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How to Eat Cheap at Walt Disney World

Let’s face it, eating at Walt Disney World is expensive! Depending on your family’s preferences, food and drinks can be the number one expense on your entire vacation. But they don’t have to be, it’s also possible to eat cheap at Disney World.

Huge Pretzel Animal Kingdom

In this post, we are going to go over how you can eat well at Disney World without breaking the bank and having to dip into your kids’ college fund just to pay for your meals. We will show you how much meals cost on average and compare table service to quick service meals.

We’ll also show you the best cheap eats in each of the 4 Walt Disney World parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom), no matter if you want a sit-down meal or you just want to grab something quick.

After that, we’ll give you examples on how to eat in each of the parks and Disney Springs on less than $40 a day per person. Sure, don’t expect filet and lobster, but you still have some really solid options at an affordable price.

Marshmallow Pop Magic Kingdom

These are all of our best tips for eating at Walt Disney World on a budget, so enjoy!

Also, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter. There we will update you with the latest on saving money at Disney World, and share the latest vacation planning tips. You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter!

How Much Money Do You Need to Eat at Disney World?

Pizza from Amare Swan Reserve

When factoring in ‘how much money’ you need when eating at Disney World, the easy answer is: it depends. Each family is considerably different when it comes to dining habits, food preferences, and budgets. 

To be frank and honest, it can be as expensive as you want! Disney certainly doesn’t suffer from a lack of upscale dining opportunities. However, if your family is looking to budget and saving money is your primary concern, there are absolutely ways you can do your meals reasonably too. 

The best way to figure this out is of course planning and there are three primary ways you will spend money when it comes to food. They are:

  • Table Service Restaurants
  • Quick Service or Counter Service Restaurants
  • Snacks

Table Service Restaurants are your typical ‘sit-down’ dining establishments that require servers to come to your table and wait on you and they are the most expensive way to eat at Disney. While the cost can differ greatly depending on which restaurant you choose, these are generally speaking the most expensive options.

I’d suggest budgeting anywhere from $35 all the way up to $100 per person, depending on which dining option you choose. Check the menus first before deciding which restaurant you’d like to choose so you get an idea of the prices.

Burger Connections Cafe and Eatery EPCOT

Quick Service or Counter Service Restaurants are Disney’s quicker-style meals which are places in which you’ll order food from a counter or utilize the Disney Mobile Ordering option on a smartphone, enabling you to get food quickly. 

These would be likened to a fast food establishment, although the quality of Disney’s Quick Service options can be FAR superior to what you think of as ‘fast food’ back home. I’d suggest factoring anywhere from $15 – $30 per person for each of these types of meals. 

And lastly is snacks. Each park has dozens of different places to grab snack items, whether it’s cookies, bakery items, Mickey Ice Cream bars, popcorn, etc…. 

Not only will you find snacks in the parks, but you’ll find them throughout Disney Springs and the different Disney Resorts. These are the cheapest of options and generally will be between $4 and $10.

Bruschetta and appetizers Tutto Gusto EPCOT

Now that you have a general idea of the costs of food in Disney World, it would be helpful to ask yourself additional questions to refine your budget such as:

  • How many family members do we need to budget for? 
  • Would our family like to eat at least one table-service restaurant per day?
  • Are we inclined to eat at any character meals?
  • Do we want to eat at any of the fancier and upscale restaurants in Disney World?
  • Will we be purchasing the Disney Dining Plan or paying out of pocket? 
  • How long are we staying at Disney World? 
  • Would we be interested in ordering groceries from a nearby store to save money for some of our meals? 
  • Do we have any dining discounts? 
  • What are the habits of eating for our family? 

These are some of the finer nuances in refining our budgets for our upcoming trip. While of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of potential variables, it gives us SOME ideas of things to consider. 

As I wrote about here, you can expect to spend anywhere from about $50 all the way up to $125+ per person, per day. It’s easy to spend way more than that, but generally, our family likes to have a good mix of great experiences and is willing to budget in the $100 range per person. And that works well for us. 

If you REALLY want to cut it down even further and make it as cheap as possible, there are absolutely ways to do this. And while it’s possible, it’s not personally how WE recommend visiting Disney World as food is one of our favorite things about the trip!

Fish and Chips Yorkshire County Fish Shop EPCOT

And we don’t like neglecting the food aspect. But we understand some families NEED to budget as much as possible so they can visit, and of course, something is better than nothing! We will talk about some of our FAVORITE ways to bring the costs of food down even further in our ‘tips for dining on a budget’ below. 

