View Full Version : Help! I need opinions on QS vs. TS DP with Alzheimer's mom with us (a little long)

05-04-2009, 07:22 AM
I'm having a tough time, here. We have always done the DP plus plan. I love siitting down for one TS meal each day. I've done it for years with or without a plan. It's a time to enjoy each other and I like it better that way than QS. QS, counter service, it's in and out real fast and it doesn't really afford the atmosphere to chat, etc. Your not served, either. There's three of us involved on making a choice of DP as myself, hubby and mom.

Last year, we took my 87 year old Alzheimer's mom and we had the free DP plus plan. The TS meal was a little rough on my mom. She can't eat too many of the dishes; because, she eats without teeth (her choice). She likes simpler foods and she can eat the same thing over and over again and like it. Also, the informal atmosphere of the QS places are probably easier on her; although nosier. Hubby and myself enjoy the TS meals, moreso. He's vegetarian and it's just better for him with TS; otherwise, he's eating veggie burgers and pizzas all day long almost everyday with QS only. I wheelchair my mom through the day and it's a nice rest for me, too with a TS meal. It's not easy for me doing this; because, I'm older myself. I feel it's like a reward to me to sit down and have a TS meal together. We get a late start like 11am (my mom has other issues, as well) and I want to stay in the park usually until it closes or gets too cold; so, the break with TS is very appealing to me in many ways.

This year, we have the offer of free QS with our package for a value resort. I can upcharge at $10/per adult X 3 and do the TS plan. I'm a numbers cruncher and I feel we won't get good value with this extra cost added on to upgrade our dining package. I don't want to upgrade on resort; this would make it even costlier. We can afford Disney by getting a freebie like the free QS plan. I probably wouldn't go otherwise or I would skip a few years to return again. Also, I feel the QS places will be more crowded, now with this being the freebie for value resorts; so, I'm not happy on that count. I believe (I've looked at the menus) I will get more value from the free QS plan, but I feel two of us would enjoy the one, TS meal each day with DP plus. It is afterall, all of our vacations; so, I don't mind splurging a little.

I will do one TS meal OOP; because, we want to do the CP package. The cost of that CP package (even the cheaper choices) goes a long way towards the upcharge of converting over to the DP plus package. Last year they allowed a TS credit to count towards a CP package with DP plus. You get the added benefit on the Fantasmic package, as well, if you book it for your trip with a TS credit.

So, should I upgrade or stay with the QS plan? I would like to hear different opinions. I think it will help me decide to get another slant about it. We are there for ten days. With late starts we find this necessary. Also, we are using two days to go to Sea World.

05-04-2009, 09:18 AM
I think I'd upgrade, even if I didn't think I'd use all the credits. Since you're only paying the $30 per night difference, don't worry about getting the most value out of the plan. The CP package and F! package would go a long way towards covering the cost, and having the preferred seating would likely make it easier on all of you.

My grandmother had Alzheimers coupled with mobility issues and other health problems, so my mother & I had to work around some of the same issues when taking her out to eat (never at Disney - she didn't fly - but at home and traveling to visit family). We found a couple things that worked for us that I think might work for you at Disney.

Buffets are good. Though not as relaxing as a sit down TS, you can count on there being some soft, simple options available. I don't know if you're interested in character dining, but if not, there are a few non-character buffet options, some of which are very good. We loved Tusker House at Animal Kingdom; it has a lot of fairly simple things like roast pork, salmon, and such, but also some more creative dishes with a little African/Indian flair and is VERY vegetarian friendly.

Also, don't forget the kids menu. Have you considered requesting an adult-sized kids meal for her if you're eating at a TS location that doesn't have anything that would work on the adult menu? Quite a few posters have reported doing this for picky adult-aged kids, and Disney is so accomodating of special needs that I don't imagine they'd give you a hard time over doing the same thing for your elderly mother. Since all the kids menus have mac & cheese, basic chicken breast, grilled fish, etc., she'd always have some simpler choices to fall back on. That would also give you the option of choosing a two credit meal to use up some of the credits from you Sea World days. Brown Derby uses 2 credits and is usually the easiest F! package to get because people on the dining plan don't want to pay 2 credits for it.

Breakfasts might also be a good choice, though I'm not sure if they would fit into getting a later start to the day. Breakfast foods are usually soft and simple even at the nicest restaurants, and breakfasts/brunches were some of our most relaxing dining experiences with my grandmother.

Good luck to you in whatever you decide! I can't imagine how much work it must be to take a loved one with Alzheimers and other health issues to Disney World, but I can only hope that my children are willing to go to such lengths for me when I'm that age!

