As I mentioned in my first guest post here at Couponing to Disney, there are some great ways to save money on food at Walt Disney World. One of the best: bring your own! But today, let’s pretend we’re going to eat every meal in the Magic Kingdom. Let’s be honest, the MK isn’t exactly famous for fine dining. It tends to cater to the burgers and dogs crowd. But you can find a variety of foods, and even a few food “bargains,” if you’re willing to explore. Just for fun, let’s take a look at how I’d spend a day eating my way through my favorite Disney park:
I know all your little princesses would just love to have breakfast in Cindy’s castle—and who wouldn’t? But I’m going to start my frugal day with a big buffet breakfast at the recently-refurbished Crystal Palace. Not only do I get to hang with Pooh and his friends, but at $20.99 for adults and $10.99 for children 3-9, it’s a real all-you-care-to-eat Disney bargain! The buffet includes your typical breakfast fare, and ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservations) are highly recommended. If you want to stretch your dollar even more, try having an early breakfast in your hotel room, and schedule the latest possible breakfast seating here. That way, you’ll probably be full enough to skip lunch.
- By mid-morning, I’m ready for a snack. (OK, probably not after that breakfast…but let’s pretend anyhow.) Nothing hits the spot like a good ol’ Mickey Ice Cream Bar. These can be found at carts throughout the park for around $3.25. Worth. Every. Penny. YUM!!! [If you crave a more savory snack, grab an egg roll from the Egg Roll Wagon in Adventureland, as low as $2.]
- I really work up an appetite on rides like Thunder Mountain Railroad and Pirates of the Caribbean, so I head over to the nearby El Pirata y el Perico. I have the taco salad, which I pile as high as I can with lettuce, tomato, salsa, cheese, and sour cream at the free condiment bar. At around $7.50, it’s a complete meal. (Be aware that this counter service restaurant is open seasonally.)
- When the afternoon slump hits, I head to Aloha Isle for a little pick-me-up: the infamous Dole Whip. People have dreams about this cup of heaven…they write songs expressing its fabulousness…OK, maybe not. But it definitely has its share of fans—a cult following, if you will. And the price is right at under $3.
- Dinner time. Cosmic Ray’s, here I come! Why? Because I can get a half rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes, and seasonal vegetables for under $10. And the portions are so enormous that I can share with a friend…or not. [If you’d rather opt for a light dinner, especially on a cool evening, try a bowl of hearty New England Clam Chowder at the Columbia Harbour House—under $5!]
- After a fabulous day of Disney magic, I’m ready to cap my evening with a treat from the Main Street Bakery. So many choices—and they all look scrumptious! I think I’ll try the chocolate croissant at just $3. Ah…good choice.
Grand total: under $50. Not quite Rachel Ray’s $40 a Day, but not too shabby. Needless to say, this was a very extravagant imaginary day for me. I could never actually eat that much in one day at Walt Disney World. (Oh, but I’ve tried!) Still, I wanted to highlight some of the best deals and my favorite treats in the MK. There really is something for almost any palate or budget.
Those are my favorites. What are yours?
Valerie Gibbs is first and foremost a Disney enthusiast. She is passionate about helping families plan affordable Walt Disney World vacations. For personalized assistance, touring plans, and customized itineraries, you can contact her at: [email protected], or visit www.affordingthemouse.com.
Disney World is the Most Magical Place On Earth. Be sure to learn how to make the most of your trip by reading the Disney World Training series. You can also browse all the articles I have written in an easy to use outline. And if you are ready to book your trip, be sure to read about the perks of using an authorized Disney vacation planner (plus it’s FREE!).