Maximizing Snack Credit Value on the Disney Dining Plan

DSC_7750


Snack prices at Walt Disney World vary considerably, and snack credits included in all of the 2014 Disney Dining Plans, even $2 differences in snack prices can add up over the course of an entire trip. Since snack prices are lower than Table Service meals and Counter Service meals, there’s generally less of a difference between high and low snack prices than there is between high and low priced meals, but it’s still worth paying attention to snack prices if you want to maximize your total value on the Disney Dining Plan. Here are our top ways to use your Snack Credits on the Disney Dining Plan.

Since there are exponentially more snacks available on Disney property than there are other items, some snacks aren’t always available, and their prices can fluctuate (most prices have increased incrementally on the Disney restaurant menus), it’s not feasible for us to give a dollar-to-dollar breakdown, so this is more of a general top 10 than our Table Service and Counter Service credit-value maximizing articles.

Changes to this list for 2014 are revisions of price ranges. There aren’t many substantial changes from 2013, as most big changes occurred with the opening of New Fantasyland. LeFou’s Brew, the specialty beverage somewhat akin to Butterbeer (not in taste) from Wizarding World of Harry Potter, made the list thanks to its $4.50 price. The Warm Cinnamon Roll available at Gaston’s Tavern did not make this list due to its price. However, it’s a borderline good value, and it’s worth noting that this is a cult favorite among Walt Disney World fans. We don’t care for the Cinnamon Roll, but we are definitely in the minority for that! The other signature item at Gaston’s Tavern is the pork shank (pictured above), and unfortunately, it is not a snack.  

Items that qualify as snacks for the  purposes of the Disney Dining Plan are denoted by a little purple and white “DDP” symbol on the restaurant menus across property. Some items that are considered snacks in some locations aren’t considered snacks elsewhere. Make sure to consult the menu before ordering any item you deem a “snack” as Disney may not agree!

Lobster Roll - the BEST way to use snack credits when on the Disney Dining Plan

1. Food & Wine Festival Kiosk Snack Portions -If you’re visiting during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival (late September through November, yearly), read no further than #1 on this list. During the Food & Wine Festival, you should be using ALL of your snack credits at the temporary kiosks set up during Food & Wine Festival. In past years, snacks priced all the way up to $7 have been considered snacks on the Dining Plan. At $7+, the lobster roll above is the absolute best way to use a snack credit at Walt Disney World, in terms of value. Check out our Epcot Food & Wine Festival Snack Reviews post for other good values and a listing of our favorite snacks. Normally, if a snack exceeds around $4.50, it is excluded from snack credit status, making those $6 and $7 snacks a great use of snack credits! Let’s just hope Disney doesn’t wise up to this wonderful use of snack credits anytime soon, and start excluding these foods from Snack Credit “status.”

DSC_2421

2. Dole Whips, Dole Whip Floats, or Citrus Swirls – Ahhh, the legen (wait for it) DAIRY Dole Whip. ;) We love the Dole Whip so much that we made a “Dole Whip Appreciation” page here on the blog. (The moment you make a blog page “appreciating” a Disney snack is a no-turning-back moment of geekdom.) Of course it was going to make an appearance on this list. While the Dole Whip itself isn’t a great use of a snack credit, the Dole Whip Float, priced just above $4, is a great use of a  snack credit. Likewise, the Citrus Swirl, which returned in 2012 after a long absence, itself isn’t actually a great use of a snack credit, but it’s so delicious that it gets a shout-out here. If you want to maximize your value, definitely go for the Dole Whip Float. Kids, if you’re reading this, Dole Whips are a nutritious dining option any time of the day. Trust me, I’m a doctor. (Minor Note: juris doctor–not doctor of medicine.)

DSC01188

3. “Homemade” Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches – These are not the ice cream sandwiches that you can find at various ice cream carts every 10 feet in Walt Disney World (I really think there might be more of them than there are DVC kiosks!). These, for lack of a better term, are “homemade” right in front of you with freshly baked cookies and hand scooped ice cream at only a few locations in Walt Disney World, the most popular of which being the Main Street Bakery in the Magic Kingdom. We are big fans of the Christmas and “Birthday Cake” (pictured above) varieties sometimes available at Sleepy Hollow and Electric Umbrella.

