Best way to stretch the plus dining plan?

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by Velvis2k11, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. Velvis2k11

    Velvis2k11 Earning My Ears

    Oct 24, 2011
    We (2 adults, 5 kids) are leaving in two weeks for 10 days at DW.

    I have the Plus dining plan. (1TS,1QS,1 snack)

    Someone told me to use the snack credit for breakfast (like for a bagel), others had told me to ship myself a box with snacks in it to the hotel and bring snacks into the park along with water.

    I feel like the meal plan I have isnt enough, but the next one up is overkill and would be an additional $2400 dollars. Also we are doing Cinderella's Castle and I know that uses 2 of the table service credits, so I know I will have to pay OOP for one meal.

    I was hoping you guys would have some insight and tips.

  2. SnipsNSnails

    SnipsNSnails DIS Veteran

    Jan 22, 2011
    We were there a month ago with 6 A, 1 C, and 1 under 3. There was more than enough food! the plan was for everyone to eat their TS and then no CS on arrival or departure. My dad and DH would eat their own CS for lunch each day with my mom and I and grandparents splitting lunch which left us enough CS credits for 3 breakfasts for everyone to split each day. That plan lasted the first 24 hrs. LOL Our second TS was WCC and no one could eat dessert so we took them to go and ate them for breakfast the next day. On our MNSSHP day we had a TS lunch and were going to do CS for dinner. My grandparents didn't go to MNSSHP and were the only ones who had CS, the rest of us did some snacks at the party and never got around to CS. We used some snacks at breakfast for a danish or muffin instead of CS for breakfast. We had plenty of CS left so we used 4 to buy pastries for our early departure day. We used 5 for lunch the last day and I think we had one that we never used. We also used the snacks for whatever we wanted whenever we wanted even if it was just something to drink and had well over 20 to use our last day!

    Unless you have some really big eaters, you should be able to share CS to stretch them. The kids Mickey waffles come with two waffles and bacon. The adult breakfast are very large or you can get two pastries.

    If you buy the mugs, you can save drinks for shared meals not at your resort. My dad would fill his mug at breakfast to dribk and get a bottle of water for later so they didn't have to use a snack credit for something to drink in the park or with lunch. We brought some drinks home in our luggage.

    You will be surprised at how big the portions will be. I swear I was never actually hungry the whole time! we said next time we would do a 2 TS meal because we'd have plenty of CS to cover another meal and snacks to cover breakfast.
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  4. brymolmom

    brymolmom DIS Veteran

    Jun 8, 2005
    I highly doubt you'll need to pay for one OOP.

    We went in August with the same plan with 2 adults and 2 kids (9 and 7) and we paid for little to nothing OOP and did two 2 credit meals too. Some tips/hints:

    1) We always bring a box or two of cereal in our luggage. Puts something in our stomachs and is much quicker to head to the bus stop when trying to get little one's ready.
    2) We rarely order 4 CS meals at a time - it is too much food. We order 3 plus a snack or two and then split them. This frees up CS meals for breakfasts sometimes.
    3) On arrival evening and/or departure we get the pizza deal at the resort food court - 2 CS credits for a large pizza, 2 drinks and 2 desserts. Feeds our whole family and is only 2 credits.
    4) On our day or two sleeping in - we do a big CS breakfast at the food court at 10-ish. Then a 'snack lunch' (the kids love it) of ice cream at the park at about 1-ish, then an early big dinner at a buffet meal.
    5) Use snack credits wisely - hit up Main St Bakery on your way out of MK and get the huge muffins or cinnamon loafs for breakfast the next morning.

    With this and proper planning - we stretch our CS credits way farther and can cover the nights without TS meals due to having 2 credit meals.

    One other trick is to bring sports water bottles to fill with ice water at CS places - saves using your snack credits on water bottles.

    Definitely doable - we did it and had 2 or 3 credits left at the end!
  5. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2010
    It really shouldn't be that hard to "stretch" the regular DDP, with little or no extra OOP expenses.
    I know a lot of people have the first impression of, "It's only 2 meals per day??" But once you consider the portion sizes and snacks, it's more than enough food for most people.

