Cheap Eats at Disney

Friday, November 16, 2012 9:08 AM

CiCi's pizza on w irlo bronson rd

all you can eat

plus if you pickup one of the motel guides

it has a 1.00 off coupon in it making it under 5.00 a person

w/out drinks (or order ice water for free and bring mio)

not the greatest food but it will fill up kids on the cheap


Friday, November 16, 2012 10:13 AM
Jeff's avatar

Disney's counter service food is nothing to write home about. It's pretty standard fare. But yes, the full service restaurants, especially those at Epcot, are some of the best at any theme park, no contest.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Friday, November 16, 2012 10:40 AM

I don't think I've ever given consideration to how much I was spending on food at Disney. I feel the quality is fine for the price and it just doesn't register with me.

To be fair to the Cedar Fair's and Busch's of the world I often find that their table service is fine but I'm loathe to eat at counter service both for quality and price reasons.

Friday, November 16, 2012 11:18 AM

I agree that Disney's typical counter service is average at best. In fact, I'd say Universal does the burger and fries for $9.00 much better than Disney. However, the Epcot countries that do counter service as a compliment to their full service do it well for the most part. I have gone to Morocco and Japan for their counter service many times when I'm not planning on a full service meal. And the Sunshine Seasons "healthy" food court next to Soarin' isn't bad

Friday, November 16, 2012 11:44 AM

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

Every day? Yes, that's not a good idea. Once in a while? No problem. Though my family prefers Wendy's. That's why our pediatrician talks about "sometimes foods".

And, for the record, I'm one of those guys who gets a weekly organic produce delivery.

Friday, November 16, 2012 1:42 PM
rollergator's avatar

I was recently introduced tothe "new new" in terms of dietary recommendations, the stoplight diet. Red foods, yellow foods, and green foods - has nothing to with the color of the food, and everything to do with how much and how often. "Green" foods are ones you can basically eat continuously - high nutrition/calorie ratio, full of fiber, fill you up without making you fat. "Red" foods, as you might assume, are fats and sweets and the like, those foods that have low/no nutritional value, and have high calorie counts. Seems like a relatively simple way to teach dietary recommendations, once you know where foods fit on the stoplight...

Friday, November 16, 2012 2:35 PM

As someone who loves Cool Mint Oreos, I like what I'm reading.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012 1:47 PM

I am sorry, but I just don’t see the benefit in spending a ton of time, research and effort in nickel and diming your meals at WDW, just to save a few bucks. Even if you revolve your entire vacation around trying to save on meals, you are probably missing the while point of even going there, on “vacation”.

Ok, so drive off site to save a few bucks. Do you really want to spend your entire vacation dining at McDonalds, Perkins and Bob Evans? It just makes no sense to me. Go pack a lunch. Do you really want to be lugging around sandwiches around all day only to be warm and soggy when you eat?

Clearly WDW offers some dining options that can be very expensive. However 75% of your dining options at WDW are fairly reasonable in terms of cost and you generally get decent quality of meal. And you often get it in a neatly themed environment too.

In the end, you are really not going to move the cost needle that much and you are going to be stressing out over every $2.50 Coke you buy. So go enjoy your vacation and the magic of the resort. Eat up, drink up, and in the end you will be happy you did so.

If you really want Perkins or McDonalds, you probably have one right up the street from your house anyway…

Saturday, November 17, 2012 8:51 PM
LostKause's avatar

That's a very sensible post, right there. I agree wholeheartedly. Part of the fun of going to places like Disney is allowing yourself to not stress over everything. Heck, I would argue that Disney is designed to be stress free. Scrounge up an extra hundred bucks or so and RELAX!

Saturday, November 17, 2012 11:02 PM

When it comes to a resort like Disney--which is to say, nowhere--it pays to arm yourself with information before you go. Knowledge only increases one's options and allows one to actually relax more on the trip. It's not just, or in my case even primarily, about saving money.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012 10:22 AM

I just don’t see the benefit in spending a ton of time, research and effort in nickel and diming your meals at WDW, just to save a few bucks.

In general, I'd agree with you. Sometimes, you just don't have the few bucks to spend. That sounds like the situation in the OP's case: an unplanned/un-budgeted trip that is a consequence of the Pop Warner tournament, and not "vacation".

Sunday, November 18, 2012 1:16 PM
Jeff's avatar

Disney, done "right," is an expensive endeavor. I'm not saying you can't do it more on the cheap, but it's a lot more fun when you don't stress over the cost. Anyone who really worries about it, I suggest to them to wait another year, and save more in the interim for the trip.

