Cheap Eats at Disney

I am potentially going to have to go to Disney again depending on the outcome of a football game this weekend.

Anyhow, we're pretty much broke and renting a big van to drive down with a bunch of people, the Pop Warner package only includes 1 meal, so I was trying to figure out the cheapest way to eat down there.. any tips?

Eat off property. A typical quick service meal with a drink will run you $9-12. There are some table service locations at the resorts with entree prices very close to quick service prices as well (check out for menus and prices). But if your main goal is eating as cheaply as possible, eat outside the property (Crossroads, 192, I-Drive) and/or pack some cold cut sandwiches and snacks in any bags you plan to take with you to the parks.

Original BlueStreak64

LostKause's avatar

There are plenty of McDonald's to choose from in the Orlando area. YUM! Of the one's I know of, the closest to Disney is probably the one near Blizzard Beach and Animal Kingdom. There is the largest McDonald's in the world, I think, on I-Drive and Sand Lake Road.

If you are pretty much broke, why are you going to Disney? Why will the outcome of a football game determine if you have to go or not? I know you wanted someone to ask, so there it is. :)

I'll go out on a limb and say that one of his kids may be going to the Pop Warner football championship that's held at the Wide World of Sports every December.

There's one catch to the McDonalds that is on property, the prices are slightly higher and their value menu is a little different. Its not a crazy high markup, but if you're not staying at the All Star resorts, Coronado, or AK Lodge you might as well just drive over to Crossroads to their McDonalds which has your typical menu and prices. If you're looking for a McDonalds with a little sophisticated touch there is a McDonalds on Sand Lake Rd. just past the I-4 intersection that is called a Bistro Gourmet (the "World's Largest on I-Drive also has the gourmet menu) and is decorated in a rather...interesting European style.

Original BlueStreak64

I say pay the kids to lose the game. That will cost you less than taking them to Disney;)

Or you could take them for an overnight stay at the Great Adventure Hotel.

Last edited by Mike Gallagher,

The amusement park rises bold and are huddled on the beach in a mist

We were grateful to find that McDonald's at WDW until we saw the prices. Yikes! The manager told us that McDonald's pays a dollar to Disney for every single item they sell, from the Big Mac to a cup of coffee.
When I'm traveling by myself to Disney I stay at the Crossroads area and there's no end of fast food and casual dining, from McD's and Steak n Shake to Friday's and Uno. There's also a Sweet Tomato way back in there if you like that kind of place.
I don't recommend Sand Lake/ I Drive, especially if you're at Disney. While a variety exists there, for sure, it's far away and the traffic usually sucks. I stopped at that fancy schmancy McDonald's on Sand Lake once, totally by accident, I had no idea such a concept existed. I couldn't eat there, though, and had to leave immediately after informing the manager of an extremely gross situation that I will spare you the details of for fear of ruining your lunch too...


The amusement park rises bold and are huddled on the beach in a mist

Well..., PM me if you really, really, really want to know. But trust me, you don't.

This ought to be fun.

More seriously: the easiest way to eat cheap is to get off property. If there is a chain restaurant with two or more US locations, one of them is within a five minute drive of WDW's border. They usually have "regular" prices compared to what you see back home. In addition to the above-mentioned Crossroads (just outside DTD) there is another huge strip of places on US-192, just south of WDW. With a team full of Pop Warner kids, try the less-expensive all-you-can-eat places, e.g. Golden Corral, for a good value that actually fills them up.

If you are stuck eating in a theme park: stick to counter service places. Drink only ice water. The 1/2 roast chicken at Cosmic Ray's in MK is a decent chunk of food for $10. There is a similar dish at Sunshine Seasons in EP. In all of teh counter service places, the menu boards only list combos, but you can tell them to leave the side (fries/chips/carrot sticks/etc.) off and that will cut the price by a couple bucks.

Edited to add: you can also bring food into the theme parks with you. No glass, alcohol, or large coolers, and nothing that has to be heated. But, anything else is fair game.