    Some basic strategies:

    -For some minimal OOP additions, either pack some breakfast foods or get a delivery from Garden Grocer. Just some cereal and milk, orange juice, maybe some meal bars. This would allow you to cheaply do breakfast without using any credits. Then you still have your full use of credits for lunch and dinner, plus a daily snack per person.

    -Snack breakfasts -- Fruit cup, yogurt, cereal, bagel, pastries -- all count as a snack credit. Many of those items are big enough to share, especially if your kids are young. (A bagel with cream cheese, 1 snack credit, can easily be enough for 2 kids to share; a large cinnamon roll could be big enough for 2 adults!).

    - Sharing CS credit breakfasts, possibly combining with some snacks. Take the typical platter: Bounty Platter - scrambled eggs, bacon, turkey sausage, breakfast potatoes, biscuit and french toast.
    Combine 1-2 platters with a few snacks, and you have a breakfast feast for your whole family.

    - Sharing CS meals in general. There are some CS meals big enough to split among 2-3 people, such as the Chicken and Ribs Combo at Cosmic Rays. (A moderate eating family of four may be able to split the entire meal!) Your "average" adult CS lunch is still a large portion and may easily be shared.
    And the same goes to TS meals -- You can share TS credits, at non-prix fixe meals. (Not at buffets, not as the Castle).

    If you do find yourself paying for some meals OOP, then plan ahead, and use your credits for the most expensive meals, paying OOP for the cheapest.
  6. 3Minnies1Mickey

    3Minnies1Mickey <font color=magenta>Just wanted to add, this is no

    Apr 8, 2009
    We shared a few meals and had plenty left over. We also had a 2 year old not on the plan we had to share with. We did have some breakfast foods in our room. Plus we'd get a yogurt or muffin for dessert (we aren't big dessert eaters) and save it for the next morning.
  7. Bete

    Bete DIS Veteran

    Sep 14, 1999
    At Cosmic Rays in MK there's a combo chicken and rib meal which can be easily shared by 2 adults. This place is kid friendly, too.

    Starring Rolls in HS has huge sandwiches that can be split.

    Sunshine Seasons in The Land in Epcot (where Soarin is located) has some choices that can be shared, too. Just choose wisely and get a bigger meal that can be shared.

    Even TS can be shared. One person can get the free water and the other get the beverage. Go to the menus of the TS restaurants you are doing and see what the biggest portions there are if you want to share the meal.

    There are plenty of places in the parks and at the resort where snacks can get you real food like soup, fries or egg rolls. There's a thread here that shows all the snacks that have worked to date.

    You can do a buffet and really stuff yourself and then use snacks for the rest of the day and you will save some CS credits that way.

    Finally, if you do pay OOP then keep in mind lunch is cheaper at TS restaurants. You can do CS instead of TS to save that way, too. Some places are cheaper than others. Tusker House is one of the cheaper buffets you can do at the parks.

    Do your homework and research your menu items and you should be fine.

    Most people don't use all the day's portion credits for when they arrive or depart; so, you may have spare credits in a sense.
  8. gigi1313

    gigi1313 DIS Veteran

    Aug 28, 2001
    Two things that i'd like to add...

    i don't know any two kids that could share one bagel and call it b'fast... even my 3yo would balk at that! however, we often split the big b'fast platter at the food courts two and sometimes three ways if we added a bagel and some fruit w/snack credits...

    also, saving credits to use later while paying for a slightly less expensive meal now is not always the best plan and i have seen it backfire with families going OOP for a meal early in their trip and leaving with unused credits due to sickness, tiredness, missed ADR (having too much fun elsewhere?), etc... i would not endorse this plan of action!

    OP, if you understand how the DDP works, and how your credits are pooled per reservation (or room, depending on how it's set up) you can get any combination of 2A and 5C meals at any one time by any one person... so you could start out with just two meals and see how far they take you before getting another meal or two... we often did this because my kids have eyes that are bigger than their stomach and we would end up wasting food... it takes a little longer, but might be worth it in the long run...
  9. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

    Jul 14, 2009
    Here's what I'd do...

