There are a lot of costs to think about when it comes to budgeting and planning for a Walt Disney World vacation. One of the big things to think about is the cost of food. Dining at Disney can get expensive, but it certainly doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many different tricks that can be used to save some money when eating at Walt Disney World. You might not be able to utilize all of these 10 ways to save on Walt Disney World dining costs, but every group should be able to put some of these tips to work.
10 Ways to Save on Walt Disney World Dining Costs
1. Buy a Refillable Mug
If you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort than you’re going to want to invest in a refillable mug. The mug is good for refills on coffee, soft drinks, and hot chocolate for the duration of your stay. We always find that the mugs more than pay for themselves, plus it’s another great souvenir! These mugs can be used at any of the resorts, so if you go to another resort to visit and eat be sure to take your mug with you!
2. Order Ice Water at Counter Service Restaurants
The cost of drinks can really add to your Walt Disney World dining budget, and bottled water isn’t cheap. It’s never listed on the menus, but you can always order a glass of ice water with your meal for free. This will be tap water, so don’t utilize this tip if you don’t like the taste of Disney’s water.
3. Share a Meal
Walt Disney World dining prices aren’t always cheap, but the amount of food that you get can be decent. If you have multiple people in a group without huge appetites (especially if some of those are young ones) consider sharing a meal. My mother and I do that a lot. We’ve also shared with Nick. If we feel that we need a little more food we nibble on the food that Nick can’t finish or buy a dessert or two to share. It’s still a lot cheaper than buying another entire meal.
4. Order a Kid’s Meal
If you don’t have a big appetite but still want your own meal consider ordering a kid’s meal. Personally I think the kid’s meals usually contain quite a bit of food for a bit less money. Don’t worry about whether or not you have any kids in your party. The Cast Members won’t stop you from ordering a kid’s meal. You can trust me on that because my grandparents get kid meals all the time.
5. Eat Your Big Meal Early
The counter service restaurants at Walt Disney World are pretty good, but their sit down meals are hard to miss. You can still get a great experience while saving money if you eat at them earlier in the day. Lunch meals are cheaper than dinner and the menu is usually not too much different. Breakfast can be even cheaper, so if you like doing big breakfasts that’s another great option. That’s especially good if you’re wanting to save on a character meal like the Disney Junior Play and Dine.
6. Skip the Buffets
Disney has some amazing buffet and all you can eat meals, but those can be costly since you’re going to pay a flat rate no matter how much you eat. You can keep costs down by instead dining at traditional ordering sit down meals. This way you can pick what to order based on price range, and you can also skip extras like dessert.
7. Walt Disney World Dining Plan
An option to save might be to purchase a Walt Disney World dining package. With these packages you pay for so many meals up front when you book your trip. For some families it can help save a lot of money, but for other families (like ours) you may finding that you could have saved more without it. Check out my post about the Walt Disney World dining plan to get more information about seeing if a plan is right for your family.
8. Bring Your Own Snacks
There are no rules against bringing your own food into the Walt Disney World theme parks. If you have little ones in your party that need snacks now and then it’ll probably be cheaper, and easier, to just bring them with you. As an added bonus if you bring them with you than you’re always ready to whip them out when your child hits that worn out/over hungry point and has a melt down instead of needing to go find a store and buy something.
9. Eat Breakfast in Your Room
You will not only save money, but you’ll also save time by eating breakfast in your resort room. All Walt Disney World Resort room are equipped with a mini-fridge and all of the resorts have an area in the gift shop that has food items. This is far easier than waiting in line with everyone else at the food court. You’ll save even more by bringing some of the breakfast food items like cereal cups with you since then all you’ll have to purchase is a carton of milk. If you have a car at your disposal you can also drive off property and pick some food items up. I really like the Super Target on 192 myself. It’s not too far past the Animal Kingdom resort area.
10. Refill a Water Bottle
It’s so important to drink enough water while you’re at Walt Disney World because it’s so hot. Buying bottles of water over and over can get expensive. Especially if you have a lot of people to buy them for. A way to save is to bring water bottles, or refill a bottled water bottle after it runs out. Now I have to warn you that Disney tap water doesn’t have the best taste. I can deal with it, but some people can’t. If you’re picky about water taste this might not work for you.
Vacations at Walt Disney World can cost a lot of money, but they don’t have to. With these 10 tips for saving on Walt Disney World dining costs you can cut back on the amount you need to save for vacation. For more dining information and to start planning your trip be sure to check out the Walt Disney World Dining page to check out all of the great places to eat!
Want some more help planning your Walt Disney World vacation? Be sure to click on the graphic below and request your FREE Walt Disney World planning video! They’re a wonderful planning resource and watching it is a great way to get everyone excited about the trip!