QSDP with young children: Please share your thoughts/tips

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by 2Pirates2Princesses, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. 2Pirates2Princesses

    2Pirates2Princesses DIS Veteran

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    Ok, so in a previous thread I discussed going back and forth about deciding between the regular DDP and QSDP in terms of what would be best for our family and what would be a better value. We are booked under the free dining promotion and staying in a family suite at AS Music so the QSDP would be free, but the better value would be in upgrading to the DDP for just a little over $131. The cost of gratuities and the upgrade would essentially be less than the cost of three character meals for our family. But....we are really feeling concerned about committing to 7 ADRs, and this was the initial concern we had. This will be our first trip with our four children, they all have different temperaments and our DS8 has significant special needs, so we know we will need as much flexibility as possible without feeling pressured to get to an ADR at a certain time, get to a park/resort at a specific time, or stay in a park to keep an ADR if our plans need to change. We are thinking that our original plan of sticking with QSDP may be the way to go for these reasons and to just pay OOP for maybe two character meals that we really want to do. Also our kids are very picky eaters and we like that we can get two snack credits (and the free refillable mugs) with the QSDP. A lot of people seem to have a lot of good things to say about the QSDP as well. So for those of you who have done QSDP with young children (ours will be 2, 4, 9, and 9 during our trip), would you care to share any tips or suggestions based on your experience (such as the counterservice restaurants that worked out the best for your family). I think our plan would be for me or DH (with the help of our oldest DD) to wait in line and get everyone's food while the other parent stays at the table with the other kiddos so that we won't have to deal with handling multiple trays and the counterservice lines with all our kiddos at once.
     
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  3. Liltx

    Liltx DIS Veteran

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    1. Share meals. Two adult meals and one or two child meals should be enough at each sitting depending on what you order. Not really to save credits but to not waste too much food.

    2. Make a list of which cs locations would work for your family in each park so you don't have to think too much and waste time deciding what 6 people will eat.

    3. My kiddos love cereal and milk. We would pick this up in the morning at the food court in the morning and they would eat it waiting for the bus. This was one snack credit each. They also liked the muffins/fruit we would save from dinner as our dessert. Then we would snack again around 9:30-10:00.

    4. Order a case of water from costco. For $7 case it is the best deal and easiest way to stay hydrated.

    5. Eat when you are hungry and don't worry about saving credits. We never run out and usually have leftover.

    6. With so many snacks we found that meal times were important to have good nutrition so we had yogurt, veggie sticks, fruit cups as dessert portion. Then the kids would have icecream, cake, popsicle with a snack credit at another time of the day.

    7. The resort gift shops have trail mixes (some rather healthy) that are easy to carry with you to make sure your children have the protein energy thoughout the day. These are a snack credit.

    With so many little ones I would suggest you pick character meals OOP that are served family style. Otherwise you will end up standing at the buffet counter non stop and that will not be relaxing IMO. The Norway princess, poly lilo and stitch, garden grill, castle, would all be options for this.


    Have fun!
     
  4. almburr

    almburr DIS Veteran

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    Be prepared to not be able to stake out a table for people to wait at in all CS places. I noticed that they are kind of directing people around so people who stood in line then try and find a table cant find one because people are camping out waiting.

    We to are looking at the QSDDP for a trip. We did love the DDP and really loved the DDXP.
     
  5. rnorwo1

    rnorwo1 DIS Veteran

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    We have always bought the DDP but are going to get the QSDP this next trip for many of the reasons that you listed. We have young children so we don't stay at the parks all day, so when we are in the parks I don't want to spend an hour to an hour and a half at a restaurant every single day... it's fine for a few meals, but it does completely take away our ability to be spontaneous and change park plans because of the ADRs. Also, we end up taking turns entertaining the kids at the table for such a long time, it's not that relaxing of an experience (and my kids are very well behaved, it's just normal for young children to get antsy after awhile.)

    There are some great CS options at the resorts, DTD, and in Epcot where the food is really good (WPE, Contempo Cafe, Tangierine cafe, Flame Tree BBQ, etc) so you may not miss out on the "nice" meals as much as you think if you choose the CS wisely.

    As the PP said, they are now tending to prevent people from holding tables while others are in line, but it does work ok because they escort you to a free table relatively quickly. I would stay away from places like Sunshine Seasons (Epcot)though... although the food and variety is pretty good there, it is spread out and can be hectic with so many kids wanting different things, can be really hard to stay together. If you're going during a busy time, it can be "frazzling" to get everyone together.
    Good luck!
     
  6. 2Pirates2Princesses

    2Pirates2Princesses DIS Veteran

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    Thank you all for great tips :thumbsup2 . I am pleasantly surprised by how many nice cs options there are. We are definitely thinking of doing Earl of Sandwich and Wolfgang Puck Express in DTD. We also want to try some cs meals at a couple of the deluxe resorts (like at the Poly) since we will only do 2-3 character meals; and this will give us a more varied cs experience while still being convenient to/from the parks.
     