    Pack lots of snacks in a carry on bag. We also bring cereal, paper bowls and spoons, cereal bars, etc. for breakfast some mornings. Save snack credits for special items in the parks. A frozen cola/lemonade or a ice cream float is almost $5 but you can use a snack credit for it.

    Use quick service for lunch. Just pay for quick service breakfast, it's cheaper.

    For table service, I like buffets... you can "stuff it" with great food at a place like Crystal Palace.

    Pay cash (not dining plan) for 2 credit table service meals and/or shows.... that's probably the cheaper way to go instead of using 2 table service credits, but you have to figure it out.

    Use the refillable mugs for coffee/soda at the resort. Makes nice souvenirs too.
  10. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2010
    Depends on the child... My 4 yo and 6 yo can't each finish a half a bagel with cream cheese. At most, they will each eat a third, drink some milk, and that's a full breakfast. My wife and I can each be full on 1/2 a bagel with cream cheese. A full bagel with cream cheese is about 450 calories.
    In comparison to a typical at home breakfast for the kids or adults-- 1 serving of Cheerios with milk is about 150 calories. So the standard at home breakfast, is about 1/3rd of that bagel and cream cheese.
  11. Phatoomch

    Phatoomch DIS Veteran

    Jan 8, 2010
    I also thought the same thing when we were going - will it be enough!?! But trust me, we were never hungry. There has been some great advice posted so take note :)

    Our strategy was this:

    My husband and I would get a CS meal (like the bounty platter) for breakfast, you also get a 'dessert' so we would get a muffin or brownie - that would be a snack for later and you get a drink - we would use our refillable mugs then and grab a bottled drink to take to the park.... so far we've eaten breakfast and gotten a snack and a drink for in the parks at no extra cost/credits.

    My daughter (10yrs) did get the CS breakfast at first but it was too big she would leave half so your children could easily share a breakfast. She started getting the fruit bowls or cereal (snack credit) for breakfast.

    The breakfast would fill us up so we'd just need a snack rather than lunch - we've already got two snacks (from the CS breakfast) and we'd use 1 snack credit to get another one.

    By 5/6pm we'd be ready for dinner - main course and dessert. Absolutely stuffed after that so no more food needed.

    We also did a 2TS credit meal however, we didn't use all of our CS credits because our daughter was using a snack for breakfast so we used those on the last day and had a CS meal for dinner.

    I would just take a bag of pretzels around for my daughter to munch on and that was it.

  12. Diegosmom

    Diegosmom DIS Veteran

    Feb 18, 2011
    My 4 year old would also do 1/2 a bagel but he would also probably have some fruit. If I am only eating a bagel I would eat a whole one but if I was having fruit too I could do 1/2.

    To OP I also say pack some easy snack in your suitcase. Where are you staying? Will you have a fridge? And how long is your flight? Reason I am asking cause DS loves gogurts and you can freeze those and put them in your suitcase and you could also use a small cooler and freeze a water bottle...

    If you kids are big eaters it would probably save you to make an order from garden grocers...Pretty easy to hit the $40 min if you order some drinks, cereal, milk fruit etc.

    Also you could pack fruit in your bag. I would go with things like apples and oranges that can last a good part of the week.

    And I would order maybe 2 adult and 1 kids meals at CS and split it. Some places dont have kids meals so you can order adult meals for CS credits. And if your family isnt into the FREE water you can buy some of those drink packets to add to them, they make them in koolaid and gatorate along with crystal light.

    Normally my family is pretty good eaters and we could all easily finish a CS meal at a normal place but I know when we have been out walking all day none of us are as hungry.

    Oh another thing to either pack in the suit case or order from garden grocer is the cups of mac and cheese or raviolli or soup. So if you are in the room for a afternoon break or at night and someone is hungry they can have one of those. (The food court should have a microwave).

    And you could buy a few mugs and share them, No need to buy one for everyone.

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