A popular question we often get is about the Disney Dining Plan. While the Dining Plan disappeared for a bit of time, it did return in early 2024. Generally speaking, we aren’t huge fans of the Dining Plan and on most trips we take, we opt against it. 

We find with careful planning and paying out of pocket, we save more money and we have more freedom and flexibility. The days of saving considerable money with the Disney Dining Plan have long come and gone. 

But we understand some families prefer to pay in advance of their trip and not have to worry about tons of additional expenses, like dining, once they arrive. 

In that case, the Disney Dining Plan can present a less stressful alternative upon getting to the Walt Disney World Resort. And that is worth it for some families. For a full breakdown of getting the most out of the Disney Dining Plan, and why we tend to opt against it, check out my article here.

Can You Bring Your Own Food into Disney World?

Groceries on the table at Disney World resort

Something our family does frequently these days upon arrival to Walt Disney World is purchasing food from OUTSIDE of Disney World. That means we can have food both at our resort OR if we want to bring food inside the Disney World Theme Parks. 

So to answer the question, YES you can bring food into Disney World! In fact, it’s a great way to save money or the most ideal way to appeal to pickier eaters or even guests who have certain dietary needs or restrictions. 

In fact, my mom who has Type 1 Diabetes relies on bringing in outside food to help manage her blood sugar levels when she’s in the hot Florida sun or when she’s standing in lines for periods of time and her sugar levels are rising or dropping quickly. 

For others, bringing in outside food allows them to perhaps splurge on 1 or 2 Disney meals per day while bringing more of a picnic meal for the other day. That way instead of needing to purchase Disney meals for all the members of the family for each meal, they only need to purchase Disney food one or two times.

Gideon's cookies at Magic Kingdom in ziploc bag

This can save considerable money! Disney has a loose policy when it comes to bringing in outside food inside the theme parks. Just remember don’t bring in any rolling coolers, and keep your coolers smaller than 24” long x 15” wide x 18” high. You can’t bring in any loose ice or glass bottles inside the coolers. 

Now you can pack yourself a nice lunch or dinner and find yourself a nice quiet spot to enjoy your meal! If you don’t have a stroller and don’t want to carry around the cooler all day when you’re inside the parks, I’d recommend renting a locker and storing it there. 

When you’re at the resorts or hotels, having your own food is also nice! It’s especially wonderful if you have a room with a fridge or a kitchen, as you can easily store things for your convenience.

Nothing beats having snacks in your room for those late nights or to bring down to the pool when you’re relaxing at your resort!

Best Cheap Eats at Magic Kingdom

Ice Cream Sandwich Magic Kingdom

In this section we are going to focus on the best cheap eats at each of the Disney World Parks. We will start with Magic Kingdom and give you our favorite quick-service options and our favorite table-service options for guests. 

While these aren’t necessarily ‘our overall favorites’, these are some terrific options that are more than anything reasonably priced.

Quick Service

When it comes to getting cheap quick service options at Magic Kingdom, our heart immediately goes to two spots, Columbia Harbour House and Casey’s Corner. Why? They both offer solid food with great portion sizes for reasonable prices.

Fish and Chips Columbia Harbour House

First off is Columbia Harbour House, which is located in the Liberty Square section of the park. They feature several tasty fried offerings, focusing on New England-style cuisine. 

We are BIG fans of the Trio Platter, which features a combination of fried shrimp, chicken strips, battered fish, and Hushpuppies with a choice of a side. This dish is only $14.29, and it’s easily sharable amongst kids or even adults! 

For kids or even adults, they also have a chicken strips entree for only $10.99 that is served with French Fries in addition. 

Our other favorite spot is Casey’s Corner. This Main Street U.S.A. staple is the ideal spot to grab food with a view! Although seating here can sometimes be difficult to find, they have some great shareable options for very reasonable prices.

Corn Dog Nuggets Casey's Corner Magic Kingdom

While their menu rotates seasonally, they always feature different styles of massive Foot-long Hot Dogs! And when I tell you they are big, they are big! These hot dogs range from $12.79 – $15.79 in price depending on which one you get. 

They also feature another beloved fan-favorite and that’s the ever-tasty Corn Dog Nuggets, and these come with French Fries and are only $10.79 currently.

Table Service

While we aren’t big fans of the Table Service offerings at Magic Kingdom, they aren’t ‘bad’ per se, they just are mostly OK. But they do have some fairly decent options at really reasonable prices. An under-the-radar spot that guests don’t frequently think about is The Plaza Restaurant right on Main Street, U.S.A.

