By Amanda, Disney’s Cheapskate Princess.
Many people have very specific ideas about where they want to eat when they visit Walt Disney World. Entire books are dedicated to planning out your vacation, hour by hour, meal by meal, advising you to make all your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) months in advance. Let me concur that this is sage advice. When would I suggest you go against traditional wisdom and skip a Disney meal? Breakfast.
If you qualified for Free Disney Dining or purchased the Disney Dining Plan with enough credits for breakfast, then schedule your ADR PDQ. But if you are responsible for paying for breakfast on the spot, think about just having it in your hotel room.
All on-property Disney rooms, from Value to Deluxe accommodations, now come standard with mini-fridges. Off-property rooms often have mini-fridges as well, and if not, a cooler from home is the perfect place to keep a full or half-gallon of milk for cereal. With a gallon of milk and a box of cereal, you can feed the family for a fraction of the cost of a sit down meal.
We started this breakfast tradition at the All-Star Music Resort years ago. My husband stood in line for nearly 20 minutes for our first breakfast of the vacation, because the All-Star Resorts are traditionally pretty busy at breakfast. When he made the five-minute walk back to our room with a tray full of waffles, he said, ”This meal was $50. At this rate, we could be spending up to $200 a day on food.” And that was just for simple counter service meals. Now I enjoy a good Disney waffle, but we were eating in the hotel room to save time for an early start to the theme parks. There was no special restaurant atmosphere here, and combined with the cost of my food on my tight budget, and the cost of this breakfast wasn’t something that was adding anything Disney-magical to my vacation.
While the kids swam in the pool that afternoon, my husband dropped by Wal-mart and picked up milk and cereal. For the cost of one resort breakfast for two adults and three kids, we fed our entire family breakfast for the remainder of the vacation. There are lots of options besides cereal for hotel room breakfasts, including oatmeal, pop tarts, breakfast bars, etc.
Is breakfast in your hotel room, probably sitting on the bed or the floor watching TV, as fun as a character meal? No. Is cold cereal on vacation as much fun as a warm Mickey Mouse waffle smothered in strawberries and syrup? No. But it’s way cheaper, and for what I will save eating breakfast in my room, I have enough money to buy my family of five several snacks in my favorite Resort cafes when we resort hop.
Have a full kitchen in your resort room? Perfect. Whip up your own mini-buffet with eggs, sausage, biscuits, and turn on some Disney music to add a little magic. Have a half-sized kitchen in your resort room? Use that microwave to warm up some grits or oatmeal, with some buttered toast and orange juice on the side. Chef Mickey may not be standing by your side, but at nearly $40 each with tax for a character buffet, think of the money you’ll save.
Take that money you save on breakfast and go over to the Contemporary Resort. Order a cupcake and watch the monorails zip through the building. Drop by the Wilderness Lodge and order a brownie, eating it outside at a table as you listen to the waterfall. Suddenly, you may just feel grateful for cold cereal.
Your Cheapskate Princess.com tip for the day… Save money by eating breakfast in the room and use that savings for a Disney food experience later on.