We’ll look at the Disney Dining Plan, what type of restaurants to eat at, and how to maximize time and budget with food.
Don’t get the Disney Dining Plan
…Unless your kids are older and really hearty eaters. Going a la carte will almost certainly be cheaper.
You can get a kids meal too – there’s no age limit for quick serve kids meals. It’s still plenty of food for most people, and cheaper. Also allows more room for Mickey shaped Ice Cream and Dole Whips later!
Stick to Quick Serve and Character Meals
Sit down restaurants won’t charge for kids under 3. But they will charge you a kids meal for each kid over 3 even though portions are huge and a 3 to 5 year old may not eat much of it. It’s just not worth it.
Except for character meals, when experience and convenience become more important than cost. That said, be strategic in the character meals you choose, and don’t be afraid to split up if your daughter loves princesses, but your son doesn’t. The cost of several character meals adds up quickly.
Pro Tip: Head over to another resort for different restaurants and menu options when you get tired of eating in the same places at your resort.
Always do Character Meals at Breakfast
Breakfast is cheaper than lunch and dinner, so if you’re going to splurge on a character meal, you may as well save some cash, and go when the kids are more likely to be well behaved.
When eating a character breakfast, go big. Skip lunch, have a snack in the park, and eat and early dinner. Your stomach won’t miss a thing.
Order Groceries to your Room
Place an Instacart or Amazon Fresh delivery for the day you arrive. Get snacks and breakfast items so you can eat in your room the days you don’t have a character breakfast. The resort will store and refrigerate as needed, but tip well when you pick it up.
Going this route, you’ll be ready for an early lunch in the park, and can avoid the lunch rush.
Resorts also have a small store/mercantile that carries a limited supply of grocery items. They aren’t cheap, but I still I got three days of breakfast for our family for the cost of one family quick serve breakfast. If going this route, you can pick up plastic silverware and condiments from the quick serve restaurant.