Plaza Restaurant Magic Kingdom

What’s great about The Plaza is the MOST expensive option on the entire menu is only $26, which is RARE for a Disney World Table Service offering. Some of their options are as low as $19, including their massive Triple Decker Turkey Club Sandwich! 

We also really enjoy the Plaza Loaded Fries appetizer, which is also HUGE and it is only $15. It’s a great shareable appetizer that is loaded with fries, cheddar, bacon, onions, and spicy sour cream! You might not even need an entree after sharing these! 

The rest of their reasonably-priced sandwiches are solid options as well, including their crispy chicken sandwich.

Lobster Thermidor Burger Liberty Tree Tavern Magic Kingdom

While it’s not as cheap as The Plaza, Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square is a great option for hungrier guests who perhaps are willing to save up their appetite! This all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving-style feast features unlimited portions of turkey, pot roast, pork, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and mac and cheese! 

And while it’s $42 per adult and $23 per child, it still isn’t a bad option for guests who are looking for value. Considering that you can fill up for the rest of the day at that price, it’s not a bad deal.

While The Plaza will likely be cheaper for most guests, Liberty Tree Tavern is our favorite overall restaurant in Magic Kingdom and we find the food and the experience to be worthy of a splurge.

My recommendation if wanting to eat at Liberty Tree Tavern is to try to get a reservation between meal time slots so that it can be both your lunch AND your dinner, and you can get by with stuffing yourself with one great big meal, truly getting your money’s worth!  This alone can make your day cheaper.

Best Cheap Eats at EPCOT

Classique Crêpe from La Crêperie de Paris EPCOT

Next up on our favorite cheap eats list is EPCOT. This park is FILLED with terrific options for food as it’s ultimately the best ‘foodie park’ in all of Walt Disney World. While the others have minimized the gap on EPCOT, they still don’t quite hold a candle to EPCOT when it comes to a plethora of options. 

Not only does EPCOT have a LOT of great options, but it also has a lot of great cheap eats. Let’s now get into our favorite quick service and table service options for saving money in EPCOT.

Quick Service

My mind immediately went to Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie in EPCOT. This is the French Bakery, located in the France Pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase Pavilion. And when I tell you this bakery is awesome, it’s awesome!

Strawberry Tart Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie EPCOT

They have so many mouth watering options for guests, that it’s truly hard to narrow down our favorites. Practically everything is great and cheap!

With terrific bakery choices such as croissants and beignets ranging from as little as $3.25 to $6.25 and sandwiches and other specialty items ranging from $5.75 to $10.95, you really can’t beat Les Halles. 

Another great option in the World Showcase is Regal Eagle Smokehouse in the American Pavilion. Focusing on American-style BBQ, Regal Eagle is a Muppets-themed quick service that features a number of shareable dishes for guests.

Tray of BBQ Regal Eagle Smokehouse Barbecue EPCOT

I absolutely love the Loaded Burnt End Fries for $12.99. This MASSIVE plate of seasoned fries features a lump of macaroni and cheese, burnt ends, and beer-battered onion rings. It’s incredibly filling and shareable. 

The North Carolina Chopped Smoked Pork Butt platter is another shareable dish that is also quite tasty, featuring chopped pork butt, garlic toast, and another side dish of your choice for only $13.49. 

My last choice would be the newly-opened Connections Eatery in the World Celebration section of EPCOT. They have a few real winners on that menu that are reasonably priced and shareable. I’d absolutely recommend getting the Pizza, our favorite is the Margherita for $11.79. It comes with two slices of fresh pizza.

General Tso's Chicken Salad Connections Eatery EPCOT

We also really love the General Tso’s Chicken Salad, which is incredibly tasty while also being a really nice-sized salad with loads of protein at only $12.29.

Table Service

When it comes to table service options, there is nowhere comparable to EPCOT other than Disney Springs, in terms of options to sit down and get a tasty meal. Many of the offerings are very high-end, taking them out of the ‘cheap’ range. But here are a couple that we think more than fit the bill, while also being tasty.

Via Napoli EPCOT Restaurants

Sticking to the theme of pizza, Via Napoli in the Italy Pavilion is excellent! Not only do they have some of the best pizzas in all of the Walt Disney World Resort, but they also have HUGE Mezzo Metro pizzas that can easily feed 3-5 guests. 

While these will still range in the $48-$60 range, depending on which flavor you get, it’s still cheaper than getting entrees elsewhere.

