This question comes from Linda W., who asks:
We will be going to WDW with our grandkids 6 & 3, 4th Christmas in a row, but first time with the dining plan. I read for the counter service there’s no difference from adults and children’s. So if we bought 3 adults meals and 1 child’s meal would they take off 4 counter service period. On our world key card it would just show 4 counter service’s deducted or used? Thank you and keep up the good work.
Linda, thanks for your question and for reading Chip and Co. This is actually a pretty touchy question and I’m glad you asked it. In fact, I’ve addressed it twice on my own Disney blog; the most updated post is here. The short answer is that Disney doesn’t differentiate between adult and child CS credits. This means that you can buy an adult meal for a child, which is nice because it gives you some variety that you won’t find on the kids’ menu. I’ve spoken to Disney several times about this policy and have received the same answer every time. In fact, cast members have mentioned it to me when ordering, so it’s a widely accepted policy.
Here’s where it gets tricky. According to the official dining plan rules, children have to eat off the children’s menu unless you’re eating someplace where there isn’t a child’s CS option; this used to be the case at Wolfgang Puck Express, for example. Further, some cast members will not allow you to buy an adult meal with a child’s credit if you go through the line withthat child. Personally, I’ve never seen that happen, as my children usually accompany me through the line and we’ve never been stopped, but I’ve read of instances where it has happened. I’m not sure if this is official Disney policy or just a case of a cast member enforcing the rules very strictly. I know that this sometimes happens in other areas, such as when a “rogue,” to use a term coined in some online Disney communities, cast member cancels advanced dining reservations that are double-booked for the same time. It’s not technically Disney’s policy to do this, but I’ve heard of it happening. Are both situations apocryphal? It’s possible. I personally haven’t had it happen to me or any of my friends and have only heard “stories” of it happening on Disney message sites. Sometimes you have to take that information with a grain of salt.
As I said above, I’ve been in contact several times with Disney over this issue and every time I’ve been told that Disney doesn’t differentiate and to not worry about it. This comes from cast members at the restaurants, at Disney Dining, and up the chain of command. Now, I say this a lot because I believe it’s true: Disney is a smart company. If they wanted to stop it (and they’ve stopped other things that were effectively “cheating” the system), they would have. After all, they can differentiate between adult and child counter service credits, so it wouldn’t be surprising that they could do the same with counter service credits if they wanted to. Thousands of people have done it and Disney doesn’t seem to care. I don’t personally think it’s cheating the system and I’m the kind of person who won’t use a fastpass after the time, so I tend to err on the side of caution.
Again, thanks for reading the site. I hope you and your grandchildren have a wonderful vacation. Please write back to us and let us know if you run into any issues.
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