HOW TO SAVE

ON FOOD

WDW Magazine - - How To Save At Wdw - BY RYAN MILLER

When it comes to sav­ing money on a Dis­ney va­ca­tion, there are sev­eral ar­eas to con­sider. One of the eas­i­est ways to save on your visit to Walt Dis­ney World is to plan ahead for all of your meals. While each group of guests is dif­fer­ent, there are a num­ber of tips to know be­fore you go.

For starters, it makes sense to men­tion the Dis­ney Din­ing Plan, since it can be a great value depend­ing on the din­ing needs of your group. If you typ­i­cally have big ap­petites and a de­sire to try some of the more ex­pen­sive dishes on the menu, the din­ing plan can ac­tu­ally save you money when ex­plor­ing the culi­nary of­fer­ings of Walt Dis­ney World ta­ble ser­vice restau­rants.

Al­ter­na­tively, if you are lighter eaters, there are a num­ber of quick ser­vice restau­rants that of­fer meals large enough for two peo­ple to share, al­low­ing you to spread your cred­its over a longer pe­riod, or use them for sev­eral meals. Know­ing the gen­eral eat­ing habits of your group can help you de­cide whether the din­ing plan is a good value for you.

Check out the Dis­ney Din­ing Plan Cal­cu­la­tor on Dads­guidetowdw.com to help you fig­ure out if the DDP makes sense for your fam­ily!

In gen­eral, shar­ing meals can be an ex­cel­lent way to save since you are splitting the cost of a sin­gle meal be­tween two peo­ple. Many of the quick ser­vice restau­rants have gen­er­ous por­tion sizes and come with a side. Add to that a drink big enough for two and you have a great way to cut down on costs.

There are also cer­tain menu items that seem like they’re made for shar­ing. At the Magic King­dom, the new Fa­jita Plat­ter with steak or chicken at Pe­cos Bill comes with three tor­tillas for you to fill with the rice and beans pro­vided and a trip to the top­pings bar can fill up any fa­jita you cre­ate. Over at An­i­mal King­dom, Flame Tree Bar­be­cue of­fers a Ribs and Chicken combo or for an extra few dol­lars, you can try the Ribs, Chicken and Pulled Pork Sam­pler which is not only per­fect for shar­ing, but gives you an op­por­tu­nity to try more of their in­cred­i­ble fla­vors.

Stay­ing hy­drated in the parks is important in or­der to have enough stamina to be on your feet for most of the day. While it may be tempt­ing to pur­chase drinks to stay re­freshed, there are other op­tions to help you be fru­gal dur­ing your va­ca­tion. One of the eas­i­est ways to stay hy­drated is to bring your own re­fill­able water bot­tle and fill up at the water foun­tains scat­tered through­out the park. If car­ry­ing a bot­tle or two seems like too much ef­fort, you can go to any of the quick ser­vice restau­rants and they will give you a free cup of ice water if you ask for it.

If you’re stay­ing at a Dis­ney re­sort, the Rapid Fill Mug might be a good value for you, depend­ing on your de­sire for foun­tain drinks and how much time you’ll be spend­ing at the re­sort. While the mugs are in­cluded with the Dis­ney Din­ing Plan, guests who aren’t us­ing the plan can pur­chase a mug for $16.99 + tax, which may seem like a lot, but will es­sen­tially pay for it­self af­ter 6 uses or so. If your stay is longer than a few days, pur­chas­ing a mug could save you money, and larger fam­i­lies might con­sider buy­ing only a cou­ple of mugs to share be­tween them, since you can re­fill them as of­ten as you’d like at any Dis­ney re­sort.

If you’d rather avoid the cost of restau­rants in Walt Dis­ney World all to­gether, you are per­mit­ted to bring your own food into the parks with you. You can bring any cooler smaller than 24” long, 15” wide and 18” high filled with food and snacks, as long as there are no glass

con­tain­ers. Wheeled cool­ers are not al­lowed. While you may need to rent a locker to store it in, bring­ing your own food can save you a lot in the long run. You can ei­ther pick up gro­ceries for mak­ing meals and snacks on your way to Dis­ney or have them de­liv­ered right to your re­sort us­ing a de­liv­ery ser­vice like Gar­den­gro­cer.com.

If you would like to experience the cui­sine that Dis­ney of­fers in the parks and re­sorts, there are a few tips to con­sider to save money. You could spread meals out dur­ing the day, eat­ing an early lunch and then a later din­ner with snacks (con­sider bring­ing gra­nola bars, gold­fish crack­ers, etc. from home!) in be­tween to keep you en­er­gized. If you’re plan­ning on din­ing at a ta­ble ser­vice res­tau­rant, con­sider go­ing for lunch or breakfast when the prices are a lit­tle cheaper, es­pe­cially for buf­fets.

Over­all, if you are din­ing at a Walt Dis­ney World res­tau­rant, you can ac­cess the menus ahead of time through the Dis­ney web­site to see what kind of dishes they of­fer and how much they cost. This is one of the eas­i­est ways to bud­get for your din­ing ex­pe­ri­ences and can give you the sense of which restau­rants will of­fer you the best value. If you’re look­ing for some of the best value restau­rants to stretch your dol­lar, here’s a list of places you could visit:

Quick Ser­vice

ABC Com­mis­sary at Hol­ly­wood Stu­dios Tang­ier­ine Cafe at Ep­cot Columbia Har­bor House at Magic King­dom Earl Of Sand­wich at Dis­ney Springs Yak & Yeti Lo­cal Food Cafes at An­i­mal King­dom Sun­shine Sea­sons at Ep­cot

Ta­ble Ser­vice

The Plaza Res­tau­rant at Magic King­dom 50’s Prime Time Cafe at Hol­ly­wood Stu­dios Via Napoli Ris­torante e Pizze­ria at Ep­cot Yak & Yeti at An­i­mal King­dom

While there are many tips to keep in mind when it comes to sav­ing money on food at Walt Dis­ney World, it’s important to re­mem­ber that you are on va­ca­tion. So with that in mind, what­ever you de­cide should be fun, easy and worry-free so you can re­lax and en­joy your time at the most mag­i­cal place on earth.

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