  7. dmoore718

    dmoore718 If you think being a firefighter is tough, try bei

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    We did the QSDP in 2009 with 2 girls 2 and 3 at the time (this time we are doing it again with a 5, 4, and 1 y.o.) The 3 girls will either share 1 or 2 meals, depending on what it is. The snack credits are great!! We used them for cereal and milk in the morning. We are going to 2 TS meals and got GC for Christmas to pay for those. Enjoy!
     
  8. Macgyver91

    Macgyver91 Mouseketeer

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    We would always get fruit as their dessert and a sometimes bottled drinks so that it could be used as a snack later. We also found out that if you are at a restaraunt or food stand that doesn't offer a kids meals available, your little one can order an adult meal. We took advantage of that rule at the turkey leg place. We would all eat that for a snack and later share a meal with the little one and it all came out even. Unfortunately for us the kids are considered adults now so no more good deals, now we move to sharing the larger portion meals to stretch our meals farther and waste less food.
     
  9. MinnieGi

    MinnieGi DVC/BWV & HHI

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    Big fans of the QSDP here!! We just used it for the first time during our Christmas week vacation and for us and our kids it worked out great.

    Our kids do NOT like having a sit down meal each day. We have done DDP before and they complained about going AGAIN to a restaurant. Plus its sometimes hard to get to appointed restaurant at said time and maybe cut an activity short ...like swimming.

    QSDP allowed us complete freedom. We ate when we were hungry. HOnestly I only ate one hamburger (by choice) the whole time and that was 8 days! I was impressed with the varied menus at cs spots. The Epcot countries were great for cs variety as well as resorts but even many park spots had variety.

    Another big plus for me was I didn't have to cart around snacks in my backpack for our family. Everyone had two snack credits, if they needed a snack we stopped at a cart of store and got one! We did end up with 12 extras at the end which we bought 12 Mickey Rice Krispie Treats for gifts and for us to bring home. :)

    We paid oop for one meal - HDDR on Christmas day which worked out great.

    For our family QSDP worked out great!
     
  10. 2Pirates2Princesses

    2Pirates2Princesses DIS Veteran

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    I think having the free refillable mugs and the two snack credits are also a big draw for us and will reduce how much I plan to order from Garden Grocer. With two snack credits and two cs meals, I think we will only need to order a case of bottled water, a case of Mt Dew for DH, milk, my coffee, coffee creamer, and some breakfast cereal and pastries for the room. My kids are picky eaters and don't eat very big portions so the two snack credits will be great for them (since you can use snack credits for a la carte food items). The only snack items we will probably order from Garden Grocer are fruit snacks, Goldfish crackers, and juice boxes. These are favorites for my kids and I don't think we can make it waiting in lines and navigating the parks if they don't have their 'fix' of these :lmao:
     
  11. herdtoDisney

    herdtoDisney DIS Veteran

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    Our trip is not till Feb. but we are doing the QSDP also. Like others have said, we want the flexibility and don't want to have to worry about ADR's. I've been researching CS places here and in my Passporter, and it looks like I can get through the whole week without a single burger :laughing: (nothing against burgers, just that I don't want to spend a whole week eating them).

    OP, I think your biggest challenge will be getting the food to the table-but your plan to have dh and 9yo do that will work. I've read about people not being directed to seating till after the line, but I would imagine, in your situation with a child with special needs, that a CM would let you get seated while dh gets the food. I'd ask.
     
  12. WantToGoNow

    WantToGoNow DIS Veteran

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    Just as a side note, the kids QS meals are not very varied - pretty much the same options everywhere. Also, I wouldn't count on being able to share 1-2 meals for your kids. The kids meals are rarely enough food for my dd7, forget about it with ds9 and you have two 9 year olds.
     
  13. 2Tiggies

    2Tiggies DIS Veteran

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    True, at least for the older ones. The 9 year olds will easily eat a kids meal each. Your 2 year old won't have meal credits could probably share with the 4 year old with no need to order anything else, unless either or both of the adults are not big eaters, as by contrast, the adult portions are substantially large.

    Yes, the kids meal selection can be very repetitive and lack variety at some locations, but with a bit of research and clever planning there is plenty variety to be had. You don't need to plan where you will eat your CS meals, but I have found it useful to know right off the bat of at least two restaurants in each park that will offer a little more than the standard fare for kids so when tummies start rumbling you don't end up running around in circles, frustrated because someone is whining that they don't want mac n cheese for the fourth time in a row.
     
  14. MinnieGi

    MinnieGi DVC/BWV & HHI

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    JMHO don't order the pastries - think Main St. Bakery, Starring Rolls Cafe, La Patisserie etc. We would use one or two snack credits in the morning and pick out some yummy pastries to share between the four of us for a mid-morning snack - SO GOOD!!
     
