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Old 04-17-2013, 08:12 AM   #1
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Saving money on food at WDW

In preparation of possibly no free dining in Sept. I am wondering if you have any tips on saving money on food at WDW. My DD isn't a big eater for 25 years old.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by gilby View Post
In preparation of possibly no free dining in Sept. I am wondering if you have any tips on saving money on food at WDW. My DD isn't a big eater for 25 years old.

We very rarely eat table service in the parks (only one meal in all our trips, actually). So counter service all the way...

We share counter service meals at least once a day. A half sandwich and some of the fries and part of the shared drink is more than enough lunch for us (DH and myself). And that's not only sandwich type meals...the chicken meals at Cosmic Rays are huge....definitely split table, and if someone is still hungry, you can buy an extra side. Alternately, we each have a kids meal. The portion is enough, and if we are still hungry later, I've got an excuse to have another Dole Whip.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:39 AM   #3
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I would split meals or buy kids meals. I don't care to haul around my own snacks with me, its just not worth it. We do rent a car and grab a couple cases of water which helps a lot. I buy a lot of kids meals you can normally swap out the veggies for fries which isn't healthy but fills me up!
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:45 AM   #4
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We just get what we need/want to eat. We don't usually enjoy foes or sodas, so we order sandwiches or meals without. When I am with my mom and sisters we share meals all of the time. Between us we might eat 5 counter service meals in a day along with a favorite snack.

The kids meals are nasty.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:52 AM   #5
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What we do is get groceries at the beginning of the trip, eat breakfast in the room and bring drinks and snacks with us to the parks. We generally eat mostly counter service, splitting fountain drinks. Another tip is to plan most table service meals for lunch time instead of dinner, prices are cheaper, especially good for buffets.

Our typical eating at WDW is as follows:

BF: Fruit/pastry or cereal in the room - early so we can hit rope drop.
Early lunch: 11 am TS or CS
Dinner: 4pm CS to skip dinner crowds
Dessert/snack: 8pm

We try to eat off hours to save time also.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:56 AM   #6
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I'm not a big eater either, I do eat more frequently but small portions.

What helped me (And my wallet!) was ordering burgers, veggie burgers, etc without fries. When you ask not to have fries with it, it's $2 cheaper. Same goes if the meal comes with a bag of chips.

I agree that the kids meals aren't tasty. However, at the Columbia Harbor House in Magic Kingdom, they have a kids tuna sandwich that comes with a yogurt, drink and fruit, and it was very good!

Also, we get ice waters instead of sodas.. it's FREE so that's always good! We had the Country Time lemonade packets with us in case we wanted lemonade but we only used it 1x. The ice waters were refreshing to us on those hot days.

Another way to save money--if you can, bring snacks into the parks. Animal crackers, pretzels, crackers, granola bars, nutrigrain bars. We also brought bananas down but those went quickly. At the end of our trip we bought bananas in the park, way too expensive!! Next trip we are bring more bananas..lol
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:39 AM   #7
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Pop Tarts saved me a ton on my last trip. I can't eat a big meal when I get up early anyway and you know you have to get up early to get going. So, I always would take a Pop Tart with me and fill up my refillable mug with frozen coke and eat breakfast on the bus or even in queue. Pop Tarts are so cheap and easy to pack. And that would keep me until around 11:30, which I could usually stretch out until 1 or so, after lunch. Basically I would have a early or late lunch (depending on how hungry I was) and then a counter service meal. Like another poster mentioned, Columbia Harbor House has a wonderful kids meal. And they come in these really cute Mickey head plates.
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:50 AM   #8
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My mom and I aren't big eaters and we shared lots of meals. We also ate breakfast in the room. We did a grocery store run (had a rental car) and bought water, snacks, fruit, yogurt, cereal and milk.

We ate pretty much all counter service meals except at Mama Melrose's where we split a shrimp/pasta dish (more than enough for two), Le Cellier for a late lunch (we didn't have dinner that night because we were still too full) and Chef de France where we each had a salad and french onion soup.

