Off site Restaurants good for bringing lunch into the park?

LSUmiss

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 8, 2014
I think the objection isn't to tipping generally, it's to a MANDATORY, 18% tip for a buffet. I'm old enough to remember when tips were 10%, then they went up to 15%, now restaurants are pushing for 20%. I don't mind paying that for stellar service, regardless of the "fanciness" of the restaurant--if you bring my husband lots of drinks and sweep up after my toddler, I'm grateful, and will reflect my gratitude in the tip. 18% for a buffet server at an already overpriced (IMHO) buffet is a tough pill for me to swallow. Crystal Palace, to use an example, runs ~$50pp, for mediocre food. For our family of 6 Disney adults, that's $300 plus tax with a $54 tip. So, we don't eat there.
I guess like most things it depends on family size. It seems most of the ppl complaining about prices are larger families. We are a family of 3 so it really doesn’t seem that like that big of a difference from what we spend at home to eat out & certainly not worth the hassle of bringing in food.
 

NYCgrrl

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 13, 2017
I guess like most things it depends on family size. It seems most of the ppl complaining about prices are larger families. We are a family of 3 so it really doesn’t seem that like that big of a difference from what we spend at home to eat out & certainly not worth the hassle of bringing in food.
As soon as you get a large group together whether family members, friends, or a combination, you'll find differences in eating likes. Amazing that the OP has been able to narrow things down to one type of meal for her party:cool:.
 

QueenIsabella

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2016
I guess like most things it depends on family size. It seems most of the ppl complaining about prices are larger families. We are a family of 3 so it really doesn’t seem that like that big of a difference from what we spend at home to eat out & certainly not worth the hassle of bringing in food.
Yeah, because the mandatory tip kicks in at 6 people. You wouldn't be affected by it. I have no objection to tipping well, and I don't even mind when they give "suggested" tip amounts--only a math fiend would enjoy figuring out 18% of a $143 bill! I have a problem with them telling me I HAVE to tip 18%. I also object if they do 18% of the bill plus tax--why should I have to tip on the tax? (Note: I don't know that WDW does this, it's been a long time since all 6 of us have eaten at WDW. I'm just saying that it happens.)

As I mentioned, our family avoids this be very rarely eating out, and it's even rarer for us to eat sit-down at WDW. And, now that my oldest is launched, it's rare that all 6 of us eat together (although the oldest DOES manage to show up when we travel--free vacation and all that!). This just ends up being one more way that we feel nickel-and-dimed at WDW. But, Disney's restaurants don't seem to be suffering on our account, so it's all good.
 
  • Disneyliscious

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 15, 2009
    I guess like most things it depends on family size. It seems most of the ppl complaining about prices are larger families.
    For our group of 8, it's actually a combination of 3 diff families and a lone family friend who pays his own way. When we look at the price for each individual family it doesn't seem so bad but when we look at the overall cost as a group we quickly realize how utterly absurd it is to pay that much for food (to us anyway).

    On a side note,

    I've never seen people get so worked up about a complete stranger (me) asking about bringing in outside food. Do you just expect me to throw money at Disney because you want me to? lol I'm trying to understand the mentality with some of these people. There is no hassle in stopping at a sub shop, buying subs, and taking them to the park. There is no hassle in going to a grocery store and buying the stuff to make sandwiches and taking it into the park. If I were on a trip with just me and my SO (where we wasn't taking a stroller along) then it still wouldn't be a hassle. In fact, we did this (all adult trip) a few years ago. There was absolutely no hassle at all. People try to exaggerate to make it sound so "omg SO bad and tiring and your feet will have blisters and you'll have maggots on your ham and your shoulders will ache for the next 4 months if you lug a cooler into the parks. OH the drudgery!".

    I don't get it.
     

    QueenIsabella

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2016
    For our group of 8, it's actually a combination of 3 diff families and a lone family friend who pays his own way. When we look at the price for each individual family it doesn't seem so bad but when we look at the overall cost as a group we quickly realize how utterly absurd it is to pay that much for food (to us anyway).

