We previously shared how you can save money to afford your Disney Vacation. Now that you are going to be visiting Disney, the next thing you need to do is watch your budget while you are there. One thing that can very, very quickly add up is food and drinks. They are very expensive in the park, but there are things you can do to help save on this part of your vacation. Below you’ll find more tips from Heather Fiory, who knows Disney and ways to really watch your budget!
Beverages. It is so important to stay hydrated while you are in Disney but drinks can cost a small fortune! Bring your own water bottles and refill as you go. You can add iced tea or lemonade mix to spice it up. Also, if you are at a Quick Service restaurant and a meal comes with your drink, ask for a cup of water. It’s free! Double the drinks – one price!
Make the most of your meal plan (if you buy one). Save your table service for dinner (as it is the most expensive meal). In many cases, breakfast, lunch and dinner are each 1 Table Service Credit per person. If you were going to pay out-of-pocket, dinner would cost double breakfast! Which leads me to #3……
Use a snack credit for breakfast. You could get bakery items, bagels, etc. all for a snack credit. The nice thing about these items is that you could eat them on the go and don’t have to give up prime touring time for a meal. You could also pack items like cereal (and get milk from the food court or bring the boxed variety), granola, oatmeal, bagels, etc.
Have groceries sent to you. Want a case of water? Bunch of snacks? Have no room in your suitcase? Here’s a way to cut costs and room in the suitcase. Use a grocery service that delivers to your hotel like Garden Grocer or Amazon. There are a few of them out there and they typically offer discounts to first time users.
Purchase a Tables in Wonderland Card. If you are a Florida resident, annual passholder, or DVC member, you could also purchase a Tables in Wonderland card. For a $100, you get a percentage off your entire bill for most Disney restaurants (some exclusions apply) but it even includes wine, beer and liquor! Depending on how often you go (or how much you drink), this could be a big savings. This could be used in addition to the Disney Dining Plan or on its own!
Stick with kid meals. If you are paying out-of-pocket at a Quick Service (counter service restaurant), an adult could order a kids meal- plenty of food and much cheaper!
Opt out of the sides. If you are paying out-of-pocket, you don’t need to order the “meal” if you don’t want the fries/side, let them know! They will only charge you for the sandwich.
Watch your receipts. If you are on the Dining Plan, keep your receipts and keep count of how many meals and snacks you have left. You don’t need to do one per day. Remember the dining plan is based on how many NIGHTS you stay, not days. People often confuse the two and then have to pay the last day out of pocket- plan accordingly!
Don’t waste your credits. Don’t let any meal or snack credits go to waste! I had a bunch of extra snack credits and stocked up on items I could take home with me on our last day. The kids were excited to eat “Mickey” snacks long after our trip. If you have an extra meal credit (a rarity), think about paying for a stranger’s meal with it to spread the magic!
Consider the meal plan. The meal plan includes one over the counter meal, one snack and one sit-down meal each day. This can be a simple way to save while still getting the chance to experience amazing food in the park.
Heather Fiory is a mother of two, wonderful children. She has travels to Disney often and is a Disney expert! She has a passion for Disney, deals, and family fun. Heather is a travel agent specializing in Disney vacations, affiliated with Mouse Counselors, an Authorized Disney Travel Planner. She offers free, concierge service in planning such vacations as Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruises, Disney’s Aulani and Adventures by Disney. She helps you to create personalized vacations to meet the needs and wants for your family. Let her plan your next Disney vacation! Contact her to request a vacation quote at firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.facebook.com/heatherfmousecounselor on Facebook.