5. Quick Service Meals/Children's Menu
There are so many quick service restaurants at all the WDW theme parks and Disney Springs, and one way to save money is to order from the children's menu. Some of these choices are better for you than a full meal, especially on a sultry, hot summer's day, and the price is right for your budget. You can substitute a soda for the beverage.
6. Snack Carts
Disney snack carts are an excellent way to cut down on your food budget. These handy carts can be found around all of the theme parks, water parks, Disney Resorts, and Disney Springs. Order hot dogs, Mickey pretzels, frozen treats, chips, fresh fruit or fruit cups, popcorn, egg rolls, giant turkey legs (big enough for two), and many other choices. These snack carts are a great way to satisfy your midday or evening craving without putting a big dent in your budget.
7. Disney Food Trucks
Food trucks are more popular now than ever before, especially after the 2008 recession, when restaurateurs opted for a low-cost transportable means of selling their unique foods. Now, Disney has joined this dining trend with several Food Trucks parked at Disney Springs. Some examples are the Taco Truck, Mac & Cheese Truck, Fantasy Fare Truck (offers variety of menu items, like corn dogs, sandwiches, gyros, etc.), and the newest arrival, the Cookie Dough and Everything Sweet Truck. Here again, you can pick a few food items and share with friends and family. It's fun and won't hurt your dining budget.
8. Counter Service Restaurants
There are many counter service venues at all the theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs. Much like the food trucks, most counter service dining venues have ample seating, usually outdoors, or you can always find a comfortable bench to enjoy your snack. Many of these eateries offer side dishes, like French Fries, soup, chili, frozen treats, etc. Some counter service venues have seating and some don't, but you never have to walk very far to find a bench or vacant tables and chairs nearby.
9. Disney Resort Hotel Food Court
If you are staying at a Disney Resort Hotel, another great way to cut down on your food costs is to take advantage of your Resort's Food Court. There are many snack items and the meals offered are usually reasonably priced. In addition, you can purchase a refillable mug that you can use every day at your Disney Resort. Finding a table is never a problem at most Disney Resort Hotels.
10. Fast Food Options
If you have driven to Walt Disney World, you can always find a fast food restaurant nearby. Sometimes a McDonald's burger and French fries will satisfy a craving without breaking your food budget. If you have traveled by airplane, there are delivery services that will deliver your food to your room.
I know this is not the best choice for a meal at Walt Disney World, but most fast food entrees are satisfying and cheap. Speaking for myself, there have been times I have visited Disney World and by the third or fourth day, I find myself craving McDonald's French fries.
Dining at Walt Disney World can be a major or minor part of your overall Disney vacation budget. The free Disney Dining Plan is one of the best ways to save on your dining costs, but is limited to select dates and select Disney Resorts. If the Disney Resort or dates do not fit your Disney vacation schedule, you can still cut down your meal costs by creative dining choices and bringing your own snacks and beverages. I know when we visit Walt Disney World, we like to try new restaurants and new menu offerings, and there is a way to enjoy a new dining experience by using some of the tips above without blowing your budget.