When it comes to budgeting for food at Walt Disney World, I know it can be expensive. and when you add in the fact that you have to budget for multiple family members or friends, the cost can really add up. But there are ways to save money of food when you’re visiting. From freebies to taking advantage of in-room amenities to knowing when to dine, here’s how to save money on food at Disney World.
Look, I’ll be the first to admit that I love dining at Disney World (WDW). And, I’ll also be the first to admit that it can get expensive, especially when you’re staying for multiple days. But, with the right dining hacks, you really can save a ton of money. Here are my best tips on how to save money on food at Disney World and keep within your budget.
How to Pay for Food at Disney World
You’ve got several options when it comes. to paying for food at WDW:
Cash – Disney World still accepts cash at this time. So, if you enjoy budgeting your meals this way, go ahead and pay for them with cash.
Credit Card or Bank Card – Just make sure to have either your credit card or bank card ready to go when you’re ordering to save some time in line. One thing I really dig about paying for items at Disney World is the fact its registers are so quick – gives you less time to second guess your purchase!
Disney Magic Band – As long as you have a My Disney Experience account with either a credit card or bank card linked, you can use your MagicBand to pay for meals.
Resort Room Account – Another way is to use your MagicBand with a pin to pay for your meals. Each meal will be added to your guest room folio and you’ll pay for it that way.
Disney Gift Cards – Personally, this is my favorite way to pay for food at Disney World. I purchase them at my local grocery store and double dip by getting free fuel perks to use on gas for my road trip to Central Florida. Additionally, it’s one of my favorite Disney hacks to save money!
How to Save Money on Food at Disney World: Eat at Quick Service Restaurants
By comparison, a Quick Service (counter service) meal can be up to 1/3 of the cost of a Table Service Meal. If you’re not too concerned about dining with characters or having heartier meals, Quick Service meals are the way to go.
Ways to Save Money on Food at Disney World: Eat From the Children’s Menu – Even If You’re an Adult
This, by far, is my top tip for saving money at Disney World Quick Service restaurants. While the kid’s menus are for younger children, I’ve never been asked the age of the person eating a meal when I order from the kid’s menu.
And, if there’s nothing that strikes your fancy from a particular Quick Service menu, ask if it offers an alternate menu.
Ways to Save Money on Food at Disney World: Eat Breakfast in the Room Before You Hit the Parks
This makes so much sense, both monetarily and efficiency-wise. For my family, we eat pretty light in the mornings, so I’ll make sure to bring oatmeal packets and cereal when we visit. I can use the Disney World Resort in-room coffee maker to heat up water for the oatmeal and I’ll grab a container of milk from a nearby convenience store and leave it in the fridge.
As for efficiency, eating in the room will allow for a more productive time in the park for rides and attractions.
How to Save Money on Food at Disney World: Split Adult Entrees
Here’s another tip for Quick Service restaurants: if you’re not starving, order one meal and split. WDW has no problem with that at all.
Ways to Save Money on Food at Disney World: Never Pay for Bottled Water
My top tip for Walt Disney World freebies: never pay for bottled water! Seriously.
At any counter service restaurant that’s serving fountain drinks, you can ask for as many cups of free ice water as you’d like, as often as you’d like. For one, the ice water is cold and the ice hasn’t melted. Second, I don’t. have to carry around heavy plastic bottles. Third, it’s one less thing to remember to grab when you’re leaving for the park first thing in the morning.
Ways to Save Money on Food at Disney World: Eat From the Appetizer Menu
If you want to dine at Table Service restaurants, but don’t want to be surprised with the bill at the end, order appetizers. First, there’s nothing wrong with eating app only. Second, table service meals tend to be big, and appetizers are a great way to try the cuisine without paying a ton.
One of my favorite “meals” is the snack-size portion of chicken fried rice at iYak & Yeti in Animal Kingdom.
Ways to Save Money on Food at Disney World: Pack Snacks to Eat in the Parks
Instead of paying a premium snacks in the parks when you’re hungry, throw a few in your Disney park bag to enjoy to save some serious cash.
Personally, I choose snacks that won’t melt in the hot, Florida sun, so nix the chocolate. I go for granola bars, dried fruit, trail mix, etc.
And speaking of your park bag, here are 10 new things to pack in your Disney Park Bag.
Ways to Save Money on Food at Disney World: Purchase a Refillable Mug
If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you don’t have to have the Dining Plan to get a refillable mug. It will be good to go for the entire length of your stay and, if you like to enjoy fountain beverages and coffee, you’ll definitely save a bunch.
How to Save Money on Food at Disney World 2022: Take Advantage of In-Room Coffee Maker
If you need that morning caffeine fix, take advantage of the resort in-room coffee maker instead of paying for coffee each day. If you run out, simply call housekeeping and ask for replenishments. By enjoying your coffee in your room instead of stopping for a coffee in the park, it’s a great way to score free food at Disney World.
Ways to Save Money on Food at Disney: Don’t Stop at Starbucks – Head to Joffrey’s
And if you’re not a fan of in-room coffee and have to have one in the parks, head to a Joffrey’s location instead of Starbucks. Joffrey’s tends to cost less and you’ll be less inclined to go for the fancy beverages.
Ways to Save Money on Food at Disney World: Take Your Popcorn Bucket into the Park for Refills
If the fam likes popcorn to snack on, purchase a popcorn bucket at any WDW theme park or Disney Springs. Once you’ve finished off a portion, you can head to any popcorn stand and get a refill for $2.00.
Ways to Save Money on Food at Disney World: Look Out for Free Dining Plan Offers
When the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) comes back in swing, be on the lookout for free Dining Plan offers. While you’ll be paying the rack rate for your resort room, not having to pay for your meals can be beneficial on your wallet.
Update: Right now, WDW has discontinued the DDP, but there are hopes it will return soon.
Did I miss your favorite way to save money on meals at Disney World? Please leave me a comment below to let me know!