Money Saving Ideas for Food?

Hi,
As a Brit coming to Orlando , where are the best places to pick up coupon books and offers? Has anyone ever used the Dollar Off Drinks Card or the VIP Dine for Less cards you can buy. I´m always wary that you´ll pay up front and then never find anywhere that accepts the cards.

Just trying to offset my Disney Signature restaurant costs with some cheaper food during the 21 days we are there.

Thanks

We stay off property, so we can save a LOT by not eating in the parks as much as possible. We’ll cook dinner in our rental, or hit some cheap fast-food place, etc.

But whether you are staying on or offsite, a big money saver is just eating breakfast and evening snacks in your room. Most have small fridges and microwaves if you want to keep milk and make oatmeal, or cereal. And for in-park alternatives to spending $6 a snack, we’ll sometimes bring in with us Pop-Tarts (which we don’t otherwise generally buy), etc.

I guess it depends on how committed you are to the cause of saving money. I mean, when the kids were younger, and our budget was particularly tight, we’d actually bring lunch into the parks with us, using flatbread to make sandwiches that didn’t matter if they got squished, etc. In those days, eating one meal in the parks each day at a Quick Service place was splurging.

Even up to our last trip, we only did one Table Service meal per trip (at least, on Disney property). Next to the tickets themselves, the price of food is pretty much the most expensive part of our trips, so saving food money anyway we can means we can spend more days at the parks, etc.

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Hi,
We´re doing 5 nights in All Star Sports, 11 nights in Rosen Pointe Orlando and 5 nights in All Star Music. We don´t even have a coffee maker in the Disney room, so packing a travel kettle. That was only booked so I could access 60 day FP and EMM, so we went for the cheapest on site possible,
I will do the breakfast in the room most mornings, but as it´s our 20th anniversary we have a lot of special dining booked as we last went to Disney 17 years ago and it´s probably our last ever trip. So we have breakfasts at CRT, Tusker House and CP as well as nights in Jiko, CG, Narcoossee´s BOG and Storybook Dining on Disney property and a couple of meals in DS like Edison and Jaleo.

I live in Spain so tipping isn´t really a thing here and the max would be 10% so the tipping thing has been a huge shock (I know if you can´t afford to tip, don´t go )
Also the price of alcohol has been an eye opener, not that we drink a lot, but we pay 10 to 13 euros for a bottle of wine here and its the same price for a glass in Disney ( ice water is my new friend)

So it´ll be splurge one day and frugality the next but I´ll certainly take on board the lunch in the parks idea.

Happy Anniversary! (Early.) My wife and I will be doing our first Disney trip alone next year since our honeymoon in celebration of our 25th. We plan to eat at Disney like we’ve never eaten before. Like, a Table Service place every single day we’re there! :slight_smile:

This is true. But it is also where picking quick service can be helpful over Table service when possible. No need to tip for quick service. But since you are planning several Table Service meals, the 20% (that’s what we typically give for a tip) can add a lot!

Wiser words have never been spoken (as it relates to saving money at WDW). :wink:

It will definitely save money, and fortunately with Disney, having a small bag to carry the lunch around in isn’t much hassle since most rides are bag-friendly. We would use a small string bag, and once lunch was finished, we’d just fold it up and stick the bag in a pocket and be bag free the rest of the day.

Buy a popcorn bucket. We bought a bucket on our first day for $10 and brought it every day for $2 refills. It was great having an easy snack on hand, and the bucket fit inside a backpack so it wasn’t a hassle to carry. We ended up eating a LOT of popcorn (especially the maple popcorn in Canada, yummy!).

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Since you are staying on International for part of your visit, try Red Robin, one of my favorite places to eat

https://www.redrobin.com/everyday-value.html

I would not spend $$$ on any discount cards, check out the web sites of some off site dining establishments, often they have deals like a free appetizer or desert if you sign up for their emails.

Oh my gosh, Red Robin is one of my favorite places to eat. I love their burgers.

