I am a foodie in my everyday life, but when I am at Walt Disney World, I really let my foodie flag fly high. I know how expensive eating at Disney can be and I’ve honed my skills so that I can save money where I can in order to splurge in other areas. Here are my top five tips for saving money on food at Walt Disney World.
1. BYOB: Bring Your Own Bottle – water bottle that is. Buying water bottle after water bottle is really expensive in the parks, not to mention environmentally unfriendly. My biggest tip that I tell everybody who is planning a vacation is to bring their own water bottle into the parks with them. There are plenty of drinking fountains in every park to refill for free. I happen to like the taste of Disney/Orlando water, but I know that it is not everybody’s favorite. If you aren’t a big fan of the water’s taste, try mixing in something like Crystal Light or Mio. Buying these little packets ahead of time and bringing them with you rather than buying a lemonade every few hours will still save you a ton of money. If you are worried about the water quality, consider investing in a filtered water bottle before your trip. Stay hydrated, help out the environment, and save money – you really can’t go wrong if you follow this advice.
2. Pack Your Own Snacks: Disney World is filled with delicious snack options – it’s a large part of the reason I love the parks so much. However, buying food every time you are feeling like a snack can add up quickly. I always throw some granola bars in my bag before heading out for the day. Then, when I am feeling myself get a little hungry, but know that lunch is only an hour or so away, I can eat one of those rather than spending money on something large that will ruin my appetite for lunch. This is also a great option if you are traveling with kids. Applesauce, granola bars, trail mix, or anything else that does not require refrigeration is a smart addition to your backpack each day.
3. Bring Your Own Lunch: If you are really on a tight budget and want to take the tips from above a step farther, try packing your own lunch to bring into the parks with you. You are allowed to bring a small cooler or lunch box into the parks (just no alcoholic beverages). Make some sandwiches before you leave in the morning and save on the cost of buying lunch. You can sit down at any bench or most quick service restaurant to eat your packed meal. Just remember to throw in some ice packs. Florida heat and cold cuts do not mix well if not properly stored.
4. Eat Breakfast in Your Room: I do this on every trip I take to Disney. First, I am more interested in jumping on all my favorite attractions bright and early than sitting down and eating some waffles. Second, I don’t like eating a big breakfast. It makes me feel sluggish and slows me down. I just need a little something in the morning to get my metabolism revved up. Third, I would rather splurge on my dinner and dessert than on breakfast. In my suitcase I pack a box of protein bars, some bagels, pop-tarts, or instant oatmeal. On my way out to the buses at my resort, I might buy a banana and orange juice to go with my breakfast as well. This is a much cheaper option than buying a whole extra meal each day at the parks.
5. Share Snacks and Desserts: Portion sizes can be quite large for these items and I find that sharing leaves my stomach and my pocketbook satisfied. This is also a great way to try more snack options in the parks. One person can get some popcorn, the other can get some cotton candy, and you can share with each other. A snack I will never share: A Dole-whip. Don’t even ask me to share, it won’t happen. However, you may have a bite of my soft pretzel.
Whether you are on a full-blown budget trip or trying to save money towards a fabulous souvenir, by using these tips, you will be well on your way to reaching your goals. How do you save money while at Disney World? Share your advice in the comment box below!