4. Zebra Domes – These bad boys can be elusive. Sometimes, you can find them on the Boma buffet at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Sometimes, you can find them for sale at Mara. If you’re eating at Boma, get them there for “free.” If you’re not eating at Boma, use a snack credit to get them at Mara, where their almost-$4 price makes them a good use of snack credits. That is, assuming you can find this endangered species of snack!

5. Butterfinger Cupcakes - …Or any specialty cupcakes available at Starring Rolls in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Thanks to exposure on some big-name podcasts, this item has recently become exploded in popularity. Believe me, it lives up to the hype. It’s so rich and decadent that Sarah and I can barely finish it even when we split it, but it’s soooo good. And priced around $4, it’s an excellent use of a snack credit!

6. Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar – A plain ole ice cream bar that is merely shaped like a Mickey head? Minus the Mickey shape, you could find this anywhere, right? RIGHT?! Wrong. There’s something magic in the…err…milk(?) that they use to make these bad boys, and somehow, this readily available ice cream bar is really something special. Seriously, if you’ve never given it a chance, you owe it to yourself to try this iconic treat. This is one case where an item that is mass-produced and available everywhere really lives up to (and exceeds!) the hype.

Walt Disney World 311

7. Napolean Cake – Epcot has two stellar permanent snack locations in the World Showcase. One, the Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot France, is where you’ll find this delicious treat. There are about 10 items here that each exceed $3.45, which, in my mind, qualifies them as reasonably good values. A few items are priced at $4, making them excellent values (unless you’re visiting during Food & Wine Festival!).

8. LeFou’s Brew – This signature beverage of New Fantasyland has already proven quite divisive. Some people love its sweet apple taste, others find it to be an overload of glorified sugar water. We both happen to like it, but it definitely is sugary. Since this is the signature drink of New Fantasyland, you should at least give it a try (we recommend ordering one cup for your party to split to start, and then ordering more as necessary). For a snack credit, you can get a “normal” cup of LeFou’s Brew, but not the souvenir goblet. Don’t lose too much sleep over not getting the goblet, as the it is poorly made and might not even survive your trip home.

9. Key Lime Pie – If you can’t make it “all the way” to the World Showcase, make a stop at Sunshine Seasons in the Land pavilion, where there are a plethora of $3.50+ snacks, including the excellent Key Lime Pie. You really can’t go wrong with any dessert at Sunshine Seasons, but based upon our scientific studies, this is the best dessert offered, and a great use of a snack credit.

10. BabyCakes NYC – Okay, so this is a place rather than a specific snack. Sort of a cop-out, I know. Much like the Butterfinger Cupcake, BabyCakes NYC has set the Disney community ablaze in recent months. Unfortunately, since this explosion, Sarah and I have not had the chance to test BabyCakes’ gluten-free and vegan desserts (fear not, carnivores, as most good desserts (besides BBQ Ribs Ice Cream) don’t have meat in them, anyway). However, based upon the resoundingly positive word-of-mouth surrounding this place from trusted friends of ours, we’re willing to put BabyCakes on this list based on reputation alone. Obviously it also has several items on its menu that meet the “value maximization” requirement for inclusion on this list, too!

If this list doesn’t activate your sweet tooth, I don’t know what will. This just scratches the surface of value-maximizing snacks (and snacks in general) at Walt Disney World. Remember that while value is important, ordering snacks you enjoy is even more important (which is why you’ll often see us with the cheap School Bread from Norway instead of expensive snacks)!

Hopefully this list helps you get more bang for your buck on the Disney Dining Plan. Check out our Value-Maximizing tips for Counter Service restaurants and Value-Maximizing Tips for Table Service Restaurants to get even more value out of the Disney Dining Plan!

