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View Full Version : CS - Fun, Interesting & Cheap???


novdisneydreams
01-21-2008, 03:55 PM
We are planning an extreme budget "time of our lives" trip to the World in April/May ... DH, Me, DS9 and DS6, Grandma & Grandpa.:cool1: :cool1: :cool1: :cool1: :cool1: :cool1:

We will be having breakfast in our condo and packing lunch or dinner (or if we take a break eating one meal at the condo). For our third meal (lunch or dinner, depending on the day) we will be eating at a CS or cheap place outside of the parks. I found two places outside of the parks that we want to try - Cici's Pizza Buffet ($5 each?!?!?!?) And Sweet Tomatoes.

I read this GREAT book called Disney on a Dime and it suggested bringing your own beverages, which I was doing anyway , to CS to cut the costs. So just water bottles for DH and I , kids meals come w/drinks. Anyway, do you think it is reasonable to budget $25 a day for this in-park meal (for DH, Me & the kids)? It looks like most adult meals are about $7-8 and kids are about $4 ...

In the spirit of having the time of our lives, and considering the lack of TS/character meals, I am looking for suggestions for fun, interesting, themed CS at the parks:) Of course yummy is a consideration, too! I don't ask for much, do I?

Anyway, my kids are totally psyched about Pizza Planet ... I am thinking Columbia Harbour House, I know its not all that themed but I read somewhere that the dining room upstairs has a great view (?) Any suggestions ??????

ntink
01-21-2008, 04:11 PM
I read this GREAT book called Disney on a Dime and it suggested bringing your own beverages, which I was doing anyway

All CS restaurants will provide free cups of ice water, even if you are not having a meal there. This would save on bringing & buying water bottles.

tinaluis
01-21-2008, 04:14 PM
The Figaro Fries at Pinocchio Village Haus are to die for!!!! (and a very good deal -- it's a medium size tray full of fries topped with lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, dressing (and cheese? -- can't remember for sure about the cheese -- all for about $4. We order 3 servings for the five of us and we all have plenty.

Cosmic Rays has a rib and rotisserie chicken combo for $13.75 that easily feeds two people.

Have a great trip!

missj1975
01-21-2008, 04:24 PM
Just a comment on CiCi's and Sweet Tomatoes. I eat at the CiCi's in St louis all the time. It is $4.79 here for unlimited pizza, salad, and pasta. The barbecue pizza is the best.

I have only eaten at Sweet Tomatoes twice and I don't remember it being that great of a deal. It was basically just salad stuff so if your kids are picky eaters or aren't vegaterians, stick with CiCi's. There are plenty of different types of pizzas to choose from so you probably wouldn't get sick of it if you ate there more then once during your trip.

I don't remember Colmbia Harbor House having a great view. I really liked Pecos Bills and thought the value was really good. There are tables in the back that offer a view of the loading dock of It's a Small World. I think it is fun to watch the people board the boats and to watch the huge clock.

novdisneydreams
01-21-2008, 04:37 PM
I don't remember Colmbia Harbor House having a great view. I really liked Pecos Bills and thought the value was really good. There are tables in the back that offer a view of the loading dock of It's a Small World. I think it is fun to watch the people board the boats and to watch the huge clock.

Hmmm ... Maybe i have the two confused. My Kids would love to watch the boats ... is it hard to get a table back there? :cool1: :cool1: :cool1: :cool1:

dward1961
01-21-2008, 04:38 PM
I have to second the fries, I always have to have them for a meal once during my trip and can never finish them. The kids could split an adult burger meal or the adult chicken strips meal. If you go to Pacos Bills get the Chicken ceasar wrap this is big enough to share.

If you share meals and without buying drinks you should be ok with your budget. You could even buy a bucket of popcorn for a snack about 4.00 enough to share again.

We always bring in small snacks with us nuts, granola bars, fruit snacks or what ever we have, this would also save you some money. Have FUN:)

fakereadhed
01-21-2008, 04:56 PM
How about Cosmic Rays at Magic Kingdom? (live entertainment by Sonny Eclipse)

Save some room in your budget for treats- The canolli at Pinnochios is to die for and don't forget the Dole Whips.

In Epcot, Sunshine Seasons has some really elegant choices like Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese Salad and Seared Tuna on Mixed Greens.

I am not big on Mara at AKL, but the African Stew is good, and you could soak up the ambiance of the resort, and see the animals at the viewing areas off of the lobby. They also have a neat gift shop with African items.

