Visiting Disney World is a magical experience, but it can also be an expensive one, especially when it comes to food. However, there are numerous ways to save on dining without sacrificing the enjoyment of your trip. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share some practical tips and strategies on how to save money on food at Disney World, making your visit a delightful and more affordable experience.
Saving money on food at Disney World can be achieved by sharing meals due to generous portion sizes, opting for snacks as meals, choosing quick-service restaurants over sit-down ones, bringing your own snacks and food, using grocery delivery services, drinking free ice water, taking advantage of discounts and meal plans, and being flexible with dining choices.
Disney World is known for its generous portion sizes. One of the easiest ways to save money on food is to share meals. This strategy works particularly well if you’re traveling with a group or have kids. For instance, a meal from Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café could easily be split between two people.
Opt For Snacks as Meals
Another money-saving strategy is to eat more substantial snacks as meals. Items like loaded fries, tots, or mac and cheese from places like The Friar’s Nook can serve as a filling, cost-effective meal.
Quick-Service Over Sit-Down Restaurants
Quick-service restaurants at Disney World are generally cheaper than sit-down restaurants. While the latter offer themed dining experiences, the former provide tasty, quick, and affordable meals. Some budget-friendly quick-service restaurants include Pizzafari, Eight Spoon Cafe, and ABC Commissary.
Bring Your Own Snacks
Disney World allows guests to bring their own food into the parks. Consider packing non-perishable snacks like granola bars, trail mix, and crackers. This can help save on in-park snack purchases.
Grocery Delivery to Your Resort
You can order groceries online and have them delivered to your resort. This can save money on breakfast and other meals. Services like Amazon Prime Now, Garden Grocer, and Instacart deliver directly to Disney resorts.
Opt for Cheaper Dining Options
Disney World offers a range of dining options at different price points. Look for budget-friendly restaurants and food kiosks, such as Sunshine Seasons in Epcot, Flame Tree Barbecue in Animal Kingdom, and Earl of Sandwich in Disney Springs.
Drink Free Ice Water
Instead of purchasing expensive beverages, ask for free ice water at any quick-service restaurant to stay hydrated. You can also bring a refillable water bottle and fill it up at water fountains throughout the park.
Take Advantage of Discounts
Look for discounts and deals at Disney restaurants. For instance, Disney Visa Cardholders, Disney Vacation Club members, and Annual Passholders often receive discounts at select dining locations.
Pack Your Own Food
Packing your own food like sandwiches, fruits, or other easy-to-carry items can save a significant amount of money. Just remember to avoid glass containers, as they are not permitted in the parks.
Be Flexible With Dining Choices
Being open to trying different restaurants and food options can help you find the best deals and save money on meals.
Cheapest Dining Options at Disney World
Disney World offers a variety of dining options to fit different budgets. Some of the most affordable options include the Pizzafari Family-Style Dining at Animal Kingdom, Sunshine Seasons at Epcot, and quick-service restaurants like Columbia Harbour House in Magic Kingdom and ABC Commissary in Hollywood Studios.
Taking Advantage of Meal Plans
Disney World offers several meal plans that can save you money if used wisely. The Disney Dining Plan, for instance, includes one quick-service meal, one table-service meal, and two snacks per day. By strategically choosing the most expensive items or eating at the priciest restaurants, you can get more value from the plan than the cost.
Hidden or Lesser-Known Discounts
Some lesser-known discounts include the Tables in Wonderland card, which offers a 20% discount on food and beverages at most table-service restaurants for a yearly fee. Additionally, Disney Visa Cardholders can save 10% at select dining locations.
Cost-Effective Strategies for Feeding a Family
Feeding a family at Disney World can be expensive, but there are strategies to save money. These include sticking to quick-service meals, sharing meals, eating snacks as meals, bringing your own food, taking advantage of discounts, opting for breakfast at character dining experiences, using grocery delivery services, ordering kids’ meals, using refillable cups, and skipping the soda.
Comparing In-Park and Out-of-Park Dining
While food prices within Disney World can be higher, there are affordable options available. Leaving the park for meals may save money, but it may not always be worth the time and effort. To save money, consider bringing your own food, eating at more affordable park options, or dining off-property if you’re staying nearby.
Bringing Your Own Food
Bringing your own food into Disney World can save a significant amount of money. Consider bringing dry cereal and milk, granola bars and fruit, sandwiches, snacks, and bottled water.
Prices of Food at Disney World
Food prices at Disney World vary depending on the dining experience. On average, a family of four can expect to spend between $200 and $300 per day on food. Quick-service meals usually cost under $20 per person, while table-service meals range from $15 to $38. Character dining experiences cost approximately $45 to $79 for adults and $29 to $47 for kids.
By following these tips and strategies, you can make your Disney World trip more affordable without sacrificing the enjoyment of your dining experience. So go ahead and plan that dream vacation while keeping your budget in check.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I bring my own food and drinks into the Disney World parks?
Yes, guests are allowed to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages into the parks. However, Disney World has some restrictions, such as no glass containers, no large coolers, and no alcohol.
What is the average cost of a meal at a sit-down restaurant in Disney World?
The average cost for a table-service meal at Disney World ranges from $15 to $38 per person, not including beverages, appetizers, or desserts.
What is the Disney Dining Plan and how does it work?
The Disney Dining Plan is a prepaid meal plan for restaurants in the Disney World parks and resorts. The plan includes one quick-service meal, one table-service meal, and two snacks per day.
Are there vegetarian or vegan food options available at Disney World?
Yes, Disney World offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan options at most restaurants, both quick-service and sit-down.
Are there discounts available for larger groups dining together?
Disney World does not typically offer discounts specifically for large groups. However, there are general discounts available to Disney Visa Cardholders, Disney Vacation Club members, and Annual Passholders.
Can I eat at Disney World restaurants if I’m not staying at a Disney resort?
Yes, anyone can dine at Disney World’s restaurants, whether or not they are staying at a Disney resort.
Are there gluten-free options available at Disney World restaurants?
Yes, many Disney World restaurants offer gluten-free options and are accommodating to guests with food allergies or dietary restrictions.
Can I make reservations at Disney World restaurants?
Yes, reservations can be made at most sit-down restaurants at Disney World, and it’s highly recommended to do so, especially during peak times.