For updates on Walt Disney World, the latest news, and tips, sign up for our free monthly newsletter!

Your Thoughts…

What tips do you have for getting the most out of the Disney Dining Plan? If you have any tips to maximize your value on other Walt Disney World snacks, please share them in the comments!

468 ad

52 Responses to “Maximizing Snack Credit Value on the Disney Dining Plan”

  1. Niki says:

    I really want a Dole Whip right now. At least I can get one in 37 days.

  2. Carl Tanner says:

    Hi Tom,

    This would be great info to incorporate into my new hobby site, a mash-up, http://food.wdwhub.net. I hope to create a value index. Is there an online source where you got your info, or is this your own notes? I could give you credit like I did for disneyfoodblog.com and touringplans.com.

  3. mitzi says:

    I was disapointed in the Dole Whip Float. My favorite snack was the sweet creamcheese filled pretzel at the Lunching Pad. The desserts and pastries in France were also fantastic.

  4. Kevin says:

    I was watching a video about snack tips and i heard her same dole whips and didn’t know what is was until i saw your pictures. I will have to bring the family their for that refreshing snack this summer.

  5. Shannon says:

    if you like to be early risers and have kids, use your snack credits for cereal and milk from one of the many quick grab stores in the resorts that way they’ve had a quick breakfast and you can get to the parks earlier. Then you can plan for a big lunch in the afternoon when everyone needs a break.

  6. stacy says:

    Going to disney in Oct with my 3 kids..First time at disney for all of us! Should we purchase the dining plan? And if so what plan should we go with? Thanks

    • Anita says:

      Could you move your dates up to take advantage of the FREE DINING that Disney is offering … ??? We’re going at the end of August and first week of September to utilize Disney’s Free Dining plan. It’s our first time staying in the park and first time having the dining plan. Looking forward to it.

    • Ms Harper says:

      I would definetely get the dining plan because if you pull up restarant menus the prices can get expensive. I purchased the dining plan that offer a quick service meal,snack and a table service meal.I figure if we get a buffet breakfast for our quick service meal, they probably wouldnt want a another big meal till dinner.

      • David says:

        You probably found this out since I imagine you are already back from your trip, but my guess is there are no true quick service breakfast buffets – you would be using a table service credit for most, if not all, buffet meals, breakfast included.

  7. Jen says:

    My personal favorites are the cinnamon roll at Main Street Bakery and the caramel cupcake at karamell kuche in germany. So many people don’t understand how to get the most out of the dining plan!! It kills me when I see people using snack credits for drinks! The last couple of trips I’ve brought a list (from allears I think) of all the snack credit options available in each park/resort.

    • Kristina says:

      We also tried to utilize our dining plan to its full potential. Tried the wonderful School Bread in Norway at Epcot . . . WOW it was amazing!!!!! I so want that recipe. YUM!

    • Meghan says:

      Jen- I couldn’t agree more about the drinks. It is so frustrating, especially since everyone in the party has their DP linked. Snack credits can easily be used up by others in the party if they use them for a drink and a snack.
      For our last visit, and every visit from now on I will be packing Camelbacks/hydration packs for my son and I. They are fairly inexpensive and can be found at most stores like walmart/Target/Dicks/etc. I got myself a 100 oz one and my son a 50 oz. We filled them to the brim with ice and then added water. They lasted most of the day at the parks and actually stayed cold. Plus if you get a decent one it can double as a backpack or carry sack for the little things you need in the park (sunglasses, spare cash, sunscreen)….literally best purchase for Disney trips I have ever made.

  8. Gael says:

    Not to nitpick, because I love the post, although the Main ST Bakery cinnamon roll should be on it IMHO, and I like the root beer floats in MK@Sleepy Hollow (bigger and more consistent than several other locations around the parks) better than Dole Whips, BUT didn’t you mean to say the Dole Whip was legen-DAIRY? : )

  9. Brenda says:

    What a fun blog! So glad I discovered it, and I could tell as soon as I started reading the comments on this post, that I am among kindred souls, lol! I agree wholeheartedly with these recommendations for both “snack credit” AND “yumminess” value – and was pleased to find a couple I’ve not yet tried. That cappuccino cupcake sure looks good! And I always choose something chocolatey and decadent at Sunshine Seasons, but you’ve about convinced me to give the key lime pie a try. I’ve also made a note of the caramel cupcake mentioned by one of the commenters – gotta try that! Let me add one more – the carrot cake cookie at the Writer’s Stop! Yum Yum Yum.