05-04-2009, 09:29 AM
Well, since you mention you are a numbers cruncher (a kindred spirit:goodvibes) I understand. You would be talking an extra $300 (10x3x10) so maybe you should stick with the QS plan and just add a few extra OOP table service meals to satisfy hubby. Any chance you can leave your mom in the room so you and DH get some alone adult meal time - well just a thought? For 3 adult TS dinners you might easily spend $100 (with tip unless you are light eaters) so if you do go OOP, I would think about doing lunches which are slightly less expensive.Another comment, you mentioned something about the Values getting free QS - I'm not sure what you are referring to. Did you get a pin? We are going during free dining, but doing the DDP and also staying at Value. Hope it all works for you.

05-04-2009, 10:00 AM
There seems to be a lot of people who have received this promo even if it's a pin. Value resort guests have to upgrade/upcharge for the dining plus plan which is free for Aug./Sept. guests. Moderate resort guests get DP plus. The upcharge to go moderate is not worth paying the price difference to upgrade the meal plan.

I feel this is a sign of value guests not being included in free DP plus in the future. I feel that's one of the reasons a QS plan was created. Enjoy your promo this time; because, next time will be iffy.

05-04-2009, 10:17 AM
I have a Mom with mobility issues and I know where you're coming from with that. Although she doesn't have Alzheimer's she uses a wheelchair any time she is walking more than from a car to a restaurant door. I would probably upgrade because I would want to be able to sit and relax at a table service meal instead of counter service which seem a lot busier or at least some of them do. After shopping at the mall with my Mom, I'm looking for a restaurant to sit and have a meal at. I can't image pushing her in her wheelchair for more than a day. I give you credit for taking your Mom to WDW. My Mom wouldn't be able to handle it so its wonderful that you can. It has to be a lot of work for you. Have a wonderful trip whatever you decide to do.


05-04-2009, 10:41 AM
I know how you feel being a number cruncher :goodvibes -- I'm a number cruncher too. We have free DDP for our August trip so we don't have to decide like you do, but we have an almost 2 year old who just doesn't sit still so we've decided to make a few ADRs for TS meals and just convert the rest (provided they allow us to do that) to CS meals. While we'd love to do a sit down each night I just don't think our littlest one will let us and it will make us all miserable trying to distract him while we eat (not to mention how it will affect our fellow diners). We're going to do early dinners at Kona, LeCellier and Coral Reef and just wing the rest.

05-04-2009, 11:54 AM
Sounds like you're talking about the pin code offer...but instead of taking that offer & having to pay to get the table service, have you looked into going during the actual Free Dining offer that's available to the general public right now for booking in late August-September 2009. You can still book it (I think it's available for booking until early June) It is the same as last year - you can get the Plus Dining (1 Ts, 1 Qs, 1 Snack) for free even if you're staying at a Value Resort. Just a thought.

05-04-2009, 07:06 PM
and we don't like the Florida humid weather especially when it's in the 90s. I've done the fall free dining a couple of times and between the rain and high temps I can't see doing it anymore. You can get lucky with the weather, but we haven't been that lucky. I was always fearful of a hurricane, too. This is peak season for it and that's why Disney gives the free dining plus for it. I don't want to push a wheelchair in that kind of weather, either.

I thought about the 4 for 3 offer and the Flower and Garden show time; because, I felt that was a very good deal. I decided if we go back it's for the Christmas activities. I probably won't do it next year. I really want my mom to see Christmas at Disney.

Thanks for the hint, but I'm stuck on Christmastime.

Chuck S
05-04-2009, 07:18 PM
My Mom is 85, and has to be in a wheelchair for the parks as she has had 3 hip surgeries. She does not suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's (thank goodness) and is ambulatory at home. The parks are just too much walking for her and her bad hip.

I agree, you should upgrade to the standard DDP, as the chair navigator, mealtime should be relaxing and a little restful. If she likes simpler foods, have you tried Liberty Tree Tavern at MK for a late lunch? They have a yummy and very tender pot roast and a good roast turkey. These may be like comfort foods for your Mom, and she should be able to eat them even without her teeth.

05-04-2009, 07:29 PM
because I think I will need the rest myself. Also, through all your suggestions, I think I may be able to satisfy my mom more if I get a little creative about it all. I like the suggestion of doing a child's meal in adult proportions. Liberty Tree Inn sounds good, too. Keep the ideas and comments coming. I still need a little shove to do it. I have a while before I have to decide to be in my 90 day window for TS reservations.

Chuck S
05-04-2009, 08:06 PM
Just wanted to clarify about Liberty Tree. The pot roast and full menu is served ONLY at lunch, which is why I recommended a late lunch seating. Dinner is served family style and is a set menu, and isn't nearly as good.

05-05-2009, 11:02 AM
Bete you might want to post a question on the disability board to see if anyone there can also give you some suggestions. My DH and myself are planning a trip to WDW in December to see the Christmas decorations, etc. I can't wait. Hope you have a wonderful time with your Mom.