Even though I can afford to do it "right," there's no question that the total bill makes me tense up and squint a little. However, by staying on-property and getting the dining plan, thus requiring me to pay up a month before my stay, I pretty much forget about the cost during the actual trip since it's mostly paid for (tips, alcohol and souvenirs aside). I can't emphasize enough that this arrangement really helps with your enjoyment of the stay.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Sunday, November 18, 2012 9:32 PM

I guess my point is if you are looking to move the needle to save significantly on your total WDW trip cost, trying to “value engineer” your meal plan really isn’t going to make that much of a difference, short of eating at the Sand Lake McDonalds every night.

Resort selection, meal plans, time of year, grinding out the best airfare, and ticket choice will have much more of an impact on your overall trip cost than stuffing a few frozen bottles of water and soggy sandwiches in your pockets each morning.

I too cringe when I get my folio at the end of my trip. I am blessed to be able to run up the credit card and in a few months pay off my WDW meal (and mostly) alcohol tab. Life is short.

Unless you are camping out at the “signature dining” restaurants, I truly believe that dining at WDW is pretty reasonable. And after factoring the immense time and effort to save a few bucks over food looking for the cheapest option, it really isn’t worth it. When you look at 75% of the food offerings at WDW, they are very reasonably priced for the quality you get.

Want to really move the needle? Stay at the Pop Century. For less than $100 a night, it is one of the best values in the land of the Mouse…

Sunday, November 18, 2012 9:37 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

I think 'right' is way too subjective. Having said that, I've done Disney staying on property without A meal plan and was fine.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012 10:08 PM
Jeff's avatar

I get that, but if you really enjoy the table service restaurants, you'd be crazy not to get the dining plan.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Sunday, November 18, 2012 10:37 PM

I have exhaustively researched the Disney Dining Plans and have come up with the following conclusions…

If you are looking at doing the dining plan(s) in an effort to save you money; it won’t.

If you are looking at doing the dining plan(s) for convenience, and the ability or order anything off any particular menu (including the $47 steak or lobster) without regard to dish price, it is for you.

If you fit this mold, the dining plan allows you to order what you want, and pretty much more than enough food to fill you to the gills. Not everyone needs this.

If you are the type who often skips appetizers and dessert, just because you don’t need that much food, stick to your credit card.

The dining plan is all about convenience and flexibility to order whatever you want, and a ton of food for that matter. It really is that simple….

Sunday, November 18, 2012 11:48 PM
Jeff's avatar

It's about $50 a person per day for the regular plan (1 counter service, 1 table service, one snack). Both of the meals include a non-alcoholic beverage and dessert.

Let's stay you do Pizza Planet at DHS, get pepperoni pizza, a drink and a cookie, it's $14.30. You go to Epcot for dinner, say Tutto Italia, and go "cheap" with a non-meat or seafood pasta dish, cannoli for dessert, and a soda, that's $40. For the snack you get an ice cream novelty or popcorn, probably $3. At that point, your total for the day is flirting with $60. Places like Le Cellier will push that closer to $75.

There's a high concentration of pretty good restaurants there, so unless you're the type who likes eating pizza or chicken nuggets every meal, I don't see why you wouldn't do the dining plan.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Monday, November 19, 2012 9:53 AM

Crisis averted.. they lost.

We were going to rent a 15 passenger van with a bunch of other people who couldnt afford this unplanned trip either, and stop at a grocery store on the way in Cereal fruit PB and J and just pop for dinner on site.. but it wasn't meant to be...

You really cant do anything about your lodging situation because you have to take one of the approved Pop Warner packages which was going to be 450 bucks a person for 4 days 3 nights lodging/tickets and 1 meal included where they shut down Hollywood studios just for PW.

Last edited by billb7581, Monday, November 19, 2012 9:55 AM
Monday, November 19, 2012 2:20 PM

...are you on my board of directors? They're the only other people I've met who think that a team of kids excelling in their sport is a crisis.

In what way are you required to book a package through Pop Warner? I attended a large event at WDW each year from 2000-2002 and, while there were packages available to us, lots and lots of teams booked on their own and saved.

Monday, November 19, 2012 3:34 PM

I think the free ice water and bringing in your own food is the cheapest way you could have accomplished this.

As for the counter service prices, I think they seem more reasonable than the prices at say a Cedar Fair joint but still more expensive than your generic fast food restaurant. Food quality wise it seems all over the map with some things on par with the outside world and some like Epcot's Sunshine Seasons being very good. Having something like Sunshine Seasons be your employee cafeteria or in your mall food court would like be a step up for a lot of people.


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