It's TS, but I had the best Greek Salad at Spoodles($5.99)- it was so good I hardly ate my entree. Next time I go I plan on ordering that and dessert and having a Spoodle Rita(yummy lemon adult beverage).

Good luck with your budget trip. With a great attitude like yours you can still have fun.

fakereadhed
01-21-2008, 05:01 PM
Hmmm ... Maybe i have the two confused. My Kids would love to watch the boats ... is it hard to get a table back there? :cool1: :cool1: :cool1: :cool1:

CHH has views upstairs. Views of Small World are inside Pinocchio's.

delmar411
01-21-2008, 05:03 PM
I have to second the fries, I always have to have them for a meal once during my trip and can never finish them. The kids could split an adult burger meal or the adult chicken strips meal. If you go to Pacos Bills get the Chicken ceasar wrap this is big enough to share.

If you share meals and without buying drinks you should be ok with your budget. You could even buy a bucket of popcorn for a snack about 4.00 enough to share again.

We always bring in small snacks with us nuts, granola bars, fruit snacks or what ever we have, this would also save you some money. Have FUN:)

If you get the popcorn bucket that can also serve as a souvenir. We aimed for getting one at each park and the kids use them every week for when we have popcorn at home. Also great for refilling and bringing back to the parks with you in the morning since they have a snap on lid.

loveabargin
01-21-2008, 07:35 PM
Last trip (Sept), it was HOT, and I saved a ton by refilling my water bottle at the fountains around the World and using Crystal Lite instant drink mixes (WalMart brand of course, 'cause I'm cheap). I bought some for our trip this week (though I doubt we'll drink near as much since it won't be nearly as hot. Drinks are such a big money waster to me.

We did the split the double cheeseburger deal last trip and I bought an extra bun...only did it once and DH was SOOO embarassed. oh well... this time I'm really going to embarass him when I pull a bun out of my purse :lmao:

tinker&belle
01-21-2008, 07:44 PM
Loved, loved, loved Pizzafari in AK, we ate there twice!

ceecee
01-21-2008, 09:29 PM
Sweet Tomatoes is good but I don't remember it being cheap. CiCi's Pizza all tastes the same to me, I liked the salad!
CHH has an upstairs and we like it because it's less crowded and the food is good, didn't really notice a view.
Cosmic Rays will be great for the kids and it's a lot of fun. The meals are pretty large at most CS and maybe you could split a few. DH, DD (12) and I will get two CS meals and split them, we aren't big eaters and we usually have some left at that.

uratoon
01-21-2008, 09:57 PM
oh well... this time I'm really going to embarass him when I pull a bun out of my purse :lmao:

:lmao: :lmao:


:thumbsup2 There ya go, thats the way a true budget boarder thinks!!

wdwpjs
01-21-2008, 10:30 PM
We always do this. We have 4 kids and we like to go to Disney at least twice a year. We are Florida residents and get seasonal passes so it's doable. We stay off grounds with dh's points from traveling w/ work. We eat breakfast at the hotel and pack a backpack full of "snacks" for the day. We eat one meal in the park. Our snacks do consist of granola bars, goldfish, beef jerky sticks, gardettos, cheese & cackers, pretzels, dried fruit and nuts. We also bring in the uncrustables pb&j sandwiches and water and bring them in a small soft sided cooler. We keep them frozen in the hotel room fridge and by lunchtime they are thawed out. We have done this for the past few trips and have never been asked any questions by security. Most of the time they laugh and comment on how prepared we are! This is the only way we could go as often as we do. My DH would love to do more TS so i usually break down and do at least one character meal a trip.
I also do most of our souvie shopping at the outlets in Foley, al. before we go. We also hit the local wal-mart. Besides what most people think...you can go cheap and still have fun!!!!


:surfweb: me,:cool2: dh,princess: dd 16,princess: dd 12,pirate: ds 5,princess: dd 2

All4Nuthin
01-21-2008, 11:56 PM
Hi!

We thought that the pizza at Cici's was just OK. The drinks there are expensive and bring the price way up... well, way up as compared to $5 per person. Do pick up a coupon book in the area as there is a $ off coupon in there for Cici's as well as other places in the area.

Pecos Bills is a really good choice in Magic Kingdom. They have an add on bar to add sauted mushrooms, onions, lettuce, pickles, etc to sandwiches and salads. The salads are good sized to start with and we added additional veggies to the top.

