Disney World Dining on a Budget – Tips & Tricks to Save Money

Not everyone out there can always afford to get the mack daddy Disney Deluxe Dining Plan, especially with so many people waiting for Free Dining Deals to come out. It would be safe to say that many people are on a budget. With our economy still struggling everyone is learning to maximize what they have.

With that in mind I have compiled a list of Tips & Tricks I have learned over the years visiting Walt Disney World to help you save money.

  • Go while the kids are young – Kids under 3 get in free at Walt Disney World. Most toddlers or infants are not going to eat much at all so they can just share off your plates. Perfect way to save some money especially if you go to a buffet like Boma of Chef Mickey’s.
  • Have Snacks Delivered – Use a service like Garden Grocer to have snacks and treats delivered to your room. The service is very inexpensive and will save you a ton of money throughout your vacation.
  • Water Water Water – Filling up on water will cause you to eat less and in turn save you money at meal times. We have all heard our parents say you going to fill up on that drink before the food even gets here..Well use it to your advantage 🙂 Also when ordering your meals ask for water instead of pop or tea to save some big bucks! Also water is great way to staying hydrated and is available for free throughout the parks.
  • Eats Snacks that are more like a meal – There are plenty of snacks at Disney World that are so huge or so filling they are almost a meal. Use those to curb your hunger and save some money. Try a Turkey Leg.
  • Freebies – This is not a guarantee but the past couple times we have gone to Main Street Bakery with our toddler she sat there with her face pressed to the glass staring at all the goodies. After a few minutes of this one of the girls in the back was so nice she gave her a little treat on the house. Both times it has been a marshmallow treat but hey its still free right?
  • Club Cool = Free Drinks – Speaking of freebies..Make sure to check out Club Cool in Epcot. There you can sample pop from around the world free of charge for as long as you like, as often as you like. We have been known to stop off here going into the World Showcase and exiting the Park.
  • Bring Food in the Parks – This kinda goes hand in hand with using Garden Grocer. Pack some sandwiches, chips, fruit in a soft cooler and find a nice place to have lunch. When your done eating the soft cooler will fold up for easy storage.
  • Find Cheaper Eats– Your not going to find coupons to the Disney Restaurants but you may have to pass the Casual Dining Restaurant for a Counter Service option to save some money. Each park has a restaurant that is a really good value here are some of my favorites:
    • Animal KingdomFlame Tree Barbecue – Good food for sharing, and most meals are under $10
    • Epcot Tangierine Café – Platters are great for sharing and most are under $12. Also Seasons Restaurant in the Land Pavilion has fresh ingredients and food which is great for sharing.
    • Hollywood Studios – Starring Rolls Cafe – Most desserts here are so huge they NEED to be shared!
    • Magic Kingdom – Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe – Chicken & Ribs Combo is a lot of food for $13

I hope this list will help you make the most of your Disney Vacation without breaking the bank.  If you have any Tips & Tricks to help Dining on a Budget at Walt Disney World let us know in the comment section.

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4 thoughts on “Disney World Dining on a Budget – Tips & Tricks to Save Money

  1. #1, you’re not supposed to take food out of a buffet. Maybe fruit and cookies are exceptions, but it’s just tacky to do so. #2, I’m pretty sure the chicken/ribs combo at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe (in the MK) has been discontinued. It wasn’t on the menu in March. #3, you can have your own food and sit at any table at any QS restaurant to enjoy it. That said, I’d choose an outdoor table if possible, or if indoors, I’d try to find one on the periphery.

  2. My daugther love character meals and I found that breakfast is a lot more affordable, so this trip I am scheuduling breakfast for all but one meal that I have an ADR for. We like to eat a big breakfast and by late afternoon early evening we are ready for a light snack meal and when paying out of pocket this really pays off.

  3. Also, if you eat at the buffets on the dining plan bring a zip lock bag and take some goodies with you to eat as snacks later. Fruit travels well as does some of the danishes at breakfast buffets. We took bananas and apples for snacks later and the kids always took cookies for their dessert and didn’t eat them with their meals and had them later for snacks. We also brought a bag of snacks with us so that when someone was hungry they had something and we only needed a free cup of water.

  4. We used our Disney Visa rewards card during our first trip to Disney. We ate at quick service restaurants, ate off site 3 nights, ate breakfast in our room every morning (except the morning we ate at Cinderella’s Castle!!) and the week’s meals were about $250 – $300 for the 4 of us. Since we had over $200 on our reward card, it made our out-of-pocket costs very low! Our kids were young (8 & 5), and we shared as often as possible. Thankfully, our second trip and the trip we have planned for this November both have had the Quick Service Dining Plan added free! What a blessing! Can’t wait to eat our way “around the world” in Epcot and try a Dole Whip Float!!

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