, head back to our timeshare, clean up and go back out. The CS at the parks has really gotten good over the years at most places. I'm personally extremely pleased with the CS at AK. I mean, salmon, roasted veggies & rice? Boy, WDW's come a long way since the hockey-puck burgers and cold pizza from the '70s. WTG!

For our Epcot day(s), we actually prefer the CS places over TS. We absolutely love sampling small things all over the WS instead of getting stuffed at one place.

Like the OP and others have said, we don't care for the stress of having too many ADRs, especially at the parks during the day.

08-11-2006, 08:54 AM
With 3 kids, the dining plan is a good deal for us, even if we don't use TS alot. The Hoop De Doo and a two buffetts -- even if the rest is CS -- pay for themselves since kids are less than 12.00 a day! And, I don't worry about nickle and diming drinks at each meal and the kids get a snack without me thinking "great, another 20.00 down". If you have more kids than adults, it really pays off!

08-11-2006, 09:08 AM
We paid for the dining plan last December and are getting free dining this year. I am on the fence whether I would pay for it again. I really hate having to plan my trip around where we are going to eat. Counter Service is so much more convenient. However I think I hate having to budget and count my money more. If I run out of souvenir money it is no big deal. If I run out of food money it is a real bummer.

08-11-2006, 09:53 AM
We have always done mostly CS meals. My parents didn't have the money for the more expensive meals all the time so we did the CS thing. Now that I have my own family we have stuck to that same plan. It takes less time and you can just pop in and eat wherever. This trip will be different thanks to the free dining. We know where we will be and when we will be there so that will be different, but it does beat eating at 11 or 12 at night everynight. :rotfl2:

08-11-2006, 10:36 AM
I am going to use all of my TS meals on the dining plan - but we are using the majority of ours for character breakfasts with early ADR's so we will be done in time for park openings. That way we have the rest of the day to be spontaneous. We do have two dinner ressie's - Fantasmic dinner package and CRT's the very first night we are there. I also managed to schedule CRT so we will be eating during Wishes - what a way to start out our trip!

08-11-2006, 11:00 AM
I just emailed the owner of the DVC we are staying at in october. I had asked her way back in March to add the dining plan on. But after much discussion with my hubby, we decided we did not want it. Not that its not a good value. But for us I think we will save money and time by now doing all of the TS meals. I have one planned at the end of our stay at O'hanas and may add just one more. We are mostly going to eat cs and try to eat as healthy as possible. I just didn't want to worry about where we had to be at what time. We are the fly by the night kinda people :)

Brian Noble
08-11-2006, 11:15 AM
We have at most 2TS restaurants every 3 days, and generally they are not signature restaurants.

I live in a town with a lot of really nice reasturants, including several really top-notch ethnic places. However, there is no Splash Mountain. ;)

08-11-2006, 12:03 PM
I have to confess, I'm not a restaurant person at all. Not even here at home. To me, food is generally just something you eat for energy. Okay, except fried Cheetos--they're nectar of the gods, LOL!
The one exception I've always made is the character breakfast at 1900 Park Faire. DD1 loves this, and hopefully dd2 will also, when she gets older. Counter service works great for us--we just eat when we're hungry, and go.

08-11-2006, 12:15 PM
I feel exactly the same as the OP...in over ten visits to WDW (always for a week or more) we have only eaten at Chef Mickey's and Sci-Fi. Everything else was always counter service. We always felt our time was so limited that we didn't want to spend it sitting around in restaurants waiting to be served. We will be trying the DDP for the first time in October and there's a big part of me that really hopes we *don't* like it. I know that probably seems crazy to some people, but I want to be motivated by rides -- not food! :teeth:

08-11-2006, 01:03 PM
Thanks so much for starting this thread. :thumbsup2 I was beginning to think I was the only one who didn't want to be tied to a meal schedule. I would prefer to eat when we're hungry and to enjoy all the other great things at Disney. My kids aren't big eaters and I can't see wasting the time and money on big meals. During our 8 day stay, I'm planning just one character meal.

08-11-2006, 04:13 PM
We were able to do the free dining last year and are doing it again this year :banana:
When we don't have the dining plan, we eat CS almost all the time. We may pick one or two TS meals, but that's it.
I doubt we will ever buy the dining plan, but when it is free we really enjoy trying all the different TS places. When we don't have the dining plan we are just as happy with CS most of the time. :)
Maybe my family is easy to please? :rotfl2:

08-11-2006, 08:49 PM
Another vote for CS here. If I had free dining maybe I'd feel differently (booked too late for that - this was kind of a spur of the moment trip brought on by really low SWA airfares), but my family are not big eaters, nor do they prefer lingering in TS establishments when there are rides/attractions to enjoy. I have booked a Chef Mickey breakfast for this trip and we might do one other TS (maybe Whispering Canyon, as we are staying at the WL) but that's probably it. It would be different if it were only DH and me...I'd really like to try Boma, for example, but I don't want to pay $26 for my DD14 to eat a few chicken tenders. :rotfl2:

Dopey's twin Dippy
08-11-2006, 11:55 PM
we do not plan any dinners before either. we just like to eat whereever we are at ,or in the mood for. we usually just do cs. sometimes we do go to the other hotels for lunch or dinner, . we just like to play it day by day....

Family Fun Mom
08-12-2006, 12:20 AM
Thanks for all of the replies everyone! :thanks: It makes me feel good knowing I am not alone in my thinking. It looks like our next trip is going to be CS all the way. We will probably do 3 TS meals, most likely we'll do Chef Mickey's, the Hoop Dee Do, and Whispering Canyon. They were our favorites from our free dining trip. Maybe we'll do CRT, too (a big maybe). When we went last year it was the hottest ticket in town and impossible to book. I'd like to dine in the castle at least once.

08-12-2006, 02:03 AM
In our 20 trips, we have done 4 character breakfasts and one Hoop-Dee-Doo. The rest have been CS. TS doesn't appeal to us as much as CS because we don't want to be tied down to a meal schedule.

We are familiar with the CS offered in each park and that helps. I think it is essential to know the hours of the CS because it can be frustrating to get hungry in the evening and not have a CS open in your vicinity.