Pinching Pennies: Food

I highly recommend the Disney Dining Plan. It does provide a nice savings for fine dining and enhances the Disney experience as a whole. But it is somewhat pricey. If the Dining Plan absolutely does not fit within your budget, follow these penny pinching tips my family has tried:

  1. Grocery Store Pick Up: If you drive to WDW, be sure to make a pit stop at the local Target or WalMart to pick up some food to keep in your room. You’ll save a pretty penny on snacks and a few meals, or at least meals for the kids. I recommend picking up items that don’t require refridgeration. Example: loaf of bread, peanut butter, honey, sandwich baggies, individual serving size snacks like applesauce, fruit cups, granola bars and chips. But if you really need one, and you are staying at a value resort, you can request an in-room fridge for $10 a day. They are standard at moderate and deluxe resorts.
  2. Make your own:
    • Breakfast – Choose simple foods to make your own breakfast in your hotel room. The quick service restaurants in the resorts sell small cartons of milk, soy milk, juice, yogurt and fresh fruit to round out the meal.
    • Sandwiches– Make ’em to go. Take ’em to the park.  When we drive to WDW we stop by a grocery store to pick up a few things that don’t need refrigeration. We assemble the sandwiches in the room and pack ’em in the backpack.
  3. Pack snacks:

    Disney DOES allow outside food in the parks.

    Exceptions: no glass, no alcohol.  If you are a soda loving family, purchase a couple 20oz. bottles to take with you. You can always ask for a cup of ice when you’re ready for a drink.  You’ll want to take along a backpack to carry the food. Fill it with your favorite snacks and plan to carry it with you throughout the parks so it will be with you when hunger strikes.

  4. Share:There are many counter service meals large enough to feed two. For example Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe at Magic Kingdom serves half rotisserie chicken with green beans and mashed potatoes. There are similar meals available in the other parks, too. The POP Century hotel counter service restaurant serves a large pizza, made to order. Pick one up for the whole family. And just for fun, eat it poolside.
  5. Free ice water? YES!  You can purchase bottled water, but Disney does offer free ice water. No charge for the cup! Available at any place with a soda fountain. May not be available at snack carts.

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