• On Jan 19, 2008
    Jill from MD Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    Experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    What is the next best most cost effective solution for dining if uneligable for the meal plan because we are not staying in a disney resort? I have a 6 yr old and 4 yr old along with my husband and I.

    I'm not sure where you are staying, but first I'd check to see if they offer a free continental breakfast.  That could save you having to purchase one meal a day at least.  If not, consider bringing things like granola bars, pop tarts, fruit, instant oatmeal and other quick and easy breakfast foods, and make your own meal in your room before heading out to the parks each day.  (We're not big breakfast people, so we do things like this for breakfast even when we do stay on-site)

    Another tip I would suggest is to plan the timing of your meals.  For example, you could have an 11 am brunch and a 4 pm dinner, and get away with only two meals that day.  Pack some snacks in your park bag for between-meal munchies.  High-fiber fruits and granola bars are great for filling you up.

    In the parks, counter service meals will be your least expensive option.  You can review complete menus and current pricing (which is always subject to change, of course) at - just look under dining for the menu options.  There is a complete list of eateries in every park and resort.  Planning ahead where you want to eat will definitely help you stay on-budget.

    We sometimes order one adult meal and allow the kids to split it, which is cheaper than buying two separate kids' meals.  We have not tried this, but I've also heard people say that they order a double cheeseburger and request an extra bun.  Then when you get to your table, remove one of the hamburger patties and put it on the extra bun, making two sandwiches out of one.  There is a small charge for the extra bun, but this would still be a significant savings over buying two meals.

    Finally, consider eating off-property whenever possible.  If you have your own car (or a rental) and can stop somewhere outside the 'World' prices will be much lower.
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Meet the Panelist: Heather, Kentucky

I'm a member of the original 2008 Moms Panel and am happy to be back again to help you plan! We are DVC members who visit 2-3 times per year with our 3 young daughters, and I am only one visit away from being able to say I've stayed in every Disney resort! Learn More About Heather

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