In general, most people don’t think of Walt Disney World as a budget travel destination. While there are definitely ways to save money at Disney World (like staying in a value resort, for instance), it’s still going to be a splurge vacation. You’ll need to budget, and figure out ways to save money, especially if you are on a tight budget. When planning meals, it’s important to know the best places to eat at Disney World on a budget.
Here are some of the best options for budget dining at Walt Disney World, as well as tips for saving money. There are lots of other options as well. Menus for all of the Disney World restaurants are now online on their website, so you can check prices before you go.
I am a former Disney Parks Moms Panel member and have been on some complimentary press trips at Walt Disney World, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. A purchase through one of these links may result in a small commission paid to us at no additional cost to you.
Save money on your Walt Disney World theme park tickets by booking through Get Away Today. They offer vacation packages as well as individual ticket sales. Disney travel agents don’t charge guests an extra commission and can help you find deals.
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11 Tips and Best Places to Eat at Disney World on a Budget
If you aren’t familiar with Disney Dining, you’ll want to get familiar with the types of restaurants you’ll find on the property. Table service restaurants, which include buffets, are restaurants where you’ll be seated and will have a server. Quick-service restaurants, also known as counter service, are where you’ll order at a counter, and then bring your own food to a table. In general, you can save eat at Disney World on a budget by choosing more quick-service meals rather than table service.
If you do choose quick-service restaurants, it’s a good idea to download the My Disney Experience app and use mobile ordering. You can place your order on the app and save time in line. There’s a spot at each restaurant where you can pick up your food when it is ready.
Quick-service restaurants don’t accept dining reservations, and tables are first-come, first-served. I always recommend arriving before or after the dining rush to avoid crowds.
Casey’s Corner Lunch and Dinner – Magic Kingdom
If you like hot dogs (even plant-based hot dogs), eating at Casey’s Corner on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom is a great option. This quick-service restaurant offers all sorts of hot dogs, including foot-long options. The food here is served quickly, and there are both indoor and outdoor seating options, right along the hub on Main Street.
There are three EPCOT events held throughout the year. Depending on when you visit, you are likely to encounter one of these during your trip. The three events are the EPCOT Festival of the Arts, the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival, and the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival.
During each of these events (which are free to attend with admission to EPCOT), there are food booths where you can purchase sample-sized food and drink options. This can be a great way to try a few small items without the commitment and price of dining in one of the EPCOT restaurants. While it is free to attend the event (with a park ticket), you will have to pay for the individual tastings.
Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie – EPCOT
While many think of this bakery as a spot for dessert, they also offer some really delicious lunch and dinner options. There is plenty of seating, and food options include lobster bisque (served in a bread bowl), Croque Monsieur, and Pain Lard Fromage (a bacon and cheese roll). Of course, it will be difficult to avoid the mouth-watering desserts on display, but you are on vacation!
Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie is located in the France pavilion in the World Showcase. It’s towards the back, so it is a little tucked away from the main area.
Flame Tree BBQ – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
One of my favorite quick-service restaurants in all of Walt Disney World is the Flame Tree BBQ, located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. This restaurant offers BBQ specialties like ribs and pulled pork. The portion sizes here are huge, so you can share meals if you aren’t too hungry.
Flame Tree BBQ offers lots of outdoor seating, making for a nice dining experience. There’s no indoor dining room, so you’ll want to save this restaurant for a time that you’ll want to sit outside. It’s located in the Discovery Island area of the park, near the main entrance.
Turkey Legs at Fire & Drum Tavern – EPCOT
When planning a Walt Disney World vacation, you’ll probably hear about the infamous Disney World turkey legs. These huge turkey legs are a meal in themselves. If you are traveling with kids, they can probably even share one!
While we’ve listed this one EPCOT location (located in the American Adventure pavilion in the World Showcase), there are other places at Walt Disney World to get a turkey leg. These include locations in the Magic Kingdom and in Animal Kingdom. This post has all of the turkey leg location information that you’ll need.
La Cantina de San Angel – EPCOT
The very first Disney quick-service restaurant that I ate at with my family was La Cantina de San Angel. This quick-service restaurant is located outside the main Mexico pavilion building, along the World Showcase Lagoon.
Like the Flame Tree Barbecue, I find the portion sizes at La Cantina de San Angel to be pretty big. So, if you aren’t super hungry, you can probably share meals. Menu options include empanadas, tacos, and nachos.
Kona Cafe – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
The one restaurant on this list that isn’t a quick-service restaurant is the Kona Cafe, located in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Even if you aren’t staying at the Polynesian, you can definitely visit this table-service restaurant. I think it’s some of the best food on property.
