Off site Restaurants good for bringing lunch into the park?

Disneyliscious

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
We will be packing lunches to avoid the atrociously priced food at WDW (we have a group of 8 so $200-$500 for each meal, yeah, even if we won the lottery we wouldn't pay those kinds of jacked up prices). Some days we'll make and pack stuff from the fridge but are there any places like Subway close to WDW where we can buy Subs the night before and take with us the next day? Doesnt have to be a sub but cold foods would be a necessity. Thanks!
 

Lisa_M

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 25, 2006
I know some people like to bring subs from Publix grocery store. We sometimes do PB & J or pack chicken salad sandwiches or subs and cold snacks that go in the freezer the night before like grapes, applesauce cups or pouches, juice boxes, goldfish crackers, chips, whole apples, that sort of thing. The cold snacks and frozen water bottles in an insulated backpack cooler on the bottom keep the sandwiches cold up top.
 

elaine amj

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 26, 2012
Those instant noodle bowls/cups along with a thermos of hot water could work too. I have done that for an amusement park near home.

I tend to do a lot of hot dogs because that is easy to eat cold. My kids don't mind cold pizza either (neither do I when I am hungry lol). When they were younger I often bought those lunchable snack packs. Or more frequently, dinner rolls/sliced cheese/deli meat was our picnic staple. My kids like carrots and cucumbers for snacks, especially on vacation mostly because they start craving fresh food lol.

Nowadays we try for healthy whole foods and my DH doesn't like most of the typical things anymore. So generally I pack a salad kit for us or just eat at home before we go out. Last week we went for a picnic and he was happy with the egg salad sandwiches I packed.

Also what about checking the cold sections of the deli counters at the local supermarket? I like the prepackaged things like chicken salads, bean salads, potato salads, etc. I also like picking up supermarket sushi for this type of lunch on the go. Although they are not particularly cheap.
 
  • katyjeka

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 27, 2003
    I feel your pain!!!! As much as I love WDW I hate the food prices. Portion sizes are large so we often share but the price of a sit down meal is crazy expensive. My dh and myself always tip 20% when eating out however at WDW they instantly charge the gratuity on a party of 6. Because the meal prices are so high we end up paying quite a bit for the tip. I think tipping over $50.00 for the server at a character buffet meal is a bit much as the same meal outside of the magic gates would be half the price. Sorry on to your question, I believe there is a Subway at the Formosa Garden Village and another at the Shoppes at the Parkway. Both are fairly close to the parks. Have a great vacation.
     

    Disneyliscious

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 15, 2009
    Also what about checking the cold sections of the deli counters at the local supermarket? I like the prepackaged things like chicken salads, bean salads, potato salads, etc. I also like picking up supermarket sushi for this type of lunch on the go. Although they are not particularly cheap.
    That is an excellent idea! Thank you. And yeah, not cheap but still cheaper than Disney.

    I feel your pain!!!! As much as I love WDW I hate the food prices. Portion sizes are large so we often share but the price of a sit down meal is crazy expensive. My dh and myself always tip 20% when eating out however at WDW they instantly charge the gratuity on a party of 6. Because the meal prices are so high we end up paying quite a bit for the tip. I think tipping over $50.00 for the server at a character buffet meal is a bit much as the same meal outside of the magic gates would be half the price. Sorry on to your question, I believe there is a Subway at the Formosa Garden Village and another at the Shoppes at the Parkway. Both are fairly close to the parks. Have a great vacation.
    Girl, I agree with you 110%. We are a party of 6 to 8 and in the past have split up to avoid that stupid mandatory gratuity. One of our party is 10 months old and we're still counted for him. When a 10 month old counts toward a mandatory tip (and he doesn't even eat or require service) you can damn well bet we're splitting up. That is so stupid and we don't need Disney food that bad. That info on Subway is exactly what I was looking for, thanks. We can feed out whole party for what one persons meal would cost at a CS eatery.
     

    elaine amj

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 26, 2012
    I dunno...the auto-grat for 6+ ppl always seemed to me to be what it is. How much would you consider reasonable to tip if left to yourselves?

