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View Full Version : good dining deals when not on dining plan?


disney_girl125
04-11-2012, 10:08 AM
I've seen posts out there that give the best deals when on the dining plan, but how about best deals when not on it? I'll probably do mostly quick service since that's probably going to be cheaper. It'll be me and my 3 kids (13,12, and 8). This is the first trip I did not get free dining, so I decided to go without it and see how it goes. We will only be eatting on site and breakfast will be cereal in the room.

BearcatsFan
04-11-2012, 10:52 AM
I think Earl of Sandwich in DTD is pretty reasonable - $5.99 for a good-sized sandwich.

I remember reading somewhere that you can order a double burger, then an extra bun - one burger each and you have two sandwiches. ;) I've also read about ordering sandwiches only without the sides, which is cheaper - then ordering the combos for one or two in the party and splitting the sides (which are always large), thereby saving money.

I thought Cosmic Ray's pricing was decent considering the amount of food you get (with the toppings bar, etc.).

Most entrees w/sides are so large you could definitely share - DH and I shared a couple meals last year. You could also order off the child's menu (which is cheaper) if you desired.

Hope this helps a little! Best of luck and enjoy your vacation! :goodvibes

Donnainnj
04-11-2012, 11:28 AM
A couple of good reasonable sit down meals would be lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern and lunch at Chefs de France. For counter service if you can get the kids to share, Wolfgang Puck express at downtown disney had good food and large portions. Prices are a little higher then the typical counter service, but with sharing it turns out cheaper or the same and it is a little closer to the sit down experience.
Donna

marymal99
04-11-2012, 01:48 PM
I think 50's Prime Time in Hollywood Studios is pretty reasonable with huge portions and is also a lot of fun:hippie:

jcemom
04-11-2012, 03:23 PM
If you're planning on any character meals, stick with breakfast. We like to book the latest breakfast ADR available and treat it as brunch. :goodvibes

Amy&Dan
04-11-2012, 05:57 PM
We were on Free Dining this last trip, but we had a day before our pkg started where we paid out of pocket for the first time in quite a few tips. Earl of Sandwich is a great deal and we also found Pecos Bills a good deal. With the fixings bar, you can make a huge taco salad and I ordered a kids hamburger that was plenty big for my dd.

When we are not on the plan we find that sharing meals (portions are large) really helps. Flame Tree BBQ, Cosmic Rays and Columbia Harbor House all have large cs meals that can be easily split. Two other places that work well for sharing are Pizza Planet and Pizzafari. They have meals that come with a salad and are not as pricey as some of the other places. I also think the food courts at the values and mods have really good deals. I know you said breakfast in the room, but we found if we got breakfast in the food court, then had a snack around lunch and an early dinner really saved us a lot. Also, if you get the refill mugs, eating at your resort works well because your drink is basically pre paid.

I also think that some of the snacks, like the pretzels (love the jalepeno ones they have AK and Epcot) are big enough to be like a meal.

I would also suggest you think about a Garden Grocer or WEGO Shop order. We did that our last OOP trip and having some snacks, our own water bottles, some soda and breakfast things all were nice to have and really kept our costs down.

grafxgirl
04-11-2012, 06:00 PM
OMG! Wolfgang Puck Express at Downtown Disney!! My husband and I can split a meal and still be stuffed.

grafxgirl
04-11-2012, 06:02 PM
We were on Free Dining this last trip, but we had a day before our pkg started where we paid out of pocket for the first time in quite a few tips. Earl of Sandwich is a great deal and we also found Pecos Bills a good deal. With the fixings bar, you can make a huge taco salad and I ordered a kids hamburger that was plenty big for my dd.

When we are not on the plan we find that sharing meals (portions are large) really helps. Flame Tree BBQ, Cosmic Rays and Columbia Harbor House all have large cs meals that can be easily split. Two other places that work well for sharing are Pizza Planet and Pizzafari. They have meals that come with a salad and are not as pricey as some of the other places. I also think the food courts at the values and mods have really good deals. I know you said breakfast in the room, but we found if we got breakfast in the food court, then had a snack around lunch and an early dinner really saved us a lot. Also, if you get the refill mugs, eating at your resort works well because your drink is basically pre paid.

I also think that some of the snacks, like the pretzels (love the jalepeno ones they have AK and Epcot) are big enough to be like a meal.

I would also suggest you think about a Garden Grocer or WEGO Shop order. We did that our last OOP trip and having some snacks, our own water bottles, some soda and breakfast things all were nice to have and really kept our costs down.

I have to agree with everything said here.

tarheelmjfan
04-11-2012, 06:21 PM
I agree with those who recommend sharing meals. Most of them are plenty big enough for my DH & I to share. That said, if your teens are boys, it may not be enough. Our DS would never be full sharing a meal with us.

Bring snacks from home to carry to the parks. Those will supplement the meals.

Sci-fi is reasonable, if you want a fun, table service meal the kids would enjoy. The burgers w/fries are big enough for most to share, especially if you add a couple orders of onion rings.

