Mom and daughter on Expedition Everest
  • On Jan 21, 2009
    Cecilia from NY Asked

    We are planning our first Disney vacation. Kids are 8 and 5. We want to minimize dining expenses for DINNER. When I hear "eat outside the park", what exactly does that mean? Eat at your hotel? We won't have a car so we can't drive anywhere.

    Hi Cecilia,

    If you aren't renting a car, then obviously dining in restaurants off property isn't particularly cost effective (assuming you would have to take a taxi to do so.)  Here are some suggestions for cutting costs on dining.  Each of the resorts on property has a store that sells basic groceries and sundries.  I know you mentioned saving on dinner, but many people find it economical to stock up on cereal, milk, bagels, etc. and have breakfast in their room to save a bit on food.  Another option is having a "late lunch/early dinner" at one of the many all  you-care-to-eat buffets on property.  Many of the buffets serve lunch until 4pm.  The cost of lunch is generally less than dinner.  If your clan gets hungry later on, you can grab a quick snack or share a counter service meal at one of the parks or at your resort.  In general, many people find the buffet-style restaurants to be cost effective because appetizers, entrees, desserts and soft drinks are all included in one price.  Some of our favorites are Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Clam Bake at Cape May Cafe, Chef Mickeys at the Contemporary and Biergarten in Germany.  Other tips that we've used include sharing entrees (we've never had a problem doing this), or ordering appetizers and dessert.  The appetizers we've had never left us hungry! 

    I also have picky eaters in my clan.  Sometimes, I carry in a quick service meal or even a pb&j that I prepared at my hotel for my children rather than ordering from the menu.  I have never had a problem doing this either.  While my primary motive was to satisfy my picky kids, it saved on the bill as well. 

    I hope some of my tips suite your budget and appetite!
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Meet the Panelist: Tanya, New Jersey

I am Tanya from FL, full-time mom to two fun-loving boys. I have an array of planning tips and believe I offer a unique perspective on how to make Disney an amazing adventure for individuals with a variety of needs and abilities. Learn More About Tanya

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