Budget tips on dining at WDW

I know this is a known tip, but if you're budgeting for meals, it's helpful. If you're in the US and you have a Target Red Card, you save 5% on all your purchases at Target. I know 5% isn't mindblowing, but if you plan to spend like $500 in gift cards on food, you'd be saving $25.
 
I haven't been to WDW in a few years. Anyone know if they still do certain snacks as 'refillable'? (popcorn etc)? It can save a lot of money on snacks if you're in a park all day..
 
I haven't been to WDW in a few years. Anyone know if they still do certain snacks as 'refillable'? (popcorn etc)? It can save a lot of money on snacks if you're in a park all day..
We did the popcorn bucket in 2022, but IDK how people manage to carry those clunky things around all day on rides. I feel like you really have to love popcorn for that hassle. My daughter has made the bucket a decor piece in her room, so I don't regret it, but honestly, we were a little popcorned-out by the end of that week.
 
We did the popcorn bucket in 2022, but IDK how people manage to carry those clunky things around all day on rides. I feel like you really have to love popcorn for that hassle. My daughter has made the bucket a decor piece in her room, so I don't regret it, but honestly, we were a little popcorned-out by the end of that week.
We bring back an old popcorn bucket and pop a bag in the room before we go to parks. Microwave bags cost about 50 cents a bag and more than fills up bucket. Just a note, we don't go during summer where humidity is high.

Doesn't save a lot, but it adds up. For us, it saves enough to buy the overprice ice cream at france. 🤣
 
We bring back an old popcorn bucket and pop a bag in the room before we go to parks. Microwave bags cost about 50 cents a bag and more than fills up bucket. Just a note, we don't go during summer where humidity is high.

Doesn't save a lot, but it adds up. For us, it saves enough to buy the overprice ice cream at france. 🤣
That makes sense!
I've never had ice cream at France! Is it good? How do you think it compares to the gelato from the Italy pavilion? Typically, if I want a sweet treat from France, I go to Les Halles.
 
Thought I would start a thread for how to save a few bucks while dining at WDW (including Disney Springs). Any great ideas could go in this thread. I know my son likes T Rex, so I was considering getting a Landry's gift card (if I can find at a discount maybe we can save on a family of 5). Any other ideas?
Note that the Landry's thing also works at the Rainforest Cafe just outside Animal Kingdom. Their theme is fun, especially for kids, but the food is terribly overpriced for what it is. The go-straight-to-the-elephant-and-get-the-next-table thing is almost as nice as the savings.
ABC Commissary at DHS has a mediterranean salad with chicken for $12.79. Large and filling, and we just drink water with it.
That sounds like a good deal!
If you decide to do the PB&J, bring a cheap rubbermaid container with you to protect sandwiches in backpack. In your suitcase, fill it with socks or something. Sandwiches taste better not squished and oozing.
I'm not AT ALL willing to carry sandwiches around the parks. Snacks are more heat-safe and easier to carry.
We bought waterbottles in park.
You can get all the free ice water you want from the Quick Service restaurants. You don't even need to stand in line -- just do an online order. You can even order two cups per person. No carrying water bottles, and no drinking hot water.
for the same Mickey Waffles
This is off-topic, but I've long desired a Mickey Waffle Iron of my own -- I haven't looked in a while. Does anyone know where they can be purchased?