Bowl of shrimp and rice Nine Dragons EPCOT

Another option for incredibly reasonably-priced entrees is Nine Dragons inside the China Pavilion in the World Showcase. Although we personally haven’t loved our meals here, it’s not bad, and we’ve heard from guests recently that the quality has gotten better. 

Their prices are undeniably cheaper than alternatives with solid options such as the Canton Pepper Beef for only $25. Or the Honey Sesame Chicken for only $23. In fact, the most expensive entree on the entire menu is only $30, making it one of the cheapest restaurants in all of Walt Disney World.

Spice Road Table EPCOT Restaurants

We are also big fans of Spice Road Table. Although they don’t have entrees, they have some really great Small Plates that are easily shareable. We love the Naan Spreads for only $11 and the Pomegranate-Chili Crispy Cauliflower for only $11.

READ MORE: Best EPCOT Restaurants

Best Cheap Eats at Hollywood Studios

food from Docking Bay 7 Hollywood Studios

Next up when it comes to the Disney Theme Parks is Disney’s Hollywood Studios. With the addition of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land in the parks, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has upped its game tremendously in the parks as far as food options. 

Here’s a quick look at our favorite quick service spots and table service locations in Hollywood Studios.

Quick Service

The first place I go when it comes to cheap eats that are tasty in Hollywood Studios is Woody’s Lunch Box in Toy Story Land.

Totchos from Woody's Lunch Box

We enjoy the different lunch box tarts which are only $4.79 each (oversized pop tarts essentially), and we also LOVE the “totchos.” Totchos are tater tots that are loaded with your favorite fixings, from cheese to Fritos to chili! They are a massive bowl and are only $10.49 currently. 

Another great option is ABC Commissary, which is located over on Commissary Lane near the front of the park. This underrated quick service option has some really intriguing options that are incredibly reasonably priced, with all the different options ranging from $10.79 to $13.29. 

ABC Commissary Hollywood Studios

We are HUGE fans of the Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich, and it’s easily shareable amongst two people.

And lastly, we deserve special credit should go to The Market at Pixar Plaza. This sneaky and under-the-radar location has one of our favorite snacks in all of Walt Disney World – Jack-Jack’s Num Num Cookie!

Jack Jack's Num Num Cookies Hollywood Studios

They have a massive, freshly baked chocolate chip cookie that is incredibly tasty and HUGE. While it isn’t cheap for cookie standards, it’s a great low-priced snack offering at only $6.19 which is perfectly shareable for the whole family.

Table Service

Our absolute favorite table service restaurant in Walt Disney World is the always reliable and always entertaining 50’s Prime Time Cafe. This fun 50s-themed diner has both entertaining servers and very reasonably priced food.

Onion Rings 50's Prime Time Cafe Hollywood Studios

Honestly, we haven’t had many things here we don’t enjoy, but our absolute go-to is Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken. 

Our family considers this amongst the best fried chicken in all of Walt Disney World, and there are some fantastic fried chickens throughout the resort. At $26, this would be our first choice. 

We’ve also found ourselves enjoying Grandpa Jean’s Chicken Pot Pie at only $24 as well as Mom’s Old-fashioned Pot Roast at $26. It’s hard to beat the value of 50’s Prime Time Cafe, but keep in mind the portion sizes are always very generous as well.

To save more money, oftentimes, our family members will split an entree, making the meal half the price and putting it on the same level as quick service options.

Ice Cream Sundae Sci-Fi Dine-In Hollywood Studios

Our secondary choice at Hollywood Studios is the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. Another fun-themed restaurant experience, we generally highly enjoy Sci-Fine, albeit not quite as much as 50’s Prime Time Cafe. 

The food options here are varied with the menu changing fairly frequently. While we’ve had some hits and misses when coming here, you can’t argue with the reasonably-priced menu offerings. 

We generally always enjoy their burgers and would recommend the Drive-in BBQ Burger they are currently offering at $25. This burger is served on a brioche bun and topped with smoked pork, bourbon-bacon jam, cheddar cheese, and barbecue sauce. Yummy! All of the different entrees are all under $30 here. 

We also love their onion rings appetizer. It’s a wonderful shareable plate that comes with the amazing creamy horseradish dipping sauce.

READ MORE: Best Hollywood Studios Restaurants

Best Cheap Eats at Animal Kingdom

Salad from Flame Tree Barbecue Animal Kingdom

And last of the Disney Theme Parks is Disney’s Animal Kingdom. People don’t frequently think of ‘food’ when it comes to Animal Kingdom, but I have to say when it comes to quick service options they have some truly terrific options. 