  15. MinnieGi

    MinnieGi DVC/BWV & HHI

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    We were there during Christmas week and there were several cs places doing just that. However it worked out that by keeping people out of the eating areas until they had food equaled plenty of empty tables once you had your food.

    However I do think that was a thing they do for their very busy times only.
     
  16. lynnebla

    lynnebla Mouseketeer

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    We did QSDP in 2009 with a 9, 4 & 2 year old. We had plenty of food to share with the 2 yo, since she didn't have any credits. At the end of the trip, we went into the food court at our resort & used extra credits to get drinks and snacks for the trip back home. We did do 2 meals oop, but that's because my kids have to eat at McD's by the All Stars and Golden Corral on each trip to Disney. This was the first time we had used the dining plan because my kids just can't handle sit down meals all the time, so it never seemed worth it before. We found plenty of variety by looking into the various cs in all the parks and finding interesting ones. Now we're doing it again in March with a 10, 6, 3 & 1 year old and everyone has their favorite meals their looking forward to.
     
  17. Brook1099

    Brook1099 DIS Veteran

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    We have always done the DDP and this past year DDXP with two kids, while the food places we are were fabulous, sometimes the kids ( 10 and 9) were either hungry before our scheduled dinging times( so they would eat snacks and pretty much waste a lot of their dinner) tired ( which is always a problem when dining w/ kids, heck sometimes I am tired and cranky). So as we were stuffed to the hills on our last day of our trip this past Nov. with numerous meals and snacks leftover we decided without hesitation we are going to do the QSDP this upcoming trip. I think it is going to be great when Johnny is hungry at 11am and I am not I can get him lunch then and I can go back somewhere and get mine when hungry. I really enjoy the CS restaraunts already. The freedom of time is probably going to be priceless as well, and cheaper....yeah!( especially with both kids are going to be considered and adult this year.)


    So I would definately go for the QSDP!
     
  18. DCDisney

    DCDisney On my way...

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    As long as your kids like the types of food served on the QS plan I think you'll be fine. It sounds like a better option for you. Especially staying at All Stars where they have a massive food court it's easier to get some variety. I would plan on potentially buying some extra food out of pocket though. When my son was 9 the amount of protein serving in the kids meals was not enough for him (4 chicken nuggets or 1 chicken leg). I usually shared extra off my meal but there were occasions where we bought him extra snacks and even a whole burger once. He wasn't a particularly big eater either. You also won't be getting any food for your 2 year old whereas if you did ddp and had a buffet or all you can eat meal each day the 2 year old would eat free. If they are a tiny eater it probably won't matter but if all your kids are eaters you'll be needing to buy extra food.
     
  19. 2disneyboys

    2disneyboys DIS Veteran

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    We just got back :sad1: from another (2nd) trip using QSDP and once again, loved the freedom of it. my sister & her family also went and they did not do any dining plan. because we were there during the busy week (12/26-1/2) on all the times guides were 30% of coupons if you ate lunch before 11:30/12:00 (there was something about dinner too, but we didn't do any of that) to help out my sister & family (who was paying for her meals) we did our best to eat around 11;30 each day... this ended up being good in 2 ways... #1.. saved her money (always good) #2 saved us all time/hassle. none of the restaurants were busy at all when we would get there around 11:30 (walk right up to the counter etc) by the time we were leaving (between 12 and 12:30... lines were stretched WAY outside... we were able to order our meals in peace, eat without a lot of jumble of people and crowd...obvioulsy WDW was trying to shift the stampeed by encouraging (with discounts) people to eat during off times

    all that to say that we love the freedom and flexibility of the QSDP and we highly recommend to avoid crowded eating times for your meals...
     
  20. delmar411

    delmar411 DIS Veteran

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    we use the QSDP with little kids and I find it works very well for us. We can order a few meals for everyone to share or get a bunch of snacks to share whenever someone is hungry. We don't really enjoy the sit down meals as we have to do buffets due to an extreme picky eater so counter service meals work nicely.

    We order only adult meals in places that have unappealing kid meals and then save the kids credits for use at the resort where they can get something better than in the parks.
     
  21. KELLY

    KELLY DIS Veteran

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    Love the QSDP. We didn't enjoy the regular plan beacuse we were so resticted with time. I have a 5 and 2 year old and one would be napping in the stroller when we went to eat. Then would wake up and I could get her something. We ate 2 Ts meals so we had 6 extra CS meals for a 10 day stay it worked out great. This year she isnt' free but we missed the FD booking date so did the kids play free and we added the QSDP.

    One of the meals my girls always request is T-rex and that isn't on the dining plan. We are thinking of upgrading to POFQ and will still keep the QSDP. My 2 year old just shared with us. Dh and I don't do breakfest but we always used a snack to get them something and it worked out great. There is lots of great options also. I only ate 1 burger at peco's and MK but I do like there burgers.
     

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