We got the refillable mugs which also saved some money.
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:41 PM   #9
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DH and I usually split CS meals or I order a kids meal. They include a lot of food in kids meals!
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:35 PM   #10
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Earl of Sandwich is a good cheap place to eat.

Eat a late breakfast and it should keep you full till dinner. We usually eat at Whispering Canyon at VWL and spend $13 for a meal. We eat at 10:45 and then don't need to eat till eveing.

At AoA you can create your own pasta and salad and you can split both.

Order a flat bread pizza and Wolf Gang Express.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:40 PM   #11
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We get Subway sandwiches on 192/I4 and stash them in a locker along with drinks and snacks.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:41 PM   #12
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Definitely look into either carrying groceries down with you, or maybe ship some things like cereal, pop tarts, etc down. Either yourself, or order through Amazon grocery and have them send it. If you are fine with something like that for breakfast, you can easily save yourself $5-10 per person per day on breakfast. Throwing in a few boxes of granola bars or the like for mid afternoon snacks, drinking ice water or water from the fountains (it really doesn't taste that bad).
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:20 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by gilby View Post
In preparation of possibly no free dining in Sept. I am wondering if you have any tips on saving money on food at WDW. My DD isn't a big eater for 25 years old.
I bring a easy breakfast for the room (bagel/pb, kbars)etc.

I do snacks more often instead of full meals.

I like entrees but not always the 'sides' so I ask for just the sandwich or main course. It's usually cheaper.

A lot of times we share a meal combo.

We like lots of different things at disney so eating half meals or snacks means more room to eat different things.

We only pick out a few TS meals/specialty event meals and splurge on those instead of trying to have a TS every day.

I don't drink much soda. I have coffee in the room. Water in the parks from the CS locations or a bottle from the case I buy to keep in the room. (i did buy a refilable mug last trip because I was there 8 days, but even then I don't think I drank enough soda/coffee to pay for it so probably won't again)

This only works if it's already your style, in my case it is. We eat like this at home too.
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:22 PM   #14
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SHARE SHARE SHARE...meals are big and you can always add a snack or mickey bar later if you need.

Drink water. Free anywhere ...anytime. Add a flavor pack if you want.

If you do TS, consider lunch and SHARE.

Avoid buffets and All- you -can -eat places. No control of your cost.

Breakfast in the room, and snacks in the room. Drinks in the room if you drive....easy to get there. If not use water and those drink packs.

We do not carry food and drinks into the parks....we like to travel light. We mostly do DDP but used all these ideas before there was a DDP and when we end up not doing it on rare trips.
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:33 AM   #15
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We usually get an order from Garden Grocers that has water/gatorade, bagels/bread, bananas/apples, pretzels, cereal. I pack a small jar of pb & jelly (squeeze bottle), paper bowls and plasticware. This way all we need to buy for breakfast is milk for the cereal in the food court or gift shop (milk used to be cheaper in the gift shop for some reason, not sure if this is still true). There is a toaster in the food court you can use to toast your own bales/bread if you want them toasted. Lunch or light supper can be pb&j sandwiches with pretzels (or chips if you prefer) and fruit. Carrying a couple bottles of water/gatorade is no big deal. We have a bag we bring with us for camera, water, small first aid kit etc...and since we usually go in July, staying hydrated is very important.

Splitting a chicken meal at Cosmic Rays is more than doable! Also, get a dbl. cheeseburger and order an extra roll. The roll is only a few cents (.50?) and you get two burgers out of it. If you pack a couple apples in your bag you can split almost ANY counter service meal and stretch it with some fruit. Plus, some fruit is a good idea with all the junk you eat on vacation! LOL!! Kids meals are also a good way to go. I eat a lot of these at WDW because their portions are pretty big, and they have healthier sides now than just fries. An adult meal may come with only fries, but the kids meal can have baby carrots, grapes, yogurt etc...as a side choice.

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