How do you save money on food, while at WDW?

Discussion in 'Disney Restaurants' started by tcherjen, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Sphinx610

    Sphinx610 DIS Veteran

    Aug 9, 2012
    We stay on site and use disney transport- so we dont have a car or the option of eating off site. unless we want to take a cab which would negate any savings... so having said that...

    I agree with the pp's that said $15 pp won't cover ts, maybe qs...
    What we did was buy snacks and breakfast type stuff from They deliver to the room and were the most reasonable i found through my research. The kids understandably wanted Mickey waffles or pancakes every morning so we let them buy and ate either their left overs or their fruit along with our stuff from garden grocer. I wouldn't want to pay for the water/drinks in the parks for an extended period of time (more than day or two) so we bought the resort mugs and that covered any drinks we wanted in the am, going back to the resort, evening, etc. then for the parks we got some sport bottle type waters from garden grocer and also brought self-filtering water bottles for the kids. (Hated the bobble brand, love the brita brand. About the same$$ and brita tastes better. In hindsight I should have brought them for us adults too. Next time...) sandwiches in the resort were huge so hubs and I were able to split one meal and a side of fries here and there. Combined with the snacks, it wasn't too bad. It's a big savings to eliminate the cost of beverages and/or between meal snacks. Of course you are going to want the random unique snack or glass of wine here and there, but if you can curb the bulk of it, you are set.

    Also- If you are able to be flexible with dates, try to go for the times the offer the free meal plan!
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  3. Soccer and Swim Mom

    Soccer and Swim Mom Stay at Home Mommy of 2

    May 2, 2012
    My daughter and I flew so we were limited on luggage. I shipped a box of poptarts, cereal bars, dried fruit, prepackaged juice boxes, snacks prior to our trip. My daughter and I always ate breakfast in our room or on the bus so we always made it to the park for rope drop and got started playing right away.

    I also shipped extra snacks and goodies for us to have in our room. That saved us.

    We had the full dining plan. My daughter and I would often share the adult entree for lunch. Then we would get the child's meal chicken fingers for a snack later in the afternoon to tide us over. Many of our dining reservations weren't until 7-8 pm.
  4. LoveToTravel2001

    LoveToTravel2001 Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

    Nov 19, 2006
    Re-useable water bottle - if you buy a drink or even get the free water at CS , it's huge. We would get DD juice and fill her water bottle. We put the water in each of our bottles and flavored it. We preferred water bottles over the resort mugs to prevent leaks.
    Share - portions are huge. It often meant that even if I wanted a burger, I ate chicken fingers if that's what DD was getting. (She could never finish a whole meal, nor would I) we had the dining plan and we would use my CS for breakfast and supplemented by in room stuff or snack item (huge cinnamon roll. We'd share her CS for lunch and share and then have a TS. We are big breakfast eaters and DH or I would hit the food court and bring back the food to the room and we would eat while got ready. We are not big lunch eaters so lunch CS was more of a snack that three of us would share.
    We always use a car service from the airport so they would stop at a market for us to grab juice, water and snacks. We've had friends use delivery service. In this day and age of baggage fees and weighing bags, it's often more costly to pack it if flying.
    As a pp said, food courts have microwaves and we used them - popcorn, oatmeal, quick bowls (rice)...
    Have a wonderful trip.
  5. TomTi89

    TomTi89 Earning My Ears

    Oct 2, 2012
    I definitely agree with eating breakfast in the rooms most mornings.

    It can save money, and can prevent you from going out hungry and possibly irritable.

    However this is true too. Sometimes we just have to have that ice cream, or skip breakfast as such and brunch somewhere :)
  6. maxiesmom

    maxiesmom The Mean Squinty Eye Works

    Jul 6, 2004
    We order food for the room. Pretty much all the food courts have microwaves in them, so you can even have microwave breakfast sandwiches or bacon if you like.

    In the parks, when we eat quick service, we often share. And we order knowing that if we buy too little, we can always go back and get more. Under-estimate how much food your order at first.

