Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Food is one of the easiest places to save money.
With a family of seven, I have lots of tips for dining at Walt Disney World on a budget. I'll also share our favorite lunches and snacks to pack into the parks.
Here are my best tips to help you save money on food at Walt Disney World.
Many Orlando hotels will accept grocery deliveries and hold your food in refrigerated storage – but not all. Check with your hotel before you schedule a delivery.
AmazonFresh, Walmart, and other major chains and services offer grocery delivery in Orlando, so you have lots of options. Uber and Lyft also work well here, if you want to go to a grocery store and don't have your own car.
Don't forget to add items like these to your shopping list:
- Ziploc bags in sandwich and gallon sizes
- paper bowls and plates
Plan for a Mini Fridge
Many Orlando hotel rooms have in-room mini-refrigerators. Contact your hotel to confirm that you'll have one. Disney World has in-room refrigerators at all their value resorts.
Here are some tips for making the most of your mini-fridge.
- Buy foods that don't need refrigeration like bagels and bananas.
- Save limited fridge space for deli meat and dairy.
- Most mini-fridges will fit a half-gallon of milk, but not a full gallon.
- Many mini-fridges don't have freezers.
I wanted plenty of milk for cereal, so we brought a small cooler that would hold two gallons of milk and filled it with ice at the hotel. With our cooler and the mini-fridge, we only had to grocery shop once.
Eat Breakfast in Your Room
Eating breakfast in your room will save you money and time. You'll want to arrive at the parks early for the shortest lines.
Here are some easy hotel breakfast ideas:
- yogurt with granola and fruit
- cereal and milk
- bagels and cream cheese
- fresh fruit, like bananas or berries
Disney World Resort food courts have toasters and microwaves available to their guests if you want to heat up breakfast sandwiches, toast, Pop Tarts, or oatmeal.
Pack Your Lunch
Walt Disney World allows you to bring food into the park, so save money by bringing your own lunch.
Stow it in a day pack or stroller. Double bag Ziploc bags filled with hotel ice to keep it cold. Locker rentals are available if you don't want to carry it around.
Plan variety in your lunches, and throw in some favorite treats to make them fun.
Want to save money but skip the hassle of packing a lunch? Buy lunches in the park and eat sandwiches in your room for dinner.
Here are some of our favorite lunch ideas for Disney World:
- cheese and crackers
- peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
- deli meat and cheese sandwiches
- tuna sandwiches
- bagels and cream cheese
- hummus with crackers or veggies
- beef jerky
- leftover pizza from a previous night's dinner
- string cheese
- apples, grapes, oranges, clementines
- carrot sticks, cucumbers, sweet peas
- crackers or chips
- juice boxes, water bottles, or soda
Eating a funnel cake at a Disney park is a delightful splurge, but we save a lot of money by bringing most of our own snacks into the parks.
It's smart to pack healthy snacks like apples and carrots, but pack other favorite snacks and drinks too. You won't be tempted to buy a $5 bottle of soda if you have the same soda in your day pack.
Here are some easy-to-pack snack ideas:
- granola bars
- apple slices
- string cheese
- fruit snacks
- juice pouches
- water bottles
Set a Snack Budget
There are so many great snacks at Walt Disney World! Dole Whip, churros, and international treats at Epcot will be calling your name. If you want to try a few, set a snack budget.
I recommend that you set a limit for each person, like $15 or 2-3 snacks per week. This gives kids a chance to practice budgeting. And when you want a churro, you don't have to buy one for everyone.
Consider the Disney Dining Plan
A Disney Dining Plan will allow your family to enjoy the delicious restaurants and snacks at Walt Disney World for a set price. These plans are available to guests who purchase a Disney Resort Hotel Package.
Basic Disney Dining Plans include 2 meals with specialty beverages and 2 snacks. We haven't tried it yet because buying groceries is less expensive. However, if enjoying Disney fare is a priority for your family, these plans will allow you to enjoy restaurants and snacks without wondering about your final bill.
Learn more about the Disney Dining Plans at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/plans/.
Want to save more money?
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We worked hard to save money on food so that we could splurge on a character meal! A late breakfast buffet at Chef Mickey's was our reward for packing sandwiches all week and it was worth it!
Walt Disney World dining does not have to drain your bank account. Buying your own groceries and planning simple meals will bring your food budget way down.
Want more tips for making the most of your Walt Disney World trip? Visit our Walt Disney World page to browse articles that can help you save money, avoid long lines, and share memorable experiences that will help your family become stronger, smarter, and happier.
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