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Ep. 66 – Saving Money on Dining at Disney World


Looking to save money on dining at Disney World? Look no further as we dig into our favorite ways to save money while dining in the parks on the latest episode of Disney Deciphered.

Money saving-tips and tricks for food and dining on your Walt Disney World vacation. #disneyworld #disneydeciphered #disney #disneyfood

Ways to save money on dining at Disney World

In this post we’ll take a look at our favorite ways to save money on dining at Disney World. But first, let’s share an honorable mention: bringing your own food into the parks. That’s going to save you the most money when eating at Walt Disney World.

But, if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of bringing in your own food, what are the best ways to save on dining at Disney World?

Epcot - Leslie Joe La Cava del Tequila

1. Avoid the Disney Dining Plan

If your main goal is to save money, you should avoid the Disney Dining Plan. Sure, you can get a lot of bang for your buck and there are ways to save if you have a larger party, but if you get the Disney Dining Plan you often end up with too much food.

You will almost certainly save money by only paying for food when you are hungry, especially when it comes to table service. Sure, you might save money on the cost of two table service meals in a single day, but for most families if you didn’t have the dining plan you wouldn’t do two table service meals. So overall you’re coming out behind, money wise.

Be careful with free dining offers as well. Make sure you do the math comparing hotel discounts available with the rack rates, since to get free dining you have to pay full price for your Disney hotel.

2. Focus on Quick Service and Snacks

Table service meals are great at Disney World, but the price markup is higher than at quick service restaurants or snacks. So if you’re trying to save money, eating quick service or snacking as you go through the parks is generally the way to go.

You can also share meals easily when eating at quick service, or buy food a la carte, which ensures you only have as much food as you need.

Disney Dole Whip
This kind of snack can go a long way to keeping everyone happy!

3. Take advantage of kids meals

Speaking of sharing meals, you can save a lot of money by ordering kids meals instead of adult meals at quick service restaurants. In many cases the portions are big enough to feed an adult. Or, if you have younger children, you can buy an adult meal and share.

If you have multiple children who want to drink milk, it’s often cheaper to buy two kids meals than to buy the milk separately. So don’t ignore kids meals options when dining at quick service.

4. Eat a big mid morning character brunch

Table service is costly, but chances are you’ll end up doing it at least once. We like to make sure our table service meal checks off multiple boxes. With that in mind, we love doing a mid morning character brunch at somewhere like Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom.

Crystal-Palace-Tigger
Crystal Palace is a great option for mid morning brunch

If you eat a mid morning character brunch, you don’t miss rope drop (which is super important for cutting down wait times!). You also get to meet characters, which will definitely make your kids happy. And finally, you should be full enough to make it to dinner without having to buy an extra meal. So while the character brunch will be pricey, if fit into your overall plan correctly you can definitely save some money.

5. Use grocery delivery

Lots of guides recommend you don’t drink soda in the parks, which is 100% true. If you skip out on soda you’ll save a lot of money. Unfortunately, at Disney Deciphered we are addicted to Diet Coke so not drinking soda isn’t an option.

Enter grocery delivery. Amazon Prime Now, Instacart, and many other grocery delivery services offer delivery to Disney and local area hotels. At a Disney hotel you’ll pay a $6 pickup fee, but the savings you get will far outweigh that.

We like to buy breakfast items, snacks, and the aforementioned soda through grocery delivery. Don’t forget to get free cups of ice from any quick service stand and enjoy your ice cold (and much cheaper) soda in the parks!

What are your favorite ways to save money on dining in Disney parks? We’d love to hear them in the comments!

Episode Description

Ya gotta eat. So Leslie and Joe put together their best tips for saving money when dining at Disney World. We mostly focus on how to save money on eating IN the parks, though we touch on how you can save money by bringing your own food as well. We also discuss whether the Disney Dining Plan is worth the cost.

What are your best tips for saving money on dining at Disney? Let us know by e-mailing us at disneydeciphered AT gmail DOT com.

Episode Notes

How you can make the Disney Dining Plan worth it

1:37 – Tips for bringing your own food

3:04 – Taking advantage of kids meals

6:11 – Why we tend to avoid the Disney Dining Plan

8:53 – Maximizing the mid morning character brunch

10:55 – Utilizing grocery delivery

13:43 – Taking advantage of credit card rewards

15:13 – Tables in Wonderland

16:09 – Disney dos and don’ts

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One thought on “Ep. 66 – Saving Money on Dining at Disney World”

  1. Any of the ideas that involve not overstuffing yourself during your main meals sound like a great idea to me. Not because I’m against gluttony, but because part of the fun of Disney can be trying the unique treats they have in the parks. But if you eat a huge sit down meal at lunch, you’re not going to have room to visit that Adventureland spring roll cart, or grab a HeiHei cone, a traditional Mickey ice cream or whatever the newest snack is.
    Next time I’m definitely going to order myself a kids meal, to save some money and make sure I’m better able to appreciate all of those snack breaks my daughter plans for us.

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