    On a side note,

    I've never seen people get so worked up about a complete stranger (me) asking about bringing in outside food. Do you just expect me to throw money at Disney because you want me to? lol I'm trying to understand the mentality with some of these people. There is no hassle in stopping at a sub shop, buying subs, and taking them to the park. There is no hassle in going to a grocery store and buying the stuff to make sandwiches and taking it into the park. If I were on a trip with just me and my SO (where we wasn't taking a stroller along) then it still wouldn't be a hassle. In fact, we did this (all adult trip) a few years ago. There was absolutely no hassle at all. People try to exaggerate to make it sound so "omg SO bad and tiring and your feet will have blisters and you'll have maggots on your ham and your shoulders will ache for the next 4 months if you lug a cooler into the parks. OH the drudgery!".

    I don't get it.
    I think a lot of it is what you're used to. I mentioned we rarely eat out in our regular life, so I'm very adept at creating simple meals on the fly, even on vacation. We tend to stay off-site (more room), and the kids would rather have burgers by the pool or whatever, instead of sitting through a restaurant meal--pretty much any day of the week, home or away. For another family, who might eat out 2-3X a week in their daily life, paying a few extra $ for Disney food doesn't seem like such a big deal. Plus, I think you do get the :Disney is always perfect" mentality on these boards at times.

    OT, but right now we're remodeling out kitchen. We literally have most of a floor in there (waiting on the plumber). I have a microwave, crockpot, convection toaster oven, and toaster in my dining room. the fridge is in the sun room, and outside we have the grill and a hot plate. We STILL eat virtually every meal at home! Our only concession, aside from simpler meals, is that we're using disposable plates/utensils. It's kind of funny seeing DS13 make grilled cheese out on the deck, or mac and cheese. My point is, our family diet hasn't changed, we're making do with our current circumstance. The answer, for us, isn't more restaurant meals. Now, some might say--hang it all, we're getting pizza. I can understand that. We had pizza last week (DH made it on the grill). Takeout pizza for our herd is over $50 It's not happening on a regular basis. P. S. grilled pizza is really tasty!
     

    Klayfish

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 19, 2016
    I've never seen people get so worked up about a complete stranger (me) asking about bringing in outside food. Do you just expect me to throw money at Disney because you want me to? lol I'm trying to understand the mentality with some of these people. There is no hassle in stopping at a sub shop, buying subs, and taking them to the park. There is no hassle in going to a grocery store and buying the stuff to make sandwiches and taking it into the park. If I were on a trip with just me and my SO (where we wasn't taking a stroller along) then it still wouldn't be a hassle. In fact, we did this (all adult trip) a few years ago. There was absolutely no hassle at all. People try to exaggerate to make it sound so "omg SO bad and tiring and your feet will have blisters and you'll have maggots on your ham and your shoulders will ache for the next 4 months if you lug a cooler into the parks. OH the drudgery!".

    I don't get it.
    From years of experience I can tell you it's really not a hassle at all. In fact, it gets even easier once you get into a "routine". As I mentioned previously in this thread, we bring basically all of our food in...lunch, dinner, soda, you name it. I hear over and over people commenting that they refuse to cook and do dishes on vacation, how much of a hassle it all is, etc... I completely respect that they don't want to do it, but IMO they greatly over exaggerate the "work" involved. We technically do cook, but I can assure you we aren't spending hours over a hot stove and scrubbing pots and pans. We'll throw something in the oven and let it cook while we take a shower or watch TV. Very minimal prep work. Cleaning? Yeah...that's what a dishwasher is for (we stay in condos/townhouses). I'd say we spend maybe 15 minutes per day doing food prep, and it's super easy. We have it down to a science so that it's as easy as can be. For us, that 15 minutes per day is well worth the literal thousands of dollars we save. No hassle to have it in the parks either. The only minor pain is getting from the car to the front gate, but even that isn't a major ordeal, just a minor one.
     

    rg35

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 26, 2012
    Well, I'm not their employer. Disney is. Therefore, their paycheck comes from Disney, not me. A tip is just that - a tip. It is not and should not be "expected". It is earned by providing superior service. I'm not sure why you'd think we'd ever disrespect a server. That isn't even part of the discussion.
    It sounds like you're not informed about the economics of the service industry. The majority of a service worker's pay comes from tips, not from a paycheck. I kinda figured that in this day in age most people knew that a tip for a wait staff isn't a tip in the sense that it has been traditionally been considered. You're not giving someone extra money for good service. You're literally helping them to put food on their table.

