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A Budget Friendly Guide to Dining at Walt Disney World

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It’s important to have a realistic budget set aside for food expenses. A good rule of thumb is to look at what the cost would be for the Disney Dining Plan. The plan is not a way to save money, but it can give you some idea of what your budget should be.

Once you know how much you have to work with there are some simple guidelines to follow that will maximize your budget and help you to better enjoy your vacation.

budget dining wdw

Free Disney Dining Plan

Although the Disney Dining plan costs more than what most guests typically pay for food, it is occasionally free. Free Dining Plan dates are announced on the Walt Disney World website every April/May. Plan your vacation during the announced dates to take advantage.

Get your fill at a breakfast buffet. You won’t be hungry for lunch.

Skip a Meal

It’s easier done than said. That is to say it sounds harder than it is. The two easiest meals to skip are breakfast and lunch. Even if you just keep breakfast to coffee and a croissant and have an early lunch, you save yourself a chunk of change that adds up.

If you have a very large breakfast, like an all you care to enjoy character meal, you can easily skip lunch and grab an inexpensive snack instead.

Croque Glace from France Pavilion in Epcot. A hardy snack that can easily be considered lunch for around $7

Consider the Value of Fine Dining

The worst value is going to be those moderate table service venues. You don’t quite get what you pay for, because the prices are inflated. It’s what you expect from a theme park. On top of the high priced menu, you also pay gratuity for your service, which should factor into your budget.

On the contrary, the very finest signature restaurants more than deliver on what you pay for. The prices are higher, but more in line with what you would expect to pay at that same restaurant if it were elsewhere in the country.

On the subject of value, most Walt Disney World snacks are usually less expensive than what most people expect. This is why guests on the Dining Plan often scramble to find pricier snacks to get their prepaid dollar’s worth. Many snack items are large enough for two people.

Counter Service and Lounges

Two more excellent values are quick service and lounges. Quick Service locations are the way to go for guests on a dining budget. Plan on using this option for most meals and have one reservation for a signature restaurant for one memorable dining experience.

Counter service restaurants like Columbia Harbor House and Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, provide wonderful value, prompt service and immersive thematic environments to enjoy.

Quick Service doesn’t mean eating just hamburgers and hot dogs. Many of the Quick Service dining spots throughout Walt Disney World offer full meals like roasted chicken with potatoes and vegetable.

Food truck delights at Disney Springs!

Lounges are the budget friendly way to enjoy items off the menu of more expensive restaurants at a lower price. Plus you don’t have to make reservations.

If you will be heading to Disney Springs to do some shopping, the food trucks offer great food at great prices too!

Do you have any money saving tips you use to save on dining at Walt Disney World?


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