Eating in Disney World is a hot button topic for anyone who’s ever been. I have a lot of thoughts about it, and even though I might disagree with many of “the pros,” I like to think I at least try to take advantage of the best there is to know about Disney dining.
Let’s break down some of the biggest things to know about eating in Disney World.
Tips for making the most of eating in Disney World
1. Do some grocery shopping or bring some things with you.
If you’re driving from home to Disney World, take advantage of the trunk space and bring along bottled water, snacks and breakfast items to keep in your hotel room.
Mom and I are bringing chips, protein bars, almond butter, things like that – as well as bottled water.
There are also grocery delivery service options, if you’re flying or don’t have room in the car. Save a little money on snacks and things in the parks by bringing your own!
2. Save money on breakfast.
Skip breakfast in the parks. Most of the time, it’s overrated and standard breakfast food.
Plus, this will save a ton of time! Time spent eating breakfast = time not in the parks! You can be incredibly productive in the mornings.
Bring cereal, granola bars, fruit, etc. along with you or make a pit stop at a grocery store before your vacation begins.
3. Don’t buy bottled water.
Unlike at theme parks where you can’t bring things in the park with you, there’s no reason to buy bottled water at Disney World.
Bring a case of bottled with you if you prefer bottled water. You can bring bottles in a small soft cooler or in your park bag. Otherwise, you can order a cup of iced water for free at any restaurant or refill a reusable bottle or mug at any water fountain.
4. You can pack lunches and small coolers to take into the parks.
Game changer, y’all.
I plan on keeping 2-3 snacks in my backpack in case I get hangry, plus a bottle of water.
5. Pack food storage bags.
Take a box of ZipLocs with you!
ZipLoc bags have about 100 uses in Disney World, but mainly, you’ll want them when you order a huge quick service meal and can’t finish everything. You can save half of your sandwich or your dessert for later!
6. Split meals.
Most quick service restaurants serve huge portions, and if you buy one adult meal, you can probably feed two people. You can also sometimes trade a drink for another side, so you could stretch that meal even farther.
This is a great strategy for anyone on a dining plan, because then you have a quick service credit to use on breakfast at your resort if you want to or to use two quick service credits in one day if you do use two full service dining credits on one signature restaurant meal. (Which I don’t recommend, see below.)
Do I need a Disney Dining Plan?
The last three times my parents and I have gone to Disney World, we got a Disney Dining Plan. This time is no exception – we love having it. It is more convenient and allows us to go ahead and knock out the payment for food ahead of time.
Most people who hate the DDP hate it because if you go into it with the main priority of saving money, you have to do a lot of math and police what you order. But if you’re only worried about convenience, the DDP makes eating in Disney World easier. (In my opinion, anyway.)
I’ll break down the DDP later in a longer post, but I recommend the Disney Dining Plan that provides two snacks, one counter-service meal and one full-service meal each day of your trip. It also includes a refillable drink mug that you can fill up at your resort (Mom and I use this for coffee in the mornings!)
Wanting to skip the full-service meals? There’s also a Quick Service Dining Plan, which includes two counter service meals and two snacks per day, plus the refillable mug. And if you want all of your meals covered, the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan covers three meals a day, two snacks and the refillable mug.
My Disney Dining Plan tips
1. Split quick service meals, which 99% of the time come with huge portions. Then, you’ll have credits for breakfast and lunch.
2. Never use a snack credit on bottled water or any snack that costs less than $5. I’m less of a stickler with the other credits, but make the most of your snack credits.
3. Make reservations in advance. Seriously. I’m beating a dead horse, but I mean it.
4. Never use two Disney Dining Plan credits for one signature meal. They’re never worth twice the cost.
If you’ve been, where is your favorite place to eat in Disney World?