    Keep in mind that if you bring in food, there are a few restrictions: No glass, no alcohol, and at the Animal Kingdom no straws. So watch the mayo and ketchup and juice boxes. Plus you will either need a cooler you can carry, or one that will fit into a locker. You can't pull a cooler behind you through the parks.

    Eating off site is cheaper, but leaving the parks for an off site meal is a huge waste of time, imho. And time is money at WDW. Don't waste part of a ticket that costs well over a hundred dollars to save five bucks.
  7. la79al

    la79al DIS Veteran

    May 24, 2005
    Head over to the restaurant board and see which CS have the biggest portions. Your youngest should definitely be able to just share food for most of her meals, especially if she is snacking through the day. I agree 100% with packing food, hitting a grocery store or having a delivery. Unless you are a full sit down breakfast kind of family, you can get by with snacking through breakfast. Personally, we have access to a car so we are making a grocery run and packing a ton of snacks and lunch for in the parks. My kiddos are little, one with allergies, both can be picky, and we're on a a really tight budget so it really makes sense for me to pack as much as possible (especially with drinks, last thing I really want is to make my kids stand in one more line, just for a drink of water). I've learned through the years too that I would hit the grocery store, buy all of the more expensive snacks that my kids don't usually have and they don't really care, would have been just as happy eating generic goldfish. Oh, one last tip, take along some ziploc bags for unfinished food. I know when we took my stepdaughter when she was 6, she would get too excited to eat at mealtime, not finish even half of her food and then an hour later be starving. We took one of the gallon sized ziploc, put the entire little Mickey plate in there and stuck it in the backpack. Worked out great!
  8. nooneshome

    nooneshome but us dis shutins-send help or APs

    May 27, 2007
    Bring breakfast stuff from home and eat in your room. Share meals. Skip meals. Eat a desert for a meal. Bring snack stuff with you. Refill water bottles and use koolaid singles to kill the bad taste.
  9. princessallegra

    princessallegra They call me Mrs. Disney

    Sep 7, 2007
    We have a few methods we employ. First we rent a car so we have access to local supermarkets and drugstores. We make a stop for cases of water, soda, bunches of bananas (my favorite breakfast), apples, granola bars, cold cuts, and bread. By keeping these essentials in the room we are able to make our own breakfasts and sandwiches. We bring our own bottles of water to the parks. I do find that the giant Dasani they sell in the gift shops is a great deal (on Disney property lol) for a cold water if we run through our bottles.

    We also share meals. DH and I are average size people; I have a big appetite and he has a small appetite. Hahahaha. Funny how it works out like that. For CS breakfast (if we do that) we get whatever the biggest meal is (eggs, sausage, hash browns etc) and share that. It's always more than enough food. For CS lunch we share big platters from Cosmic Ray's, CHH, Flame Tree...If we aren't full from one meal we'll order something else. But we find we get really full from the portions.

    At TS many, many times I will order an appetizer as my main course. For example the mussel dishes at Flying Fish or Artist Point are huge! Like piles of mussels! I can get that an a side salad and be set. Instead of $34.95 or more for an entree each. It all depends what I feel like. We are of the belief that when we're on vacation we like to treat ourselves well. This doesn't mean frivolously spending our hard earned money, but it does mean not hesitating to buy things and eat what pleases us.
  10. MinnieLovesMickey12

    MinnieLovesMickey12 DIS Veteran

    Dec 16, 2012
    The biggest way we have saved money on food at Disney is booking our trip during free dining. That's the biggest savings on food you can get IMO.
  11. jsmla

    jsmla DIS Veteran

    Mar 19, 2001
    I live within driving distance and like to make multiple trips per year. Some of these are my "super budget" trips when I spend a week offsite in a $250/week condo. I pack in most of my food from home. Some of it is leftovers (beans, chili, etc) that I froze in single-serve portions and use for dinners in the condo.

