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Top Ten Ways to Save Money on Dining

There are many ways to save money while at Walt Disney World; however, not all of these will work for everyone.

  1. Dining Plan – Consider adding a Disney Dining Plan to your vacation package.  You can choose from Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan or Disney’s Standard Dining Plan, based on your dining style.  These packages not only offer savings when compared to purchasing the meals separately, but they are convenient, easy to use, and a great way to pre-pay for your meals before your vacation.  This is a great tip for some, but not all for dining savings.

Disney Dining Plan

  1. Ordering Groceries –  If you don’t have a car, order groceries from a service like Garden Grocer.  These groceries will be delivered to your resort when you arrive. This is a great way to get food and snacks for your resort room or bottled water!  You can also buy breakfast items, coffee, and even a case of water or soda or an adult beverage to relax within your room or sitting on your balcony or the area outside your room.  This is a significant dining savings, even though it’s a drink savings.

Garden Grocer

  1. Book a Character Breakfast – Don’t skip character meals because you are trying to save some money.  Consider booking a Disney Character breakfast.  The prices may be lower, and you will still get to spend time with the characters.  Crystal Palace, Chef Mickey’s, Tusker House, Hollywood and Vine, and ‘Ohana all have excellent character breakfasts.  In addition to the dining savings (schedule it for mid-morning and count it as breakfast and lunch), it can also be a time saver as you can avoid standing in line to meet these characters later in your trip.
  1. Take Snacks & Water To the Parks  –  Items like granola bars and snack-size chips, pretzels, and other items are easy to take into the parks.  Apples, fruit cups, and snack bars can also help when hunger strikes.  Bring in your own water bottles to save on that cost.  You can also consider bringing in your own refillable water. You can also fill up at the water fountains in the parks. Some water fountains are actually FOR water bottle fill ups. Lastly, many quick-service restaurants will give you free glasses of ice water.  You can drink it while sitting down for a break or fill your water bottle with some nice cold water.

  1. Share Meals – Many Disney meals are large and perfect for sharing.  Flame Tree Barbecue has a large ribs, and chicken platter. If you check the Disney World menus, you may find that there are many options for sharing meals at Walt Disney World.  Many of us do not eat “big meals” for our 3 meals a day. That means we can easily get by with sharing some meals at Disney, creating more dining savings for your party.
  1. Order from Child’s Menu – At many of the Quick Service Restaurants, there are child-size portions of some of the entrees.  These often include a small drink and sides or a cookie.   Adults can order an item off the children’s menu to save money, creating more dining savings.
  1. Free Dining Special – While Disney offers promotions and discounts at certain times of the year, the FREE Dining special is one of the most popular discounts.  Stay during Free Dining IF it is being offered for your travel dates.  Work with a Disney travel agent who can help you take advantage of all the Disney discounts.  We recommend The Magic for Less Travel, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.
Saratoga Springs One and Two-Bedroom Villa Kitchen Dining Savings
Saratoga Springs One and Two-Bedroom Villa Kitchen


  1. Kitchenette – Stay in a room/suite that has a kitchenette or kitchen where you can prepare some food in your room.  While you may be paying more for the room, you will be able to prepare meals in your room. This can help greatly reduce your food budget. The Cabins at Ft. Wilderness, a Family Suite at Art of Animation or All-Star Music, or a Disney Deluxe Villa Resort all have a kitchenette or kitchen.


  1. Refillable Popcorn Buckets – Walt Disney World refillable popcorn buckets come in all shapes and sizes, and can even vary with the seasons. Popcorn buckets range from your typical bucket shape with a lid, to Star Wars space ships, to Mickey Mouse balloons, and more. There are different buckets available at various locations around the parks. You can choose your favorite design to carry around for refills. This is a fun souvenir that can actually save some money on snacks during your trip! Popcorn buckets vary in price. This is dependent on the bucket design. Popcorn buckets range in price from $13 to more than double that for the more intricate options. Each bucket refills for the same price at $2.25. This is a good deal when you consider that purchasing a single popcorn snack costs around $5.50. Popcorn bucket refills are a decent value for a shareable snack at a Disney park.


  1. Buffet Meals –  Buffet meals are a great place to let big eaters eat all the care to enjoy.  Consider scheduling a brunch dining time or even a late lunch so your buffet meal could take the place of two meals.


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