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Trips to Disney World can be expensive. Yet, it’s the type of place where you don’t want to feel like a Scrooge. So, how do you have the trip of a lifetime without breaking the bank? One area of your vacation where you can save some money is on food. This article will give you some practical tips on how to save money on food at Disney World. And don’t worry: I’m not going to recommend that you to starve!
Disney Dining Plan
For some people, the Disney Dining Plan is a good way to save money on food at Disney World. However, it is not a good deal for everyone. Whether it is a good value for your family will depend on the number and ages of people in your party, your eating habits, your park touring strategy, and which restaurants you plan to eat at while on vacation. To know whether the dining plan will save you money, you will need to do the math and think about how your family eats.
For us, we usually either break even or save a few dollars by getting the dining plan on our trips. It definitely affects how we eat while at Disney World. But, the sit-down meals are one of my husband’s favorite parts of the trips, so for us, it is worth the price. I love the ability to pre-paid for our food. This means I don’t have to worry about food costs while we are on vacation. For a more in-depth discussion of the dining plan and whether it is a good deal for your family, click here.
If you get either the Quick Service Dining Plan or the Dining Plan, you will only be getting two actual meals per day on the plan. This means that you will be left either skipping one meal or paying for one out of pocket. However, you can avoid paying out of pocket for food, while also saving yourself some money, by using your snack credits for one of your meals.
We typically use ours for breakfast. Because we are not big breakfast eaters, it works out perfect for us. We can get a bagel, fruit, or pastry for breakfast using a snack credit. This is what we would be eating for breakfast anyways. We find that we don’t miss using the snack credits for snacks later in the day because we really don’t need them after eating a quick service lunch and a sit down dinner each day. These snack credits are a great way to extend your dining plan and save yourself some money along the way.
Groceries in Your Room
Another option for saving money on food, especially if you don’t have the dining plan or don’t want to use your snack credits for a meal, is to bring food to keep in your room. If you drive to Disney World, you can bring groceries with you in the car. If you fly, you can either ship them to your hotel, order from an online grocery store, or take a taxi to a local grocery store to stock up. The most convenient of these, for me at least, is to order them from an online grocery store, which will deliver them to your hotel room. I would recommend Garden Grocer. We have used them several times in the past and they are wonderful. They have everything that an ordinary grocery store would have. There is a small delivery fee, but it is very reasonable.
If you stay on property, you should have a small fridge in your room if you are staying at a moderate or deluxe hotel. If you will be staying at one of the value resorts, you can request to have a fridge in your room for a small fee. Whenever we order groceries for our room, we usually order breakfast food and snacks. This definitely saves us money because the groceries are cheaper than paying to eat at restaurants. You could also get sandwich stuff or other quick fixes for lunch or dinner.
Split Some Meals
If you will not be on the dining plan, you can save money on food at Disney World by splitting some meals. Many of the quick service meals are large enough to share, especially if it is split between two small eaters. You could also split some of the table service meals too. This can cut your food costs in half. Splitting meals is also a good option if you have multiple children that don’t eat much.
Snack Away the Day
Another way to stretch your meal dollars is to snack all day instead of eating actual meals. You could also go to some of the table service restaurants and order several appetizers to share instead of paying for entrees. Snacks and appetizers will always cost you less than full meals do. Even if you order several of them throughout the day, you should still come out ahead on your food costs.
Eat in between Meals
Instead of eating three separate meals each day, try eating brunch or a late lunch/early dinner to save some money. By combining two meals together, you can get away with eating fewer meals in a day without starving yourself or your family. Another way to reduce the number of meals you eat in a day is to eat a large breakfast at one of the table service restaurants, then snack during lunch time and eat a regular dinner. Regardless of how you do it, fewer meals in a day means less money spent on food during your vacation.
Bring Your Own Food
A lot of people don’t realize this, but Disney will allow you to bring your own food into the parks. If you are staying off property, this is a great way to save money on food at Disney World. Before heading to the parks for the day, pack an ice chest for lunch and/or dinner. When you get to the park, rent a locker to hold your food until you are ready to eat. The cost of a locker will be much less than paying for lunch for the family. Another option is to freeze your drinks and pack them in a backpack with your cold food items. The frozen drinks will keep your food cold until lunch time. By the time you are ready to eat, your drinks should be thawed out.
Disney World can be expensive. Food is a large part of the cost of your trip. For those of us who travel on a budget, it is nice to be able to save on our trips while not having to sacrifice our vacation fun. The good news is that there are ways to save money on food at Disney World. This article gives you several ways to cut down the cost of food while still allowing you to fully enjoy Disney World with your family. I hope some of these tips help to make your dreams of a Disney World trip come true. Happy travels and have a magical day!