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Old 10-06-2012, 09:23 AM   #1
Tink3815
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Ideas for eating cheap at Disney


We (2 adults) are planning a very budget trip to Disney, staying at Music, using Disney transportation. May do 1 or 2 days in the park.

Please give me all your tips for saving money when eating at Disney.
Would love to know the best deals you have found at the restaurants in the parks or resorts.

This is what I have come up with so far
  1. bring our own small cofeepot
  2. bring bagels to toast for breakfast
  3. crystal light packs to mix with free water

thanks for your help
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:38 AM   #2
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We sometimes split counter service meals. The chicken and rib combo with mashed potatoes and green beans at Cosmic Ray's comes to mind, just too much food for me. There are other meals we have shared, but nothing comes to mind.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:43 AM   #3
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You can split adult meals or order kids meals.

Also, the bakeries are your friend. You can get sandwiches and muffins for under $6 and they are HUGE and filling. Every park has one of these.

You can also just snack your way around the world for cheap. We do this often and just skip meals. Lots of yummy snacks!
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:25 AM   #4
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Starbucks VIA packets are a great alternative to coffee pot. Definitely bring own breakfast food, we also bring bagels, and they see cream cheese packets in food court. And also like OP said, many meals are split-able.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:36 AM   #5
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My biggest time and money saver - not to mention lowering the stress - has been to have a rough plan of where we will eat. I make ADRs for the sit-downs, but also check the menus here that include prices. I print out locations with the best food for the best prices for different parks and resorts depending on our plans. At meal time I can pull them out for everyone to take a look at and we choose what we're in the mood for.
We also share meals. Disney meals are huge. CMs are always good about this. There are several counter service locations (Flame Tree in AK is one of my favorite) that offer a 1/2 chicken dinner. I sure can't eat a half a chicken on my own!
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbabyblues View Post
We sometimes split counter service meals. The chicken and rib combo with mashed potatoes and green beans at Cosmic Ray's comes to mind, just too much food for me. There are other meals we have shared, but nothing comes to mind.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonniec View Post
You can split adult meals or order kids meals.

Also, the bakeries are your friend. You can get sandwiches and muffins for under $6 and they are HUGE and filling. Every park has one of these.

You can also just snack your way around the world for cheap. We do this often and just skip meals. Lots of yummy snacks!
One word of caution on splitting meals. We've tried this with almost every place in the world. Two things happened with us.

1) for example, at Earl of sandwich, we'd split a sandwich but by the time we brought an extra bag of chip and a water or soda, the total savings is maybe a buck or two.

2) next for example we did the combo split at Cosmic Rays and it was totally to much for me but not enough for my husband to be full. So maybe half an hour later he had the munchies and ended up snacking so once again no real savings.

So Im just saying that some times splitting may not end up being the big savings that it is reported to be. Rarely has it saved my dh and I great amounts of money.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:51 AM   #7
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I find splitting the half chicken works better when splitting it between an adult and a child. We got one at the Sunshine Seasons in Epcot and I split it with my 2 kids and it was more than enough food for the 3 of us.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:17 AM   #8
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There's one place in Tomorrowland- maybe it is Cosmic Rays - that all the fixings are separated out so that you can get what you want (lettuce, cheese, etc.). I seem to recall melted cheese so if you have a bag of tortilla chips, it might be good to make some nachos there!

Obviously, you'd buy at least one meal there
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tink3815 View Post
We (2 adults) are planning a very budget trip to Disney, staying at Music, using Disney transportation. May do 1 or 2 days in the park.

Please give me all your tips for saving money when eating at Disney.
Would love to know the best deals you have found at the restaurants in the parks or resorts.

This is what I have come up with so far
  1. bring our own small cofeepot
  2. bring bagels to toast for breakfast
  3. crystal light packs to mix with free water

thanks for your help
Toasting your bagels means that you have to head over to the food court to make breakfast. Either eat the bagels cold or choose a different breakfast.

If by "free water", you mean water from the drinking fountains, then bringing Crystal Light of any "to go" mix in is a good idea. I wouldn't waste time standing in line at a CS place just to get a cup of free ice water when I only had a day or two to spend in the parks.

