Stretch Your Dining Budget by Sharing Counter Service Meals

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t_logo_fbSplitting counter service meals is an easy way to stretch your vacation dining budget. Whether you are on the Disney Dining Plan or have decided to pick your spots out of pocket, finding counter service meals large enough to share is a bonus. If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, you can save credits for a resort breakfast before you leave for home. If you are paying out of pocket, you can save $10-15 every time you split a meal. That’s more money for Dole Whips and souvenirs! Appetites can be unpredictable, and I certainly wouldn’t plan on sharing every counter service meal, but knowing that you do have that option gives you some added flexibility when laying out your dining strategy. (If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan and have young ones, don’t forget that kids can order from the adult menu for no extra charge.)

Happy Independence Day! Enjoy this article from new blogger Michael Watson with tips for saving your greenbacks and your waistline. Michael also podcasts and blogs at the delightfully named www.sixthyearseniors.com and knows the power of a good TV theme.

Five Picks for Splitting Your Walt Disney World Counter Service Meals

CarvedTurkeyBoG

Carved Turkey Sandwich at Be Our Guest

Be Our Guest (Lunch) – Carved Turkey/Roast Beef Sandwiches: While a dinner in the West Wing usually requires a reservation 180 days in advance, lunch at Be Our
Guest is counter service. Both the Carved Turkey Sandwich and the Carved Prime Chuck Roast Beef Sandwich are sizable enough portions that many guests won’t need both halves of them to fill up. (Not the Croque Monsieur grilled ham sandwich, though – the portion size on that is significantly smaller.) They both come with a side of unseasoned, but tasty, pomme frites, easily shared by two. However, how to split the Master’s Cupcake, complete with the gray stuff (Lumiere did not lie – it is indeed delicious), I will leave that up to you.

 

La Cantina de San Angel – Tacos de Carne: Dining at Epcot can sometimes be challenging when you consider your breadth of options as you explore the World Showcase. One strategy many find enjoyable is to drink and snack around the world over the course of an afternoon or evening. Why fill up on a full meal when you have so many choices of goodies ahead on your trek? Your best bet is to start in Mexico at La Cantina de San Angel with the Tacos de Carne. Two guests can easily split three tacos, chips, and pico de gallo, even if you get make a mess tearing up the third taco. You definitely don’t need to fill up before moving on, especially with School Bread in Norway, chocolate in Germany, and crepes in France all still to come. Those are what snack credits are for!

 

ChickenFishComboHarbourHouse

Nuggets & Fish Combo at Columbia Harbour House

Columbia Harbour House – Chicken Nuggets & Fish Combo: Columbia Harbour House at Magic Kingdom offers up a variety of seafood and chicken options. If you are looking to split a meal, the chicken nuggets & fish combination platter makes for an easy dinner for two. Five chicken nuggets and two filets of fish can be divvied up several ways, and you have a side of fries to munch on, as well. Unlike the patriotic American spirit flowing through the restaurant, the desserts aren’t adventurous, but with an extra spoon, the chocolate cake makes for a delicious capper to the meal.

 

Flame Tree Barbecue – Ribs & Chicken Combo or Pork Sandwich: There is a lot of bang to be had for your counter service credit at Flame Tree BBQ at Animal Kingdom. The meat portions are all quite large and scrumptious. The combination plate gives the guest a huge piece of chicken AND a ¼ rack of ribs, plus baked beans and cole slaw. Personally, I can’t turn down pulled pork, and the pork sandwich is also a massive chunk of meat on one big bun. The condiment stations are scattered throughout the seating pavilions, so when you load up on ketchup and barbecue sauce, don’t forget a knife to cut your portions for two.

