Although I’m all about saving money at Disney, you can’t skip the wonderful Disney food altogether. It’s awesome and should be a budgeted part of your experience.
Disney DOES allow outside food in a softsided cooler. I would utilize this a few ways. First of all breakfast. Breakfast is important that you need it to fuel your very busy day, but the parks are best early in the day, so I wouldn’t waste my time sitting and eating. Pack fruit, granola bars, baked goods and other sundries that are good on the go and eat on the bus to your destination for the day. It’s also a great place to pack cold beverages and snacks.
If you want to pack lunch, and didn’t bring food or order from Garden Grocer, you can purchase two slices of bread at most food courts for $1.40. Peanut butter is .50, and often free (as a condiment), as is jelly. Super cheap way to get fueled up mid-day.
But even if you don’t pack any food, you can still eat at Disney on a budget by utilizing a few tactics and making smart (and tasty) choices.
- Skip the sides. An unadvertised choice is to order quick service meals without the sides. That means getting a burger without the fries for example. You can save around $2 this way per meal. (P.S. Make sure that your receipt reflects this, many cast members are not used to guests ordering without sides and still charge the full amount.)
- Order off the kids menu. Kids menu items are sometimes identical to adults except the sides are smaller. Also, even though Kids menu items are listed as a package deal, each item is actually rung up separately so if you don’t want the milk/juice with it, or dessert, just say so and it will be even cheaper.
- Drink water. Cups of ice water are free just about anywhere in the park.
- Eat snacks for a meal. Several Disney “snacks” are actually HUGE and can be easily eaten as a meal.
- Purchase the same item for less. Some of the table service meals are offered without a side, or in a slightly smaller portion at quick service location, you just need to know where to look.
Fruit is a great and inexpensive snack that can be found in each park for around $1.50. At larger stands you may find watermelon or cantaloupe slices, grapes, strawberries, cut-up pineapple, yogurt, and fruit salad. There are two fruit stands in the Magic Kingdom: on Main Street, U.S.A. and at Liberty Square Market. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has Anaheim Produce on Sunset Blvd. At Epcot, fruit is available at the Refreshment Outpost between China and Germany in World Showcase. Animal Kingdom offers fruit at Harambe Market in Africa, just outside Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Top Budget Items at Magic Kingdom
- Tomato Basil Soup at Pinocchio Haus $3.29
- Clam chowder for $4.99 or vegetarian chili for $4.79 at Columbia Harbor House.
- Get a baked potato from Liberty Tree for around $4
- French Onion Soup Vegetarian Option at Be Our Guest $5.49
- Roast Pork Shank at Gaston’s Tavern $7.99
- Ham and Cheese Omelet Waffle Sandwich at Sleepy Hollow $7.49
Top Budget Items at EPCOT
- Ham and cheese croissants for $4.75, ham and cheese quiche for $6.20 or pissaladiere (flatbread with tomatoes, olives and gruyere cheese) for $4.50 at Boulangerie Patisserie, France
- Egg rolls at Joy of Tea, China $3.99
- Lucky Combo (Curry Chicken Pocket, Chinese BBQ Pork Bun, and Egg Roll, ice cream and soda) at Joy of Tea, China $9.98
- Fish and chips at Yorkshire County Fish Shop, United Kingdom for $8.99
Top Budget Items at Animal Kingdom
Turkey Leg at Tril-O-Bites $9.49
Buffalo Chicken Waffle at
Top Budget Items at Hollywood Studios