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Best Disney World Dining on a Budget

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Planning a Walt Disney World trip is easier than ever before. With so much information available, you can work out every finer detail before you ever even set foot in Orlando.

However, one of the things that is a huge consideration in any planning for a Walt Disney World vacation is your budget. And one large part of your Disney World budget will be on dining and food.

Epcotitaly
Epcot Italy in World Showcase

This is one area where it is very easy to spend a lot of money. There are so many amazing dining options in Walt Disney World it can be difficult to keep costs down.

However, if you really just do some planning, you can have an amazing time and still experience and enjoy Disney World dining on a budget.

It may take a little bit of fine-tuning to shape your Genie+ and Lightning Lane passes around your eating schedule and locations.

disneyhollywoodtowerofterror
Hollywood Tower of Terror

But once you do, you’ll enjoy a seamless park experience and spend less on your meals than you would if you only ate at the high-profile signature restaurants and other popular restaurants around the resort.

Good news for your Disney dining budget. Saving money on meals means a less expensive stay overall.

If you are looking to offset some unexpected vacation costs, read on for the best restaurants at Disney World for your budget.

One interesting thing to note with Disney is that the most costly experience is often not the best experience.

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The less crowded Disney World restaurants are some of the best places to get a good value on your food.

Restaurants at Disney World fall into many categories, but most are either quick service or table service. There is room for both in your schedule even if you have a limited Disney Dining Budget.

All prices are correct in November 2021.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Best Value Dining

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Disney Animal Kingdom Tree of Life

Disney’s Animal Kingdom park is huge.

It’s also perhaps the most low-key of all the parks. And certainly one of the best places for good food in Walt Disney World.

While most people still see Epcot as the best park for dining due to its diverse cuisine, Animal Kingdom has plenty of exotic flair as well as more kid-friendly options.

There is a wide range of food to enjoy at varying costs. There really is something for all dining budgets at Animal Kingdom.

One of the best-known values in all of Walt Disney World is the counter service restaurant:

Animal Kingdom Flame Tree Barbecue

This eating place offers good portions of great-tasting food at a lower price point.

Flame Tree Barbecue is also conveniently located near the center of the park and features spacious outdoor dining on the waterfront.

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Despite its convenient location, it remains a cozy and secluded oasis of calm. It is a great place to just sit, relax and enjoy the unique ambiance of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

If you sit on the waterfront, you can watch the character flotillas go by while enjoying your meal.

The one downside of the Flame Tree Barbecue is that there do tend to be a lot of large, and rather aggressive birds that gather at this location.

Since the re-opening of this location, Disney has installed more wire to try and deter them and it does seem to be working to reduce the problem.

Here is a sample of the Flame Tree Barbecue entree menu:

  • Ribs and Chicken Combo – Ribs and Chicken served with Signature Baked Beans and Coleslaw $15.49
  • Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Pulled Pork – Baked Macaroni and Cheese topped with Smoked Pulled Pork, Onion Rings and Coleslaw $11.99
  • St Louis Rib Dinner – St. Louis Ribs served with Beans and Coleslaw $16.29
  • Hot Link Smokehouse Sandwich – Plant-based Sausage topped with a Tangy Mustard Barbecue Sauce, Slaw, and Crispy Onions on a House-made New England-style Roll $10.99
Flame Tree Barbecue Hot Link Smokehouse Sandwich

A particularly good value option is the plant-based Hot Link Smokehouse Sandwich. I often get one of these to share, and if you add an additional side of fries for $4.49 you can have a meal for around $8 per person.

Animal Kingdom Harambe Market

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Harambe Market is also a great option at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for a counter service meal.

Take a look around the incredible attention to detail of the theming in Harambe Market. Just like everywhere in Animal Kingdom, there is always something to see that you may never have noticed before.

Harambe Market is a good place to stop by for a lunch or dinner for a reasonable price.

arambe Market Menu
Animal Kingdom Harambe Market Entree Menu

The plant based Hot Link Bowl is priced at $12.49 and offers a decent value for a Disney World counter service location. It’s filling as it contains a good portion or rice.

