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!
Disney World Dining and Food Tips and Tricks
Here are three tricks we 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!
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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.
If you stay at Disney the whole trip, Magical Express buses will take you to and from 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, popcorn and microwavable oatmeal bowls (we recently stayed at Art of Animation which has in-room microwaves), chips and Cheez-its, powdered donuts, M&Ms 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 😉
2. 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. 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.
So I used Garden Grocer to order ou drinks. 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.
Yes, the prices are a little more expensive than the regular grocery, but not too bad, and, of course, 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.
3. Use the Right Credit Card to Pay for Disney World Dining
When you DO pay for food in the Disney parks, consider using one of these credit cards to maximize your savings or loyalty points you can earn:
Discover it Cashback Match
Discover it Cashback Match is a great no annual fee card to add to your wallet. For 2018, you can save 5% cashback up on up to $1500 spent on restaurants and dining from July to September. Use this card to pay for Disney World dining when traveling over these months and effectively net yourself a 5% discount! Here is my review of Discover it Cashback Match.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
This my favorite travel credit card, as it charges no annual fee the first year, grants you 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred instantly to Southwest for free flights once you meet the minimum spend AND earns you 2 points per $1 on all dining expenditures. Plus, the annual fee is waived the first year!
Here is my review of the card.
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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?
- 7 Walt Disney World Secrets From a Seasoned Pro
- Save on Walt Disney World and Universal Tickets at VisitOrlando.com
- 5 Hacks for Saving on Your Disney Vacation
- Here’s Why You Need to Go to Disneyland: The Haunted Mansion at Halloween
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