While their table service options are fairly limited in comparison to the other parks, they do have a few options for families that are reasonably priced for families that are looking for a sit-down meal offering at Animal Kingdom without breaking the bank.

Quick Service

It’s hard to top both the quality of offerings and the prices at Eight Spoon Cafe. This outdoor food kiosk is directly across from Adventurers Outpost and is an easy miss if you’re not looking for it. They offer different baked mac and cheese bowls, and let me tell you, they are GOOD! These are generous portions that can even be an entire meal for some guests.

Mac and Cheese Eight Spoon Cafe Animal Kingdom Snacks

The cheapest offering is the simple plain Baked Macaroni and Cheese for only $4.99. But the Pulled Pork version and the Pulled Pork stuffed inside a Jelly Doughnut are both worth trying as well. These will cost $6.79 and $6.99 respectively. 

One of our favorite quick service locations in all of Walt Disney World is Satu’li Canteen. While a lot of their customizable bowl options are more expensive, in terms of quick service options, they have a few more reasonably priced offerings as well.

Dessert from Satu'li Canteen Animal Kingdom

We thoroughly enjoy the Cheeseburger Steamed Pods, which are essentially little cheeseburgers steamed inside tasty Bao Buns. In fact, many guests think they taste almost identical to McDonald’s cheeseburgers but inside these tasty little pockets of goodness. Kids love them! 

The adult version which comes with 2 cheeseburgers is $13.29 and the kids’ meal which comes with only 1 cheeseburger is $8.59. Adults can order from the kids’ menu as well! 

We also loved the kid’s meal Teylu All-Beef Hot Dog. This is essentially a Hot Dog version of the Cheeseburger, and it’s REALLY good. This is one of my sister’s favorite hot dogs in Disney and it’s only $7.59.

Table Service

While they don’t have a large number of table service options, one of our favorite Disney Theme Park Restaurants is Yak & Yeti, found over in the Asia section of the park. This is one of the most underrated restaurants in all of Walt Disney World in our eyes, and it’s VERY reasonably priced.

Huge plate of nachos Yak & Yeti Animal Kingdom

A few of our favorites are the Ahi Tuna Nachos, which are MASSIVE and easily shareable for two guests. This appetizer of sorts is $21.99. We also love the Korean Fried Chicken at $16.99 and the Lettuce Cups at $19.99. 

Practically everything we’ve had here is at the very least solid and nothing really eclipses the $30ish mark other than the Bhaktapur Duck at $37.99. 

Another reasonably priced offering is the Rainforest Cafe, which is located at the front of the park. This is the second of the two Rainforest Cafe locations, with the other being at Disney Springs. While we certainly wouldn’t put this amongst our favorite Walt Disney World Restaurants, this is a kid favorite and it’s not bad when it comes to value.

Rainforest Cafe Disney Springs

If you want the ultimate in terms of value, I recommend splitting one of the massive appetizers! Either the Awesome Appetizer Adventure for only $24.99 or the Beef Lava Nachos for $20.99. Both are incredibly filling and large enough for multiple people to split it.

While they do have some higher-cost seafood platters, I’d generally recommend steering clear of them here. Their burgers are fairly solid as well, and they hover around the $20 price point.

READ MORE: Best Animal Kingdom Restaurants

Best Cheap Eats at Disney Springs

Blaze Pizza Disney Springs

Disney Springs is truly the mecca of high-quality eating at the Walt Disney World Resort. With award-winning restaurants at practically every corner, Disney Springs has not only the BEST of options, it also has the MOST options. 

Deciding the best cheap eats here can be challenging because there are SO many. I almost feel as if you came to Disney Springs every day, you’d still not have enough time to get everything good there is to eat here!  With that being said, let’s get into our favorite cheap eats at Disney Springs.

Quick Service

You have to have the old staple Earl of Sandwich on our list. This chain sandwich location opened up in 2004 and remains one of the best in terms of quality and cost. Open all day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Earl of Sandwich is the king of sandwich and wrap offerings between $5 and $10. 

Many of their breakfast sandwiches are in the $5 range and many of their lunch/dinner sandwiches are closer to the $10 price point. Don’t let the prices fool you though, Earl of Sandwich makes a SOLID sandwich. You’ll easily be able to find something that suits you as their menu is massive.

Chicken Guy chicken tenders

Another favorite of ours is Chicken Guy. This Guy Fieri quick-service location serves up incredibly tasty fried chicken tenders and chicken-inspired sandwiches. Menu offerings here are generally between $6 and $10, depending on what you’re looking for.