DH always orders the chicken bowl which is the same price as the plant-based option.

Satu’li Canteen in Animal Kingdom

Pandora really is one of my favorite places in Walt Disney World. The calm and positive feeling that the landscape creates really is something that you have to experience to understand.

This area of the park also has one of the best places to eat in Animal Kingdom. Satu’li Cafe has some excellent options for dining on a budget. Particularly if you can add a side to an entree and share it between two people.

Here are some of the Entrees offered on the Satu’li Cafe Menu:

  • Chili-Garlic Shrimp Bowl $14.99
  • Chopped Wood Grill Chicken Bowl $12.49
  • Slow Roasted Sliced Grilled Beef Bowl $13.99
  • Combination Bowl : Grilled Beef and Chicken $16.99
  • Cheeseburger Steamed Pods – Bao Buns $12.29
Disney World Animal Kingdom Starbucks

One place in Animal Kingdom which is not great value is the Starbucks. Like all locations in Disney World, you will get your familiar favorites, but they do come at a premium price.

Magic Kingdom Dining on a Budget

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Magic Kingdom is the shining beacon for all of Walt Disney World. It’s what you probably picture in your head when you imagine what your vacation will be like.

The park is full of unique dining experiences – and it is possible to dine on a budget in Disney Magic Kingdom.

There are some great full-service dining experiences in Magic Kingdom but really this is not a budget-friendly way to go.

Disney Character Dining is a lot of fun, but it is also going to cost around $200 and up for a family of 4.

There is so much to do in Magic Kingdom, you probably don’t want to spend much time eating anyway!

Of all the parks in Walt Disney World, the table service restaurants offer the least value. Considering the many attractions and the time it will take to enjoy all of the parks, counter service will provide the best overall value for your ticket price.

If you want hot dogs, you don’t have to go far before you hit Casey’s Corner at the end of Main Street. The best-valued meals are a little further down, though.

Liberty Square has Columbia Harbor House which offers entrees from $10-$17.

Colombia Harbor House in Magic Kingdom

Colombia Harbor House is one of the best value counter service restaurants in Magic Kingdom.

What distinguishes it from many others, particularly in Magic Kingdom, is that both the decor and the food are so much better than most. It is a good option if you are trying to keep your Disney World dining budget under control.

Colombia House is rarely overcrowded. You can usually easily find somewhere to sit – particularly if you walk up the stairs to the large seating area.

The Colombia House theme is a lot of fun – and very far from subtle. Think just a huge amount of stuff filling every available space. Cliche maritime objects, trinkets, and pictures are everywhere you look.

It seems a world away from the frenetic rush of the rest of Magic Kingdom. Take a little time to sit down and rest your feet, and enjoy some decent food before returning back to the Magic Kingdom rides and attractions.

Colombia House is a great option for families with small children that have a lot of stuff to keep together and need a bit of time to simply have a rest.

The food is surprisingly good for a counter service location. There is something that everyone can enjoy, but as the maritime theme would suggest, the specialty here is seafood.

Colombia House is one of the best places in Disney World for a Lobster Roll.

Colombia House Entree Menu

  • Lobster Roll – Chilled Lobster with a touch of Mayonnaise on a New England-style Bun and served with French Fries $16.99
  • Grilled Shrimp Skewer – Served with Rice and Green Beans $13.99
  • Grilled Salmon – Served with Rice and Green Beans $13.99
  • Sea Captain Catch Fish topped with Cabbage Slaw and Tartar Sauce served with French Fries $12.99
  • Chicken Strip – 4 Pieces Served with French Fries $9.99
  • Trio Platter – Combination of Fried Shrimp, Chicken Strips, and Battered Fish served with Hushpuppies and choice of Side $13.99
  • Hail to the Leaf – Mixed Greens with Apples, Cheddar, Dried Cranberries, and Apple Vinaigrette topped with Chicken Strips $11.99
  • The Doom Burger – Plant-based Crab Cake Sandwich topped with Red Onion and Cabbage Slaw served with French Fries $12.99

If you want to share an entree between two then add a side so it gives a bit more food, for a lesser price than buying two entrees.

