Disneyworld Planning 101 – To Meal Plan or Not To Meal Plan

When planning your Disneyworld Vacation you have several options to choose from especially when making your meal plans. Everyone has their own secrets and shortcuts for saving money. Just briefly I will highlight the choices and provide you with a few money saving tips for my Disneyworld Planning 101 series.

Well you have 4 schools to choose from:

  • Pay for all your meals out of pocket in the park. This option can get quite pricey, especially if you are eating at some of the All you can buffets or at a Disney Signature Restaurant. We have done this option in the past and saved up our receipts and was surprised on the cost of all our meals. If you check a restaurant guide you can get an idea on the cost of the restaurant and if it is within budget. WDW Info is one of my favorites.

Quick Tip – Sharing meals is a great way to save some much needed money. Disney food portions are large at most of your sit down restaurants and is easy to share between Parents and Children.



  • Eat your meals offsite. Great money saving option for large families since most times your going to stay at a Disney Suite, or offsite that will have a kitchen.

Quick Tip – Stop by the Super Walmart on 3250 Vineland Road in Kissimmee to shop for groceries as it is the closest Walmart near Disney World. Also they have a lot of great Disney Souvenirs to buy at a fraction of the cost.

Also if you invest in a nice water bottle and Crystal Light packets you can avoid the reoccurring cost of pop or juice and over a weeks time saving almost $200 for a family of four. ($2.50 per meal x 3 meals x 7 days x 4 people)

  • Eat in the Park – You can bring a cooler into the Parks with you. However, it can not be any larger than 24″ X 15″ X 18″. You’ll find that most soft-sided coolers generally seem to fit within those dimensions.

    The Disney website states: “Suitcases, coolers or backpacks with or without wheels larger than 24″ (61 cm) long x 15″ (38 cm) wide x 18″ (46 cm) high.Quick tip – Coolers required for medication may be stored in a locker or at Guest Relations.

  • Use one of the Disney Dining Plans. This by far is the best option in my opinion. Since we started using the Dining Plan option a few years ago things have been so much better. We are able to dine at places originally had not been able to afford and have always wanted to visit. Be prepared to bring or use a cash, credit, or Key to the World for tips as they are not included with your meal.

Quick Tip – Be sure to make your Advanced Dining Reservations in advance as many DisneyWorld restaurants book up fast. Use the link above to go online like I do 180 Days out!

For more information on the Disney Dining Plan check out our Disney Dining page here.

I hope this helps you on your next Disney vacation. If you have any money saving tips or want to let us know how great the Disney Dining plan is just leave a message in the comment section below.

Follow me

Chip C

Owner at Chip and Co
Chip C is owner of and webmaster of Chip and Co - Your source for Disney Park News, Planning Tips, Giveaways, and More. When he is not writing about Disney News, or Planning Tips, you will find him counting down the days to his next Disney World Vacation. Be sure to follow Chip and Co on Google+
Follow me




  • http://www.chipandco.com chipandco

    good ideas Nancy!!

  • http://www.theaffordablemouse.com/ Nancy

    Great ideas! Big Disney Dining Plan fans here. I totally agree that it can be a great cost savings. We often use our snack credits for rolls, fruit, muffins etc. that we take back to our room for breakfast the next day. Also, consider other simple breakfast foods that you can easily keep in your room: even without a kitchen, most rooms have frigs where you can keep milk and juice….not only saves money, but saves time as well, so you can get to the parks more quickly in the morning ;)