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Old 08-15-2013, 03:42 PM   #1
blondie511
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Question Children's Meal Portions - any advice for me?

Today, I read a review on another website that the children's meals on the dining plan (for ages 3-9), are extremely small for a 9 year old. One person said she complained to Guest Services at her resort that it just wasn't enough food for her child and they upgraded his childrens' meal plan to the Adult meal plan for free. Two questions: if your child is 8-9 years old is it really enough food for them, and have you ever heard of a meal plan being "upgraded" from "children's" to "adults'" for free in such a case?
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:46 PM   #2
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I find it difficult to believe that they upgraded the child for free, I wonder what kind of stink she raised to get that done. I've never read here about anyone having that done.

You can upgrade the child before you arrive, but you have to register that child as a 10 year old and buy adult tickets if you are on a package.
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:52 PM   #3
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Portion are one if many reasons the dining plan makes no sense for us.

The portion for the kid's cheese pizza at CRT was so small it was laughable for my then 8 year old son. He's let us know that he will be ordering the noodle bowl at Brown Derby rather than the kid grilled cheese (raising our bill by $22 lol). Etc.

On the other hand he has been satisfied with the Sanaa kid cheese pizza though he does sample from our food too.

I would rather budget more to feed the kiddo rather than try to get a plan upgraded.

Ad there are plenty of lighter eating kids out there for whom the plan works just fine.
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Old 08-15-2013, 04:19 PM   #4
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Depends on many factors, IMO.

We have never had an issue with portions on the regular dining plan, and we've always had at least 1 child on the kids plan when we've gone. The reason is this - We rarely have soda AND a dessert with meals at home (at least not every meal of the day) - so even if the meal is on the small side (3 chicken strips and fries)...The extra calories from the soda I USUALLY let them get on vacation (sometimes it's milk) AND the dessert (chocolate cake) - make it plenty for a single meal. For the rare times when it hasn't been enough - we have snack credits and can always pick up a mickey ice cream bar an hour later if the tummy wasn't full enough at the meal.

We also share a lot of our meals...so between the adult portions (in some cases HUGE) and the kids - we all eat plenty between all of us.

For TS places - book all buffets if you're concerned about it - adults and kids can eat as much as they want of everything there. This is another reason we don't usually bat an eye at a small portion at the CS meal for that day - Oftentimes we know we're going to be eating a TON at the buffet meal later in the day so honestly we don't want to be 100% full at lunchtime.

And unless it was a very difficult guest, that I'm assuming YOU don't want to be - I doubt they upgraded for free. The rules for the dining plan are spelled out all over the place and you have no obligation to buy it, if, for example, you think the kids meal sizes will be too small for your family. Also - you are always welcome to upgrade your child to adult for a fee. If the kids plan doesn't work for you I wouldn't complain or even want to get it for free - either don't get it at all or pay for the adult plan.
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Old 08-15-2013, 04:40 PM   #5
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My son is a very active 7YO going on 8 and we have never had a problem with size. IMO most of the Kids meals are enough to feed an adult. If your child is fine with a kids meal at any of the fast food chains you will have left overs from Disney CS. As far as the TS I have never seen my son finish one.
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:00 PM   #6
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The WDW kids meals are much smaller than what you would find at a typical fast casual chain restuarant. The serving size of protein is very small--4 nuggets, 1 chicken leg, etc. We don't do a lot of sugar and my kids would have milk at meals since they were having desserts and snacks but as they got to the higher end of kid range it wasn't enough food for the amount of activity they do each day--no stroller and average size kids. I knew this going in and planned accordingly. We'd use the kids CS credits for breakfast which was nice and then pay OOP for an adult meal for them to share. Half an adult meal was usually way more food and way better options. At TS mostly dinners depending on how late it was, snacks, etc if we felt like they would be hungry we'd order them a soup or salad OOP. It wasn't that much money over the course of the trip but we really only did DDP if it was free once the kids meals weren't meeting our needs.
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Old 08-19-2013, 09:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCDisney View Post
The WDW kids meals are much smaller than what you would find at a typical fast casual chain restuarant. The serving size of protein is very small--4 nuggets, 1 chicken leg, etc. <snip>
Actually, wouldn't they be almost exactly the same? 4 nuggets, 2 sides, 1 drink is the standard at all of the big chains (fries & fruit are the sides). At chicken places, it's generally 1 chicken leg, 1 side, 1 drink.

It may not be enough for certain kids, but it's a typical kids' meal, not a small one. At any of the places, Disney or otherwise, you pay to upgrade, either the meal itself or by adding a side, etc.

A kid's meal at Disney averages about $5. Our local McD's have their kid's meal at about $3. However, prices are much higher in the heart of the city or near a popular attraction, so I consider the Disney prices to be just as typical as their serving sizes.

When we first went to Disney as a family, I was actually surprised that the food prices were pretty reasonable for a theme park, and that there were so many meals that would feed 2 either on their own, or by adding a side dish.
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brymolmom View Post
Depends on many factors, IMO.

We have never had an issue with portions on the regular dining plan, and we've always had at least 1 child on the kids plan when we've gone. The reason is this - We rarely have soda AND a dessert with meals at home (at least not every meal of the day) - so even if the meal is on the small side (3 chicken strips and fries)...The extra calories from the soda I USUALLY let them get on vacation (sometimes it's milk) AND the dessert (chocolate cake) - make it plenty for a single meal. For the rare times when it hasn't been enough - we have snack credits and can always pick up a mickey ice cream bar an hour later if the tummy wasn't full enough at the meal.