Other thoughts about eating for less at Disney:
- We only go in Spring or Fall, so the weather's hot, and we don't really want big meals. As such, we like either to split meals or buy kids' meals -- kids' meals are surprisingly filling.
- Still thinking of the heat, since we eat less during the day, we do enjoy a larger-than-usual snack after we get back to the room /condo. We like to get a shower, get into fresh PJs, and then enjoy something substantial. If we have a refrigerator, I make some things ahead of time -- like a pizza dip that needs to be heated, nachos, or just good sandwiches. And we often have ice cream (with homemade sauces and a variety of toppings); it's easier to happily skip desserts at restaurants when you know you can make your own sundae at the end of the day.
- We like to do a sit-down at lunchtime -- not so much for the meal; rather, for the rest, cold drinks and air conditioning at mid-day. It does perk everyone up.
- Ordering water instead of drinks is quite a large savings.
- If we do a character meal, we like to do it on a no-park day (could be dinner for our arrival day, or a mid-week break day, or breakfast for our departure day). This usually means doing a character meal at a resort. Why pay for expensive park tickets, then spend that time eating an expensive meal?
- The cheapest in-room meal you can have (that doesn't involve a cooler) is pizza delivery.
- If you're going to have a kitchen, consider preparing a grocery order ahead of time -- Walmart, Target, Aldi's and Publix are all located within a few miles of Disney. Even if you don't have a car, it only takes a few extra minutes to have your driver stop for the pick-up.
- Consider splurging on The Kitchen Sink at Beaches & Cream (an easy walk from Epcot's International Gateway). Yes, it's expensive, but it's an experience, and it's cheaper than buying 4 individual sundaes for an average-sized family.
 
That makes sense!
I've never had ice cream at France! Is it good? How do you think it compares to the gelato from the Italy pavilion? Typically, if I want a sweet treat from France, I go to Les Halles.
We don’t buy a lot of snacks, but have gotten soft serve ice cream in a few parks. We thought the spot in France was the best. We had ice cream from a stand in America and it was awful, like ice milk that was refrozen. Maybe a one time off thing, but we never tried it again. I was ready to toss the cone. DH ate it. Cant waste the five bucks.
 
I'll pack some non perishables in the suitcase to have coffee and a few breakfasts, we just have to buy a few things like milk from the resort store. Same with snacks the kids enjoy like goldfish and applesauce pouches. My husband likes the popcorn so we buy a bucket. I'll wash it out at night so it can go in the park bag with snacks inside in the morning and not take up a ton of space. He'll usually get a refill in the afternoon, then another as we're leaving that night to enjoy later in the room. We use the buckets at home on movie nights.

For restaurants, I will load a gift card or two a few weeks before the trip. I don't like to leave with a balance so I'll aim for less than what I think we'll actually spend, I can usually save $50-$100 this way. If we plan to eat at one of the Laundry's restaurants, I'll also get a gift card for there from Costco. I also try to utilize the DVC discount where we can, usually 10%.

One trip we ordered takeout twice, pizza from Flippers and Chinese from someplace I can't remember. It was during Covid when hours and restaurant capacity were odd, but we ended up really enjoying it as a family, it was very relaxing.
 
I'll pack some non perishables in the suitcase to have coffee and a few breakfasts, we just have to buy a few things like milk from the resort store. Same with snacks the kids enjoy like goldfish and applesauce pouches. My husband likes the popcorn so we buy a bucket. I'll wash it out at night so it can go in the park bag with snacks inside in the morning and not take up a ton of space. He'll usually get a refill in the afternoon, then another as we're leaving that night to enjoy later in the room. We use the buckets at home on movie nights.

For restaurants, I will load a gift card or two a few weeks before the trip. I don't like to leave with a balance so I'll aim for less than what I think we'll actually spend, I can usually save $50-$100 this way. If we plan to eat at one of the Laundry's restaurants, I'll also get a gift card for there from Costco. I also try to utilize the DVC discount where we can, usually 10%.

One trip we ordered takeout twice, pizza from Flippers and Chinese from someplace I can't remember. It was during Covid when hours and restaurant capacity were odd, but we ended up really enjoying it as a family, it was very relaxing.
About 10 years ago, we did this. Back then, there wasn't as many as grocery delivery choices. With SW, we could take 2 suitcases each, so we'd fill one with food. Now that I handle the bags and there are many services to pick, we now bring 2 medium bags, a backpack ,a gym roll bag, and a DVC tote bag with medical stuff.
I'm not AT ALL willing to carry sandwiches around the parks. Snacks are more heat-safe and easier to carry.