Last edited by Jeff,
rollergator's avatar

RCMAC said:There's also a Sweet Tomato way back in there if you like that kind of place.

delan and I are two (maybe the only two?) that are defiantly in favor of Sweet Tomatoes!

Jeff's avatar

Ha! Brian beat me to it.

Am I the only one who thinks that feeding McDonald's to your kids is essentially child abuse?

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:

Am I the only one who thinks that feeding McDonald's to your kids is essentially child abuse?


I think not giving your kids McDonald's is child abuse.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar,
Jeff's avatar

I don't understand how our culture became OK with eating something that is barely food.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

rollergator's avatar

Not in response to billb, just a thought in general.

As an economist, I'm intrigued by the notion of leaving Disney for "cheap eats." Granted, Disney is more expensive than the McD's or what-have-you, but given the ticket prices for Disney parks, unless you have a seasonal/annual pass, the time/money-cost of leaving would easily exceed the price of the meal.

I get the "money is short" concept, but I also get opportunity cost. Just for my own entertainment, I'm thinking 90 minutes minimum to leave, get to the car (monorails/boats and trams), go eat fast food, return to the lot, park, take tram back to TTC, then boat/monorail back into the park. Now if you plan on a 12-hour day, that's 12.5% of your day. Tickets are highly variable, but for the sake of argument, let's say a conservative $80. That means your 90 minutes of park time is worth $10. Not counting your outside food cost...

Honestly, I feel ripped off at SF and CF parks when I buy food. At Disney, I typically end up getting pretty good food at pretty reasonable prices, considering it's more expensive FOR Disney, and that we're somewhat captive. I just think it's a STARK contrast to the Kinzel "they gotta eat" theory...

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Jeff's avatar

That's $10 times the number of people leaving.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Timber-Rider's avatar

The one thing I found at Disney over other parks, is that you the food you are paying for is 10 times better than what you will find anywhere else. I ate at several places when I was a Disney, and had no complaint about the food. Can't say the same for Six Flags Or Cedar Fair. The best food was at Epcot. We ate at the German pavilion and the Mexican pavilion. We wanted to eat at the China pavilion, but they were booked for 3 days. (You need a reservation at most pavilions) But, the food was priced the same as a lousy sandwich meal and fries at Cedar Fair.We were in Orlando for 2 weeks, and we ate at many different places, including one of the shopping malls, which was quite nice. But, there is so much to do in Orlando, finding a fast food joint anywhere should not be a big problem. We had a Wally World moment when my friend Paul and I went. They were advertising this water park called Atlantis, open 7 days a week. We arrived and there was a guy sitting in a folding chair at the entrance. The park is closed until April. It was February. I said. Then take your fricking advertisement off the radio! We drove all the way there for nothing.

I didn't do it! I swear!!

LostKause's avatar

Granted it was many years ago since I have last been to Disney, but I remember the Pizza in Tomorrowland being both very reasonably priced and very good. I want to say that the pizza was about $6 for a personal size.

Sometimes if a portion of food at an amusement park is large enough, I will split it with a friend. That's a good way to save money, but I do it because I don't want to have a really full belly while riding roller coasters.

And McDonald's is awesome! I'll say it again. It's my favorite restaurant ever. You just have to make sure that the food is fresh and hot. If it's not fresh and hot, it tastes pretty terrible.

I was on a diet about six months ago, and I still ate at McDonald's regularly, and I still lost 30 pounds. You have to not spend $15 dollars on food in one sitting like some people I know. Pick one value meal and that's it. I particularly like the double cheeseburger meal, medium, with Caffeine Free Diet Coke, and plenty of catchup. YUM!

I swear they put something in their food to make me like it so much. I never used drugs in my life, but I am addicted to McDonald's. Not that it's a bad thing. You got to eat.

Edit - added one letter and one word to fix errors.

Last edited by LostKause,

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