We typically stay offsite so we usually eat dinner at local places on 192 or around Disney Springs. Last spring break we ordered pizza from Papa Johns as we were getting on the monorail from MK, and picked it up on our way back to the condo. We ate pizza the next two nights for dinner.

When we had a stroller we would pack sandwiches and frozen water bottles for lunch. Then just eat a snack to cut down on cost. It’s much easier to to do this if you have a full size refrigerator/freezer though.

Last year (no stroller) we ate QS for lunch and then our Papa Johns or Chick Fil A (fast food, but really good and restaurant is nice inside, usually a play area for kids).

If you are looking for good and inexpensive off-site food, check out Souplantation.

I don’t have anything to add to the suggestions above but just wanted to say congrats on your 20th! You have some wonderful dinners lined up, I’m sure they’ll be worth watching the spending on the other meals.

Regarding the wine, I personally think Americans are wine snobs. That’s why it. costs so much. We fuss over it & treat it like it’s something special instead of a nice part of life to be enjoyed every day.

I loved my trips to France & Italy (Sadly, I’ve never been to Spain). Love how casual they are about it there. We literally pumped it from a thing like a gas pump in a grocery store in France, (in the Galeries Lafayette it was in a self-serve pop dispenser like one might find at McDonalds) and it was on tap in steel kegs at the market in Italy. If you didn’t have a bottle they had liter plastic bottles to take it home in.

Since then, I’ve just bought Black Box and let my friends make fun of me.

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The all stars have decent sized fridges - you can keep a good gallon of milk and a gallon of juice besides much munchies.
Just a tip if you decide to enter the park with munchies, take something that will do well in the heat and will resist squishing. The attractions are bag friendly but you have to put them in and remove rather quickly. This inevitably will kill crisps, cookies…
Que te la pases muy bien!!

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Gracias, besitos. x

Thanks for the post. I just think alcohol and food in general is more expensive over there. Beer costs 1.50 euros for a half pint. I pay 1.50 for a double gin or vodka. Cocktails are 5 euros. We pay 17 euros for a huge filet mignon. I think the cost of things over there has shocked me compared to last time when we paid 4.99 for buffet breakfasts and 8.99 for evening buffets with a steak. What happened to Ponderosa? We loved it in 2002.

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Ok will do thanks

This is a very good point. Definitely true. (Which is why, as I mentioned, we make sandwiches with flat bread, for example!)

This thread reminded me of our 2007 trip. We had a small townhouse in Windsor Hills and one of the things I bought at the grocery store were those tubes of chocolate chip cookie dough. I made “cookies the size of their heads” (they were 1, 3, 4, 7) and carried them to the park in a small Tupperware-type container. They were huge. Mid-day, when we all needed a pick-me-up I handed those to the kids and they were blown away. To this day I remember their enthusiastic response to those “giant” cookies. Definitely different than at home. I can only imagine what a giant cookie would hve cost at AK (where we were that day), but for about $2 I blew their minds.

I am firmly in the “in room breakfast, pack lunches for the park crowd”. Huge money saver, and it allows us to eat much more healthily as well. We have a lightweight cooler backpack that easily goes on rides and keeps everything nice and fresh, even in the hell that is Orlando.

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thats awesome! im going to steal that idea but do Mickey shaped head size cookies :slight_smile:

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Don’t forget you can get groceries delivered to your room via amazon/instacart, etc. We did the breakfast in the room thing, and then smart snacks for the parks like jerky, trail mix, cheese sticks, pretzels…etc. They would satisfy energy and empty stomach needs and packed well in our backpacks that had insulated compartments. So keeping yourself happy with snacks means you don’t need to spend as much in the parks. You can share lunch meals, for example. Disney food is pricey, but they give you a lot of food most of the time. So a bowl at Satuli Canteen at Animal Kingdom seems pricey at 14 bucks, but if you split with your partner it is not so bad. Also split a fountain soda and fill your water bottles on the way out to make the upcharged fountain sodas last longer.

Is there a limit to how many refill’s? Also is this in the parks you can get the popcorn bucket?