    I also bring things like pasta, peanut butter, pita, cereal and coffee that I stockpiled at home when they were on sale and I had coupons. I also bring spices. On my arrival day I make a grocery run for perishables like fruit, veggies and dairy.

    Here's a list of what I ate on my last trip, it's fairly typical:


    Brownbag Lunches
    Pasta salad/grapes
    Peanut butter/whole wheat/apple
    Spicy homemade red pepper hummus/pita wedges/carrots/cheese/apple
    Veggie sandwich (hummus/broccoli/tomato/cheese) on whole wheat

    Home-made macaroni and cheese/black-eyed peas/sliced home-grown tomatoes
    Bean burrito/salad
    Pasta with veggies (broccoli, carrots, spinach, tomato), garlic and Parmesan
    Baked potato topped with lentil chili and cheese/salad
    Large salad with cheese and assorted veggies/toasted parmesan pita wedges
    Black beans/rice/salad

    Trail mix
    Peanut butter/celery

    Those are primarily solo or meet up with local friends trips. When DH goes we usually splash out a bit more. Last time we has a Dining Plan and ate out every meal for a week. It was fun at first but as the week wore on I began to wish I could skip the whole dining experience thing and just have a nice salad while veging out in my jammies in the room! Eating in is not only cheaper but, for me at least, a whole lot healthier. On the dining plan temptation always gets the better of me and I end up eating cupcakes for breakfast.
  12. TeresaWen

    TeresaWen Mouseketeer

    Nov 9, 2008
    A big plus for eating breakfast in the room...huge calorie save. It is so hard to find any healthy options for breakfast in so tired of eating 500 calorie muffins, bagels that were just round bread, or a yogurt cup that was less healthy that a dish of ice cream.

    For the first time we brought food to eat in our room - not to save money but so we were not wasting calories. I bought wheat bread and a jar of peanut butter. Some mornings we would buy some fresh fruit to go with it.

    This was the first vacation where I actually lost weight! So I see three benefits to eating breakfast in the room - saving calories, time, and money!

  13. kim_o

    kim_o Mouseketeer

    May 1, 2007
    We eat pop tarts, fruit (apple, banana) little cereal boxes, granola bars, etc for breakfast on the way to the park or in the hotel. I usually pack sandwhiches and drinks for one meal while in the park. I also bring a ton of snacks. That way i'm only paying OOP for one meal and a treat (usually ice cream or something).

    We also bring the individual gatorade, crystal light, kool aid packets and refill water bottles through out the day.
  14. Brittmarie04

    Brittmarie04 Mouseketeer

    May 4, 2011
    45 pp per day would be do able. If you just eat a small breakfast. Muffins, cinn rolls. Then you would have extra breakfast money left over for dinner. I believe 4 people could do a table service dinner at certain places for about $100 so that leaves you $125 for the rest of the day!!!!
  15. pigletto

    pigletto DIS Veteran

    Oct 27, 2007
    We found the room discount to work out better than the free dining PIN we had this time around. Plus we don't like to eat the way the ddp is structured (would rather appetizers over desserts etc) so we're going with a room only rate this trip.
    We are AP holders so are getting a Tables in Wonderland card. That will basically save us the tip at Table Services. We always have breakfast in the room as well. We'll have a car this time so can pick up breakfast items. On other trips we have made grocery orders.

    We'll basically follow the formula of a CS for lunch and a TS for dinner. We genuinely prefer water with most meals so we won't be ordering a lot of soft drinks anyway. We will get coffee or dh will have beer or wine with dinner.

