Disney World in Orlando is one of our favorite places in the world, and I want to share three simple Disney World dining and food tricks we’ve learned over the years.
My husband grew up visiting Disney every year as a child, and we even honeymooned here back in 1999! It’s become a tradition in my family to visit every year or so.
During all our visits to Disney, we have learned many tricks to save and get the most out of the parks and resorts, but we are forever learning something new, too!
Read to the end to see my YouTube video where I share ALL my Disney tips and tricks!
5 Clever Disney World Dining and Food Tips and Tricks
Here are five tricks you can use to save money on dining at Disney, which can definitely take a big chunk out of the ol’ Disney budget in a hurry.
1. Fly Southwest and Pack a Bag with Non-Perishable Food
One of our favorite reasons for flying Southwest is the ability to check two bags FREE per person.
We never check this many, but it is handy to know we can check bags with no extra fee.
Here are more reasons Southwest is the best airlines for families!
For Disney, you can of course rent a car and go by a grocery on your way in (we have done this), but renting a car is more expensive than our other tricks.
Plus, we have found we only need transportation between Disney and Universal and then possibly back to the airport.
Instead of renting a car, we fill a whole suitcase with food largely for breakfast and snacking in the room and in the parks.
We generally do the fast service dining restaurants in the parks for lunch and dinner with maybe one or two sit-down dinners. We find this is cheaper than paying for their dining plans.
In our packed food bag, you’ll find:
- peanut butter crackers (great for snacking in the park)
- protein bars
- Pop Tarts for the kids for breakfast
- microwavable oatmeal bowls (we recently stayed at Art of Animation which has in-room microwaves)
- chips and Cheez-its
- powdered donuts
- And a few other miscellaneous items.
Sort of a mix of healthy and non-healthy ;-), but better than churros in the parks and expensive breakfast items at the hotel.
And better than buying these items at the on-site resort store where it will be five times more expensive.
Plus, that leaves us an empty bag on the way home for anything we may have purchased.
Oh yeah, we also throw in a small fan to drown out the noise of kiddos in neighboring rooms 😉
Here are more tips for packing for a Disney vacation.
2. Get a Lyft and Go to Walgreens or Publix
On our last trip to Disney in October 2018, we opted to get an Uber/Lyft and zip over to a nearby Walgreens. 🙂
I don’t like to pack drinks in luggage in case they open, and bringing your own drinks can be a huge savings at Disney.
Buying waters in the park (though keep in mind you can always ask for a cup of water at any restaurant) or Cokes in the vending machines at the hotel can quickly add up.
We loaded up on 24 packs of water bottles for $3 per 24-pack, Coke Zero for $4-$5 for 12, a few bags of snacks and chips and Sugar Free Red Bull for me (yes, I’m addicted ;-)).
This was in addition to the food we packed in a separate bag and flew with us free on Southwest.
The cost of the Lyft was about $16 round-trip, which I felt cost us significantly less than the upcharge we would have paid for a delivery fee and the more expensive costs of the items from Green Grocer (see below).
3. Have InstaCart Deliver Groceries to You
While I haven’t used this yet, I looked it up last time we were in Orlando. InstaCart is an app that lets you order groceries from stores like Publix and CVS in the south and have them delivered to you.
Again, the prices are a bit higher than what you would pay in store but they will deliver it to you within a matter of hours for a delivery fee as cheap at $3.99. This may be a cheaper option than taking an Uber or Lyft to the store if the delivery fee + upcharges are less than what a round-trip would be on Uber.
4. Garden Grocer Grocery Delivery Service
Garden Grocer is an Orlando-area grocery delivery service that allows you to order groceries online and have them delivered to your room at Walt Disney World.
We tried Garden Grocer for a trip in 2016 to have our drinks delivered to our room.
I got A TON of bottled water, two 12-packs of Coke Zero, Red Bull Sugar Free and V-8 V-Fusion for me, Capris Sun for my youngest and milk for breakfasts.
The prices are quite a bit more expensive than the regular grocery, but it is a lot LESS expensive than any vending machine soda or bottled water or milk in the General Store or restaurant.
They require a $60 minimum order and charge $14 delivery fee on top.
But they will discount your order up to 15% if you order in advance.
So this is best if you don’t plan to bring much food with you, but rather have it delivered upon arrival.
They will have your items ready to go in your room if you order ahead!
5. Use the Right Credit Card to Pay for Disney World Dining
When you DO pay for food in the Disney parks, consider using a travel credit card to maximize your savings or loyalty points that you can earn.
Chase Sapphire Preferred is my FAVORITE travel credit card, as it grants you 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred instantly to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio for FREE flights once you meet the minimum spend.
It also earns 2 points per $1 on all travel and dining expenditures. All for a very reasonable $95 annual fee!
Here is my review of the card.
These tips truly save us a bundle at the parks, along with mostly skipping any souvenirs. We prefer to put our money toward an on-property hotel room and an extra day in the parks.
How do you save on food at Disney? Any tips we missed?
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