    Tips are mandatory for large groups because people come to Disney from all over the world and many don't know that unlike in their home countries, service workers here make actually make their living on tips. It is likely that large groups, either from overseas or from lower cost of living areas, were not leaving tips commensurate with the size of their bill and so the mandatory gratuity was born.

    Personally, I'd rather pay more for a meal and not deal with gratuities at all (and some restaurants are going in that direction) - but since I have a FIL who grew up in a small village outside of the U.S., came here with a 6th grade education and worked as a waiter on his feet 12-15 hours a day to provide for his family (including sending his two kids to college), perhaps my perspective on the plight of what many of these workers deal with is different from other people's. It's mostly a matter of compassion for me.
     
  • bluezy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 7, 2008
    I guess like most things it depends on family size. It seems most of the ppl complaining about prices are larger families. We are a family of 3 so it really doesn’t seem that like that big of a difference from what we spend at home to eat out & certainly not worth the hassle of bringing in food.
    We have 5 kids, so we traveled to Disney as a party of 7 many times...now with spouses and a grandchild, we're up to a party of 11. It's certainly a big hit when we all go out together whether at Disney or at home. But I agree, it's still not worth the hassle FOR US to bring food and drinks in the park to save a few bucks. That's not vacation TO US. I'd rather save my money for an extra month or two before scheduling our trip and know that I have enough money to cover all of our meals in the parks. We don't go to Disney to "save" money. I don't really care what other people do -- we all have to do what works for our families.
     

    Halle

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 12, 2000
    It sounds like you're not informed about the economics of the service industry. The majority of a service worker's pay comes from tips, not from a paycheck. I kinda figured that in this day in age most people knew that a tip for a wait staff isn't a tip in the sense that it has been traditionally been considered. You're not giving someone extra money for good service. You're literally helping them to put food on their table.

    Tips are mandatory for large groups because people come to Disney from all over the world and many don't know that unlike in their home countries, service workers here make actually make their living on tips. It is likely that large groups, either from overseas or from lower cost of living areas, were not leaving tips commensurate with the size of their bill and so the mandatory gratuity was born.

    Personally, I'd rather pay more for a meal and not deal with gratuities at all (and some restaurants are going in that direction) - but since I have a FIL who grew up in a small village outside of the U.S., came here with a 6th grade education and worked as a waiter on his feet 12-15 hours a day to provide for his family (including sending his two kids to college), perhaps my perspective on the plight of what many of these workers deal with is different from other people's. It's mostly a matter of compassion for me.
     

    Halle

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 12, 2000
    Firehouse Subs located at the Crossings, behind McDonald's has excellent subs. Earl of Sandwich at Disney Springs also has excellent food.
     

    LSUmiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2014
    For our group of 8, it's actually a combination of 3 diff families and a lone family friend who pays his own way. When we look at the price for each individual family it doesn't seem so bad but when we look at the overall cost as a group we quickly realize how utterly absurd it is to pay that much for food (to us anyway).

    On a side note,

    I've never seen people get so worked up about a complete stranger (me) asking about bringing in outside food. Do you just expect me to throw money at Disney because you want me to? lol I'm trying to understand the mentality with some of these people. There is no hassle in stopping at a sub shop, buying subs, and taking them to the park. There is no hassle in going to a grocery store and buying the stuff to make sandwiches and taking it into the park. If I were on a trip with just me and my SO (where we wasn't taking a stroller along) then it still wouldn't be a hassle. In fact, we did this (all adult trip) a few years ago. There was absolutely no hassle at all. People try to exaggerate to make it sound so "omg SO bad and tiring and your feet will have blisters and you'll have maggots on your ham and your shoulders will ache for the next 4 months if you lug a cooler into the parks. OH the drudgery!".

    I don't get it.
    I think this works both ways & why you have seen some of the responses you have seen. Some of us think it’s enough of a hassle just to get to the parks each day much less doing all that. Personally for my family, we like to dine out. We have no desire to eat a sandwich on the sidewalk. Dining is part of our vacation budget. I don’t care how other ppl spend their money. BUT, for the most part, WDW dining is not that much more expensive than a typical dining establishment in my area. So, I also don’t get it. I would rather go less often than do any vacation that way. But that’s our personal preference.