    Also we plan to add in one snack a day. Taking all this into consideration we have budgeted 200 per day for the four of us and looking at the menus I expect to have some left over for souvenirs at the end of the trip.
  16. VeganCupcake

    VeganCupcake Almost an Expert

    Feb 14, 2010
  17. disneydreamkate

    disneydreamkate DIS Veteran

    Jan 27, 2008

    We do all this...including eating what we have the last week or two before we go. I really do very little grocery shopping until a couple days before we are set to leave (we drive down) and then I purchase what we might need for the trip. Our family rarely eats out at home, so we really do get sick of eating out all the time once we are there. We will do breakfast in the room most days (my son is begging for mickey waffles-so if anyone knows if you can order them anywhere for lunch, please let me know :thumbsup2), and I will have what we need to make sandwiches in our room for lunch a couple of days.
  18. tndisneyfan

    tndisneyfan DIS Veteran

    Mar 8, 2005
    One of the biggest savings for us is eating breakfast in the room. We bring cereal, pastries, pop tarts, or whatever. You can get a gallon (or maybe only a half gallon) of milk in the resort store for not too much more than what you pay at home. We also have chips and other snacks for the room. We never buy water, we bring a Brita water bottle. We get free ice from CS places and use water from the fountains. Even if you can't get ice the water in the fountains is cool. If we buy a Coke we usually share it, it works out good for us because it's hard for one person to drink a big coke before it gets warm.
  19. MrRomance

    MrRomance Planning and Plotting

    Sep 19, 2011
    We always get the dining plan so we never have to worry about food, but even when we stayed off site which we did for many years, we never budgeted for food because there are just too many possibilities. I tend to eat a lot less at WDW with the heat and being busy, but my kids eat a lot more than usual.

    All that said some tips I would suggest are...

    Stock up on breakfast items, snacks and drinks at Publix or one of the other grocery stores. If you eat breakfast in the room, it'll save you a lot of money and having snacks in your back pack saves paying Disney prices for a piece of fruit!

    Share CS meals. Even though we have the DDP, it is very rare that I don't share a CS meal with my DD8. Portions are plenty big enough for an adult and a child. For example, get a Burger Meal and an extra portion of fries and split the burger.

    Eat dinner off property. There are some great buffet style places in the general area.
  20. Evelyne

    Evelyne Qu├ębec's # 1 fan

    Mar 21, 2012
    for many years we traveled on food bubget. We always drive, so we used to take our cooler, the kind that you can plug in, in the room so it was like a mini refrigirator. we would go to the grocery store and made sandwiches to bring in the parks, or split 2 counter service meal for the 4 of us.
    Depending on wich resort you are staying you can order pizza familly size(at leats a couple of years ago). We usually went on table service 2-3 times durring the trip.

    For breakfast, most of the time the children woult eat cold cereal with milk, or we went to the food court with bagels or slices of bread, use the toasters and put over it what ever we took with us, peanut butter, Nutella, jam.

    I always brought snaks for the kids like granolla bar, cookies(at least some that can stand the heat),small packages of almonds, bottles of water, or juice.

    Now, most of the time we go with the dining plan, we still split some of the counter service meals and we still take most of our breakfast at the food court with bagels, toast or croissants that we bring from our room, unless we have splited too many CS meals. If we have left over of the counter service, on our last night we go to Epcot, in France in the boulangerie, and take with us sandwiches and desserts for the ride back home. Brigning bottles of water is still a must, because they are expensive in the parks, we buy the little ones in Walmart, it is easier to toss in your back pack, and you can trow them away faster than the bigger ones.

    Hope this helps, have a magical trip pixiedust:

    1990 to 1992 Off site
    1994 and 1995 Off site
    1998 and 1999 Off site
    2000 to 2003 All star Sports
    2004 to 2011 Pop Century
    2012 The World was great again (Pop Century) without the kids for the 1st time
    March 2013 Disneymoon with the kids

  21. Karabee

    Karabee DIS Veteran

    Jul 1, 2011
    I always order breakfast and lunch off the kids menu at QS places. It's enough food for me and has sides that you can save for a snack later like the baby carrots and apple slices. I also avoid desserts at TS since you can walk out and grab a Mickey bar or rice crispy treat for $4 instead of paying $10 for ice cream while sitting down. I pack some granola bars or things like that for the plane since airport food is expensive. Finally, the best thing was getting Brita Water Bottles. We don't drink soda so not paying for bottle water or stopping multiple places during the day for a little cup of water was a huge benefit.

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