We LOVE their fresh-battered chicken tenders, and all of their sandwiches are incredibly tasty. 

We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about arguably our favorite quick-service location in all of Walt Disney World and that is The Polite Pig. While some of their offerings are more expensive and on par with more expensive table-service restaurants, they do offer some terrific tasty sandwiches at reasonable prices.

Sliders The Polite Pig Disney Springs

We LOVE the Smoked Turkey BLT at only $13 and the Slider Trio for $18, which comes with three different slider versions of their famed sandwiches, including the Southern Pig, the Low and Slow Brisket, and the Fried Chicken.

Table Service

Disney Springs has some incredibly high-end table service restaurants in Disney Springs so finding something that is more reasonably priced isn’t the easiest. I’m going to go a little off the radar and start with Splitsville Dining Room.

Splitsville Disney Springs

While many might look at Splitsville as a bowling alley, it’s also actually a restaurant. You can either sit at a table and get food or you can bowl and grab food while you’re bowling. Either way, you can order from the same menu. And let me tell you…. the food is surprisingly good! 

Their menu is massive with virtually everything being under the $30 price point, including even some solid entree options including the Tuna Poke Bowl for $26 and the Chicken Fried Rice for $26. Even their sushi is terrific, featuring a MASSIVE sushi menu with specialty rolls between $14 and $22 each.

We love Splitsville and think more people need to consider eating here. It’s VERY good and it’s incredibly reasonable for Disney standards.

Fried Chicken Homecomin Disney's Springs

One of our favorite restaurants in Disney Springs is Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’. This southern-style restaurant features some truly terrific southern-inspired dishes. While not exactly cheap per se, the value is in the quantity! Essentially every time we come here we have enough leftovers for at least another meal! 

That means their dishes are easily shareable for two guests unless you have a MASSIVE appetite! They offer some great sandwiches right around $20 whereas their entrees or main plates are generally around the $30 mark. 

You can’t go wrong at Homecomin’ and some of our favorites are the Fried Chicken & Doughnuts for $32 and Art’s Famous Fried Chicken for $34. Get ready, you’ll have leftovers for sure!

READ MORE: Best Disney Springs Restaurants

Tips for Dining on a Budget 

In addition to going to restaurants that are more reasonably priced like the ones we mentioned above, there are some additional tips and tricks you can utilize to save even more money if you’re dining on a budget. Take advantage of some of these ideas as well!

bottle of water
  1. Bring Refillable Water Bottles

One of our favorite things to do on a hot Florida day is to bring our own refillable water bottles to the parks! Bottles of water can be nearly $4 each, making the cost of water incredibly costly, especially for larger families. 

You can easily fill up your refillable water bottle throughout the park at the various different refillable water stations throughout the parks.

  1. Ask for Free Cups of Ice Water
cup of water at Disney World parks

It always amazes us how many people pay for water when you can literally just ask for a free cup of ice water at most quick-service locations throughout the parks. While not every place will give it to you, most quick service locations will give you a cup that you can easily use to get a cup of water. 

For example, we love going to the different Starbucks locations inside the parks to get a venti ice water for free. Then keep the cup and continue refilling it throughout the day to stay nourished.

  1. Get Groceries to Your Room

Getting groceries to your room is incredibly easy these days with a variety of services easily accessible via your smartphone or computer. 

Ordering groceries to your room can be an easy way to save money on some meals with many Disney rooms having fridges and microwaves. Take a look at our Guide to Getting Groceries at Disney World to find our favorite ways and more tips.

  1. Go Grocery Shopping Yourself
holding up bags groceries from delivery

If you’d prefer going grocery shopping yourself you can do this easily with a vehicle. There are tons of options within a few miles of the Disney Resorts. 

Or if you don’t have a vehicle you can easily pay for a private transfer from the airport to your resort upon arrival to Orlando with a brief stop at the grocery or liquor store. You can of course also pay for an Uber or Lyft to bring you to a nearby grocery store from your Disney World Resort.

  1. Pack Snacks or Meals

By packing snacks or even full meals inside a cooler, you can bring your own food inside the Disney Parks. This will allow you to perhaps save some money for at least one meal each day. Or just give you some snack options instead of having to pay to get the Disney snacks, which will be far more costly.