    One final comment – is anyone else as horrified as I am that they’re turning Main Street Bakery into a Starbucks??? I heard that the other day and was in disbelief. Are they crazy?? Starbucks are EVERYWHERE. There is only one Main Street Bakery in the world! Absolute heresy, if you ask me…

  10. Chris says:

    The candy shop, can’t remember the name but when you first enter magic kingdom on the right side has some fresh cupcakes and cookies at $5 each,
    There are funnel cakes also in magic kingdom that are almost $6 each that you can use a snack for.
    Also packaged goods in the convenience stores located in the resorts have snacks nearing the $5 mark.

    When I picked up my last funnel cake the woman working their was very excited to see I was utilizing my snacks well and not buying bananas with them as we both agreed that buying $1 piece of fruit is a waste.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Awesome tips here. Cupcakes all seem to be going up in price to about that price.

      When I make my next revision, I’ll add the funnel cakes. No bananas for us, either! :) Thanks for these tips!!!

  11. Lori says:

    Would love an article on using snack credits for breakfast!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Excellent idea–let me do some research on this and write one!

    • Lauren says:

      GREAT idea! Id love to read this too!!

    • Tina says:

      We are actually planing to do just that on our next trip. Currently, we are planning to pick up some breakfast pastries on our way out of the park the night before (when we don’t have breakfast ADR) instead of just using the hotel food court. That way we wont waste early park hours to stop for food but still get to have some of the better breakfast food like cinnamon rolls from Main street bakery.

      I am hoping this helps feed everyone earlier in the day(and keep them happier) without “eating” into our park hours. Especially since it can take a long time to get to the parks.

    • Gracie says:

      Thats what we did when we went. Epcothad the most variety of snacks. One of the days my husband got a ham croissant and I got a chocolate croissant for breakfast. We then used our “extra” points and splurged on signature restaurants for lunch or dinner.

  12. Emily says:

    This article is great! On our 2010 Disney Adventure we ended up wasting so many snacks because a bottle of water and a banana just didn’t seem worth it and we didn’t really know what snacks could be used for! We’re going back in June and now I’m heading straight for the Dole Whip!! Good thing we’ll be walking 10 miles a day :)

    This blog rocks my socks off- thank you so much for writing it!!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Glad you’re enjoying the blog. A Dole Whip is well worth the walking!!!

    • Gracie says:

      The best tip I’ve ever gotten was to buyreusable water bottles before we got to the park and just keep refilling it with free water available wherever they have the soda fountains. Also, I read WDW and Disneyland drinking fountains have filtered water. Target and WalMart have Disney themed water bottles you can get your kids as “souvenirs” they can use throughout the trip.

  13. Larissa says:

    Thank you for all of the great tips. Our trip is in 22 days and we got the quick service dining plan. My question…the plan says one breakfast, one lunch/dinner, and one snack. If you use your snack credit for breakfast can you get lunch and dinner??

  14. jess says:

    Oh, how delightful that cookie ice cream sandwich looks… bookmarked this page for reference when we visit next year!

    Do you have any recommendations for savoury snacks? I’m a diabetic and while the odd cookie won’t hurt, I really should try my very best to avoid sugary goods most of the time. My new mantra is turning in to “WDW is less fun from a coma!” To try and keep myself in check…

  15. FL says:

    Great blog, thank you. The suggestions and also the highlight on the importance of enjoying vs maximising are great. Close to what we experienced in the past. For us, add to this good cappuccinos at 6am and iced coffee in the parks.