05-05-2009, 09:22 PM

I am a youngster, but have a little sister who is now 16 and quite the picky little eater. For many of the Disney trips I am the foodie, and planner. I would upgrade just for the sake of rest, and not continously eating the same thing. We normally go for 10 days to the world, and only eating one QS a day, it starts to get a little old. I have went back to places I remember seeing food that is not crazy out there, but will offer a vegetarian option for your husband, softer food for your mom, and then other great options:

Chefs De France in Epcot: Mac and Cheese on Vegetarian Menu, soft, and oh so good! Then there is a Veggie Lasagna as well, haven't had that one, but did see it and it looks so good.

Restaurant Marrakesh: I know a little strange to name this one, but the Couscous there is outstanding, the beef is really tender, and just falls off the fork. Then the couscous is really tender. The spices are also very mild, nothing to wild. They have a Veggie Couscous as well!;)

Coral Reef: Not too bad, great atmosphere! With all the fish dishes, and what not, then also the Mushroom Ravioli, which when we were there looked absolutely amazing, though I am partial to mushrooms ;)

Rose and Crown Pub: Oh the Chicken here is so good! Super tender and juicy! Also sitting out on the patio and watching Illuminations, highlight of the our trip that time!

Mama Melrose: Now this is not my favortite place, but it does pasta dishes, and how can you not go wrong with Pasta?

50's Primetime: Oh time for a good laugh here. Super enjoyable and fun. Many options for softer food with pot roast, meatloaf, etc.

Did not like Hollywood and Vine, now Sci-Fi, sorry

Haven't been to Tusker House, we really enjoyed Yak and Yeti though, but unsure about Vegetarian options or food being soft enough


Crystal Palace: Buffet, so many options...

LTT which was mentioned above- deff. would do Lunch!

Tony's Town Square: Ok so my father makes homemade Italian food so I struggle to go to Italian places, and always get something that we do not make, it wasn't bad considering, but watching Spectromagic on the patio here at night, another highlight of one of the trips. Just makes everything a bit more magical, and pasta, can't go wrong there :laughing:



Boma: Buffet, yes it is African but my lil sis was quite the picky eater, and this was one of her favorite places. Nothing is too out there, and so many options, and alot alot of softer items, and they have the best desserts. The highlight HUMMUS BAR!!! haha, we love hummus. also mac and cheese, fries, rice, carving station etc. great place!


I do not know how she feels about characters, but Chef Mickey's just for memorable experience, and it is a buffet

The Wave: Has many options that seem like they would be right up your alley


Maya Grill- Many option for your mom, have not been there, but heard wonderful things, do not know about vegetarian

Grand Floridian:

One again a Character, but it was tons of smiles! 1900 Park Fare: You get to see Cinderella can it get better? Buffet, many options

Old Key West:
Olivia's: Great Prime Rib, tender tender tender!


Buffet kind of in a way, family style, but the meat is tender, and no crazy spices

Kona Cafe: Great food! Lots of options for everybody. There is a noodle bowl that works well for soft foods. Then we always Mahi Mahi, which is superb! So good, and then for desssert, we are going back to childhood here with a Kona Kone :)

I can not review on any of the other resorts for we have not eaten there...


Wolfgang Puck Express- This is a QS but I wanted to say that the mac and cheese here is great :), and so aren't any of the pasta dishes, well worth your QS meal,

this is what I would do, with your mom's health restrictions I would ask for a fridge for your room so lets say she can't finish everything, maybe you can take some back to your room for later that night, same goes for your or your husbands meals ;)

Hope this will help!

05-08-2009, 09:25 AM
I gave this more thought and I think I need to do what's easier for my mom which in the long run will be easier on us. She's never been one to go out to fancier restaurants and such, anyway. So, to pay OOP really doesn't make much sense for us. When we did Disney free, TS dining last year we went to alot of the TS places belleatheart mentioned (thanks for your extra effort, here) and it was a challenge for my mom. It was free TS dining; so, I think it was worth the effort last year to do it. She is worse with outbursts now and for the sake of all others at Disney it will be best to do QS this year. We will probably even do half our QS at the resort. We can even bring back the food to the room that way.

As stated before we will do one TS for the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. I'm going to keep those costs down; since, it's OOP by going to the Biergarten for lunch and see the early CP show. I'm safer on the earlier CP show; because, it's lighter outside if I have to exit in a hurry with her and it will be warmer, too. I may do a nicer dinner when we go to SeaWorld for two days out of our trip; since, we will be out of Disney proper.

Now, I will say if a better deal comes along from Disney, whether it's free TS dining or the 4/3 deal, etc., I will reconsider options at that time. It's more worth the effort for TS, if it's free. Then I don't have to feel bad about her leaving most of her meal, etc.

Again, I still have time to change my mind, but this is where I stand, right now. I think I knew this before I posted, but I wanted to see if I would change my mind.

Thank-you everyone for the pros and cons presented. I'll let you know if I do upgrade or not, if I change my mind.