  1. Eat Quick Service Meals Instead of Table Service Meals
Dessert from Amare Swan Reserve

Eating table service meals every day can be incredibly costly, especially for larger families. If you don’t need a sit-down meal each day, by eating quick service meals you can have some really tasty food for a fraction of the cost.

While some families enjoy their table service meals each day, perhaps you can minimize your sit-down meals to only a few special ones for your entire trip and eat quick service the rest of the time. If you choose any of the ones on our list of the Best Quick Service Restaurants at Disney World, you are going to have an awesome meal.

  1. Ignore the Character Meals 

While we understand Disney character meals are incredibly special for some families, the truth is they cost a LOT! And generally speaking, most of the character meals aren’t going to be the best Disney food offerings. For the cost-to-quality ratio, eating a character meal will likely leave you disappointed.

But if you want to do it simply for the experience, we understand and would recommend you do a character breakfast as it’ll be cheaper than a lunch or dinner.

  1. Order Off The Kids Menus
Pods from Satu'li Canteen Animal Kingdom
cheeseburger steam pods and chips

Some adults don’t have large appetites so instead of wasting a portion of your food or stuffing yourself unnecessarily, order off the kid’s menu! 

It’ll save you money and it’ll likely be everything you need portion-wise. Some of the kid’s items are actually REALLY good too, featuring some different options than the adult menus.

  1. Share Meals 

A favorite of our family is to share meals. We frequently do this at the higher-end restaurants, allowing us to try some of the best Disney Restaurants for a fraction of the cost.

Instead of getting 2 entrees for you and your spouse, get 1 entree and 1 side dish or appetizer. This will significantly save you money when eating at a table-service restaurant.

  1. Eat At The Lounges
Steak and potatoes Tutto Gusto EPCOT

One of our favorite things to do at Disney World is to eat at the lounges. There are some truly terrific locations that also have really incredible food! This is because many of them even share the same kitchens as higher-end signature restaurants.

Lounges aren’t just for adults and kids are welcome too! For a list of some of our favorite lounges with great food and cocktails, take a look at our post here.

  1. Eat a Quick Breakfast

While I do enjoy breakfast, I think it’s a pretty universal fact that Disney World breakfasts are easily the worst of the three major meals each day. While there are some good breakfast items and a few good breakfast table service restaurants, in general, I’d suggest cutting costs for breakfast each day.

This is where a simple bakery item at your resort’s food court or getting groceries in your room can be incredibly helpful!

  1. Skip the Side Dishes

Many guests are unaware that the side dishes that frequently come with your quick service meals are in fact an extra cost, although they don’t tell you! If you’re ordering a dish and it comes with a side of your choice, ask to get it without the side dish. It’ll likely save you a couple of dollars if you’d like.

  1. Just Get Appetizers
Cheese Dip Frontera Cocina Disney Springs

We LOVE Disney appetizers and the great thing about them is they are perfectly shareable meals and oftentimes plenty sufficient for people.

My parents often go to Disney restaurants and just split a few appetizers and they are more than satisfied, spending a fraction of the cost of getting a couple of entrees. In fact, some of our favorite food items in Disney World are appetizer dishes!

  1. Eat Off-Site

While this is out of the question for some guests, if you have a vehicle or want to utilize a rideshare app, you can easily get off-site to eat at different restaurants that are within a few miles of the Disney gates.

Whether it’s worth it to you is a question only you can ask. But you can save significantly by eating off-site even if you have to pay to get an Uber or Lyft to pick you up and drop you off.

  1. Use Discounts
holding up a Disney World annual pass

If you’re a Disney Cast Member, a DVC Member, or a Chase Disney Visa cardholder you can possibly be saving anywhere from 10-20% off select restaurants. If you fit into any of that criteria I’d suggest asking at the restaurant upon arrival.

You can even use Disney Discounted Gift Cards to save a cool 5-10% off each meal.

Examples of Eating for Under $40 Per Day

What if your primary goal was to eat as cheaply as possible for the duration of a trip? In this scenario, we will do our best to eat under $40 per day. Is it possible? Where would I eat? 

In this hypothetical scenario, you have 5 days to eat under $40 each day. I will try to make the food choices filling without starving myself or lacking the ability to indulge a bit. 

Day 1 you will be in Magic Kingdom all day, Day 2 you will be in EPCOT all day, Day 3 you will be in Hollywood Studios all day, Day 4 you will be in Animal Kingdom, and Day 5 you will be in Disney Springs. Let’s see if this can be done!

