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Old 04-07-2013, 01:28 PM   #1
Jennybump
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Best budget eateries on property?

We are debating a trip in November, and our biggest budget item right now is food (brother and SIL using points for condo, special deal on homeschool tickets and parents helping on that since housing is $0). We are driving and will have a kitchen, so breakfast will definitely be in-room, and we will carry along some filling, nutritious snacks and water. But realistically, I don't want to be packing whole big lunches and I definitely don't want to be cooking dinners for the whole family, so we ARE going to have to budget for some Disney food. We will do exclusively CS except the kids want to do Sci-Fi Dine-In and Whispering Canyon again, and I'm not averse to cobbling meals together by purchasing fruit, chips, hot dogs, etc. at snack carts to supplement whatever we have brought along. I myself will need gluten-/wheat-free options such as the good ol' Caesar salad or something like a baked potato, but I'm not worried about that. I just would really like a more realistic idea of what we are apt to spend, since right now I'm budgeting: $12 per adult lunch x 3, $7 per child lunch x 2; $20 per adult dinner, $10 per child dinner; plus $8 per day for shared snacks like popcorn, big ice cream, etc. the kids will have gift cards if they want treats beyond that.

I would SO appreciate some help and guidance before I let my dream die a painful, depressing death! LOL Hit me with your budget dining brilliance! Thanks so much!
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:39 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jennybump View Post
We are debating a trip in November, and our biggest budget item right now is food (brother and SIL using points for condo, special deal on homeschool tickets and parents helping on that since housing is $0). We are driving and will have a kitchen, so breakfast will definitely be in-room, and we will carry along some filling, nutritious snacks and water. But realistically, I don't want to be packing whole big lunches and I definitely don't want to be cooking dinners for the whole family, so we ARE going to have to budget for some Disney food. We will do exclusively CS except the kids want to do Sci-Fi Dine-In and Whispering Canyon again, and I'm not averse to cobbling meals together by purchasing fruit, chips, hot dogs, etc. at snack carts to supplement whatever we have brought along. I myself will need gluten-/wheat-free options such as the good ol' Caesar salad or something like a baked potato, but I'm not worried about that. I just would really like a more realistic idea of what we are apt to spend, since right now I'm budgeting: $12 per adult lunch x 3, $7 per child lunch x 2; $20 per adult dinner, $10 per child dinner; plus $8 per day for shared snacks like popcorn, big ice cream, etc. the kids will have gift cards if they want treats beyond that.

I would SO appreciate some help and guidance before I let my dream die a painful, depressing death! LOL Hit me with your budget dining brilliance! Thanks so much!
First off, if you're doing mainly QS, there's not reason to up your dinner prices. The prices for QS are the same at lunch and dinner. So figure out what you will spend at your 2 TS meals, then I would stick with your lunch figure for all other meals.

Some places where you could possibly share are:

MK Cosmic Rays
AK Flame Tree and Yak n Yeti
HS Starring Rolls sandwiches are huge!
EP Sunshine Seasons, Tangierene, Katsura Grill
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:46 PM   #3
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Definitely do Whispering Canyon for Lunch, you would blow a HUGE hole in your budget for dinner, it's very expensive, (like $78 for 2 people). And during lunch you can order yourself a salad as well, which they don't offer for dinner.

There is actually a McDonald's on property, near Blizzard Beach and the Summerland/Winterland Golf Course. DH and I still occasionally like to go to that McDonald's to eat a cheap meal, and they are open 24 hours.

Earl of Sandwich in DTD has great prices, sandwiches and salads are $6 each, and the food is really good. If you ate here a couple times you would have extra money in budget.

Cookes of Dublin by Raglan Road has really yummy fish and chips for much much less than Raglan's prices. They have a great menu, with salads also. Most meals are under $12, and this would actually be a nice dinner choice, saving you some $.

In Epcot, the fish and chips at UK are $8.99 I think, also not a bad price compared to Rose & Crown's prices.

If you packed waters or a few sodas, you would save a lot there. You are allowed to bring a small cooler into the parks, maybe one that holds 6-8 cans or small waters. I'm sure you don't want to carry that all day, but maybe leave a larger cooler in the car (with ice) and take out what you need in a backpack. Each soda costs about $3 in the parks.

At Sunshine Seasons counter service in Epcot, you get free drink refills there. They have a variety of hot and cold foods. Most meals there are probably under $12.

At Sci-fi, maybe order appetizers as meals, they have the chicken wings which are pretty good. That's what I have been doing, I like the shrimp pasta, but I don't feel the need to spend $25 for eating there.

The French Bakery at Epcot has a variety of food as well, the ham and cheese croissant is really good (I think it's less than $5).

