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Old 03-23-2011, 01:23 PM   #1
Eeyore's Wife
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$40 a Day for Dining at Disney

It is our Spring Break and I ended up catching an episode of Rachel Ray's $40 a Day television show. She was in North Carolina and seemed rather impressed with herself that she ate three meals and a snack for under $40.

I think that should be pretty easy outside of really expensive places like Rome, Paris, or New York. Then my mind turned to Disney World, so I decided to see if I could put together a menu at each park where an adult could have Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and a snack for under $40.

Here are my self imposed rules:

No DDP or Tables in Wonderland.
No Kids Meals for Adults.
At least one sit down meal per day.
Leave a tip of 18% (I do not want to argue this, just used this number as it is the one Disney suggests most prominently)
Drink something besides water for at least two meals per day.
Vacation food that either myself or immediate family would actually eat.
Try to include some Disney specific foods either exclusive to Disney or very rare elsewhere.

Prices listed include tax for counter service, and tax plus tip for Table Service.
Bolded meal is the Table Service


Animal Kingdom: $39.28

Rainforest Cafe for Breakfast. Tonga Toast and a Coffee $15.04.
Pizzafari for Lunch. Ceasar Salad plus Chicken with a soda. $10.63
Dinner at Flame Tree. 1/2 slab of Ribs with Beans and Slaw and water $11.17
Snack: Churro $2.44


Disney Hollywood Studios: $39.42

Starring Rolls for Breakfast. Choc. PB Cup Cake and Milk $5.84
Fairfax Fare for Lunch. 1/2 Chicken with sides and lemonade $12.66
Momma Melrose for Dinner. Pepperoni Flatbread and soda $17.78
Writer's Shop for snack. Carrot Cake Cookie $3.14

Epcot: $39.94

Sunshine Seasons for Breakfast. Oatmeal with raisins and hot tea $5.31
Chefs de France Fixed Price three course lunch and water $24.90
Boulangerie for Dinner. Ham and Cheese Croissant with Strawberry Smoothie $7.61
Kringla for snack. School Bread $2.12


Magic Kingdom: $39.43

Breakfast at Mainstreet Bakery. Cinnamon Roll and Coffee $5.95
Lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern. Colony Salad and Iced tea $19.77
Dinner at Columbia Harbor House. Fried fish basket and soda $10.31
Snack at Aloha Isle: Dole Whip $3.40


So, how did I do?
What would you change?
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:31 PM   #2
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I LOVE IT! You should be recruited to do this special for tv! LOL
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:47 PM   #3
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wOW YOU DID REALLY GOOD. hOWWEVER IN MY OPINION FOR 5 DOLLARS MORE YOU CAN ADD THE DINING PLAN AND GET A COUNTER SERVICE A TABLE SERVICE AND A SNACK EVERYDAY.
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:54 PM   #4
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Great job, Eeyore's wife! I know some people love the dining plan but it just doesn't work for our family. We hate to be tied into a specific reservation time plus sometimes we just want appetizers and drinks. We like the freedom!
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:56 PM   #5
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What a nice idea. I love Rachel Ray and especially love the show $40.00 a day.
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:00 PM   #6
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"IN MY OPINION FOR 5 DOLLARS MORE YOU CAN ADD THE DINING PLAN AND GET A COUNTER SERVICE A TABLE SERVICE AND A SNACK EVERYDAY. "

Ah, well, the dining plan costs $45.99 for adults per day. That is already $5.99 beyond the $40 per day limit. During "high season" they jack up the price by another two dollars to $47.99.

In addition, you must pay the tip for the table service meal out of pocket. Even if one were to have an entire table service meal for $20, almost impossible at Disney, you would still need to pay an additional $3.60.

At that point you are paying $9.50 beyond the $40 limit and are only getting one sit down meal, one counter service, and one snack.

My plan provides three meals per day, including a sit down and two counter service meals per day, plus a snack.

I am not saying it is the only way to go, but I was exploring the idea of the Rachel Ray inspired idea of eating on vacation, all costs included, for under $40 per day.