For $4.49 you can get a side of Fries, Hushpuppies, Rice, Green Beans or even a PB and J Uncrustable.

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe

This fun quick-service venue is located in Frontier Land in Magic Kingdom. Here you can find some good entree options for around the $10 to $12 price range.

Here is a selection of options from the Peco Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe entree menu:

  • Beef Nachos – Tortilla Chips topped with Queso, Seasoned Ground Beef, Lettuce, Tomato, Sour Cream, and Salsa $10.99
  • Southwest Salad with Pork Carnitas – Mixed Greens topped with Pork Carnitas, Roasted Corn and Bean Salsa, Tomatoes and Tortilla Crisps $11.99
  • Fajita Platter – served with Pork Carnitas and Seasoned Chicken with Yellow Rice, Beans, Fajita Vegetables, Lettuce, Tomato, Sour Cream, Salsa and Flour Tortillas $14.99
  • Southwest Salad – Mixed Greens topped with Roasted Corn and Bean Salsa, Tomatoes and Tortilla Crisps $9.99 with Chicken $10.99
  • Veggie Rice Bowl – Yellow Rice topped with Grilled Peppers and Onions, Black Beans, Lettuce, Tomato, and Salsa $9.99

Again, you can add some different sides to make the entrees large enough to share. A side of rice or black beans will add $4.49.

If you save some money on lunch or dinner in Magic Kingdom don’t forget to get your reward – splurge on a Dole Whip. You really have to try this iconic Magic Kingdom snack even if it does usually mean joining a very long line to get one.

Epcot Dining on a Budget

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Epcot Spaceship Earth

Epcot may be best known for its multiple cuisines and themed dining experiences in Future World, but the hype sometimes doesn’t add up in terms of your Disney dining budget.

The concept art might sell you on Space 220, but the value of the food simply isn’t there. It’s a fabulous experience, but it is definitely not budget-friendly!

However, there are so many great value dining experiences in Epcot that are not going to cost you a fortune.

Sunshine Seasons Epcot

For a good value, head to the Land Pavilion and go downstairs to Sunshine Seasons.

Sunshine Seasons Epcot
Sunshine Seasons Epcot Seating Area in the Land Pavilion

This food court includes made-to-order and grab-and-go selections at a good price. Plus the menu items feature produce grown on the premises in the attraction’s greenhouses.

Here is a selection of what is available:

  • The Land Crusher – Pulled Pork and Cheddar piled high on Texas Toast served with Potato Chips $10.99
  • Stir-Fried Shrimp – with Honey Ginger Sauce, Seasonal Vegetables and Cashews $11.79
  • Stir Fried Chiken – Stir-fried Chicken with Teriyaki Chicken, Peppers, Onions, Pineapple, and a Tangy Sweet-and-Sour Sauce $11.59
  • Vegetable Korma – with Plant-based Chicken and Cashews $8.99
  • Asian Vegetable Noodle Salad – with Wakame, Tuna Poke and Spicy Mayonnaise $11.99
  • Power Salad – with Oak-fired Chicken, Quinoa, Almonds and Honey Vinaigrette $12.99

Across the World Showcase Lagoon is another good quick-service dining option to save you some money.

Regal Eagle offers a variety of American barbecue food. Different meats and regionally inspired sauces make this domestic dining experience uniquely Epcot. Plus the location is halfway around the World Showcase. It’s the perfect place to stop and rest.

There are plenty of great value food items in the World Showcase area of Epcot.

Katsura Grill in Epcot Japan Pavillion

This is one of my favorite places to dine in Epcot. The food is excellent, and very good value.

Epcot Japan Pavilion

Another fabulous thing about this Epcot quick service dining place is the location. It is tucked right at the back of the Pavilion. There is seating inside, but also two separate seating areas outside which is where I prefer to sit. You are surrounded by the beautiful Japanese Gardens, and the location is usually very quiet.

