How to Save Money Eating at Disney World

in Disney, Disney Parks, Food

Family dining together at Disney World

Credit: Disney

Believe it or not, doing Disney on a budget is actually possible without sacrificing your essential need to eat.

It’s normal to keep a working budget for Disney World in mind as you plan an upcoming visit to this world-famous Orlando, Florida, vacation destination. Furthermore, being mindful of food costs is vital to price configurations. Disney World is, after all, known for some rather exceptional dining experiences of great acclaim, like Character Meal options, fun-themed eateries that fully immerse Guests in an overall motif, praiseworthy establishments comprising Disney Springs, and even those with live entertainment or interactive incorporations thrown into the mix. But you’re interested in ways to be frugal in spending your money on food. Well then, you’ve come to the right place, because here at Inside the Magic, we’re sharing some Disney World food hacks with you to help you learn how to eat without breaking your budget.

Related: The Disney World Vacation Hacks Experts Use Most

Eat at Your Hotel

Every Disney Resort features its own food court laden with various options, including made-to-order selections at different stations, grab-and-go convenience items, snacks, and more. Eating on location is a great way to save money. By starting your day this way, you can fill up, fuel up, and keep going for several hours without succumbing to premature splurging on overpriced eats along the way.

If you’re staying in a villa, family suite, or other accommodation with a full kitchen or kitchenette, you can also cook your own food. Having groceries delivered to your Disney Resort is far easier than you probably ever realized, and many delivery services are surprisingly affordable. Preparing your own food is also great because it allows you to control what you make, how much you make, and how you make it. It can also be the ultimate way how to eat healthy at Disney World.

Side-by-side images showing quick-service food court and room kitchenette

Pack Snacks

Remember those Resort food courts we just mentioned, and how they have plenty of convenience items you can take with you on the go? Well, you may just want to stop in and snag a couple of those to take with you before heading out to the Parks or wherever your day takes you. Doing so will prevent you from overspending later. And don’t worry about whether or not you are permitted to do so, because Disney does allow you to bring your own food and drinks into the Parks (so long as they aren’t in glass).


Some of the best affordable restaurants in Disney World are, in fact, quick-service venues. Furthermore, many quick-service locations are even the top toted cool places to eat at Disney World, like Satu’li Canteen, Regal Eagle Smokehouse, Columbia Harbour House, and so many others. The average pricing at these establishments tends to hover around $14.99 or less (not including tax). And believe it or not, depending on what you order, you can really enjoy some filling fair.

Family enjoying a quick-service meal at Disney World
Credit: Disney

Related: The Best Quick Service Meals at Walt Disney World

Eat Earlier

Maintaining a Disney budget doesn’t mean you must forego every table-service restaurant entirely. After all, there are bound to be specific experiences you’ll want to leave room for. But know this; many Disney venues tend to have breakfast and lunch operations available at cheaper rates than their dinner offerings go for. It’s just another thing to keep in mind.

Forgo Drinks

Sometimes, even after figuring out the price of your meal, tax, and tip, you may accidentally overlook the added cost of ordering a beverage. Given that your meal will be tasty enough without the extra sweetness, perhaps you should stick with plain old free water.

Disney beverages, in general, tend to run a little steep, even when purchased from a snack kiosk per bottle. But every quick-service location offers complimentary water anytime you ask.

If you’re still hankering for a sweeter drink, though, Guests in EPCOT take note of the complimentary international soda flights you can sample at Club Cool.

Complimentary water at Disney World
Credit: Disney Fanatic

Kids’ Meals 

Ordering a kids’ meal is another suggestion if you are okay with smaller portions. In most cases, especially at quick-service locations, any aged person is more than welcome to order from the kids’ menu. This may vary at table-service restaurants, though, as each establishment has its own policies in place.

 Related: Can an Adult Order a Kid’s Meal at Disney?

Meal Sharing and Appetizers for Two

Depending on the establishment, some Disney meals are more than generous regarding portions. So why not split the fair from a single large meal amongst yourselves?

Likewise, some featured appetizers on a given menu are filling enough to be a meal themselves. So why not go ahead and indulge in that and skip the main course entirely?

Crab fries appetizer at Paddlefish
Credit: Paddlefish

Attend an EPCOT Festival

EPCOT is home to a number of seasonal festivals year-round. And popup food vendors, serving up small plate samples, have become synonymous with such ongoing events. While the samples do not come complimentary, it’s still a way to go on a food crawl of sorts, fill up, and forgo the need to grab grub at one of the regular in-Park establishments.

Related: Free Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World

Eat Off the Beaten Path

If you have a car, you may even want to venture off Disney property and do as the locals do—head for the more affordable eats throughout the greater Orlando area. You’ll also find other surprising options nearby in Four Corners, Kissimmee, Tampa, and beyond.

Cards and Discounts

One of the most straightforward and basic ways to save money at any Disney destination is to bring along those Disney gift cards, vouchers, or credit card redemption cards you may have. Click here to learn more about budgeting with gift cards and even how to get discounted cards.

It’s also wise to check the Disney Website for any specially released deals and promos that may be going on at a given time. This includes the Disney Dining Plan, too, when it returns. And then, it’s also worth mentioning that Annual Passholders generally save on dining at Disney locations.

Disney gift card
Credit: shopDisney

Now you know how to eat cheap at Disney World, or at the very least, save money on food and dining. Do you have any other helpful tips or advice on eating at Disney World on a budget you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.

in Disney, Disney Parks, Food

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