Have fun!

crusoe2
01-22-2008, 05:16 AM
We're planning our trip pretty much the same way - trying to get by with just one meal a day in the parks. I had originally planned to do a few table service meals since this trip will just be my DH, DD and me. But from what I understand they are adding a "holiday surcharge" to all the restaurants we'd planned on for the entire month of June.:confused3 I'm not sure what holiday they're celebrating but they'll be doing it with a little less of my money.;) Just for the 3 of us I think it would add about $20 to the cost of each meal (meals that I thought were already terribly overpriced). Anyway, I've been looking at menus and pictures trying to come up with some good cs places. At AK, Pizzafari is supposed to have some really neat decorating with each room being different (we haven't been there yet) and Flame Tree BBQ has outdoor seating with a great view. We've been to Cosmic Rays and Pecos Bills and liked those - both have good toppings bars for your burgers and the interiors are well-themed. We ate at CHH last trip - the atmosphere upstairs is very cozy and we had a view of the walkway going from Fantasyland towards Haunted Mansion. I'm not sure what all you can see from other tables. We plan to try Pinocchio Village Haus next time and hope for a table with a view of IASW. I think Epcot and DHS are probably the hardest parks to come up with really neat cs places to eat. Sunshine Season Food Fair in the Land pavilion at Epcot has lots to choose from but be careful of the prices - you could easily kill your budget in there. The Cantina in Mexico is kind of neat - another place with outdoor seating (and beware of the birds) but it has pretty good food and reasonable prices. I'm still trying to think of somewhere in DHS - other than Pizza Planet the cs places there just seem kind of ordinary to me.

kfeuer
01-22-2008, 07:20 AM
A few thoughts about Sweet Tomatoes:

1) No, it's not particularly cheap but my family loves it. They put coupons in the Sunday paper all the time. If you don't get them in your area, it would be easy to get them from a coupon clipping service.

2) They don't just have salads. They also have 5-6 homemade soups, muffins, pizza on foccacia bread, different types of pasta, baked potatoes and frozen yogurt and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. If you go at dinner time they usually have a bigger selection, but lunch is cheaper.

3) Have they put a Sweet Tomatoes nearer DW? The only one I know of is near Universal.

sahm1000
01-22-2008, 10:08 AM
I will agree with some of the posters about Sweet Tomatoes. We love it! It's not the cheapest meal around but I feel it is good quality food and I'm willing to pay more for that than a burger and fries. The salads are fresh and kept cold (you can see the thermostats on the bars and they have timers set so they know when to remove things if they have been on for too long). Soups are delicious. The muffins are great. They have a baked potato bar, pasta section (almost always has macaroni and cheese for kids), pizza (not real pizza but their version and the kids will eat it), fresh fruit, and ice cream. We had one when we lived in Kansas City but don't have one here in Dallas and I miss it!

At the CS restaurants I do order the double cheeseburgers for my husband and I and two extra buns for my girls. It definitely keeps the cost down and I'm actually not embarassed by it!

I know some people mentioned souvenirs. We only buy some things. My girls get Mickey ears and that is about it. Last time they wanted a balloon and I about had a heart attack when they told me $9 for one. Sorry kids! I do buy them tinkerbell, cinderella (or some other character) sunglasses from Wal-Mart before we go.

We do buy some snacks (usually popcorn while we wait for a nighttime performance like Wishes or Illuminations) but try to limit them. DD4 has asked for a big round rainbow sucker the next time we go so I'm sure I'll get her one but we do keep the snacks to a minimum. We also brought water into the park with us last time. We froze our bottles in our room and they melted and stayed cold all day. I hate buying water, it's seems like such a waste!

Have a great trip!

extremesoccermom
01-22-2008, 11:09 AM
DD now 14 always split adult couter service meals. We started this a few years ago when she decided she was tired of the chicken nugget, burger, or peanut butter found as most of the kids selections.
Our favorite is a Cosmic Rays where you can get 1/2 Chicken and Ribs w/ 2 sides, it is enough for 3 people really for 13.99.
We also like Pecos bills at MK, Flame Tree at AK if you follow the path down and around the outdoor seating you end up by the river. Mickey and friends travel around it on a boat and we were surprised by them comming by and playing music, Kringla Daily Chef's Selection Epcot/Norway which includes sandwich, soup and desert for 10.00, Cantina de San Angel Epcot/Mexico Combo platter 9.00. Back Lot Express at DHS they have a number of different things to eat.
We are not big eaters but there is usually enough for the two of us and sometime we have some left over. Then we still have room for desert or a snack later.

stahshee
01-22-2008, 11:52 AM
Last trip (Sept), it was HOT, and I saved a ton by refilling my water bottle at the fountains around the World and using Crystal Lite instant drink mixes (WalMart brand of course, 'cause I'm cheap). I bought some for our trip this week (though I doubt we'll drink near as much since it won't be nearly as hot. Drinks are such a big money waster to me.

