Split Stay Dining Plan-I learned several new things

Anne

Well-known member
We had a 3 resort split stay with 3 different dining plans. It turned out to be a pain and I found out more than I ever wanted about the dining plan. In case this helps anyone else:

There tend to be issues on the day reservations overlap. We were aware of that from previous trips and knew to check at the front desk for them to do whatever it is they do to make sure the old credits that will expire at midnight are used first (we had credits expire in the past because the plan redeemed the new credits instead of the old on check out day and that was a whole process to fix). It's never been an issue before if we stopped at the front desk. This trip every little thing was an issue.

It turns out they don't have a way to flag the old credits to be used first. They just transfer the old credits to the new reservation and they don't actually expire at the end of the day. This is a positive in many ways since we were able to carry our snack credits through all 3 reservations and not worry about using them up on 3 different days.

The first snag was that the first night was deluxe. The middle stay regular. The final stay was deluxe again. They can't transfer credits over between the types. For the first transfer I had to tell him how to allocate the deluxe credits. They had to be transferred to adult and child regular meal plan credits. Which is a downgrade if you are doing a standard TS meal you won't get your appetizer. It wasn't an issue for us because we had character/buffets planned for those credits. But thinking he was doing us a favor the CM transferred more to adult credits than what we needed. For the next 2 ADRs I had to have them charge my 8 year old as an adult so he could use the extra adult TS meals. That meant more tip for the same buffet (although technically I could have tipped based on what I would have paid for the child meal, but I would have felt like a jerk). I suppose I could have gone to the front desk but was just not up for the hassle. In fact one of the servers thought he was helping us out by changing the 8 year old back to child thinking he had found a mistake since our plan said 2 adults 2 children and the ticket said 3 adults and 1 child. That would have been a disaster because we had a 2 credit meal coming up and then would have only had 1 adult and 1 child credit left which couldn't be redeemed together for a 2 credit meal. Ugh!

The reverse, going from regular to deluxe can't be done. They understandably won't upgrade a standard TS or QS to the higher value deluxe credits. They were able to forward our snack credits easily between all 3 plans. We only had 2 QS credits remaining on our check out day, but I was dreading a deluxe credit (which were all ear marked for TS meals) being used for a QS meal that day. They told me "no worries, the magic bands are set up to automatically use the old credits first" hahaha! We discovered first hand throughout the stay that the magic bands have no idea what they are doing and that led to our second issue.

On check out/check in day when you scan your magic band sometimes it pulls up the old meal plan, sometimes the new. There seemed to be no pattern. We had no problems at breakfast with the new plan credits showing up. Then at dinner we were told "all your credits are gone" when we scanned in. And it was "no problem" we just needed to charge the meal to the room and then go to the concierge at our hotel with the receipt and have them do a refund. "This happens all the time". My reply was "It shouldn't". NO WAY was I going to wait the 30 minutes for a concierge (which is what the wait was EVERY SINGLE TIME during the busy Thanksgiving week) to fix something that was their tech problem. I already spent 30 minutes that morning in order to avoid this very thing happening. I called the hotel number (in the app under "your resort"). Spoke with someone who said they "closed out" the old reservation and we were checked into the new hotel and now it should be "no problem". The server returned, scanned the band again, still got the old reservation "no credits left". The woman on the phone said to have them call the hotel if there was still an issue. So the server had the manager do this and they got it worked out without me having to charge to the room. This whole process of course slowed down our meal considerably.

This issue with not being able to access credits (either old or new that we were trying to use) occurred multiple times throughout the trip. 4 times at TS meals. 2 times at snack locations. This even happened on the SECOND day of a new resort stay, it still pulled up the previous meal plan and said we had no credits left. One time the CM just gave us the snacks for free (nooooo we already have too many snack credits :RpS_lol:). On our second transfer the front desk gave us the "99 number" for the meal plan which she thought would be a work around to be sure we could use our QS credits and not accidentally use the new deluxe credits. Apparently each meal plan has a unique number that starts with 99 that the CM can enter manually to pull up the dining plan you want to use. That works for TS meals but at any QS or snack location they can't do anything with that number. So it didn't end up helping for our remaining QS. The good news is that the CM at the QS could tell me that the band pulled up a meal plan that said 2 QS and 0 snack and 0 TS credits left, so I knew they were using the correct credits on check out day. If the band had decided it would pull up the new reservation we would have been out of luck, I would have had to charge to the hotel room and then go to the concierge to have it fixed.