    On a side note...
    The only thing that I do care about is when there are ppl in the counter service restaurants using the free condiments & taking up tables while eating the food they brought in while paying customers search for a place to sit. That’s the only time I have been bothered by ppl bringing in outside food.
     
  • Day-Day

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2009
    We often go back to our resort for a midday break and make sandwiches in our room when there is a large number of us. This is very convenient and does away with the hassles of deciding where to eat and fighting the lines and crowded seating. It also saved a lot of money. We have brought a cooler in with food as well but have not done this in a while.

    Also, we have stopped off to eat at outside locations on the way back to the resort and saved money. Buffet breakfast and nice suppers can be much less expensive outside of the parks. The savings can really add up with larger groups.
     

    Disneyliscious

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 15, 2009
    It sounds like you're not informed about the economics of the service industry. The majority of a service worker's pay comes from tips, not from a paycheck. I kinda figured that in this day in age most people knew that a tip for a wait staff isn't a tip in the sense that it has been traditionally been considered. You're not giving someone extra money for good service. You're literally helping them to put food on their table.
    I'm very much informed. I was a server myself for years. The problem isn't that I don't understand, its that I do not want to be forced to pay X dollars for something that could be sub par. I hosted a birthday dinner last night for a party of 8 in my hometown. It was at Texas Roadhouse (no mandatory tip for large parties so they get a LOT of my business). My bill was $125. I tipped $30. That is more than 20% but she provided EXCELLENT service and had a 1 year to sweep up after. It was MY discretion on how much to tip and that is how I operate.

    Personally, I'd rather pay more for a meal and not deal with gratuities at all
    This. Agree 100%.

    Firehouse Subs located at the Crossings, behind McDonald's has excellent subs. Earl of Sandwich at Disney Springs also has excellent food.
    I have heard really good things about Earl of Sandwich. I think we just might be giving them a try for dinner and maybe order extras for lunch the next day at the park. Didn't know about the Firehouse nearby. Thanks!

    We have no desire to eat a sandwich on the sidewalk
    I don't think anyone does. Fortunately Disney doesn't expect anyone to. They have created ample areas for seating around the parks. Did you know that the planters and barriers around trees and shrubs were designed specifically so that people could sit on them? Beautiful scenery too!

    Dining is part of our vacation budget
    Likewise. We will be eating on property at several meals. However, we will not being eating at places charging ridiculous prices. We marked out favorite, 'Ohana, off the list because of the price increase. There isn't even characters at dinner. It's h onestly just stupid.

    The only thing that I do care about is when there are ppl in the counter service restaurants using the free condiments & taking up tables while eating the food they brought in while paying customers search for a place to sit.
    You should send Disney an email about that and express your dislike. I understand it may be bothersome but it is not against Disney policy to sit at a table and eat with your own food (the condiment issue aside).
     

    LSUmiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2014
    I'm very much informed. I was a server myself for years. The problem isn't that I don't understand, its that I do not want to be forced to pay X dollars for something that could be sub par. I hosted a birthday dinner last night for a party of 8 in my hometown. It was at Texas Roadhouse (no mandatory tip for large parties so they get a LOT of my business). My bill was $125. I tipped $30. That is more than 20% but she provided EXCELLENT service and had a 1 year to sweep up after. It was MY discretion on how much to tip and that is how I operate.



    This. Agree 100%.



    I have heard really good things about Earl of Sandwich. I think we just might be giving them a try for dinner and maybe order extras for lunch the next day at the park. Didn't know about the Firehouse nearby. Thanks!



    I don't think anyone does. Fortunately Disney doesn't expect anyone to. They have created ample areas for seating around the parks. Did you know that the planters and barriers around trees and shrubs were designed specifically so that people could sit on them? Beautiful scenery too!



    Likewise. We will be eating on property at several meals. However, we will not being eating at places charging ridiculous prices. We marked out favorite, 'Ohana, off the list because of the price increase. There isn't even characters at dinner. It's h onestly just stupid.



    You should send Disney an email about that and express your dislike. I understand it may be bothersome but it is not against Disney policy to sit at a table and eat with your own food (the condiment issue aside).
    Perhaps not against policy, but I think it’s rude. But, not an issue for us b/c we no longer eat at counter service locations for this reason & others.
     