You can get all the free ice water you want from the Quick Service restaurants. You don't even need to stand in line -- just do an online order. You can even order two cups per person.
We had a stroller and a scooter, so we had a spot to carry items. I would not be carrying food and water for 10 people in a backpack marching around. Nor would I bring a hoagie/sub to eat hours later. But when we left the room, we had frozen P&J , frozen string cheese, some frozen/cold juice boxes, some cold/frozen water bottles. Nothing was going bad.

And the idea for getting water from QS is fine, but this way anytime or anywhere when the kids started saying "I'm hot", and we are waiting a line for ride, we had water with us.
 
If you decide to do the PB&J, bring a cheap rubbermaid container with you to protect sandwiches in backpack. In your suitcase, fill it with socks or something. Sandwiches taste better not squished and oozing.

With my grandkids, I brought homemade uncrustables, string cheese, and grapes and juice boxes. Threw the cheese and sandwiches in the freezer (if you have one). Disney food is painfull for 6 kids, even more when they eat 4 bites and then they are full.

Something else with my grandkids. We bought waterbottles in park. First day , every one got one. Three drinks, then spilling, flipping, leaving on railing. water fights. Next day. I brought about eight or so 3 oz paper cups. Who wants a drink? Give the cups to the youngest three, pour ,pour, give 1 /2 bottle to older kid, and repeat. Everyone got a drink of cold water. Save the other bottles for later.

edit, spelling
could I please take your master class? first trip with granddaughters coming up ☺️
 
Can I bring my own food and eat it at every quick service location? Or is it only allowed at some of them?
 
If your family isn't too big of eaters, kids meals are the way to go. I personally have a hard time finishing a kids meal.

I still tip as though I ordered an adult meal and the cost it would have been, I just can't eat an adult meal. Or we just split an adult meal between me and the wife.
Can I bring my own food and eat it at every quick service location? Or is it only allowed at some of them?
You can bring your own food. Just don't bring a massively huge cooler, but whatever food you can carry you can bring. I've never been approached by a CM when I have sat inside or outside at a QS with my own food and drinks.
 
Can I bring my own food and eat it at every quick service location? Or is it only allowed at some of them?
You can eat at most of them. Woody’s lunchbox gets crowded and they may not let you eat there. I would say depending on crowds- you can eat anywhere.

Oh and Casey’s in MK - you can’t eat inside unless you go through the order line most of the time.
 
https://www.disneystore.com/mickey-...pe=autosuggest-popular&siteSearchTopProduct=1

We like this one because it makes 6 waffles at a time. We've had it for several years and still works great. they also sell a smaller one.

A lot of reviews saying it stopped working after a few times. Mine is going strong.
Yes, this is a great one. I have had mine for many years and the Mickey waffles taste just like the ones at QS locations. We buy the Golden malted waffle mix also.

We have the one that has a larger Mickey, but the mini waffle one with Golden Malted is much better-grandkid approved ;)
 
Great thread! Costco and Sam’s Club sell the Landrys cards at a discount ( though I haven’t checked recently ) and they work at Yak and Yeti in Animal Kingdom too.

ETA) I just checked and there’s an extra $5 off the $100 gift cards at Costco this week . So it’s $75 for $100 ( comes in two $50 e-gift cards.)
Yak and Yeti table service but not yak and yeti QS. The fried rice at the sit down restaurant is huge and add in a couple of apps. Food enough for four adults for sure.

Love both the QS and table service.
 
IMO, most counter service pricing at the resorts is quite reasonable. It’s certainly not convenient and will consume time, but $10-11 for a four piece tenders and fries is less than what KFC charges locally. Many of the salads are $9-11, the pulled pork sandwiches $10-11, etc. and the portions are huge.

We like to get creative: order an adult and kids chicken tender meals for two adults to split and each gets 3 tenders, fries plus a drink, cookie and fruit to split - for about $20 total.

Another favorite - Trail’s End has 1 lb pulled pork for $15. A tub of BBQ sauce is complimentary if you request it. You can add cornbread, a couple large sides and a few rolls and for about $45 have a huge family meal (or bring your own rolls, toast them and save a few bucks).
 
















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