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Disney Vacation Planner  >  Walt Disney World  >  Eating on a Budget
Last revised Mon, 26-Nov-2007 15:08
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Eating on a Budget

[ Disney Vacation Planner ]

At A Glance

As with anything, eating on a budget in Florida is just as simple as it is anywhere else. The difficult part is making sure that the budget you have is one you can afford. Generally you'll find that like most things, food is cheaper in Florida than it is in the UK. If you can afford to eat in the UK, you'll definitely be able to afford to eat in the same style in Florida, and if you can't afford it in the UK, you may well be able to on Florida (large steaks particularly).

One of the questions I frequently see asked in the newsgroup is "How much will it cost for a family of four to eat for 2-weeks ?". This always strikes me as a strange question to be asking, because the obvious answer is that it's going to cost at least as much as it does for the same family to eat normally for two weeks. Most of the guides etc seem to recommend budgeting to spend around $50 per day per person, however, this seems rather high to me.

So far each time I've been to WDW, I've ended up spending around $150 - $180 per person for a two week duration holiday. Having said that, most of the main meals were taken outside of the parks, and only light snacks bought from the restaurants inside the parks.

The cheapest places to get a relatively good meal are any of the larger eateries outside of WDW property. Most offer a good selection of choices on the menu. Vegetarians are catered for with most places having vegetarian options on their menu, although frequently there may only be one vegetarian dish available. Also Vegan options seem to be very limited. Note: As of Dec'96 neither Burger King nor MacDonalds in Florida seemed to offer vegetarian alternatives as they do in the UK.

Eating in the theme parks works out relatively expensive, when compared to the prices at Dennys, Wendys, etc but then you have to remember that you are pretty much a captive audience (you're not going to want to leave the park, and drive to a restaurant outside the park just for lunch). However the prices are not prohibitvely expensive, and there are a lot of very nice eating places in the main parks that are well worth visiting.

In most eating houses, drinks such as Soda (Coke, Sprite etc) usually include free topups, so you only pay for the first drink per person. This also applies to Tea and Coffee, though not to alcoholic drinks, nor as far as I could tell to Orange Juice, though being one of Florida's natural resources fresh Orange Juice is ridiculously cheap anyway.

If you are planning to spend the day in one of the Disney parks, or in any of the Non-Disney parks, the cheapest way to eat seems to be to stoke-up with a large breakfast from somewhere like Dennys or Wendys before entering the park, so you don't necessarily need to stop for a full lunch, but can just grab a small snack from one of the cafe's in the park whenever you're hungry.

This is great if you're staying outside of WDW property, but isn't really convenient if you are on-property, unless you plan an early visit to a non WDW attraction, in which case you can head out early and stop for breakfast on the way.

If you are staying on property, many of the hotels have a food court, where a reasonably good buffet-breakfast is served for a reasonable though not particularly cheap price. If the hotel you're staying at doesn't have a food court, you're probably not going to be needing to keep an eye on the food bill anyway!

Another tip to keep the costs down but still eat on-site is to remember that at Epcot particularly, the Lunch and Dinner menus are virtually identical at most places, but the Dinner menu is usually more expensive than the lunch menu.

Some of the cheaper places to eat outside of WDW property (in no particular order) are:

  • Dennys
  • Wendys
  • IHOP (International House of Pancakes)
  • Waffle House
  • Dunkin' Donuts
  • Pizza Hut
  • MacDonalds


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