Hope this information is helpful for anyone else who may have an upcoming split stay with a dining plan. As far as I can tell, however, there is no fool proof way around some of these issues.

One other thing about the deluxe meal plan. They were pretty liberal about letting the kids order from the adult menu if they wanted. In the official terms for the deluxe plan on Disney's website they specifically state that children 3-9 on the deluxe plan still need to order from the children's menu "if available". At Tiffins my older son specifically wanted an item from the adult menu. The server said he wasn't sure, checked with a manager and said it was ok. At T-Rex (shudder, the youngest begged to go here) a non-Disney owned location, the server was almost gleeful when she encouraged the boys to order off the adult menu.
 

hizouse

Member
Thanks for the report! I found it pretty interesting. And unfortunately not very surprising in some respects. Depending on the length of the various stays, the hassle would make me consider, in your situation, sticking the deluxe plan on the middle stay and doing cash the rest of the time. I wonder if there's any way to get your refillable mug early.

In your next report, I look forward to you nailing down the definitive answer to sharing credits.
 

Anne

Well-known member
I agree, in future it might be better to try to avoid days where the dining plan overlaps. This trip the middle stay was 3 nights so if we had done no plan there it would only be 2 days without a meal plan. That was my original plan, but then one of those 2 days was our California Grill brunch. With recent price increases the brunch for 2 adults, 2 children is roughly $325 before tip OOP. The cost of the meal plan credits (not even factoring in snacks or refillable mug, allocating the full meal plan cost to the meal credits only) was $224 before tip. So I caved and got a plan for that segment too. Brunch is a nice meal, but I'm not sure I can justify even the $224 price tag :-(. Or in hind site the added meal plan hassle it generated.
 

George

wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tag
I agree, in future it might be better to try to avoid days where the dining plan overlaps. This trip the middle stay was 3 nights so if we had done no plan there it would only be 2 days without a meal plan. That was my original plan, but then one of those 2 days was our California Grill brunch. With recent price increases the brunch for 2 adults, 2 children is roughly $325 before tip OOP. The cost of the meal plan credits (not even factoring in snacks or refillable mug, allocating the full meal plan cost to the meal credits only) was $224 before tip. So I caved and got a plan for that segment too. Brunch is a nice meal, but I'm not sure I can justify even the $224 price tag :-(. Or in hind site the added meal plan hassle it generated.
CG Brunch was definitely a splurge, albeit a nice one, when it was $80pp. At over $100, it’s moved into the FOMO category, with prices to match.
 

DopeyRunr

the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts f
CG Brunch was definitely a splurge, albeit a nice one, when it was $80pp. At over $100, it’s moved into the FOMO category, with prices to match.
Yeah that's crazy. Our experience with a 1pm ADR was disappointing (they closed the buffet promptly at 2 without warning, they ran out of the macarons they usually give for dessert) and definitely not worth $100+.
 

George

wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tag
Yeah that's crazy. Our experience with a 1pm ADR was disappointing (they closed the buffet promptly at 2 without warning, they ran out of the macarons they usually give for dessert) and definitely not worth $100+.
On top of all that, after brunch we were pretty much done for the day until 7pm. #naptime
 

Anne

Well-known member
We definitely didn't enjoy it as much this time. The entrees weren't as good and I wish they would change up the buffet a little for repeat visitors. As we left my husband was saying he didn't feel like it was worth it even with the dining plan. Except we are committed to going in March because grandpa is on that trip and it was his favorite last time. I wish you could do a buffet and mimosa only option for $50. That feels reasonable.
 

