There are three main expenses when taking a trip to Disney. It’s your hotel, theme park tickets and food. With ever increasing pricing on food at Disney, it’s good to know a few tips and tricks that will save you some cash so you can bring home all those souvenirs you wanted. Here are our top money-saving tips for eating at Disney.
Eat Dinner at Lunch
What? I know Dinner for lunch what am I talking about! If you are paying out of pocket for your meals at Disney we recommend eating your sit down meals at lunchtime versus waiting to eat at them after 4 p.m. Traditionally, people try to aim for a quick service lunch and then eat at a sit-down meal for dinner. The prices are actually slightly cheaper during lunchtime and most places offer a near identical lunch and dinner menu.
If you and someone else in your family like similar food and can agree on a menu item to split this can be a great way to go. We have mentioned splitting meals a few times here on this site because it is one of my favorite things to do. If my husband and I split a meal then we get to have our pick of Disney Snack later in the day if we get hungry before dinner! Can anyone say Dole Whip?
Adults try Eating a Kids Meal
Regular quick service meals can be giant, which is another great reason to split them. The kid’s meals are often much cheaper and are a smaller portion size, perfect for one person.
Get Sit Down Meals at Quick Service
While this doesn’t hold true for all the famous Disney dishes there are a few iconic menu items, like tonga toast that you can find at quick service restaurants. Kona Cafe is known for their legendary Tonga Toast! Tonga toast is thick-cut Sourdough Bread that is stuffed with ripe bananas before it’s deep fried and rolled in Cinnamon Sugar. You can also pick up this meal for more than $5 less at Captain Cooks the quick service location at the Polynesian that is on the first floor.
Soda is incredibly expensive at Disney. It cost well over $3 for a bottle of it at all dining locations. Luckily though free water is provided at all Disney food locations. We bring this awesome water bottle into the parks with us, it keeps it cool all day even in the summer! Hate drinking water? Pack your beverage of choice with you or have a case of it shipped to your hotel. Trust me this is easily our largest dining saver overall!
Skip Character Meals
Character dining at Disney is expensive! If you are looking to save money skip the character meals and wait in line or get Fastpasses for them when in the park. You will see there is a significant upcharge for meals that include characters.
Order Groceries Instead
Having groceries on your vacation is a HUGE money saver. The important one to focus on outside of having your own drinks to bring with you the park is breakfast. Wondering how you can have your groceries delivered to your hotel? Read How to get Groceries Delivered to your Disney Resort.
Buy Discounted Gift Cards
There are many great ways to get discounted Disney gift cards. Get your gift cards at Target and use your Target RedCard to save 5%! Or if you have a membership to Sam’s Club, Costco or Bj’s they also sell Disney gift cards at a small discount.
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!