Snack Credit Kids’ Meals

On our first two Disney trips, both girls were under 3, which meant no Disney Dining Plan for them. There are tons of upsides to kids under 3 (free admission to the parks, free dining at buffets and family style meals namely), but you do have to plan to pay out of pocket for their other meals and snacks… or get creative!

Packing Snacks

We like to bring a gallon ziplock full of snacks each day. It’s a little gutting to spend $4 on apple slices in the park and watch them eat 2 bites. We pack things like Goldfish crackers, Snapeas, fruit snacks, freeze dried fruit, applesauce pouches, apples, and bananas, along with their water bottles and a couple of juices.

These serve as snacks in the park, but can also help us stretch our meals with them, let them split a meal, or, my favorite, use a snack credit for their “quick service meal”.

Snack Credits that Stretch

Each park has at least a few snack credit options that can double as a kid’s meal. Heck, some of them can double as an adult meal! This is a trick best performed for breakfast, but there are plenty of lunch and dinner options too. Remember that they [usually] don’t include a drink, so you may want to bring juices or take advantage of the free ice water. Here are some of our favorites, broken down by park!

Magic Kingdom

  • Be Our Guest (lunch) – french onion soup
  • Casey’s Corner – macaroni & cheese or chili cheese fries
  • Cheshire Cafe – Cheshire Cat tail (large chocolate croissant drizzled with icing)
  • Columbia Harbour House – clam chowder or chili
  • Eggroll Wagon – cheeseburger egg rolls
  • Gaston’s Tavern – giant cinnamon roll
  • Liberty Square Market – baked potato (you can use two snacks and hop down to Casey’s or Columbia to top it with chili!)
  • Lunching Pad – pepper jack warm stuffed pretzel
  • Sleepy Hollow – strawberry waffle (not the Nutella one, it’s not a snack credit) or baked potato

Epcot

  • Kabuki Cafe – sushi rolls or edamame
  • Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe – school bread or troll horn
  • Les Halle’s Boulangerie Patisserie – there are a ton of snack options here, but my kids loved the croissant jambon fromage and the roule lard and fromage (bacon and cheese roll)
  • Liberty Inn – clam chowder or macaroni & cheese
  • Refreshment Port – croissant donut (this thing is so good, get two, so you don’t eat the kids’ whole cronut!)

Hollywood Studios

In our experience, this park has the least snack turned kid’s meal options. Many of their QS spots offer the kid’s meal Power Pack though, which is great for little appetites who like to snack vs eat a whole meal. They are $5.99 and come with a whole variety of healthy snack foods (yogurt, carrots and ranch, apple slices, Goldfish, and juice). We would get one for the girls to split and supplement them sharing our meals.

  • Herbie’s Drive-In – chili cheese nachos
  • Sunshine Day Cafe – German pretzel
  • Sweet Spells – lots of bakery treats that can double as breakfast, our favorite of which is the carrot cake cookie

Animal Kingdom

  • Eight Spoon Cafe – macaroni & cheese with either pulled pork or shrimp & sweet chili sauce
  • Flame Tree Barbecue – french fries with pulled pork and cheese
  • Mr. Kamal’s – falafel with tzatziki
  • Pizzafari – tomato basil soup
  • Smiling Crocodile – a variety of BLT sandwiches (pimento cheese, salmon, or turkey)
  • Trilo-Bites – buffalo chicken chips
  • Yak & Yeti – chicken fried rice or egg rolls

Across Parks

  • Joffrey’s – gigantic donuts
  • Starbucks – most of their breakfast foods are snack credits (and their coffees, so this is a win-win stop!)
  • Various spots – Mickey Pretzel with cheese dip or churro with chocolate sauce

Have you tried any of these? Did we miss any snacks that stretch? Let us know in the comments!

Saratoga Springs Villas

Saratoga Springs

Type of Resort: Deluxe, Disney Vacation Club

Theme: Late 1800’s Saratoga Springs, NY, which was known for its horseback riding and spas!

Location: Disney Springs Area

Transportation Options: Take water taxis from two locations to Disney Springs and buses to the parks.

Unique Amenities: There are 5 pools across the resort, including the Paddock Pool (with a 146-ft waterslide, two smaller kid friendly waterslides, whirlpool spa, and zero-depth entry point into the pool), the High Rock Spring Pool (waterslide built into the rocks, waterfalls, the same zero-depth entry point into the pool, and a Donald Duck splash pad area for kids with a small water slide), and three additional leisure pools (one of which includes the Grandstand Water Play Area, where kids can race spraying sea horses). The country-club inspired Buena Vista Golf Course and the Senses full service spa add a real touch of luxury to the resort as well! They also have the more standard Disney amenities like merchandise pickup and delivery, laundry services, mail, ATM and bank services, airline check-in, concierge services, Magica Express, online check-in, and complimentary wi-fi.

Dining: The Artist’s Palette is the quick service hub of the resort, with tasty and somewhat elegant options like french toast strata, lobster club sandwiches, paninis, and thin crust pies. There’s also another quick service option, Chips & Slices, which serves breakfast, snacks, and sandwiches. There are three pool bars, two of which also serve food. Adults can enjoy cocktails at the Turf Club Lounge, where I highly suggest getting into theme with a mint julep! The Turf Club Bar and Grill is modeled after a racetrack clubhouse and is a delicious option for dinner, with sophisticated takes on American classics. We really enjoyed this meal!

Shopping: The Artist’s Palette also doubles as their hub for merchandise and groceries. We found this store to be exceptionally well stocked, even having umbrella strollers! There’s a wide range of merchandise, from souvenirs to collectibles and designer bags.

