We are back with some of our very best kept Disney Dining Secrets. And we want to share them with you!
Planning where you’ll be spending your food budget in Disney World is a BIG deal. There are so many choices to make! Maybe you’re worried about getting the advance dining reservations you’d like the most. And what about your favorite brands and foods? Will they have them?
These are all great questions, and we address them all in our DFB Guide to WDW Dining e-Book! But today, we’re exploring one of the biggest concerns: Is it possible to save a buck or two when you’re at Disney?
Secrets to Saving Money in Disney World
Today, we’ll share some of our favorite ways to save money during your visit to Walt Disney World. And if you like what you see here, be sure to check out even more secrets in the brand new DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, 2016 Edition, where we gather over 530 pages of tips, recommendations, and secrets to make your Disney trip the best ever!
Here we go!
Ditch Unwanted Sides
I love this tip, and it can save you some serious cash (and calories!). You may think the price printed on the menu board or in the menu is non-negotiable. But we’ve got a secret to share!
Did you know that you can often forego unwanted sides? For instance, say you order a sandwich that comes with fries, but you don’t really want them. Ask if you can order your sandwich as an entree only and save!
And if you’re a light eater, or someone who doesn’t really care about (or literally can’t EAT) that side of salad/chips/fries/coleslaw/pasta salad, then you’ll never miss it.
Appetizers as Entrees
I don’t know about you, but there are lots of times that I sit down to dinner at Disney and would happily have one (or sometimes two) appetizers or side dishes in place of an entree.
Sometimes it’s because I’m not very hungry. Other times, I just find the appetizers and sides more interesting than the entree options. It’s your dinner. The Smoked Portobello Bisque at Artist Point, or the wonderful “takes” on poutine at Le Cellier Steakhouse would make delicious meals.
And usually ordering a couple of appetizers would set you back less than ordering an entree! And if that’s what sounds good to you, then go for it.
Here’s another tip that you sometimes may overlook: if you and your dining partner aren’t big eaters, then feel free to share. While this is fairly commonplace with appetizers and desserts, don’t be shy about sharing entrees as well, especially when they’re large. The killer Jambalaya at Boatwright’s Dining Hall is a great example of a dish that could easily be shared.
After all, it’s not easy to take those leftovers with you when “home” is a hotel room. This way you still enjoy a satisfying meal, but may come away with a tab that’s a little lower.
Of course, this arrangement is contingent upon someone who is willing. I could possibly be prevailed upon to share my Potjie Inspired at Sanaa — the combo dish that includes my beloved Butter Chicken. Well. Maybe.
Do keep in mind that if the restaurant is a signature spot, they may charge a small plate-sharing fee. But it would still be less than if you ordered two entrees.
Creatively Use Your Disney Dining Plan
But what if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan**? One recent change announced to the plan allows you to share your Disney Dining Plan credits. Now, one thing that hasn’t changed: you still must purchase a Disney Dining Plan for everyone on your room reservation who is age 3 and up. Still, I can see this tip benefitting you in a couple of different ways.
First, say you had a really big lunch and you just aren’t ready for that evening meal. It would make sense to share one meal between two people, and maybe supplement with drinks and an appetizer. Banking that extra credit might come in handy if you would like to add another table service meal later, or if you’d like to upgrade to a signature, 2-credit dining experience one night, like dinner at California Grill.
It’s more of a stretching than a savings, perhaps. But it could still yield you more or better dining opportunities. (Now, you may run up against spots that won’t allow sharing. But we’ve asked and asked at several different locations about sharing one dining credit between two people**, and it seems this practice is pretty much commonplace. So give it a try.)
But also, you can use your shared dining credits with friends who aren’t on the Dining Plan and treat them to dinner. True, it won’t save you cash — but you could make an argument that now they owe YOU dinner…and there’s a cost savings!
The bottom line is — get creative when it comes to sharing, and think outside of the box when it comes to mealtimes.
**Don’t be crazy and try to get away with buying one Disney Dining Plan and using it to feed your whole family. That’s not going to work, and that’s not what we’re recommending. What we’re suggesting is to stretch your credits if one of you isn’t all that hungry on any given night — not to completely take advantage of the system.
Stay tuned! We’ll be sharing lots more of our Best Kept Disney Dining Secrets with you over the next few weeks!
Ready for All of Our Best Tips?
We’ve got TONS of Disney World Dining Tips — including lots more best kept secrets — in our bigger-than-ever 2016 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining!
With more than 530 pages, The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining is full of tips and planning tools developed by Disney World experts over 20+ years of visits. We’ve done the research for you, so you’ll know just which spots will uniquely suit your family’s needs!
With sample dining itineraries, plus our “Disney Dining at a Glance” section, featuring “Where Can I Find?” options, you’ll have everything you need to plan your best vacation yet. Click here to get your copy of The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining E-book — and use code HAPPYPLACE for an extra $4 discount (over 20% off!!) for a limited time!
And now, we’d love to hear from all of you! What are your best kept Disney Dining Secrets? Please share with us in comments below!