Here is a selection of what is available on the Katsura Grill menu:

  • California Roll $10
  • Shrimp Teumpura Udon $13
  • Vegetable Udon $12
  • Chicken Teriyaki $13
  • Miso Soup $3
  • Pork Ramen $12
  • Tokyo Sushi Combo – 4 pcs. California Roll & 3 pcs. Nigiri $14

The price for the California Roll is a little on the high side, but if you want a really filling meal that doesn’t break the budget go for the Udon.

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

The Yorkshire County Fish Shop in the United Kingdom Pavilion is also a good bet. Fish and chips are $11.49 – they are quite filling.

There is a nice seating space behind the Pavilion which overlooks the World Showcase Lagoon where you can sit and enjoy this very British tradition.

Disney Hollywood Studios Budget Dining

Hollywood Studios has some excellent full-service restaurants. It is perhaps best known for the iconic themed restaurant’s Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater and 50s Prime Time Diner.

While these are certainly fun experiences, they are not budget-friendly.

A cost comparison between 50’s Prime Time Diner and Disney’s Hollywood Brown Derby reveals very little difference, making the latter a far greater value if you are looking to splurge.

Otherwise, the best value in this park will be those Hollywood Studios quick-service restaurants located in the areas where the park has the most to offer.

Woody’s Lunch Box and Docking Bay 7 in Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge respectively are your best options if you want some great value and fun dining options in Hollywood Studios.

Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo

This really does have to be experienced at least once. The fabulous Galaxy’s Edge not only has one of the best rides in Disney World, the food is surprisingly good too.

Here you can see some of the menu options:

  • Smoked Kaadu Pork Ribs – Pork Ribs brushed with Tangy BBQ Sauce and served with Blueberry Corn Muffin and Red Cabbage Slaw $16.99
  • Pirjanad Hot Chicken Tip Yip – Crispy Chicken glazed in a Spicy Chipotle Sauce and served with White Rice and a Relish of Sweet Corn, Shishito Peppers, Jicama, Plantains, and Cilantro $15.49
  • Roasted Endorian Chicken Salad – Marinated Chicken, Mixed Greens, Shaved Onion and Radish, Grapes, Tomato, and Cucumber in a Citrus-Pomegranate Vinaigrette with Spiced Yogurt Drizzle $13.99
  • Peka Tuna Poke – Raw Tuna tossed in a Spicy Sriracha Dressing and served with Green Papaya Salad, Pickled Mushrooms, Fresh Herbs, and Crispy Garlic $17.99
  • Felucian Kefta and Hummus Garden Spread – Plant-based Meatballs, Herb Hummus, Tomato-Cucumber Relish, Pita $12.99

I know what you are thinking – most of these prices are definitely on the high side. However, how you can improve the value is by sharing an entree and adding an extra side of Pita. We always do this will the Kefta and Hummus. It’s pretty filling so it is enough to share.

For the same price with less adequate theming, you can go to Backlot Express, or try the Fairfax Market. The one exception is for hot dog lovers. Dockside Diner is the place for you!

Disney Springs Disney World Dining on a Budget

I can’t share Disney dining budget secrets without mentioning some of the best values at Disney Springs and the resorts.

Amorette’s Patisserie

Amorettes Patisserie Disney Springs
Amorettes Patisserie Disney Springs

You really should not visit Disney Springs without checking out Amorette’s Patisserie. Even if you don’t buy anything it is amazing just to see the talent and artistry of the Disney pastry chefs that work here.

Even if you don’t buy anything it is amazing just to see the talent and artistry of the Disney pastry chefs that work here.

The cakes are priced from $7. They also have some great value sandwiches for $10.50.

Why not share a sandwich and a cake – it will seem like a fabulous treat, but you will still have change from $10 per person.

Earl of Sandwich at Disney Springs

Earl of Sandwich is another popular choice for families looking to save a few bucks on a meal.

This is also a great option for Breakfast in Disney Springs with items starting at just $5.99

For table service, Disney Springs is a dining hotspot with signature restaurant prices, but you can get better pricing on table service when you dine at nearby moderate resort hotels.

Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans, and Coronado Springs all have moderately priced table service restaurants.

What have you found to be the Best Disney World Dining on a Budget?

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