Splitting meals works sometimes but it really depends on who is splitting the meal with whom. It's better to know that any combo meal can also be ordered a la carte. So if you want an extra side of cole slaw or french fries, just order those instead of buying an entire combo meal to get enough to eat.

Kids' meals aren't just for kids. If you have a small appetite and like what's on the kiddie menu at a CS location, just order it. At TS locations, ask if they have adult portions of the kids' menu items if that appeals to you.

Keep a couple of energy bars or protein bars in your backpack or purse to tide you over between meals. It's healthier than most of the snacks and also cheaper.

The CS meals at the resorts are usually better and cheaper than they are in the parks. You will get more for your dollar there.

Best CS for the money (IMO):
Tangierine Cafe and Sunshine Seasons in Epcot
Flame Tree BBQ in AK
Columbia Harbour House in MK
Nothing in HS, although one could argue that Starring Rolls does pretty good breakfast pastries.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:53 AM   #10
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I'd rethink the bagels too unless you are planning to eat them cold. Protein bars or granola bars maybe. We buy a box of donuts and they last 3 days (we're on vacation, so healthy eating is out). We also share a lot of meals and are more than satified, we aren't big eaters. Get a Brita and drink water from the fountains. I don't think the food is such an expense at WDW, our local theme park is double the price and it's not good food.
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:05 PM   #11
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We always bring our own breakfast foods to eat in the room. We usually pack cereals (and disposable bowls/spoons) and buy milk at the hotel. We also pack granola bars. Again, we'll buy fruit at the hotel to eat with breakfast. This is a huge savings for us. We pack most of our snacks/drinks for the parks too. When we have the munchies, we eat our own snacks that we packed and save a ton of money.
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:15 PM   #12
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Last time we went we ordered from Garden Grocer. I ordered things like bread, pb and J, fruit, chips, cereal bars, apple juice for the kids. Most rooms have a coffee pot. We were originally going to stay at POP but got a resort upgrade to CBR. They had a fridge there. (I thought I heard the Values were getting them too?) I made a pot of hot water and used the paper cups they provide to make oatmeal in the mornings. (Those I brought in my carry on)My kids will eat pop tarts cold.

We split some meals too. There is no way my youngest could eat some of the big meals. We did have the dining plan (basic) but we also went to CRT and for sea food. We would split QS meals or breakfast or one of use would eat breakfast while the rest of us ate in the room. My DH is a diabetic an needs breakfast more than the kids and I. Usually we would have a big breakfast or oatmeal, maybe a snack in the park, and then use our TS for dinner.

So my advice is plan in advance what is really important to you and what you want to eat and budget accordingly. Sometimes you can find groupons or restaurant.com coupons too for the immediate Buena Vista area.
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:23 PM   #13
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In the past we have bought small boxes of cereal and then purchased a 1/2 gallon of milk at the resort store. Also, the store sells boxes of donuts.
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:37 PM   #14
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When my Brother goes to disneyworld with his family they make sandwiches at the hotel and bring a packed lunch with drinks into the parks. We have eaten breakfast in the room that we brought from home we have also added crystal light to the park water. We have also brought snacks into the parks, granola bars, fruit. You can have pizza delivered to your resort although we have never done this I have read of people doing this. I've more recently started ordering off the kids menu, an adult meal is often too much food and an extra expense. The park pretzels are pretty big and a good snack to share. Linda
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:39 PM   #15
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When you go to the CS restaurants, their menu boards show combos, but you aren't required to order a combo. You can order items ala carte. I think if you order an entree without the side of fries, that saves something like $2. You could order just sides, too. If you are a family, and a few of you order entree only, and you all share fries from 1-2 combo plates, that might be enough fries. Also, any kids meal that comes with a toy, can be ordered without the toy. I believe that saves $1.50.

I agree with PP about getting sandwiches at Main St Bakery, or Starring Rolls in DHS. Sunshine Seasons in Epcot has so many selections, there are many ways to order just what you want. Think about trying the new Waffle Sandwiches in MK at Sleepy Hollow. They are getting terrific reviews.

The chicken and rib plate at Cosmic Ray's in MK is just for dinner now, after 4pm. But it's a great value for one CS credit and easily shared.
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