Anne

Well-known member
In your next report, I look forward to you nailing down the definitive answer to sharing credits.
We are back from our December trip! I asked 2 CM servers who had been there for many years. They said no problem using credits for someone else. One recalled the policy change 2-3 years ago that allowed sharing and no change since then that she is aware of.
 

George

wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tag
We are back from our December trip! I asked 2 CM servers who had been there for many years. They said no problem using credits for someone else. One recalled the policy change 2-3 years ago that allowed sharing and no change since then that she is aware of.
Sorry you’re back. 😥

But thanks for the info. I’ve got several months to decide what we’re going to do.

Did you do a Plan this time? I can’t remember. If so, how did the credits work with the split stay?
 

Anne

Well-known member
We did have a plan this trip but no split stay. A quick 3 night anniversary trip with my husband. So nice to get away!!! We were both on the dining plan so I didn't have a chance to try out any credit-sharing, just ask about it. It is crazy how much we spent on food!!!! I did the calculations and for what we wanted to do the dining plan was still our "best" option. Although we obviously could have spent less with QS OOP.
 

George

wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tag
We did have a plan this trip but no split stay. A quick 3 night anniversary trip with my husband. So nice to get away!!! We were both on the dining plan so I didn't have a chance to try out any credit-sharing, just ask about it. It is crazy how much we spent on food!!!! I did the calculations and for what we wanted to do the dining plan was still our "best" option. Although we obviously could have spent less with QS OOP.
We used to both be able to do the DDxP no problem, but for some reason we just can’t eat that much anymore. As it is, it’ll be a challenge to even split credits with only one on the Plan. We only do Dx because we don’t care for QS.
 

Anne

Well-known member
We used to both be able to do the DDxP no problem, but for some reason we just can’t eat that much anymore. As it is, it’ll be a challenge to even split credits with only one on the Plan. We only do Dx because we don’t care for QS.
We can't eat that much either. It really is too much food. We had a lot of wasted food which is hard. Or we didn't order everything included in the meal. We had a few fixed price meals where we couldn't share a meal so the dining plan still "saved" us $ compared to OOP, even without consuming everything that was included. Looking strictly at quantity of food needed, having one person on the deluxe plan and splitting each meal would have been plenty to keep us fueled for the trip. I still struggle with how wasteful and gluttonous I feel when we do the deluxe plan.
 

hizouse

Member
We are back from our December trip! I asked 2 CM servers who had been there for many years. They said no problem using credits for someone else. One recalled the policy change 2-3 years ago that allowed sharing and no change since then that she is aware of.
Thanks, Anne!
I am tempted to split up my family of 5 into 2 rooms, with 1 having the deluxe plan. But Pop prices (up 20% in 2020) and desire to avoid All-Stars will probably counsel against it. We've already rented DVC points for our 2020 trip anyway, so we can't change that. Already thinking about the next one....
 

Anne

Well-known member
One other thing about the deluxe meal plan. They were pretty liberal about letting the kids order from the adult menu if they wanted. In the official terms for the deluxe plan on Disney's website they specifically state that children 3-9 on the deluxe plan still need to order from the children's menu "if available". At Tiffins my older son specifically wanted an item from the adult menu. The server said he wasn't sure, checked with a manager and said it was ok. At T-Rex (shudder, the youngest begged to go here) a non-Disney owned location, the server was almost gleeful when she encouraged the boys to order off the adult menu.
Of course this was too good to last. As of 1/1/20 deluxe and QS credits will be broken down into adult and child pools.


I realize we were on occasion getting more for the kids than we paid for. But it was some nice flexibility that is now gone since the kids only occasionally wanted an adult choice :-(

I'm not surprised they changed things. I saw people posting online they made a campsite reservation for 2 adults and 5 fake kids on the deluxe plan and then used the credits all for adults. Or one person put her child in a room with grandma and used all the credits for mom, dad, and grandma and paid OOP for all the child. And I suppose it was tough on the servers who don't want to say no to requests as it can impact their reviews and compensation. So at least they didn't tell the servers to stop making exceptions without having the credits reflect the policy.
 