    NYCgrrl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 13, 2017
    @Disneyliscious - no idea if you already left yet or found what you were looking for but found this and thought of you:

    Orlando Magazine

    2018 Dining Awards - Readers' Choice


    Best Deli

    1 Toojay’s

    Six Orlando-area locations
    toojays.com


    2 Publix
    Multiple Orlando-area locations
    publix.com


    3 Swine & Sons
    Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park
    swineandsons.com

    Best Sandwiches

    1 Pom Pom’s Teahouse & Sandwicheria

    Milk District-Bumby Avenue
    pompomsteahouse.com


    2 Bad As’s Sandwich
    Milk District-Primrose Drive
    badasssandwiches.com


    3 Swine & Sons
    Winter Park
    swineandsons.com
     

    Disneyliscious

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 15, 2009
    @Disneyliscious - no idea if you already left yet or found what you were looking for but found this and thought of you:

    Orlando Magazine

    2018 Dining Awards - Readers' Choice


    Best Deli

    1 Toojay’s

    Six Orlando-area locations
    toojays.com


    2 Publix
    Multiple Orlando-area locations
    publix.com


    3 Swine & Sons
    Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park
    swineandsons.com

    Best Sandwiches

    1 Pom Pom’s Teahouse & Sandwicheria

    Milk District-Bumby Avenue
    pompomsteahouse.com


    2 Bad As’s Sandwich
    Milk District-Primrose Drive
    badasssandwiches.com


    3 Swine & Sons
    Winter Park
    swineandsons.com

    This is awesome! Thank you. And we leave in October :-)
     

    DisneyOma

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 27, 2015
    OP, I recommend bringing food you can eat standing up. There are very few benches around WDW these days, and tables/chairs are for guests who have bought food at the CS restaurant. During prime visiting times (which is going to be from the opening of Galaxy's Edge until way after Christmas, or even more after the second attraction opens there) CMs will not let you sit at inside tables, and could even shoo you away from the outside ones. There are a few areas that have tables or seats that are not linked to a restaurant - by the Rapunzel bathrooms, out on Tom Sawyer Island at MK, can't think of any at EPCOT, around the little lake at HS (if they haven't removed them for the massive refurb) and I can't think of a single place at AK that isn't part of a restaurant either.
     

    maxiesmom

    The Mean Squinty Eye Works
    Joined
    Jul 6, 2004
    OP, I recommend bringing food you can eat standing up. There are very few benches around WDW these days, and tables/chairs are for guests who have bought food at the CS restaurant. During prime visiting times (which is going to be from the opening of Galaxy's Edge until way after Christmas, or even more after the second attraction opens there) CMs will not let you sit at inside tables, and could even shoo you away from the outside ones. There are a few areas that have tables or seats that are not linked to a restaurant - by the Rapunzel bathrooms, out on Tom Sawyer Island at MK, can't think of any at EPCOT, around the little lake at HS (if they haven't removed them for the massive refurb) and I can't think of a single place at AK that isn't part of a restaurant either.

    In Epcot if you go up by the shops in Canada there are a couple of benches. Around by France you can sit near the fountain or on a few benches they have scattered around. In the Animal Kingdom there are many low walls that function as seats. I often sit on the ones before Pandora while the rest of the family goes in and rides the rides.
     

    Day-Day

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2009
    I know Disney Park's mom's panel is not always an accurate source with respect to Disney policy but here is something I found:

    https://disneyparksmomspanel.disney.go.com/question/picnic-areas-parks-decide-bring-picnic-lunch-park-313199/

    While there are no designated picnic areas within the Walt Disney World theme parks, you are welcome to pack your lunch and enjoy it in the parks. Feel free to find a shady park bench, an outdoor seating area with tables and chairs, or even pop into a Quick Service location if you want to enjoy some air conditioned comfort.
    Has anyone been kicked out of eating areas or seen people kicked out when using their personal food instead of the quick service restaurant's food? I have not noticed any signs restricting the areas to Disney food only.

    I've never noticed anyone attempting to eat in an area with their own food when it is being monitored by CM's and they are only allowing guests with food to occupy a table. I'm wondering if someone with their own food would be allowed to sit since they "have their food and are ready to eat".

    Is there an official Disney policy on this that someone can reference?
     

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