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Old 05-23-2013, 10:52 AM   #1
Earning My Ears
mermaidblue!'s Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 74

family of 4 did WDW dining on the cheap

Just returned last week from 6 days at Pop Century May 12-17. We never left Disney property. Approximately $50 worth of groceries were purchased at Walmart in advance:
Cereal/bowls & spoons
Peanut butter
2 gallons of milk (which fit nicely in the POP fridge, btw)
Pop tarts
Cinnamon rolls (huge!)
Soy milk
Pre-cooked bacon packages ($1.99 for 15 strips which we shared every AM
after heating it in the food court microwaves! Loved this idea.)

This provided breakfast/late night snacks for 2 adults, 2 kids (7 & 12). All other meals were counter service meals purchased at POP or Disney parks. We charged every meal with our Key To The World, and they gave us the bill when we left. I had estimated we might spend $25 per "adult" on 2 CS meals + 1 snack a day, and $17 per day for our 7yr old kid. Estimated total around $550, plus $50 of Walmart groceries would be $600. Not bad!

I was astounded that our Disney meals came to only $300 for 6 full days!!! $350 when you include our Walmart groceries.

Yay! We each had ice cream every day, ate whatever we liked, and frequently had more food than we could eat. The key was splitting meals. Our kids are still young enough that they simply don't eat as much as myself and my husband. Splitting meals and sharing sides saved more money than I every dreamed possible. Plus, bringing food for the fridge was an amazing time & money saver! We also brought our own wide-mouthed water bottles, which I filled with ice water at any restaurant w/a soda fountain, free of charge. Real $ saver there. Alot of people don't know that you can ask for a free cup of ice water anywhere in WDW and they will give it to you if they have a soda fountain. Our friends traveling w/us didn't realize this, and wasted cash buying bottled water at every snack cart.

My husband regrets not purchasing the hotel's refillable mug. Would have saved on diet cokes & coffees for him. Live and learn!

Our two previous trips were on the Free Dining plan, which was excellent. : (Loved character dining!) This was my first OOP experience on a serious budget, so I was nervous but I absolutely loved it. Just thought I'd throw that out there for those planning their CS dining...
mom + dad = 12 7 & a baby boy on the way!
Pop Century September 2010 & 2011
Pop Century May 2013 (the week of Mother's Day!!!)
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