Recreation: Bike and surrey bike rentals, fishing, Community Hall, Win Place or Show Arcade, Movies Under the Stars, campfire activities, sunrise yoga, tennis, basketball, jogging trails, golf, swimming, and the spa. So much to do!

Visit their site to learn more here.

About Our Stay

Time of Year: Thanksgiving 2016

Room Type: 3 bedroom grand villa

Travel Party Size: 7 people (5 adults, 2 children), 3 households

Our Experience: We loved that the guard said “Welcome Home!” at the gate. It’s small, but it’s one of my favorite parts of Disney Vacation Club resorts! The resort is beautiful, but sprawling. It can be a long walk from your room to the main buildings! There are several bus stops within the resort, so bus rides to the parks feel kind of tedious (we were the first stop, which was great on the way home, but not fun on the way to the parks with an excited toddler). They were decorated for Christmas and the lobby was just gorgeous. Their decorations aren’t as unique as other resorts, but they were still spectacular! We loved our villa and the theming, although it was a bit outdated at the time of our stay. We loved the large common areas to spend time together and having a kitchen with a dishwasher for bottles and kid stuff during our stay! The couch was stiff and uncomfortable, but it wasn’t a major detractor. The bedrooms and bathrooms were each a good size and the beds were comfortable. We all loved the giant jacuzzi tub in the master bath! There are two bedrooms upstairs, which is important to know if you have mobility issues or toddlers! We loved having a patio to enjoy evening cocktails on after the kids went to bed. We didn’t get a chance to use most of the resort’s amenities, because our stay was so short, but the pool and golf course outside our building both were well kept and inviting. I actually really enjoyed watching the maintenance crew working on the golf course each morning from our patio with a cup of coffee! It’s amazing when you start thinking about the volume of cast members and attention to detail happening across Disney property!

Favorite Parts: Having boat access to Disney Springs, the jacuzzi tub, being all together, and having parking access right outside our building

Least Favorite Parts: The walk to the main buildings and the couch

Would We Stay Again?: I’d love to stay in the Treehouse Villas if we stayed again, because they look so inviting. There are so many options for Villas across property, that it really comes down to amenities and proximity that will work best for the trip!

T-REX

Lunch and Dinner at T-REX

Cost: $15 – 34.99

Food: T-REX features your typical American restaurant style menu, with salads, burgers, pastas, chicken, and steak. Even though it’s typical, it’s also delicious! Our entire party really enjoyed their waffle fries and all of the appetizers we split. I give my personal recommendation for the Guac-asaurus Burger, because you can never have enough guac. Ruby was a huge fan of the Dino-shaped chicken nuggets, which I’m fairly sure are the same we pick up at the grocery, but Disney apparently makes them more delicious.

Rating: 4 out of 5 frying pans

About Our Experience(s): This was our first stop on our Thanksgiving trip to meet up with Orlando friends and family who wouldn’t be joining us in the parks. We were seated in the ice cavern, which was the neatest experience (although terrible lighting for picture taking)! I love the attention to detail at this restaurant so much. We are big dinosaur lovers and Ruby loved every second spent at T-REX. The adults all enjoyed delicious alcoholic beverages in souvenir glasses and Ruby got a special icee served in a neat kids’ souvenir cup complete with a dinosaur head! If your child loves dinosaurs, I would say this is a MUST DO.

More Information

Location: Disney Springs

Transportation Options: Take a bus from your resort, travel by boat from select Disney Springs area resorts, drive (park in the Lime Garage), or use a car service!

Things to Know: This restaurant is busy, so plan to leave your stroller outside, even if you have an infant with you. There’s a Build-A-Dino Workshop and beautiful gift shop that will delight dinosaur fans both young and old!

While You’re There: Walk over to the Lego Store after your meal. It’s such a fun place, especially when your little ones’ imaginations have been woken up by dinosaurs!

Raglan Road

Cost: $14.99 and under for lunch and $15 – $34.99 for dinner

Entertainment: Live music and Irish dancing

Food: Their menu is exciting, with lots of traditional and creative dishes to suit every palate. I really enjoyed their bangers and booze at lunch, but the Dundon’s Delight pavlova is what sweet dreams are made of! On our next trip, I had the Serious Steak for dinner and thoroughly enjoyed that, but I think I’ll try the gnocchi next! Todd gives their burgers his seal of approval and he’s a tough burger critic. The unexpected standout dish was Ruby and Lucy’s macaroni and cheese! It was so delicious that all of the adults had to steal a bite!

Rating: 4 out of 5 frying pans

About Our Experience(s): Our first dining experience was a lunch with extended family. It’s a great place to gather and enjoy a casual and delicious meal, with lots of great beers and cocktails flowing. When we went back for dinner on our next trip with friends, we really enjoyed the live entertainment, but it was a little overwhelming for our kids. The mixture of darkness, loud music, and dancing was just too much for them after being in the parks that day. I’d definitely take that into account if considering dinner with little ones!

 

More Information

Location: Disney Springs

Transportation Options: Take a bus from your resort, travel by boat from select Disney Springs area resorts, drive (park in the Lime Garage), or use a car service!

Things to Know: The front of the restaurant can be really crowded while you wait, so plan to wait outside and dress for the weather. There’s a bar cart outside to help you pass the time! If you don’t have a reservation and don’t want to wait, check out the Cookes of Dublin quick service just around the corner!

While You’re There: Check out the Shop for Ireland, connected to the restaurant. Our Irish-American friends went wild in there! Also, if you’re a smoker, there’s a designated area just across the way by Morimoto Asia.