I love the Kona Cafe for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While the prices are definitely higher than the other options on this list, the food is absolutely delicious. You can also order several different things to share – don’t miss the chicken wings!
Breakfast at the Kona Cafe is delicious. I generally don’t recommend eating breakfast out, but this is the exception. If you have breakfast at Kona, you probably can just have a quick snack for lunch.
Kona Cafe does offer dining reservations, and I’d recommend it because it’s one of the best restaurants. It’s located on the monorail, so it’s fairly easy to access from the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.
Contempo Cafe – Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Each of the Walt Disney World resort hotels has a food court or other quick service restaurant. If you happen to be at your resort at mealtime, these can be a great way to save money.
I really love the Contempo Cafe, located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. They offer flatbreads that are a good value. It’s a great place to get a quick meal before going back to the parks.
During my last visit to Walt Disney World, ordering at the Contempo Cafe was limited to guests staying at the Contemporary Resort, including Bay Lake Tower. You’ll want to check during your next vacation if you aren’t staying at the Contemporary.
Satu’li Canteen – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
One of the newest quick service restaurants (and one of my favorite places) at Walt Disney World is Satu’li Canteen, located in Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This new restaurant offers healthy food options and has both indoor and outdoor seating.
Satu’li Canteen is known for its bowls, including the Chopped Wood-Grilled Chicken Bowl and the Combination Bowl with both grilled beef and chicken. The Cheeseburger Steamed Pods are also delicious and are very unique.
This is a popular restaurant so it’s a good idea to arrive at an off-peak time to make sure you get a table.
Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Another newer quick-service restaurant at Walt Disney World is Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, located in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The food is great, but the Star Wars theming is also excellent.
Popular menu choices at this counter-service restaurant include tuna poke, beef stirfry, and pork ribs. They generally offer lunch and dinner.
Columbia Harbour House – Magic Kingdom
One of my favorite quick-service restaurants is the Columbia Harbour House, located in the Liberty Square area of the Magic Kingdom (across from the Haunted Mansion). This restaurant is located on two floors, which means there’s a little more seating area than you’d expect from the exterior.
The Columbia Harbour House offers New England-themed cuisine, so you’ll find things like lobster rolls and clam chowder on the menu. While there are a few non-seafood items on the menu, I think this is best visited by those who are looking to try fish or other seafood.
Budget Options at Disney Springs
Planning to visit Disney Springs? You won’t need a park ticket or a park reservation to visit, so it’s a great option on a free day or evening during your Walt Disney World family vacation. You just need to pay for the separate activities.
While you are at Disney Springs, you’ll find lots of great quick-service meal locations. Our favorites include Blaze Pizza, Chicken Guy, and Earl of Sandwich, although there are plenty of other options.
When visiting Disney Springs, you won’t have to pay for parking. However, free transportation from all of the Disney Resorts is also available.
Here are some general tips for making the most of your budget while dining at Walt Disney World:
Refillable water bottle: Bottled water at Walt Disney World can be expensive. We recommend either bringing a refillable water bottle with you. Another option is to use Amazon Prime or Instacart delivery to your Disney hotel for snacks and bottled water. It can be very hot in central Florida and you are going to need to drink lots of water!
Pack breakfast: On most days, my family eats breakfast bars/protein bars for breakfast. You can save a lot of money by bringing along your own breakfast and eating in the room. This will also help you save time because members of your family can eat while others are getting ready in the bathroom.
Snacks: Like bottled water, snacks can be expensive at the Walt Disney World parks. Either bring your own snacks with you or have them delivered to your resort. Then, pack them in your theme park day bag for the day. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save by skipping these small purchases which add up quickly.
Split quick-service meals: As we’ve mentioned above, some of these quick-service meals are rather large. Kids’ meals are available, and it’s often possible to share larger meals. It can help you get the best value for your money.
Frequently Asked Questions About Places to Eat at Disney World on a Budget
Table service restaurants do accept dining reservations, although they aren’t always required. It’s a good idea to make them, however, because restaurants do get booked up. However, no reservations are accepted or taken for quick service restaurants.
Yes, but with some restrictions. Glass (except for baby food), and alcohol cannot be brought into the parks. You also cannot bring in rolling coolers.
The Disney Dining Plan is not currently offered. In the past, it could be a way to save money, depending on your plans.
Mobile ordering can be a great way to save time. To use it, you’ll go into the My Disney Experience app and order from your choice of quick service spot. You can also choose an arrival time, and your order will be available for pickup from the designated spot.
Yes, you don’t have to stick with just sit down meals if you have allergies. You can ask to see lists of ingredients or talk to a chef at a quick-service restaurant.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to make a dining reservation at a table-service restaurant for character dining.