Planning a Disney vacation is a lot of fun and can quickly become expensive. You have to find lots of ways to save money on your trip, in any way possible. One way to pinch your pennies is to save money on the food you and your family need.
Once you have the money saved to afford your Disney Vacation, it’s time to plan. Once you arrive at the park, it is easy to spend and quickly blow your budget. There are little things to buy everywhere you look. And, I’m not referring to souvenirs. I’m talking about food and drinks.
If you buy these items in the park, you will pay a lot, as they are expensive. But there are things you can do to help save on this part of your vacation. I asked a Disney Travel expert for some tips to ensure that you get the most out of your Disney Vacation without spending too much.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON FOOD & DRINKS AT DISNEY
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 for just 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.
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 can eat them on the go and don’t have to give up prime touring time for a meal. You can also pack items like cereal (and get milk from the food court or bring the boxed variety), granola, oatmeal, bagels, etc.
I would also toss some additional items such as granola bars, crackers, and other snacks into your backpack and skip paying for extra snacks whenever possible.
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: Use a grocery service that delivers to your hotel, such as Garden Grocer or Amazon. There are a few of them out there, and they typically offer discounts to first time users.
Note that if you are staying at the resort, there is a $5 delivery fee charged when you pick up your boxes.
Purchase a Tables in Wonderland Card
If you are a Florida resident, you can purchase a Tables in Wonderland card. For a $175 (plus $50 for your spouse), you get as much as 20% your entire bill for most Disney restaurants (some exclusions apply). However, it includes wine, beer, and liquor!
Depending on how often you go (or how much you drink), you could see significant savings. You can use this 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 location (counter service restaurant), get a kids meal instead! Not only is it less expensive, but you will also still get plenty to eat.
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 spending
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. Disney bases your dining plan on the number of nights you stay, not days. People often confuse the two and then have to pay the last day out of pocket- plan accordingly!
You can also track your spending on the My Disney Experience app (download it to your phone before you get to the park).
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 quick service meal, one table service meal, and TWO snacks per night. It also includes alcoholic beverages for adults (1 per meal). Getting the plan can be a simple way to save while still getting the chance to experience amazing food in the park.
Amber Jones has a passion for Disney, deals, and family fun. Heather is a travel agent specializing in Disney vacations, affiliated with Minnie’s Travel Boutique, an Authorized Disney Travel Planner. She and her team help you to create personalized vacations to meet the needs and wants for your family. Let her plan your next Disney vacation!