Walt Disney World Money Saving Tips For Dining
Unless you win a free Disney vacation trip it is going to be expensive. There is no other way Grumpy can put it to you. This is Grumpy’s first article in a series written to help you save a few dollars on your vacation.
You have probably spent a thousand dollars or more already for your families Walt Disney World vacation. Rooms, tickets and travel expenses add up quickly.
Now you have to eat. Eating out at home is expensive. Eating out at Walt Disney World is even more expensive! Face it, Disney has a captive audience and no competition so they can charge what they want.
Here are a few ways to take the bite out of the dining expenses at Disney. Grumpy has provided an estimated amount of savings. His estimates are just that! And they are based on a family of four (two adults and two children.)
Eat breakfast in your room
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Save time and money by eating it in your room.
You can bring a box or two of cereal from home or you can buy it at your resort hotel gift shop. Rooms at Disney should have a refrigerator and you can buy milk at the resort gift shop. Surprisingly milk at the gift shops is not much more expensive than you would pay for it at home. If plan on doing this remember to bring some small plastic or disposable bowls and spoons. If you forget you might be grumpy yourself.
Or you could do cereal bars or doughnuts. Adjust to whatever your family likes.
Estimated savings: For the cost of a box of cereal and a gallon of milk (about $10) you can avoid buying breakfast at least three days. Breakfast will run you at least $5 per person. That’s $50 saved.
Bring Your Own Snacks
Snacks at Disney are not cheap. Stock up on your parties favorite snacks and stick them in your luggage. Each day before you head out for the parks load some into your backpack and off you go.
Estimated savings: Snacks average $4. For your family of four that is $16 per day saved.
Bring Your Own Food. Disney will allow you to bring food into the park. They will not allow you to bring your huge cooler though! Small coolers that can be carried by one person and will fit in the storage lockers are allowed in all parks except the Animal Kingdom. Or you can pack food that doesn’t require a cooler.
Estimated savings: With meals averaging $7 that saves you $28 a day if you only skip one meal.
Grocery delivery service
Don’t have room in your luggage to pack cereal, snacks and food? There are some companies that will deliver groceries to your resort for you. You can also shop for yourself if you have a car or even take a taxi to one of the local markets.
Estimated Savings: Varies on how you use the groceries.
Free? Yes free! It can be hot in Florida and buying an over-priced bottle of water every time you are thirsty adds up quick. That expense can be avoided two ways. The first is filling your own water bottles before you leave your resort. Then you can refill them at the fountains in the park. Or you can visit any counter service restaurant and ask for a cup of water.
Estimated savings: With bottled waters, your cheapest option, running $2.50 a bottle you save $10 per day if were only going to drink one beverage per day. If you were going to do more your savings go up.
Skip the Fries and Drink
Disney prices almost everything as a combo meal which will include fries or some other side. If you are not a big eater just ask for the entree by itself. You will save a few dollars. You save even more if you skip the drink and just get a cup of water.
Estimated Savings: $1.50-$ if you skip the side. A little more per meal if you skip the drink. This one won’t bring you huge savings but if you are being frugal it will help.
Sharing Is Caring (and Saving)
Some of the meals at Disney’s counter service restaurants can be quite large. If you don’t enjoy eating a large meal split it with someone in your party. This can be particularly useful with small children. If both of your children are going to throw away half of their food, buy one meal.
Some of the snacks can also easily be shared. For example both the pork shank and the cinnamon roll at Gaston’s will easily satisfy two people unless they are big eaters.
Estimated savings: If you go from four meals to three once per day you save $5-$10 dollars per day.
Timing Your Table Service Dining
Dinner is the most expensive meal at the table service locations. Lunch is cheaper and breakfast is typically cheapest. Instead of doing dinner eat earlier.
Most table service meals are either buffet or served family style. That means they are all you can eat. Do breakfast and eat big so you can. Then skip lunch. When you get hungry eat one of the snacks you brought with you.
Estimated savings: The difference between and adult breakfast and adult dinner is about $16 dollars. For children under nine the difference is only about $2. Children over nine pay adult price. Depending on the age of your children you could save up to $64.
Time Your Trip For Free Dining
In the past few years Disney has offered their Dining plan free to guests staying at select resorts who pay full price for the room. They usually over a room discount at the same time so you have to choose free dining or cheaper room. If you go with free dining you can (and Grumpy did) go your entire trip without spending money on food.
Estimated Savings: Probably $100 per day.
For more money saving tips visit Grumpy’s Saving Money at Disney Page.
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