Ideas for eating cheap at Disney

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by Tink3815, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. Tink3815

    Tink3815 Mouseketeer

    May 11, 2006

    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
  2. bigbabyblues

    bigbabyblues DIS Veteran

    Mar 25, 2004
    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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  4. Bonniec

    Bonniec DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2011
    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!
  5. wdw4rfam

    wdw4rfam DVC member

    Feb 25, 2011
    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.
  6. DisLis

    DisLis Mouseketeer

    Jan 8, 2011
    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!
  7. eliza61

    eliza61 DIS Veteran

    Jun 2, 2003
    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.
  8. albarellic

    albarellic Mouseketeer

    May 19, 2011
    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.
  9. starry_solo

    starry_solo DIS Veteran

    Nov 19, 2010
    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 :)
  10. Marionnette

    Marionnette Children see magic because they look for it

    Sep 26, 2009
    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.
  11. ceecee

    ceecee DIS Veteran

    Apr 6, 2001
    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.
  12. disny_luvr

    disny_luvr DIS Veteran

    Aug 7, 2008
    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.
  13. tinkmom2

    tinkmom2 DIS Veteran

    Jan 18, 2009
    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 coupons too for the immediate Buena Vista area.
  14. disney1990

    disney1990 <font color=royalblue>Wow, it make my heart skip a

    Aug 24, 1999
    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.
  15. jerseygirl81

    jerseygirl81 DIS Veteran

    Aug 8, 2008
    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 :)
  16. POOHsie

    POOHsie DIS Veteran

    May 4, 2010
    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.
  17. rentayenta

    rentayenta <img src=

    Feb 28, 2007
    Share meals. :goodvibes We find the portions to be big. For the 5 of us, we can easily share 3 CSs and still have leftovers. Some serve bigger portions than others though. Flame Tree BBQ, Cosmic Rays, and Yak and Yeti all serve huge portions.
  18. bbinnsGA

    bbinnsGA Earning My Ears

    Oct 5, 2012
    we are planning to get our own snacks, water bottles and the crystal light/mio flavorings. If you can get to a grocery store Publix has a bunch of BOGOs every week that usually involve all kinds of snacks.
  19. mom to minnie&mickey

    mom to minnie&mickey DIS Veteran

    Oct 12, 2010

    This meal really is delicious but keep in mind that for its price of $14.19 you are able to buy 2 separate meals for a couple of dollars more.

    You can also order a meal without fries and save I think about $2
    Ice water is free at all cs locations
    A large pizza at your resort is only 13.99 and more than enough for 2 people (8 slices)
  20. pampam

    pampam DIS Veteran

    Aug 13, 2003
    You didn't say how long you were staying so this might not apply, but this is what we do. After checking in, we take the MK bus to MK, but then take the ferry to the TTC. We catch the Lynx bus #56 (2.00$) to the Publix grocery store at Xentury city, across the street from Walgreens, about a 15 minute ride, and stock up on bacon, eggs, bread, beans, weiniers, buns, produce, and whatever we think we will need. A $2.00 ride back to TTC , ferry and bus back to our resort. We cook in the microwave in the food court. My rule is only 1 meal a day in the restaurants.
  21. bianca

    bianca DIS Veteran

    Oct 31, 2000
    Pack a sandwich maker. You can make everything from omelette and French toast to sandwiches and dessert.

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