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hizouse

Member
Well, rats. I suppose there's still value in sharing the Deluxe plan, even without turning kids credits into adult credits.

Is Casey's Corner the only QS place that doesn't have separate kids meals? I wonder if it will take kids credits. It had previously been suggested that no kids meals at Caseys was one of the main reasons that QS credits weren't separated into kids and adults credits, though that seemed like a pretty easy problem for Disney to solve if it wanted.

My 9-year-old isn't going to be happy about being restricted to the kids menu at QS.
 

George

wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tag
Well, rats. I suppose there's still value in sharing the Deluxe plan, even without turning kids credits into adult credits.

Is Casey's Corner the only QS place that doesn't have separate kids meals? I wonder if it will take kids credits. It had previously been suggested that no kids meals at Caseys was one of the main reasons that QS credits weren't separated into kids and adults credits, though that seemed like a pretty easy problem for Disney to solve if it wanted.

My 9-year-old isn't going to be happy about being restricted to the kids menu at QS.
Couldn’t you say he’s 10 and pay the adult price if he always wants adult entrees? Or is that defeating the purpose?
 

Anne

Well-known member
It says children must order off the children's menu "when available " so if no kids menu then they should be able to order off the regular menu with kids credits. California Grill brunch doesn't have a kids menu for entrees and the kids were able to order off the regular entree list and still use kids TS meal credits.

I'm thinking for March we might just put 1 kid on the dining plan and have them share those credits for the character, buffet, and fixed price meals. For standard TS they can share with adults if they don't want a kids meal option.
 

Anne

Well-known member
Couldn’t you say he’s 10 and pay the adult price if he always wants adult entrees? Or is that defeating the purpose?
The snag is then everything is adult, adult tickets etc. And then you have to go into MDE and edit DOB which doesn't always work. I've thought about that for my oldest. He will be 9 when we go in March and he's mostly into adult food. It's still a larger volume of food than he can eat so it doesn't really make sense to get him an entire adult meal plan. But I'd be willing to pay between adult and kids price for him to get the adult meals in smaller portions. I wish they had a "junior" meal option but realize that gets complicated.

I should add you definitely could pay OOP for a kid to get an adult meal at TS or QS. But if you have a dining plan that often results in extra unused kids credits.
 

hizouse

Member
Couldn’t you say he’s 10 and pay the adult price if he always wants adult entrees? Or is that defeating the purpose?
Yes, what Anne said about making him an adult for all other purposes. Part of the potential arbitrage is the big difference between adult and kid prices. $55 vs $26 per day for QS, $78 vs $30.50 for regular, $119 vs $47.50 for deluxe. I've never done this (never had a deluxe plan, never had any plan with a kid who wanted to order adult meals), but any time you can pay for a kids credit and use it for an adult meal is a pretty big bonus.

The biggest ordinary benefit of the regular dining plan, in my mind, is using kids credits for character meals and buffets. All of the character meal lunch and dinners cost more for a kid out-of-pocket than 1 day on the regular dining plan. The character breakfasts and non-character buffets are all pretty close if not over. That benefit also goes away for the 9-year-old if I treat him as an adult--and the amount of food he is entitled to and will eat at these places would be exactly the same either way.

ETA: Also, Blaze Pizza is another QS with no kids meals. Some breakfasts (e.g., Boardwalk Bakery) also don't have kids meals, though breakfast usually isn't a valuable use of QS credits.
 
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deedee73

Member
I think that we will not see much change in practice...it has always been my experience that if a child wants an adult entree thatvDisneybwill serve that but in a smaller portion if asked. The point is this isbDisneyband theybknow kids dont all eat the same thing or same manner. I truly believe if asked they still will accommodate the child to make their trip magical.

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