Here’s what I would eat given those circumstances:

Day 1 – Magic Kingdom

Sleepy Hollow waffle with fruit and nutella
  • For breakfast, I would stop at Sleepy Hollow to get my beloved Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich for $8.49. 
  • For lunch, I’d head to the Egg Roll Wagon and get my Pepperoni and Cheese Spring Rolls for $9.50.
  • As a snack in the middle of the day to keep me cool, I’d get a Dole Whip at Aloha Isle for $5.99. 
  • For dinner, I’d go to Casey’s Corner and get a nice Chili-Cheese All-Beef Hot Dog for $12.79. 

Total before tax: $36.77

Day 2 – EPCOT

chocolate croissant Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie EPCOT
  • For breakfast, I’d stop at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie for a quick chocolate croissant for $4.25. 
  • For lunch, I’d get the amazing and filling nachos at La Cantina de San Angel for $14.75.
  • As a midday snack, I’d stop at Sommerfest in Germany and get the Pretzel Bread Pudding for $4.79. 
  • And for dinner, I’d get the General Tso’s Chicken Salad at Connections Eatery for $12.29. 

Total before tax: $36.08

Day 3 – Hollywood Studios

Pop Tarts from Woody's Lunch Box
  • For breakfast, I’d head to Woody’s Lunch Box and get a Lunch Box Tart for $4.79.
  • This will tie me over to lunch until I go to Ronto Roasters and get my Ronto Wrap for $13.29.
  • For a snack, I’ll stop at The Market and get my Jack-Jack’s Num Num Cookie for $6.19. 
  • For dinner, I’d go to ABC Commissary and get my ever-so-wonderful Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich for $11.99. 

Total before tax: $36.26

Day 4 – Animal Kingdom

bbq chicken Flame Tree Barbecue Animal Kingdom
  • On my Animal Kingdom day, I’ll choose to either skip breakfast or just have a quick snack from my room. 
  • For an early lunch, I’ll stop at Eight Spoon Cafe and get the Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Pulled Pork for $6.79. 
  • As an afternoon break, I’ll stop at Nomad Lounge to relax a bit and get the amazing Churros for $10.
  • For dinner, I’ll go to Flame Tree Barbecue and get the Ribs, Chicken, and Pulled Pork Sampler for $18.99. 

Total before tax and tip: $35.78

Day 5 – Disney Springs

Gideon's Cookies Disney Springs

On my last day at Disney Springs, I’ll go to Earl of Sandwich to grab a Bacon Breakfast Burrito for $6.99 for breakfast.

For lunch, I’ll go to Pizza Ponte and grab a slice of the Big Roman for $6.95, which is probably my favorite pizza in Disney World.

For a midday snack, I’ll head to Gideon’s Bakehouse and grab one of their amazing cookies for $6.

And then for dinner, I’ll head to Polite Pig and get the Slider Trio for $18. 

Total before tax: $37.94

There you go! All five days in Walt Disney World while spending under $40 each day! It’s perfectly doable and at the same time reasonable with some planning. Each day I indulged in a few snacks while also getting some high-quality meals. 

While eating cheap at Disney World isn’t always easy or preferred by many guests, it absolutely is attainable. We hope our guide will rack your brain with some easy guidelines on how it can be done so you and your family have the most magical Disney World trip attainable without breaking the budget! 

That wraps up our look at how to eat cheap at Walt Disney World. We hope you now have a better understanding of where to eat and save money at the same time!

Ready to Start Planning Your Disney Vacation?

Mickey Mouse partners statue Magic Kingdom

If you feel overwhelmed planning a Disney vacation, use an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner such as Show You the World Travel. They are experts on every Disney location and can tell you where to stay, what to do, how to save money, and give you personalized service for your most magical vacation ever!

If you are thinking about going to Walt Disney World in the coming future, here are some other popular articles where you will find all the info and tips you need to plan your trip.

Your Thoughts

I want to know what you think about our guide to eating cheap at Disney World…

  • What is your favorite place to eat cheap in each park?
  • What are your go-to snacks on a budget?

Let us know in the comments section below!

If you enjoyed this article, as always I appreciate it if you’d share it with others via social media.  I work hard at making this website into a useful r


Wednesday 27th of March 2024

Very Good recommendations. I have eaten at most but not in the orders recommended. Good choices and combinations per parks. Thanks

Mike Nelson

Sunday 18th of February 2024

We just returned from a week at Wdw First of all the parks were packed for the first week of February We spent way more than 50 dollars per person a day and only had one sit down meal Except for Epcot not many choices besides burgers A typical burger fries drink was 23 dollars We all agreed that WDW is too expensive