Ninja Mom
04-11-2012, 06:26 PM
If you are into ice cream for dinner you can split something called the kitchen sink at the ice cream place at the Yacht Club hotel. It says it serves four but my family of 5 couldn't finish it, and I'd been starving them all day before we went. You don't have to stay at this hotel but it is a sit down place and you should get an ADR for it. I didn't know better about the ADR so we had to wait about 45 mins for a spot at a table and the waitress said we were lucky to get in.

got2travel
04-11-2012, 06:28 PM
Trail's End dinner buffet at Fort Wilderness. An easy boat ride from Magic Kingdom and only $15.99 per person. Pretty much what you would pay for CS.

tarheelmjfan
04-11-2012, 08:17 PM
If you are into ice cream for dinner you can split something called the kitchen sink at the ice cream place at the Yacht Club hotel. It says it serves four but my family of 5 couldn't finish it, and I'd been starving them all day before we went. You don't have to stay at this hotel but it is a sit down place and you should get an ADR for it. I didn't know better about the ADR so we had to wait about 45 mins for a spot at a table and the waitress said we were lucky to get in.

You didn't miss anything. B&C doesn't take ADRs. Unfortunately, a long wait is common.

PamelaKay
04-12-2012, 09:44 AM
A couple of recommendations

1. Food court at Port Orleans Riverside has a create your own pasta bar for 10.99 per person and the portions are very large.

2. Picabu Buffeteria at the Dolphin. They have very large portions and good food. You can get 1/2 a rotisserie chicken and 2 sides for 13.50. A 12 inch pizza with one topping is 12.95.

dogbert03
04-12-2012, 10:02 AM
We've always found Cosmic Rays to be a good option, as the prices are very comparable to most other counter service restaurants, but the portions are always enough to leave you filled.
If you are at Epcot, you can make frequent stops to the Coke pavilion for free drinks as well (although they are out of the little paper cups).

clc053103
04-12-2012, 01:38 PM
The plaza in MK is a sit down that is as cheap ad counter service, and it's also one of our favorites for lunch

ChristineOH
04-12-2012, 02:32 PM
I think 50's Prime Time in Hollywood Studios is pretty reasonable with huge portions and is also a lot of fun:hippie:

Yes, it's almost not worth it to use a TS credit here. We were on DP and paid out of pocket when we ate here for lunch. I would definitely recommend it, but we waited 25 min. or so for lunch with an ADR. It's busy!!!

Also Yak and Yeti at AK has some reasonable TS meals, and some of the same menu items are offered in its CS side for even less.

I like the rec to do a late breakfast ADR that can serve as an early "lunch" for you.

smiths02
04-12-2012, 03:46 PM
If you want Table Service--do the opposite of what most DDP users do and make it at lunch instead of dinner. Only get waters to drink. Skip dessert. Order appetizer as your main course. Look at places that DDP people say to pay OOP (Plaza, Sci Fi, 50s PT, etc.). Also, they aren't cheap, but T-Rex and Rainforest Cafe had very large portions, so sharing is very easy (and theming is fun).

Get a grocery store order so you aren't nickel and diming (or rather $3ing yourself) on chips, soda, bottled water, etc.


There is also a Budget Board on the dis.

StuckInKS
04-13-2012, 01:17 AM
I posted a reply the other night right before the board starting having issues and went down for an hour maintenance, but apparently it did not go through. Basically Plaza, Big River Grille, 50s and almost any sit down around lunch time is a good option. Most sit downs seem to have a cheaper option (usually a burger) even for dinner.

, they aren't cheap, but T-Rex and Rainforest Cafe had very large portions, so sharing is very easy (and theming is fun).

I second this. Our local T-Rex has huge portions and I think a party of 4 or 5 (if at least two are younger kids) could easily share a Supersaurus Sampler and one of the appetizer nachos (which are huge and LOADED. I always get this as my meal and can never finish it). My mom and sister easily split the fish and chips. They also have bigger meals (like the Boneyard Buffet) that have two to three "meats" (chicken, ribs and shrimp) with two sides. Or the pizzas are about $13 and big enough to feed a few people.

aubriee
04-13-2012, 05:15 AM
Yes, it's almost not worth it to use a TS credit here. We were on DP and paid out of pocket when we ate here for lunch. I would definitely recommend it, but we waited 25 min. or so for lunch with an ADR. It's busy!!!

Also Yak and Yeti at AK has some reasonable TS meals, and some of the same menu items are offered in its CS side for even less.

I like the rec to do a late breakfast ADR that can serve as an early "lunch" for you.

I agree with this! I am a big eater and love the lettuce cups at Yak & Yeti. Even being a big eater and if I am starving, I have yet to finish an order. They're only like $12.99.

For like $20.00 you can get the mom's special at 50's Prime Time. It has a couple pieces of fried chicken, meatloaf, pot roast and vegetables. Two could easily share it, even if they were big eaters.