Mother, Son, Giraffe, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Animal Kingdom, Savannah
  • On Sep 6, 2011
    Jana 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.

    We are planning our first trip for 5 to DW the first week in Dec 2011. We are not staying in a DW resort and I was wondering about dining suggestions/tips since I do not qualify for the dining plan.

    Hi Jana,

    We usually vacation without the Disney Dining plan. There are many ways to save on food expenses. First, try having your breakfast prior to arriving Walt Disney World. Since you are staying off-site, you'll have many options for a low cost meal or you could get some breakfast staples to have in your room (cereal, granola bars, etc.)

    If you plan on eating at any table-service restaurants in WDW, you should absolutely make Advance Dining Reservations. Try having a late breakfast for a character meal as it'll cost less and also serve as breakfast and lunch!

    Meals at lunch are less expensive. If you want to dine at a restaurant such as 50s Prime Time Cafe, book a mid-day meal rather than evening dinner.

    You can save by sharing an appetizer or dessert!

    For quick service meals (also known as counter service or fast food), you'll want to dine early as these places can get crowded during the main meal times. Have lunch at 11 a.m. or dinner at 5 p.m. Watch the menus for choices other than burgers and nuggets which can become boring after a few days. There are places that offer more choices although you'll have to watch for them. Try Columbia Harbour House for sandwiches or Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney for good eats at reasonable prices.

    For lots of cost-saving tactics, visit!
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Meet the Panelist: Kimberly, Tennessee

I am a stay-at-home mom with a 12 year old son. I thrive on planning vacations, especially to WDW. Inspiring families to vacation at Disney with a memorable itinerary and budget-saving tips is extremely rewarding for me. Learn More About Kimberly

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