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Old 05-09-2013, 08:06 PM   #16
NorweJenNY
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I second the idea of cheesecake for breakfast! We were often so full at the end of the day while on the DDP, that we couldn't eat all our dessert after dinner - package it up and save it for breakfast! Then we don't waste time waiting on lines for breakfast in the morning -just eat the leftover dessert to fill our tummies and head straight to the parks!

I so often forget or almost forget to request the large drinks with quick service meals... especially helpful if you're sharing meals to stretch your credits. Write that one down.

Carrot cake cookies at the Writer's Stop in DHS are HUGE and so filling. One of them could be a snack for two, if not a *meal* for two!

And eating at Wolfgang Puck Express in DTD is great - first, after you place your order at the counter, they bring it to you with anything else you might need... so it feels kinda like TS for a CS credit. Furthermore, their dinners are easily able to feed two people.
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:10 PM   #17
fabulousfive
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Yes for us having a late character breakfast everyday saved us money because it was both breakfast & lunch combined into one! It's a way of stretching the meal plan, not necessarily making sure you are spending the most at each meal. And plus, as a side note, with little kids we like to do the big meals early in the day before crankiness and missed naps catch up with us at the end of the day. We feel we're having the happiest sit-down meals that way too!

We did do one character lunch and that morning we all split two cinnamon rolls and had coffee to tie us over. Another day we were really hungry in Epcot and found you can get croissant sandwiches as a snack in France which may have since changed.

But overall, we will always stick with a late big brunch to make it count for two meals & keep all happy.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:31 PM   #18
froggy922
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Wow, everyone has given such good advice, tips, and insight! Thank you for all the responses! I'm taking notes!
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Old 05-10-2013, 07:27 AM   #19
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Our family always gets the regular Dining Plan and we always have left over snack credits (and sometimes CS credits) that we are desperately trying to use up on our last day (i.e. packing chocolate covered rice crispy Mickey heads in our luggage to take home). We have never worried about "stretching DP credits" because we find that there is so much food that we always have left overs anyways.
I always get my early morning coffee in my refillable drinking mug. We have an early CS lunch beginning around 11am. If someone is hungry before this time then they can get a fruit or a yogurt snack.
We have our TS dinner around 6pm.
The desserts that you get at both your CS and TS meal put us over the fullness threshold.
This works great for us.
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Old 05-10-2013, 09:02 AM   #20
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Be sure to check out the current snack list and make note of items that work as small meals. ie. jalapeno pretzels or chicken fried rice.

If choosing Wolfgang Puck for CS in DTD, (a good value for credits in my book) be aware that the servers DO expect tips. Most CS will not even accept them, even BOG during lunchtime.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:11 PM   #21
melissafox18
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We were so insanely full after our last trip with dining, we barely used all of our credits. They give you a TON of food (even with a CS meal). I brought cereal bars snack on in the morning with our coffee (in our refillable mugs) and we headed out to parks for rope drop most mornings. We actually did 2 big breakfasts (Kona Cafe and Crystal Palace before MK opened) and we still came out ahead. Those days were kind of nice because we had full bellies going into a busy day at the parks.

Days we just ate cereal bars and coffee, we went to attractions that got busy first (Toy Story Mania, Space Mountain, etc.) and then used our snack credit for a quick late morning snack. MK has Main Street Bakery with awesome cinnamon rolls and HS has Starring Rolls with tons of pastries and killer cupcakes. There are food carts with big pretzels as well.

Don't do what we did as a first time dining plan person and ration your credits. We were scrambling the last day to use up our last QS and final snack credits. It's more food than you realize.

Since our trip was booked kind of last minute, we had odd times for TS meals which actually worked in our favor. We ended up with late afternoon reservations which meant we only really needed 2 meals a day and sometimes we split a QS meal because we were still full from our TS (or we did an early QS and shared before our early-ish TS dinner ressie). Good places to share a meal: Flame Tree BBQ in AK and Pecos Bills and Cosmic Rays in MK.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:23 PM   #22
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One more thing - I have also found that you can get a bottled beverage as your dessert at some QS places! So if you're stuffed, you can get one dessert to share and one bottle of water to walk around the parks with. We pretty much always had a light breakfast which we'd use one credit on or pay out-of-pocket (coffee & pastry) and then QS for lunch and TS for dinner.
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:41 PM   #23
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Some cs places will let you have a bag of chips instead of a dessert, handier for carrying around as a snack than a dessert option.
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:05 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HubbDave View Post
I would guess that most (not all) people have dinner as their big meal...
They were looking to stretch their dollar

Dont forget, free ice water at all beverage service spots

What do you mean by free ice water at beverage service spots? Do you mean i can get free ice water at the snack stands where I would usually buy bottled water? Will they fill my sports water bottle (that I brought from home) with free ice water?
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:20 PM   #25
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You can get cups of free ice-water from any location that serves fountain drinks (which you could then pour into your water bottle). The water is filtered and tastes a little better than the water from the fountains.
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:44 PM   #26
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The answers for this are SO dependent on your family and how you eat on vacation. And while monetary value is one way to analyze this, real life value is another.

We mostly skip grains in my family, so making the dining plan work best is a bit more of a challenge. Breakfast of a sweet roll isn't going to work for us, so here are a few things we're keeping in mind:

--Order fruit for dessert at TS restaurants--We've gotten HUGE servings that end up being a major breakfast component for a couple of days. One of us might order cheesecake to split if we have a taste for it, but the other usually gets fruit.
--Know where your personal snack credit break off is--For us, it makes sense to save up snack credits for F&W festival, so everything under $3 will just be out of pocket. Pickles & apples OOP, pinapple and melon DDP.
--Protein heavy snacks are hard to come by, but keep me filled up way longer than carbs. Hard boiled eggs can be found at Sunshine Seasons and hummus can be found quite a few places. I'm keeping an eye out for other options.
--Late Breakfasts have only worked OK for us. We had trouble getting seated at Tusker House and Crystal Palace and ended up abandoning TH after a 90 minute wait. Early breakfasts usually keep us filled up to well past lunch, buffets work best. Again with the protein....
--Great ADRs can be picked up last minute easily. Don't panic if you don't have it all sorted out 5 months in advance. Get the app if you have a smart phone, find out where to call in the parks if you don't.
--Don't stress too much about it! If you get too caught up in the game of the DDP, it defeats the purpose of the DDP. It's great to get your "money's worth," but don't deny your kid (or yourself) the Mickey Bar because you were saving that credit for something tomorrow at a different park. Get a gift card at Target if you feel better having a safety net.

It'll be a GREAT time and you'll have a wonderful vacation!!
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Old 05-10-2013, 03:00 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marblies View Post
You can get cups of free ice-water from any location that serves fountain drinks (which you could then pour into your water bottle). The water is filtered and tastes a little better than the water from the fountains.

Good to know! Thanks!
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Old 05-10-2013, 03:08 PM   #28
writersblock42
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Lots of good tips. I would say eat your biggest meal at lunch time. This also gives you a break in the middle of the day.
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