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Old 11-25-2012, 10:06 AM   #1
Dawna
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Party of 14 on a BUDGET - where do you suggest?

Fourteen of us (ages 4 to 73) are going to WDW in June and I need some good suggestions on where we can eat on a budget. We want to eat a few sit-down meals together but I'm so worried about the cost of it all. The dining plan would be too much food and too high cost for about half of us, but we are really split between big eaters and light eaters.

I would love to do Chef Mickey's but it is so hard to justify the $ for the ones that barely eat anything (and would struggle with the price).

We are staying at SSR and will have kitchens in the rooms so we can cook or do counter service on the other nights.

Any and all suggestions welcome!!!

Thanks!!
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:13 AM   #2
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It will be hard to please all but maybe some place like Planet Hollywood, or Rainforest Cafe. Light eaters could order apps or sandwiches and others could order full dinners.

I think if you look at menus and then pick a few places and ask every one for a pick then go from there. good luck!
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:15 AM   #3
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What about lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern? The cost for most of the entrees are just a few dollars more than at a CS and the atmosphere is really nice. Also, while I've never been there, The Plaza at the MK seems to have a variety of sandwiches and is also only a little more than a CS.
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:17 AM   #4
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There really aren't any cheap sit downs on Disney property. Are you opposed to eating off site and a regular restaurant?

For inside the parks I will just give some general tips on non-table service....

1. Snack instead of getting meals. Most snacks are around $5 or less. Some are VERY filling....cupcakes, muffins, waffle sandwiches (Sleepy Hollow at MK). I can share those between 3 of us and not finish it.

2. Bakeries are your friend. You will find the muffins and cupcakes there plus the sandwiches are huge and around $6. All 4 major parks have a nice bakery.

3. Take a peek through the Disney Food Blog (Google it) for snacks to see what they look like and where they get them.

4. If you do eat counter service, look for ones that have topping bars (like Pecos Bills at MK). My son is not a meat eater, while DH and I are. So he eats the toppings while we eat the meat.

5. When you order items from CS like burgers and chicken sandwiches, you can order them a la carte and skip the fries/spple slices. It is cheaper and not advertised on the menu.

6. Ice water is free from the vendors. Just ask for a cup of ice water not a bottle.

7. You can order a kid's meal and substitute fries and soft drinks. If I'm dying for a coke, that's what I usually do.

8. You CAN bring food into the parks. I generally don't because the snacks are so big and reasonably priced I'd rather enjoy those. But you can choose to bring something in if you want. Just look up their rules (i.e. no glass bottles, hard coolers, etc)

9. Many meals are very large and can be split by people who aren't big eaters. Like rotisserie chicken which is usually half a chicken.

10. The sandwiches at Earl of Sandwich at DTD are $6 and super good


I know there's more stuff but can't think of it right now. I'm sure others will chime in.
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:18 AM   #5
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wolfgang puck express at DTD is a good option. not too expensive, you can order a la carte and folks can share pizzas. really good food too.

via napoli is another one where you can make it work. not that it's cheap, but you could get 2 of the giant pizzas and salad for everyone or something like that.

sometimes at MK, we just graze for lunch (e.g., turkey leg, corn dog)

breakfast in the room and maybe a dinner or 2 is a great money saver too. highly recommend garden grocer for delivery.
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:24 AM   #6
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What works for us, is that we usually do breakfast at the hotel in the morning and then have an early dinner around 4:30pm. If we need something during the day, we get a small snack or smoothie. It is a lot of food and we usually find ourselves stuffed. I would try to stick with buffets to please everyone. We liked Crystal Palace in the past which has Pooh and friends. This year we are trying Trails End Buffet at Fort Wilderness (take water taxi from Magic Kingdom) and 1900 Park Faire in the Grand Floridian (can be reached via monorail from MK). We also enjoy the Biergarten in Epcot which has something for everyone and we love 50's Prime Time Cafe in HS. 50's Prime Time Cafe is not a buffet but, has great American food if you have eaters that aren't too adventurous.
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:54 AM   #7
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I would definitely do lunches over dinners. Don't do buffets or all you can eat, those are very expensive.

Stick to A La Carte restaurants. Tony's, Grand Floridian Cafe, Via Napoli is good to share, Liberty Tree Tavern, The Plaza, Captain's Grille.

Those are a few of the less expensive restaurants.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:18 PM   #8
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Buffets are expensive and not a good idea for people who don't eat a lot. I agree with others who've said to do the TS for lunch. Prices are usually cheaper then. Also, check out Olivia's Cafe, Grand Floridian Cafe and Boatwrights menus. Meals aren't too expensive and the light eaters can get a sandwich or appetizer, instead of a big entree.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:50 PM   #9
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I agree with PPs, via Napoli can work well and Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch. Rose and crown as lots of options below $22.00 several in the teens. That was one of my favorite meals last summer based on value. Grand Floridian Cafe also is a great choice.

If you want to splurge one night, and not break the bank...check out Kona for dinner. There are lots of wonderful options for main entrees at reasonable cost. Somebody mentioned Olivia's, that is comparable in price to Kona.

One last place to try, if you plan carefully is Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Kidani Village. It is a beautiful resort and restaurant. My family of four had one of our cheaper meals there.

Also, breakfasts are cheaper than other meals. I like to book the latest breakfast and count as my lunch! Kouzina had great breakfast, and we spent less than $15.00 a person. Kona and grand Floridian cafe ROCK with their breakfasts. The wave buffet was good, but a little pricey, but not Chef Mckey pricey.

I can't afford any buffets. Disney jacked the prices up too high to make the Meal plans look like a bargain.

If you have an annual pass or DVC you could check into a Tables in Wonderland card. My party of 10 saved hundreds of dollars last summer.
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:18 PM   #10
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Check into getting an Annual Pass and then buying a TIW card. The card (with AP discount) is $75 and gets you 20% off sit down dining (and certain CS in AK and the value resorts) for up to 10 people. If you are a DVC member, you can get the card for $100 but do not have to buy an AP. You can run the numbers to see if it would work for you. Other than the TIW card, I would suggest sharing meals (except at buffets) and definitely eating some meals in the room especially if you are staying in a villa.

Good luck!

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Old 11-26-2012, 05:43 PM   #11
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Thanks all!! These are wonderful ideas!! I will definitely run these restaurants by the group and see what the majority want to do. Thanks also for the suggestion for TIW card!!

I never thought of just snacking at lunch instead of eating lunch - great idea!! Under the dining plan in previous trips, we never got a chance to try the snacks around EPCOT so that would be really fun and new for us!

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Old 11-26-2012, 06:18 PM   #12
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Google the Disney Food Blog and then do a search for snacks. Disney has fantastic snacks other than the typical popcorn, Mickey Bars, etc (though those are good too, lol). I have so much fun just trying all the different stuff. The last one I tried was the fruit and nutelle waffle sandwich from Sleepy Hollow. It was heavenly!
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:27 PM   #13
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Does anyone belong to AAA? Earl of Sandwich at DTD gives a small AAA discount. We bring our own water, and get inexpensive sandwiches
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