Walt Disney World on a Budget: Tips for Dining

Walt Disney World Tickets , Orlando
Disney Dining
Tips that will appease your appetite AND your wallet
How you can have the tastiest treats at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida while sticking to your budget.

From popcorn to pizza, sandwiches to sushi, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is full of dining locations that serve up some seriously delicious dishes. But with so many options to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming, and it can be easy for your budget to go out the window. 

But with a bit of forward planning, you can have your Mickey Mouse-shaped cake AND eat it. Here are our top tips for dining at Walt Disney World Resort on a budget, without compromising on the quality of your meals. 


Make your own breakfast 

All of the Disney Resort hotels have beverage coolers in their rooms, and most offsite hotels will too. At the beginning of your holiday take a trip to a supermarket like Walmart or Target to stock up on things like yoghurt, milk, and fruit, as well as cereal and pastries, so you can have breakfast before you leave the room in the morning. Arriving at the parks with full stomachs means you won’t be tempted by the more expensive breakfast options available… and then you can head straight to your favourite attractions too! 

If you’re visiting as a family, get your little ones to help you pick some breakfast items you can’t get in the UK. That way it still feels like they’re getting a holiday treat while keeping to your budget. 


A child eating cereal


Bring your own snacks to the parks

You’re allowed to bring your own food into the parks (as long as it doesn’t need cooking) so while you’re at Walmart make sure you pick up some snacks too. Cereal bars, dried fruit, crisps, and other packaged goods are perfect to leave in your bag and take out as and when you need them. Not only will you save money compared to buying all your snacks in the parks, but you’ll always have something on hand if you’re peckish in a queue or waiting for a show. 

You could even buy bread and fillings to bring sandwiches for lunch, saving your money for one restaurant meal per day. 


Purchase a Disney Resort hotel refillable mug

If you’re staying at a Disney Resort hotel, don’t forget to purchase a refillable mug from the quick-service dining location on the first day of your holiday. These cost $21.99 but once activated they can be refilled at any Disney Resort hotel quick-service restaurant, and at some pool bars, as many times as you like for up to 14 consecutive days. These can be used at the soda fountains (some hotels even have Coke Freestyle machines so you’ll have plenty of choice) as well as for coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. 

With a regular fountain beverage costing $4.49, it won’t take long for you to get your money’s worth from your mug. There are normally a couple of different fun designs to choose from (and different coloured lids so you can tell whose is whose) so once your holiday is over you’ll also have an additional souvenir to take home. 


family with Disney Reusable mug


Buy sides and snacks 

For a cheap but delicious food option, we’d recommend taking a look at the sides on the quick-service menus. For example, you can get a full portion of Chicken Fried Rice at Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafes in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park for $7.99, or New England Clam Chowder at Columbia Harbor House in Magic Kingdom Park for $6.79. And don’t forget to check out snack locations too; at Eight Spoon Cafe in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, you can get Baked Macaroni and Cheese for just $4.99!


Make the most of all-you-can-eat buffets

All-you-can-eat buffets are one of the best ways to make sure you get value out of the money you’re spending on food at Walt Disney World Resort. Of course, the bill at the end of your meal will be more than you would spend at a quick service, but if you want to have a few nice sit-down meals as a family, a buffet is the way to go. 

We’d recommend making a reservation for a late breakfast or lunch instead of dinner; if you fill your plates and your stomachs with as much food as possible you likely won’t need to buy any other food for the rest of the day, except for maybe some popcorn or ice cream as a treat during the fireworks. 

Some of the cheaper all-you-can-eat meals at Walt Disney World Resort are: 

  • Breakfast - Boma at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge ($37 per adult and $22 per child)
    Menu includes: pancakes, themed waffles, potatoes, omelettes, bacon, sausage, smoked salmon, cinnamon rolls, fruit salad, yoghurt 
  • Lunch and Dinner - The Diamond Horseshoe and Liberty Tree Tavern at Magic Kingdom Park ($42 per adult and $23 per child)
    Menu includes: salad, roast turkey, pot roast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, seasonal vegetables, macaroni and cheese, and toffee cake 


Consider a Disney Dining Plan 

Disney Dining Plans are great for making sure you stick to a certain budget and will help you factor in the cost of your food from the very beginning of your holiday planning. If you’re staying at a Disney Resort hotel, you can choose between the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan or the Disney Dining Plan. Included in these are: 

Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan

  • 2 quick-service meals per day
  • 1 non-alcoholic/alcoholic drink per meal
  • 1 selected snack or drink per day
  • 1 Resort-refillable mug 

Disney Dining Plan 

  • 1 quick-service meal per day
  • 1 table-service meal per day
  • 1 non-alcoholic/alcoholic drink per meal
  • 1 selected snack or drink per day
  • 1 Resort-refillable mug 

Dining plans can be added to your package at the time of booking and will then be included in the cost of your overall holiday. If you book with a deposit, you can then spread the cost of your food over the months before your visit and by the time you arrive in Orlando it will have all been paid for in advance. 


Disney Dining


The Quick-Service Dining Plan is valid at over 100 locations and the Disney Dining Plan at over 200, so if trying as many Walt Disney World Resort restaurants as possible is a must-do part of your holiday experience these will allow you to do that while saving a bit of money in the long run. Your credits can be used at any time during your stay as they are rolled over day by day, and you can even combine your table-service credits to splurge at one of the resort’s signature restaurants like Le Cellier Steakhouse at EPCOT or The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. 


Take a look at some of our other tips for visiting Walt Disney World Resort in Florida on a budget, and book your Disney Magic Tickets today! 


All prices are correct at the time of writing but are subject to change

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Walt Disney World Tickets , Orlando