How We Do Disney for Under $200 a Day as a Family of Five: Part 2 the Food

Epcot food and Wine Festival 2009

I have to say that I LOVE the food at Disney World, but eating there for every meal and snack is not budget friendly and definitely will not keep your cost under $200 a day. So on top of our choice to stay at a hotel off Disney property, we also choose to eat most of our meals away from the mouse too. I’m going to share with you how we save money on food while visiting Disney, but first I want to talk about the prices of eating at Disney as a family of five.

Three Meals and Two Snacks a Day

disney resort

If you are spending long days at the parks you can easily eat three full meals plus snacks to stay energized, but if you are a family of five, even opting for Disney’s lowest price options, that could cost you around $160 a day. I don’t know about you, but I try to stick to that for a weekly grocery budget so the thought of spending that much in a single day makes me cringe. Keep in mind too that price is average for those who choose to only eat at quick service restaurants and pick up something simple like a juice and cinnamon bun for breakfast.

If you ate your meals and any of the wonderful table service restaurants, your daily ticket would easily start at $400 a day for a family of five. An insane amount of money for one day of meals and that is why we choose to dine on a budget.

One Meal a Day

First and foremost, we have a one meal a day rule when it comes to dining at Disney. This allows us to enjoy some of the food we love, but not go broke in the meantime. On occasion, we will visit one of the table service restaurants, but for the most part, our one meal is usually lunch and ate at a quick service location.

Make this awesome dessert at your hotel for a fraction of the cost!

Breakfast and Dinner are taken care of at the hotel that has the wonderful kitchenette where we can make our own food for a fraction of the price. Even though we only have access to a two-burner stovetop and a microwave, there is quite a bit you can do. And if you find you just don’t feel like cooking after a long day at the parks, the area surrounding Disney World is littered with great restaurants that come at a much friendlier price tag for a family budget.

Our Biggest Cost Saver

Snacks! Buying drinks and snacks can quickly suck the life out of your daily Disney budget, but they don’t have to since the park is kind enough to allow you to bring your own in. We have a wonderful insulated bag that comes with us on every trip. Packed inside you will always find a frozen bottle of water, two more bottles of water, possibly a juice for the kids or soda for us grownups and then a variety of snacks. Usually this will be fruit gummies, granola bars, bags of pretzels, yogurt tubes and similar items. This way when we’ve only been in the park for an hour and a kiddo starts saying they are hungry already you are not shelling out $5 for a quick snack.

Cork Ireland Sign Epcot food and Wine Festival 2009

I would have to say, that on average we spend $60 a day on Dining while visiting Disney World when we stick to our budgeting rules. For a family of five that is pretty awesome. I’m always looking for ways to save while eating though, so tell me, do you have any great tips to add on how to save money on food while at Disney?

Hint: If you want an opportunity to try out some great Disney food without the price tag of a regular meal, visit during the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot and hit up one of the many tasting menus for the various countries and pay Disney "snack" price to sample some of their great fare.