Hope that helps with some ideas.
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:00 PM   #4
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I think your budget is more that enough for meals, and you should come in under that most days. There are ways to reduce food purchase cost IF you want to do that. We never cook at WDW, and only do breakfast fast foods in the room but we do our condo at the beach all the time where we cook almost all meals. What we have learned it to do a huge breakfast. One family can cook, the other clean and alternate. Lots of proteins like eggs, bacon, combined with some carbs...toast, bagels, pancakes....will keep everyone going a long time.
Crock-pots are your friend. If you are wiling to head back to eat dinner and then return to the parks, you can start something in a big crock-pot in the am and have it ready to eat when you are ready. Pulled pork, or chicken, stew beef, spaghetti sauce....Soooo many things you can fix. You can add deli slaw, salads etc and have dinner on the table in minutes. Use CP liners and paper products for little clean up.

Carry filing snacks, nuts, cheese cubes, fruit, whole grain crackers etc, and share most CS meals. Just get more food if you need it.
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:20 PM   #5
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Keep in mind, CS portions are generally HUGE and can easily be shared on most occasions.
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:28 PM   #6
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Have you priced out things you think your group would choose at various restaurants? The restaurant menu thing here on the DIS is faster loading and way easier to read than Disney's own! But I think your budget is a bit higher than what you'll need for QS from my reading. Doing lunch at Sci-Fi or WC is probably a budget saver and a welcome rest mid-day.

MsSandra is dead on with the crockpot idea. You could even cook all of those things ahead, freeze them and then just use the crockpot to get/keep them hot. Have a big breakfast in the room, a late lunch and snack in the parks then if supper is later than normal, no one is dying. Chicken breasts and a jar of salsa in the crock pot makes for a really good taco or taco salad filling. Bring along some shells, lettuce shreds, cheese and other toppings and you've got an easy, quick, cheap supper. You'd have to eat at home too...don't forget to include that in your budget considerations. I kind of mentally deduct my normal grocery budget from my vacation food budgets...mind games to be sure, but I won't be spending that $100 on groceries while I'm at Disney! I'll be spending it on Tonga Toast and Dole Whips instead
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Old 04-07-2013, 05:38 PM   #7
Jennybump
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Brilliant, love it, keep those ideas coming. I had thought about Crock Potting in the room but didn't want to bring ingredients; never occurred to me to just make the whole thing ahead! Duh! :-)
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:54 PM   #8
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Disney has many Gluten Free options at QS and TS places, so you don't have to just have salad. Also to cut costs ask for cups of water with meals, they are free.
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Old 04-07-2013, 08:45 PM   #9
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I am now in the process of checking menus to see what everyone would be likely to eat and the actual costs, all the way down to choosing places at each park, DTD, and the two TS the kids want to do (thanks for the lunch suggestion). It definitely looks like I was erring on the side of over budgeting, EXCEPT... Does anyone know if/how much tax is charged? Don't want to neglect that tidbit! Thanks again!

Jen
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennybump View Post
I am now in the process of checking menus to see what everyone would be likely to eat and the actual costs, all the way down to choosing places at each park, DTD, and the two TS the kids want to do (thanks for the lunch suggestion). It definitely looks like I was erring on the side of over budgeting, EXCEPT... Does anyone know if/how much tax is charged? Don't want to neglect that tidbit! Thanks again!

Jen
Tax is 6.5%

Be sure to check the menu at Wilderness. They changed it a few months back and I don't believe the skillet is available at lunch if that is what they are wanting.
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:23 PM   #11
Jennybump
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Awesome, thanks.

No, they don't want the skillet, they want rude wait staff, wooden horse races, and to yell "KETCHUP!!!" ;-)
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:27 PM   #12
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Some night do dinner outside of parks- cici's buffets, groupon or restaurant.com or entertainment coupon book. you could have great meals much cheaper.
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:37 PM   #13
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I agree that you over budgeted but it is better to do that then under budget. We shared CS at many Epcot restaurants. Also you can ask for tap water at the CS for free when ordering. 7 of us ate at BOG for lunch for about $100 while all of our kids are over 9. It was a nice surprise. In MK we like Columbia House. Good food nice amount.
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:39 PM   #14
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I agree that sharing CS meals is easy. We don't eat CS often, but DH & I have shared the BBQ sandwich & onion rings at Flametree & had plenty to eat.

Also, you said you would prefer not to bring in meals, but I wanted to offer my niece's experience. She brought in sandwiches, hotdogs, chips, & drinks, along with snacks & kept them in a soft sided cooler in the stroller. (If you don't use a stroller, it would be more difficult to bring food in, but you could rent a locker.) The day we met them at Epcot, we ate at Sunshine Seasons for lunch. Honestly, the meal she brought in looked much better than what we had. They ate their one meal in the parks or DTD at dinner. They were staying at our house in Tampa. If they were staying in a condo closer to WDW, they could have had dinner in the room. Don't let your food budget keep you from going. They enjoy it immensely w/o spending a lot on food. You can too.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:59 PM   #15
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Be sure to ask for cups of ice water at CS restaurants instead of buying bottled water; that will save you tons of money. Not just at mealtime - you can ask for cups of water at any time during the day, even if you don't buy anything. I bring a refillable water bottle and just pour the ice water into it.
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