Alot of people get sticker shock when they see the price of the dining plan or even just a meal in Disney World. Don’t worry! There are a bunch of ways to save money on dining!
First and foremost: dining plan promos. The free dining plan promotion is HUGE. It used to be a way just to get people in the door during the slow season (which lets face it, it’s Disney. Their slow season is everyone else’s norm) During Halloween and between thanksgiving and Christmas. Now it’s become more and more popular and therefore harder to book. Disney has also gotten more and more strict on HOW to book this plan but it can be done! I went in September of 2017 and we had to upgrade to a club level room to book the free dining plan. Which in my opinion is totally worth it. The Club Level is an upgrade to a basic room that gives you access club only floors and a club lounge. The lounge is stocked with snacks and drinks even alcohol from early morning until about 10pm. The promo is usually released in April or May for booking in September, October, and November. Each person in your reservation receives a FREE dining plan based on which level of hotel you stay in. Value resort guests get a Quick Service Dining Plan, Moderate resort guests get a Disney Dining plan, and Deluxe resort guests get a Deluxe Dining Plan. Throughout the year Disney will also release promos for kids to receive a free dining plan with the purchase of an adult dining plan.
Choosing quick service vs table service restaurants will save you a lot of money when dining in Disney as well. Quick service restaurants are a counter service/cafeteria style spot. These are typically cheaper than a table service restaurant and don’t require a reservation.
Another option would be to bring your own food. You are allowed a soft sided cooler in the parks providing it fits the 24″ x 15″ x 18″ dimensions. Glass is not permitted with the exception of baby food. To me, this is GOLD. There arent alot of parks that let you bring your own food in so the fact that Disney does let you saves a ton of money. If you’re staying onsite without a car you can have food from a retailer like Amazon send the groceries to your resort. Other wise you can just stock up at the local grocery store when you arrive.
Personally i like dining in Disney, whether its quick or table service. The atmosphere and food is an experience in itself. What i like to do is go shopping for breakfast and lunch for the week. I have breakfast at my hotel and bring lunch with me. Then all I have to pay for is dinner (and any snacks of course) and for just myself it end up being about $30/ day for all my food based on quick service dinners. If i’m planning on having a table service dinner i will budget $40-$50/day
Visiting during the offseason will save you money all around but you can save a lot on hotels and dining. During peak seasons the prices rise and can cost you an arm and a leg for a simple lunch. Also, stay away from the non filling expensive cart snacks, like the mickey ice cream bar. Prices for this, the churro, and mickey pretzel all went up recently and they’re not even filling snacks! I get that we all have to take our mickey ice cream bar in front of the castle for the gram (guilty!) but for $5.75 I’m tempted just to skip it altogether.
You could also have a snack as breakfast. Instead of dining at a buffet or table service restaurant for breakfast, consider having a snack as your breakfast. Things like the giant cinnamon roll at Gaston’s tavern or the pastries like the ham and cheese croissant from Les Halles in epcot are perfect for breakfast. These are going to only cost between $3 and $6 which is a great price compared to the $24.99-$34.99 per person at quick or table service restaurants.
I hope you enjoyed these tips! If you have any more tips feel free to leave them in the comments below!
Thank you for reading, Toodles!
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