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Old 01-04-2013, 07:37 PM   #1
tcherjen
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How do you save money on food, while at WDW?

Thinking about staying for a week, maybe less. I figured it was going to cost about $15 ppp, per meal. So around 1400 for the week.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:40 PM   #2
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We brought in a lot of our own food. Every night we packed our cooler with drinks, snacks and lunches for the kids. We still bought snacks in the parks, but the snacks were special one of a kind items and not soda or french fries.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:45 PM   #3
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We always stay at DCV because you can eat breakfast break for lunch and splurge and prebook our dining options. Throw in a few counter service so it not always headed back to room We even had our food delivered to our room. Total cost was close to renting a hotel room and much more room for boys to relax.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcherjen View Post
Thinking about staying for a week, maybe less. I figured it was going to cost about $15 ppp, per meal. So around 1400 for the week.
Unfortunately that $15 pp probably won't cover any TS (other than for kids). DH and I often share our CS meals. We find they are usually more than enough food for one person. We share drinks too.

We have also brought breakfast type foods to eat in the room, eg. granola bars, cereal, drink boxes, etc.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:47 PM   #5
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When we go to the beach over the summer, I have snacks and meals for the room. Since POR does not have a microwave in the room I am guessing lots of eating out. I will defintely pack snacks for DD6 to eat in the park, she is picky.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:47 PM   #6
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We used the dining plan and bought rice krispie treats for breakfast. (Don't I have a wonderful Aunt )
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maiapapaya View Post
Unfortunately that $15 pp probably won't cover any TS (other than for kids). DH and I often share our CS meals. We find they are usually more than enough food for one person. We share drinks too.

We have also brought breakfast type foods to eat in the room, eg. granola bars, cereal, drink boxes, etc.
No, that's per person, per meal. So I figured 3 meals a day, give or take. I am going to get so snacks for the room too. I like the idea of the granola bars and such.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:50 PM   #8
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Here's how I allot money for meals:

QS: $15 per person, per meal
TS: $25 per person, per meal
Buffet/Character Meal/Family-Style: $35 per person, per meal
Signature: $55 per person, per meal

These include an entree, tip, beverage, and a shared appetizer or dessert. Obviously, you can get the exact buffet, dinner shows, and pre-paid meal prices in advance from sites like allears.net. Don't forget the tip for those, though.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maiapapaya View Post
Unfortunately that $15 pp probably won't cover any TS (other than for kids). DH and I often share our CS meals. We find they are usually more than enough food for one person. We share drinks too.

We have also brought breakfast type foods to eat in the room, eg. granola bars, cereal, drink boxes, etc.
ditto this PP

If you have a car you can pick up snacks and breakfast type food to have in the room (that's what we do)

We carry canned sodas or drink the free water from CS locations (there it's filtered and tastes pretty good - don't drink out of the water fountains - ick). Dh, DD (age 13 now) and myself always split 2 CS meals and it's plenty of food. So we average around $20 / meal (not per person) for lunch and dinner (we eat breakfast in the room). I budget $50 / day for food so we have some wiggle room in terms of actual meal cost and some $$ for snacks.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:54 PM   #10
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If you have your own transportation, you'll definitely want to go to a nearby grocery store to pick up some snacks. Reusable water bottles and drink mixes are highly recommended.

Another thing is watch where you eat; some places are much better deals than others. Two of my favorite places to eat at are Earl of Sandwich (at Downtown Disney) and Boulangerie Pātisserie (at EPCOT). They both serve excellent food at very reasonable prices.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maiapapaya View Post
Unfortunately that $15 pp probably won't cover any TS (other than for kids). DH and I often share our CS meals. We find they are usually more than enough food for one person. We share drinks too.

We have also brought breakfast type foods to eat in the room, eg. granola bars, cereal, drink boxes, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tcherjen View Post
No, that's per person, per meal. So I figured 3 meals a day, give or take. I am going to get so snacks for the room too. I like the idea of the granola bars and such.
You will probably be able to eat breakfast and lunch/dinner at CS location for $15/person or less. You will not be able to eat at a TS location for that amount. Between the meal, tax and tips, you're going to spend about double that amount per adult.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:58 PM   #12
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Eat breakfasts in your hotel room with food from home- Pop Tarts, granola bars, instant grits, etc.

Share meals- portions at WDW can be quite large.

Limit snacks to one per person per day (or less if not a big deal)- bring additional snacks into the parks with you.

DON'T PAY $$$ FOR BOTTLED WATER!! This is a huge money waster. Every CS restaurant offers FREE large cups of ice water just for the asking. And it is nice filtered water- doesn't have that FL tap water smell/taste.

If you have to have bottled water, bring your own into the parks.

Try to eat at least a few meals off site- much less expensive than WDW.

We mostly eat one big meal per day at a non-busy time (like 10-11am or 3-4pm), then supplement with snacks.

After all those suggestions, however- don't make yourself feel like you are taking all the fun out of the vacation. Budget in some $$ to blow on Mickey bars, candy, cocktails, or whatever. If you feel like you are scrimping and sacrificing too much just to save a little $$, you will be unhappy.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:59 PM   #13
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When you do eat out, only buy enough food so everyone is satisfied. It might mean getting 3 meals for 4 people and serving them family style. The goal is to buy only enough food to feed everyone with no left overs. You can always buy more if needed or have a share-able snack (like popcorn) later. The main goal is to not through out food.

If looking at prices will give you less of a vacation consider just getting the Quick Service Dining Plan. You can have it all paid for before you leave. It is so nice to look at the menu board and get what you WANT to eat and not just what is the cheapest. Even if it costs a little more than what you might have spent ala carte, not having to watch the food pennies makes for an easier vacation for everyone. I've heard of some people though that feel compelled to always order the most expensive thing to get their money's worth. If that's you, then I'd skip it.

You can still do a character meal or two out of pocket if you want.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:59 PM   #14
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We eat breakfast in the room, eat some meals off-site (we stay off-site), carry refillable water bottles into the parks, and share snacks. Splitting meals doesn't work well for us, but I'll sometimes buy a meal off the kids menu at CS locations.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:00 PM   #15
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On one of our best trips ever to WDW, we stayed a week in a cheapo motel that was ~$26 a night, 1 mile from WDW. We had a cooler in our room for breakfast foods and coldcut meals which was our dinner. Our big meal of the day was a lunchtime table-service meal in the park. At the time, our kids were pretty small, and the prices then weren't nearly as high as now. For example, I think Chefs de France was $60 after the tip for the 4 of us (this was 2001).

Like many others have suggested, we'd also bring in small snacks for during the day. The CS meals will also be plenty ... just one can sometimes feed two adults.

That was a really magical trip, and thinking back on it makes me wish our kids were 5 years old again.
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