Would you like to learn how to save money on food at Disney World? Food is one of the major expenses of most Disney World vacations so if you want to save money on your trip it is good to take just a little time to learn some of the best money saving tips.
In our years of traveling to Disney World these ideas have saved us huge amounts of money and expense:
Bring Snacks To The Disney Parks
A lot of people ask me about whether you can bring your own snacks into the Disney World parks. The simple answer is yes you can – just be sensible about it.
When you enter a Disney park you will have to go through a security check. They are looking for things which would be a safety issue – not trying to find your hidden sandwiches!
Disney actually states on it’s website that guests can bring food into the park, but not food that needs heating up. My advice is don’t stress about what this definition means. Just use your common sense.
There are rules about the types of containers you can bring into the Disney parks though. You can’t bring suitcases, coolers or backpacks with or without wheels larger than 24″ (61 cm) long x 15″ (38 cm) wide x 18″ (46 cm) high. So pack your snacks in a back pack. If it’s too heavy to carry around all day then you can always put your bag in one of the lockers at the entrance to the park.
Glass containers aren’t allowed either (unless they are baby food jars). Straws and drink lids are not allowed in Disney’s Animal Kingdom for the safety of the animals. Of course alcohol isn’t allowed either. The Disney website states that you should tell the person at the security check out that you have food but of the many many times I have done this I have never done that, or seen anyone else do that!
Choose Your Disney Character Meals Wisely
Not all Disney character meals are created equal. You need to do your research to see which option is the best for you and your family (and of course make Advance Dining Reservations as far ahead as possible as most are very popular).
Disney World character meals vary in price a lot and some have better quality food than others. Check out our guide at
Eat Breakfast At Your Hotel
Having a good breakfast sets you up for the rest of the day and many hotels close to Disney World have a free or inexpensive dinner option.
Breakfast is also the easiest meal of the day to buy your own food and eat in the hotel room. It’s easy just to have some cereals or bagels in the room.
If you are going to eat in the park then a breakfast buffet can be a good value if you eat late morning and fill up for lunch too.
Carry A Water Bottle
Soda and drinks can add up to a huge cost at Disney World. If your family is all drinking soda at the parks then the costs can add up very quickly. Soda from Quick Service locations and Stands is usually $3 and up, water bottles are $2.50 so you can see how the costs quickly build up.
There are water fountains throughout the park and also if you go to a Quick Service location or Stand they will gladly give you a cup of iced water. I always take water bottles and put it in our back pack so we can keep hydrated for free.
Check Out The Disney World Kids Menus
Many Quick Service locations have Power Packs and these can be a good option for kids, particularly to share if you have a couple of picky eaters.
Another good thing to know is that at many Quick Service locations you can just buy a burger bun. You won’t find it on the menu but there is often an option to just purchase single items so ask the Cast Member.
If you have the bread and a great condiment bar (such as in Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe in Magic Kingdom) then you can make a great sandwich. You can also purchase just one cheese slice at many locations. Then you have a great value cheese sandwich!
We often buy just one veggie burger meal between 2 kids with one extra bread. They can then share the burger and fries for just a little over the cost of one burger meal.
There are some locations where you can leave items off a Quick Service Meal and pay less. For example if you don’t want bacon on your burger ask for it to be left off if it is a lesser price.
If you don’t want an item in your Quick Service Meal, for example the fries or the drink, then ask for it without them. Often the cost is lower. Disney doesn’t advertise these options but in many locations they are available. Just ask the Cast Member when ordering!
Consider The Disney Dining Plan
There is a huge debate over whether the Disney Dining Plan saves you money and there really is no simple answer. For some families it saves a fortune, for others not so much. For us it really doesn’t. I have 3 children who now have to pay the adult cost of the dining plan and who don’t eat very much. My daughter is vegan and I am vegetarian and although Disney is a good place to find vegan and vegetarian food choices they are usually the cheapest thing on the menu. We also don’t drink soda. So all of these factors make the Disney Dining Plan not a good option for us.
We have written a detailed guide about how to choose whether or not the Disney Dining Plan is a good value for your family
Do you have any tips for saving money on food at the Disney World Parks?
Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.