We did the split the double cheeseburger deal last trip and I bought an extra bun...only did it once and DH was SOOO embarassed. oh well... this time I'm really going to embarass him when I pull a bun out of my purse :lmao:

OMG ARE WE TWINS:lmao: . BUY HAWAIN PUNCH DROP INNS AT WALMART THEY ARE 1$:banana: . MY DH WAS SO EMBARASSED ABOUT THE EXTRA BUN:laughing: . i WAS THINKING ABOUT BUYING SOME BUNS AND BRINGING THEM (TO SPARE DH THE EMBARASSEMENT OF COURSE:snooty: ) BIT THEN i THOUGHT THEY MIGHT GET MUSHED, SO i WILL GO UP AND ORDER AND HE CAN WATCH THE KIDS:rolleyes1

ALSO fAMILY $ HAS DROP INNS AND SO DOSE THE $ STORE:cutie:

shellbelle
01-22-2008, 12:03 PM
But from what I understand they are adding a "holiday surcharge" to all the restaurants we'd planned on for the entire month of June.:confused3 I'm not sure what holiday they're celebrating but they'll be doing it with a little less of my money.;)

I read this in another thread. Is this official? Where did you get this information from?

crusoe2
01-22-2008, 10:11 PM
Shellbelle, I also read about it in posts here on the Dis. From what I've read, Disney isn't doing much to inform their customers. Even if I find out that I won't personally be affected by the surcharge, I'll probably still avoid their restaurants for the most part. To me, the whole thing just smacks of greed.:sad2:

myAAbatteries&aTD
01-23-2008, 06:31 AM
I read this in another thread. Is this official? Where did you get this information from?

I'd also read this, but didn't think it would be in June since there really isn't a holiday in that month - Father's Day maybe, or Star Wars week-ends (according to Disney)??? Is there a list of restaurants that will be charging more and how much the surcharge is??? I need to budget more money if that's the case, or re-think our meals!

shellbelle
01-23-2008, 06:48 AM
I certainly hope this information is incorrect.

I would make me really mad if Disney raised their price for the month of June. Not because it is going to cost me more, but because it is just not right. I understand a major holiday and lots of businesses do this. But for the month of June, thats just robbery!:mad:

myAAbatteries&aTD
01-23-2008, 07:48 AM
I just found some info about the surcharges... $4 for adults and $2 for children, June dates are TBD.... Looks like every other month has about a week's window of upcharging....

shellbelle
01-23-2008, 08:24 AM
I just found some info about the surcharges... $4 for adults and $2 for children, June dates are TBD.... Looks like every other month has about a week's window of upcharging....


Where does this information come from?:confused3

maggiew
01-23-2008, 09:16 AM
I usually order a kids meal at the counter service. Its cheaper than the adult and is enough to fill me up. Although I haven't kept up on the new kids meals thing because my kids are older. So I don't know if there are still choices I would like. Last time I went I was on the dining plan, so got adult meals. (TOO MUCH FOOD BY THE WAY!!!!)

My kids love the food in EPCOT World Showcase. In Mexico you can sit outside with a view of the lake. My younger DD especially likes the counter service in Japan. Fish & Chips by the lake in UK is good too!

Maggie

Jenny-momof3
01-23-2008, 09:54 AM
I spoke Disney dining yesterday regarding the holiday surcharge.

It is from Memorial Day through the 4th of July weekend. It's at TS meals only.... not CS.

So basically almost the entire time I'm there there's a surcharge. :headache:

tar heel
01-23-2008, 11:25 AM
I would suggest the kids' meal at the Cantina de San Angel in Epcot. You get a quesadilla, chips and cheese and a drink for $4-$4.50. I thought it was very good and a nice small meal.

Have you eaten at CiCi's before? It's not very good pizza. For about a $1 more each, you could get outstanding sandwiches at the Earl of Sandwich at Downtown Disney. I would honestly rather have a salad from McDonald's, for that matter.

If you do want soft drinks, order a large without ice and ask for cups of ice -- they'll give you as many as you want.

The holiday surcharge is NOT every restaurant -- it's all-you-can-type places.