When we pay out of pocket, we tend to average about $50 per adult per day due to extra sides, drinks, and soups. Yet, I would be happy on this budget/meal plan and enjoy my vacation.
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Last edited by Eeyore's Wife; 03-23-2011 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:55 PM   #7
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I think my favorite day under $40 would not include a sit down meal. Breaking my own rules but delighting my taste buds and enjoying the environment, this is how I would spend a day in Epcot.

Breakfast in Sunshine Seasons. Pumpkin muffin and iced coffee $6.16
Lunch at Joy of Tea Stand. Lucky combo with a Pork Bun, Chicken Pocket, Egg Roll, Soda and Ice Cream. $10.63
Dinner at Tangerine Cafe. Veggie Platter and Sangria $18.09
Snack at Kringla. Almond Pretzel $4.56

This day comes in at $39.44. I would not drink water with any of my meals and each of these meals is a favorite of mine. This would be a day where I did not deny myself anything I would really love to eat. To top it all off, by choosing to eat outside of the Table Service meals I could afford to have an alcholic drink.
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:59 PM   #8
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I could do it with just food...but alcoholic beverages ruin the entire thing. And I'm not going without a margarita. Or two.
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:00 PM   #9
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While I will be the first to say I love the DDP and have always had good luck and experience with it, this is an AWESOME plan! I just don't think I'd ever be able to stick with it, lol. That's really cool though to figure it out like that
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:23 PM   #10
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great job! i love that show! It's totally possible to do wdw at reasonable prices and still have excellent food! thanks for sharing!
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:30 PM   #11
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TDC Nala, you inspired me. Here is a menu plan with a Margarita and a glass of wine. I tried to do two margaritas, but then didn't have enough money for enough food to call it a dining plan and not a drinking and snacks plan.

Epcot's Drinking and Food plan for under $40. Show up at 11 a.m. when the world showcase opens. This is a day for sleeping in and enjoying some grown up drinks.

Breakfast: Croissant and Choclate Milk at the Boulangerie $3.45
Lunch at Kringla: Potato, Goat cheese, and Veg Torte and apple juice. $8.17
Alcohol Snack: Frozen Passionfruit Margarita at Mexico's counter service $9.58
Dinner: Liberty Inn's Buffalo Chicken Breast Nuggest with celery sticks and ranch sauce, brownie, and water. $9.89
Snack in Norway: Lefsa $2.12
Evening Wine: Liebfraumilch in Germany $6.39

Total cost for the day is $39.60 and you get thee meals, a snack, and two lovely alcoholic libations. Now, all meals were counter service, but other than that, there were non water drink options with two of the meals and I even managed to sneak in a little dessert as well as a snack.
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:38 PM   #12
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That's the counter service frozen margarita...mine are the $13 ones from La Cava. But heck, all I'd have to do is cut out the breakfast, I usually don't mess with breakfast anyway, or bring an energy bar or something...

If you don't have a problem with doing counter service, it's good that it can be worked out without going for the dining plan and having to worry about using up all the credits.

Are those buffalo nuggets any good? Never knew they had such a thing.
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:58 PM   #13
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I am not a huge nugget fan, buy my son enjoys nuggets and buffalo flavoring. He thought it was good, but not hot enough for his tastes. Then again his tastes run to the very spicy and wild, so I assume they would be good if you like the idea of nuggets in general.

It was something interesting and unique. Hadn't tried it before, but my my kiddo ate it as a snack, not a meal. He is in the bottomless teenaged pit stage, and he often needs to supplement his daily caloric intake.

For $6.89 it was a very protein rich food item that managed to provide a little vegetable as well.
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:10 PM   #14
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I love it!
I really think it is great.
I seriously think you should make up and post some more, so we can copy them to take with us.
The DDP is too tied down for many people, me included.
And as pp mentioned, not having to worry about unused credits going to waste, etc.
Great job, Eeyore's wife.
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:30 PM   #15
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I think it is great!!! And, it does go to show you that there are ways to make it work!!!
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