    Do you have another blog on good use of snack credits for fly back home items? With so many snack credits left, we generally end up buying giant lollypops, jaw breakers, Pez, cookie boxes to give to the cousins and friends up to a month after we return…

  16. sue sacco says:

    So much amazing info. I am a “want to do it right” kind of person and I think this is all helpful although overwhelming. Going beginning of NOvember. Have not booked ANYTHING yet! Any suggestions for us with our 8yr (average eater) and 4 yr old (eats NOTHING)…and me…the cupcakes look great and I need a daily mocha. Also off topic but any suggestions since renting dvc points seems impossible…all sold out! Whats our next best bet for nice, roomy, place on a budget??

  17. Rachel says:

    My fiance and I unknowingly booked our honeymoon during the Food & Wine festival. When I found out, I was so excited! Our “dinner” on arrival night is going to snacking and drinking around the world. My stomach can hardly wait.

  18. John says:

    Number 3 looks so good that it makes me want to hit someone. Geez.

  19. Sabrina says:

    I think its worth noting that most of the items on here fall into the “unhealthy” food category. My husband and I just returned from our honeymoon and were very pleased to see that a container of strawberries priced at 4.99 were considered a snack as were grapes priced at 3.49 and we felt it was very nice to have the option to have healthy fruit rather than load up on sugar and high calorie food. I agree that a small container of strawberries are no where near worth their 4.99 price tag and I would never pay that much for strawberries at home. But I also would not pay 4.99 for a cupcake or any type of soft serve variation at home either. Just wanted to throw that tid bit out there for the healthy eaters out there who are a bit dismayed by the amount of high calorie, low nutrition content foods that Disney World has.

  20. Emily says:

    Disney website says Babycakes NYC doesn’t accept the dining plan…?

  21. Jennie says:

    You had me at “legen (wait for it) DAIRY” I’m still giggling!
    Definitely using this blog for all our Disney trip details! Thank you!

  22. Amy says:

    Hi! This is a fantastic article! I want to try that Pineapple Dole Whip- reminds me of Hawaii!

    I am more of a salty snack kinda girl- especially with us getting dessert with every lunch and dinner on the meal plan! Anyone have any ideas for more savory snacks that are included in the DDP as a snack credit? Thanks in advance for any feedback!

  23. Clifton says:

    Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came
    to look it over. I’m definitely enjoying the
    information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Outstanding blog and brilliant style and design.

  24. Cheri says:

    I have been thinking about doing the DDP. Can you order soup or salad with your entree and have it count with the plan. I haven’t seen anything about that.

  25. Hanna says:

    I think this is a really good and helpful list.

    However, I would say (debatably) the best use of a snack credit is a funnel cake from Sleepy Hollow in the MK.

    I believe when we went in May it cost about $6 (and we weren’t on the ddp), and it was one of the most delicious things we ate the entire trip. (Try the cinnamon sugar funnel cake some time. Yum!!) Also, it’s a generous portion. My boyfriend and I barely finished it all.

  26. Thanks for all your tips, I will be putting as many of these into practice on our impending visit, and your photography makes them look so amazing. Thanks

  27. Kassie says:

    Good day! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.

    Please let me know. Thanks

  28. Christine says:

    A few years ago (4 maybe?) I was about to check out and realized I still had 6 unused snack credits. I headed over to the candy shop near the Downtown Disney area (with the giant wicked witch / hag statue) and used all my snack credits at once on those lovely caramel, chocolate and nut covered candy apples. I had previously, on this trip, used snack credits for candy apples at the candy shop in MGM, but didn’t stock up there because I had to carry them through the park. I wonder if they still take snack credits for candy apples?
    Mama always said, “You don’t ask, you don’t get.”

  29. Russ says:

    I got this site from my friend who informed me on the topic of this website and now this time
    I am visiting this site and reading very informative posts at this time.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Healthy Snack Options On The Disney Dining Plan « Recipes for Health - […] Maximizing Snack Credit Value on the Disney Dining Plan … – Here are our top ways to use your …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>