    I'm a cheapskate but tend to conform to local expectations in situations like this. So always tip 18% at Disney whether I am a group of 2 or a group of 10.
     

    katyjeka

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 27, 2003
    I dunno...the auto-grat for 6+ ppl always seemed to me to be what it is. How much would you consider reasonable to tip if left to yourselves?

    I'm a cheapskate but tend to conform to local expectations in situations like this. So always tip 18% at Disney whether I am a group of 2 or a group of 10.
    I dunno...the auto-grat for 6+ ppl always seemed to me to be what it is. How much would you consider reasonable to tip if left to yourselves?
    We always tip 20% when eating out however we are not paying 60.00 dollars a head for a meal. I guess the buffets are around 50.00 a person. My point was at the buffets we see our server very little. The only time we do buffets is at WDW so I'm not sure of the price of buffets outside of WDW. At home we like Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn, Texas Roadhouse, TGIF, etc.... Our bill usually runs 70.00 to 110.00 and we tip 15.00 to 25.00. When paying Disney prices our food bill is usually around 300 which would make the tip close to 50.00. I understand that park food is expensive and we plan accordingly however tipping 50.00 dollars for a server that we see for a total of 10 minutes is in my opinion a bit much. We LOVE Disney and continue to do it but we are a little more picky as to where we eat.
     
  • elaine amj

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 26, 2012
    I see :) Thanks for taking the time to explain. Tipping can be such a divisive thing. I didn't grow up in North America so it is a bit harder sometimes for me to understand tipping etiquette and the tipping culture, even though I have worked as a waitress both at home and here when I was young.
     

    katyjeka

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 27, 2003
    I'll give you a quick example. We eat at Joe's Crab Shack and our meal for the 6 of us is usually $140 and we tip $28. The only restaurant in Orlando that we've paid almost as much as WDW is at the Melting Pot. WDW snacks are usually so big that our family is able to share so the price is not bad. We also snack around Epcot a couple times each trip and think its one of the most cost effective ways to eat at WDW. We are able to try a lot of different foods and the portions are big enough to share. 18% is a fair tip(although we usually just round up to 20)unless the meal price is inflated which I'm sorry they are at Disney. I understand that your paying for character interaction at the buffets but paying a $50 tip for someone to bring you a drink is a bit steep. We do it every year but still think its a little unfair. I have no problem paying the tip in a regular sit down meal but I feel the buffets are a different story. Our last time at Crystal Palace we saw our server less than 5 minutes. I wish my dh made $10 a minute!!! If someone chooses to leave the grounds to save money on food, more power to them. If it were up to me I'd probably do the same thing. I just can't convince my better half who hates to drive on vacation. Happy Travels
     

    jormom1030

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 29, 2014
    I am not sure how a quick service restaurant ends up being $200-500 a meal. If you are willing to bring in Subway than you should be willing to do quick service which could be done for 10-15 a person which is 80-120 a meal not 200-500. No tipping required. I actually think the quick service meals at Disney are very reasonably priced compared to other amusement parks/zoos/aquariums/museums that I have been too. We bring in drinks which helps to save money or we drink water which is free.
     
  • maxiesmom

    The Mean Squinty Eye Works
    Joined
    Jul 6, 2004
    Don't forget about Disney's new rules with regards to loose ice. If you want to keep cold things cold you can't have loose ice in a cooler. It has to be in ziplock bags, or yo have to use some other means of keeping your food cold.

    I understand wanting to bring in food, but I agree with jormom1030. By the time you bring in food you could easily have paid for counter service. My family often splits meals as their portions are large. I also will order a kids meal for myself, as that is enough food to fill me up. You can also order combo meals without the fries, which saves you money too. I do bring in a water bottle, and fill that up instead of paying for water.

    Bringing in food and trying to keep it cold is a hassle. And then you either need to carry a cooler around (no pulling a rolling cooler) or rent a locker (more money spent).
     

    Nancyg56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 17, 2005
    I am not sure how a quick service restaurant ends up being $200-500 a meal. If you are willing to bring in Subway than you should be willing to do quick service which could be done for 10-15 a person which is 80-120 a meal not 200-500. No tipping required. I actually think the quick service meals at Disney are very reasonably priced compared to other amusement parks/zoos/aquariums/museums that I have been too. We bring in drinks which helps to save money or we drink water which is free.