We also share a lot of our meals...so between the adult portions (in some cases HUGE) and the kids - we all eat plenty between all of us.

For TS places - book all buffets if you're concerned about it - adults and kids can eat as much as they want of everything there. This is another reason we don't usually bat an eye at a small portion at the CS meal for that day - Oftentimes we know we're going to be eating a TON at the buffet meal later in the day so honestly we don't want to be 100% full at lunchtime.

And unless it was a very difficult guest, that I'm assuming YOU don't want to be - I doubt they upgraded for free. The rules for the dining plan are spelled out all over the place and you have no obligation to buy it, if, for example, you think the kids meal sizes will be too small for your family. Also - you are always welcome to upgrade your child to adult for a fee. If the kids plan doesn't work for you I wouldn't complain or even want to get it for free - either don't get it at all or pay for the adult plan.
So, it's an option to upgrade to an adult meal plan? (We took advantage of the free DDP for our trip in early September.) Our kids are all very small for their ages but they are good little eaters! A Happy Meal is definitely not enough food for my 44-lb seven year old. (Similarly, he, his 6-year-old sister & 5-year-old brother can easily eat two--and sometimes three!--Uncrustables with fruit & chips when we pack those for the zoo.)

We don't let them eat chicken nuggets and none of them care for French fries, so they'll always choose the fruit/applesauce option when available. They'll drink milk at least two meals a day so that will fill them up a little but we also have a 2-year-old who will be sharing meals with all of us too. (We ARE doing character meals every day so we'll be able to fill them up at the buffets.)

Any advice is appreciated!

Thanks so much!
xo,
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:55 AM   #9
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So, it's an option to upgrade to an adult meal plan?
Yes. You need to list your children as "Disney Adults" 10 and older. If you are there for Free Dining, then you have to pay the difference between a child's ticket and an adult ticket. If you are upgrading from the free QSDP to the DDP or the free DDP to the DxDDP you need to pay the additional adult upcharge for the kids you are upgrading to "Disney Adult". If you are not there for FD, you have to pay the difference in the ticket price plus the difference in the cost of the dining plan from child to adult.
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Old 08-22-2013, 04:54 PM   #10
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Definitely depends on the child. Our DS9 has gotten to where kids' meals no longer satisfy him. At McDs, we HAVE to order him the Mighty Kids meals. I thought it might be nice to take advantage of the DDP one last time before he turns 10 but after discussing with my DH, we may just do TiW this time. At least with TiW, he's not stuck with ordering from the kids menu unless he wants to. We've also considered upping him to 10 and paying as an adult but I really don't want to do that either.

On the other hand, DS5 doesn't usually finish his kids meals so maybe DS9 can just polish off DS5's meals.
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Old 08-15-2013, 04:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blondie511 View Post
Today, I read a review on another website that the children's meals on the dining plan (for ages 3-9), are extremely small for a 9 year old. One person said she complained to Guest Services at her resort that it just wasn't enough food for her child and they upgraded his childrens' meal plan to the Adult meal plan for free. Two questions: if your child is 8-9 years old is it really enough food for them, and have you ever heard of a meal plan being "upgraded" from "children's" to "adults'" for free in such a case?
My daughter is 13 and she ate a couple of kids meals at Table Service restaurants on our trip 2 weeks ago and they were enough food for her. Remember that you also have snacks on the DDP so your kids won't starve .
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Old 08-15-2013, 04:55 PM   #12
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My daughter (almost 9) generally doesn't finish the kids meals. They are pretty typically sized in my opinion. If a fast food kids meal is enough, disney's will be enough too.

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Old 08-16-2013, 10:23 AM   #13
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My daughter (almost 9) generally doesn't finish the kids meals. They are pretty typically sized in my opinion. If a fast food kids meal is enough, disney's will be enough too.

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Old 08-15-2013, 09:37 PM   #14
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Personally I've always found them rather small, especially at CS. On our first trip when DD was 4, we ate CS several times and it was laughable how small her meal was (like, 3 small nuggets, a handful of grapes, and a bite size cookie). It's one of the reasons we've mostly avoided CS since then.

The TS kids meals are a little better, but on our last trip DD (9) still needed a little from our plates to supplement most of the time.

But, unlike the majority it seems, we don't let our kids fill up on sugar while we are there. We almost never eat snacks between meals, only water to drink, and one small dessert per day, at most. So they need a filling meal.

I have also never heard of Disney offering a "free" upgrade unless they were getting free dining anyway. But you can definitely pay to upgrade if you think it will be worth it. Or just see how it goes and buy extra food OOP. Remember at buffets and family style TS, the kids can eat whatever they want, so if you are doing many of those, upgrading probably isn't worth it.
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:47 PM   #15
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It depends on the location. My kids can split some kids meals (like they did with the pizza at Tutto) and other times they need their own plus some (namely with the CS locations that serve an Uncrustable with carrots and grapes or four nuggets with a handful of fries). We went to CRT in 2011 and what they had seemed to be plenty for them, of course they may have been less hungry because of all the excitement and we had also ate at the food court just 4-5 hours prior.

If you are going with a free dining discount, the cost to upgrade to an adult ticket (and therefore meal plan) should be minimal. It was about $20 per kid when I priced it out for us. If you are going with the adults stay/play/dine at kids prices, then the cost to upgrade should be nothing. If you don't have either of those, you may want to see if it would be better to pay OOP and allow your child to order an adult meal when needed.
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