 

ClubSandwichAtWolfgangPuck

Club Sandwich at Wolfgang Puck Express

Wolfgang Puck Express – salads/sandwiches: Some guests specifically avoid the few chain restaurants that are located on Disney property. However, if you are looking to cut costs while at Downtown Disney, Wolfgang Puck Express offers several plates that are plenty of food for two. Both the Chicken Caesar Salad and the Rotisserie Turkey Cobb Salad are large enough to split. The Rotisserie Turkey Club Sandwich was also large, not to mention pre-cut, and came with a good-sized side of fries. In addition to being sharable, these options were a nice change of pace from the usual counter service fare at Walt Disney World.

 

Those are only five examples of what are surely dozens of counter service offerings that can serve two. I didn’t even touch on the numerous options available at the resorts. Which plates are your favorite to share? Do you have other tricks to maximize your Disney Dining Plan? Join the discussion below! Don’t forget to peruse the TouringPlans menus when conquering your next meal-planning puzzle. Menus, restaurant descriptions, and more can be found at the TouringPlans dining home.

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Posted on July 4, 2014

10 Responses to “Stretch Your Dining Budget by Sharing Counter Service Meals”

  • Totally recommend splitting meals at the bakery in Norway. The sandwiches are huge plus you get fruit, dessert and a drink when using a meal plan credit

  • Hey, I didn’t know dining plans could be used at Downtown Disney! That’s gonna be useful knowledge for our upcoming anniversary trip. There is much goodness in this article, and I heartily agree with most of the selections here! I would toss in a good ol’ fashioned burger at Pecos Bill’s in MK. Yes, it might be a bit messy to split a burger, but with the all-you-can-eat free toppings bar, both diners can fill up quickly on things like sauteed mushrooms and grilled onions.

  • Great, great, great advice! We are a family of seven (kids 17, 13, 9, 6, 4), so eating anywhere (let alone at WDW) requires some serious financial planning! Add to that he fact that they are a relatively picky bunch and the level of difficulty increases even more, but that’s another story… Anyway, on our last trip we spent one day at MK, which included lunch and dinner. The seven of us split four counter service meals at each stop – lunch from Cosmic Ray’s and dinner from Pecos Bill’s – and there was plenty to go around. We ordered different entrees and split the sandwiches down the middle. We did bring our own drinks and snacks that day, which is another life (and dollar) saver. But on that day we were able to stuff seven faces with two hearty meals for less than $80 – something we never would have imagined without research, experience, and of course the invaluable advice from Touring Plans! Each entree averaged about $10 per plate and the portions are so generous that no one went hungry in the least!

  • We have split pizza meals at Pizzafari, which come with salad and dessert that helps it stretch. I don’t know that this would always work, but on a really hot day it’s our experience that eating a little lighter and then maybe having a snack later is a better choice anyway.

  • We split pretty much every counter service meal while in WDW. It’s a great way to save money and it’s always enough food for us. The one place we don’t split: Earl of Sandwich. I need my own Holiday Turkey sandwich! Yum!

  • We always share a meal with one of the kids and save enough credits to build in another meal. :) My 9 year old loves being able to get an adult meal with a counter service credit. She’s finally starting to get tired of traditional kids fare! The portions at Flame Tree and Wolfgang Puck Express are huge!

  • You mentioned that children may order off the adult menu at no charge a quick service eateries. I thought Disney Dining plan said that kids must order of the kids menu whenever there is a children’s menu offered. Is that no longer the case?

    • You are supposed to however from past trips I realized that counter meals are only on your card as counter meals there is no adult or child, only sit down is broken up like that

    • If you look at your remaining credits on any receipt, you will see that Disney makes no distinction for QS meals. There is a single line item for QS. There is no way for them to tell whether you are using child or adult credits. Obviously, TS meals are a different story.

      • Yes, we found this out last year. I asked a cast member at Port Orleans to check how many credits we had left on our plan and when I asked her to break the counter service credits down into adult and child, she said it didn’t matter and they’re all just “CS credits” – yay! So instead of using two child credits for brekfast and having my girls each leave some of their meal, we ordered one adult entree for them to share instead and saved a credit!!