    I just picked up 3 subs from Subway and my bill was $36.00!!! Yikes, there was 4 (I counted them while they were being made) slices of trukey on each footlong and 2 slices of cheese. I'm done with Subway. The meals at QS in the parks are way more economical if you look at what you get for the cost. WE often split them.
     

    Klayfish

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 19, 2016
    Bringing in food and trying to keep it cold is a hassle. And then you either need to carry a cooler around (no pulling a rolling cooler) or rent a locker (more money spent).
    Not necessarily. I've posted this before, and realize that what we do is certainly not for everyone, but it's not really all that hard either if someone wants to do it. There are endless...and I mean endless...grocery stores and chain restaurants just outside WDW. Go to Rt. 192 or Vineland Apopka Road (which runs just outside of DS) and you'll see them everywhere. Sure, if you want to do Subway, you're looking at $7 for a "foot long" sandwich. However, if you want to make your own deli sandwich (assuming you have access to a fridge), you can do it for super cheap. You don't have to carry the cooler around. As you said, you can rent a locker if you wish. Or you can do what we do, which is put the cooler in an umbrella stroller. We leave it in stroller parking near where we plan to eat and come back for it when we're ready. Super easy, and the food stays cold and fresh.

    On a two week trip, we'll literally spend $2000-$3000+ less than someone who eats all their food on property. I know many say they don't want to "cook", and I can completely understand (though the amount of "cooking" we do is minimal) why, but for us the money saved simply allows us to spend that much more time in WDW.
     

    katyjeka

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 27, 2003
    When we started visited WDW many years ago we ate all our meals in the park. As our family grew and the prices continued to grow we started to get smart on our trips. We don't take a cooler in but I can understand why people do. I understand that some people never find any fault with Disney and I respect that but the food for the most part is just ok. Epcot seems to have the best options. We share a lot of meals and do admit the portions are large but the food is just standard park food. I find the quality in the sit down restaurants to get worse by the year. It seems as if they continue to make cuts and for the price it just doesn't seem fair. We have a couple places that we dine at year after year but we find the buffets are bad more often than good. After eating my third cold hotdog/turkey leg/hamburger a cold cut sandwich from a cooler sounds pretty good!! We could easily spend $2000 or more on a 12 day trip which is not something I enjoy.
     

    sethschroeder

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 24, 2013
    I just picked up 3 subs from Subway and my bill was $36.00!!! Yikes, there was 4 (I counted them while they were being made) slices of trukey on each footlong and 2 slices of cheese. I'm done with Subway. The meals at QS in the parks are way more economical if you look at what you get for the cost. WE often split them.
    What did you get? Normally foot long subs are $6-$8 which is $18 to $24 with a little tax but not $36.
     

    MudQueen22

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 14, 2014
    I normally HATE theme park food. It's usually expensive and gross.
    Disney is the exception. Although it is pricey, at least I can say that much of it is good. Even with our camping trip coming up, we still plan to eat many meals in the parks.

    We visited one particular water park close to our home last summer, and they had a strict "no coolers or outside food policy." Since reentry was allowed with your receipt, we kept a cooler in our van with our picnic lunch and drinks. I put a sheet down in the back of the van, and we sat in the van in the a/c and enjoyed our lunch. We had homemade sandwiches made just how we like them, fresh fruit, chips, and our drinks. It was yummy, healthy, and a fraction of the cost of park hot dogs and nachos made with plastic cheese.

    After getting full and cooling off, we reapplied sunscreen, took another 15 or 20 minutes to rest and let food settle, walked back to park, used RR, and enjoyed the rest of our day.
     

    katyjeka

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 27, 2003
    I would have agreed with you 5 years ago but man lately the food has been a real issue with our family. Maybe we are picking the wrong places to eat....The portions remain large but quality is a different story.
     

    Nancyg56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 17, 2005
    What did you get? Normally foot long subs are $6-$8 which is $18 to $24 with a little tax but not $36.

    It was my mistake. I got 4 sandwiches, not three. I did not mind the price, but the quantity was skimpy. Seriously, he counted out four slices of turkey for a foot long. I added two extra scoops of tuna for my husband at 1.50, and boy was that a waste of money. I am not going back.
     

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