My husband and I were able to take a quick 2-day getaway to Disneyland (our happy place)! We worked some Disney magic and were able to feed both of us for under $30 total for both days. We ate breakfast, lunch & dinner out both days, and we even had a snack one of the days. That’s 2 people – 6 meals – 1 snack – all for under $30!!! That is an average of $2.36 per meal per person. Not bad for a Disney Park where food can often be a huge expense. We even ate at some more expensive restaurants too!
I will share with you what we did for each meal to reduce our out of pocket cost. The biggest tip I have for saving money on food and your vacation overall is to plan, plan, plan! I love to plan our vacations. I even plan where we will eat each day (I am flexible, so it’s OK if things are switched up a little). One of the reasons I plan is because our Disney vacations usually consist of my husband and I and our 5 children. We can easily waste 30 minutes just deciding where we want to eat for each and every meal. If I plan ahead of time and make sure we eat at everybody’s favorite restaurant at some point, then nobody can complain. The second and main reason why I plan is so I can save money.
Here was our dining plan for our 2-day trip:
- Breakfast – Steakhouse 55 (Disneyland Hotel)
- Lunch – Bengal Barbecue (Disneyland)
- Snack – French Market (Disneyland)
- Dinner – Tortilla Jo’s (Downtown Disney)
- Breakfast – Earl of Sandwich (Downtown Disney)
- Lunch – Flo’s V8 Cafe (California Adventure)
- Dinner – Cheesecake Factory (Anaheim GardenWalk)
Steakhouse 55 ($0 out of pocket) – Our stay included 2 vouchers for a FREE character meal. If we chose not to have the character meal, we could use the voucher at any Disney restaurant, and it would be worth $43. Instead of using the voucher for a character meal for one person, we used one voucher for breakfast for both of us. The voucher covered our entire meal (including tax and gratuity). There is no money back with these vouchers, so you will want to make sure you don’t waste it on an inexpensive meal.
If you book a package that comes with character meal vouchers, you might consider this as an option. Character meals can be very expensive and using them at other restaurants may make your money stretch even farther.
Bengal Barbecue ($0 out of pocket) - I used my ShopKick points to buy Target gift cards. I then used my Target gift cards to buy Disney gift cards at Target. Since the gift cards I earned from ShopKick were FREE, the Disney gift cards didn’t cost me anything. If you haven’t signed up for ShopKick yet, give it a try. I love being able to earn gift cards for FREE!
French Market ($0 out of pocket) - We wanted to try of the Beignets, so we planned for a midday snack (it helped that we had a small lunch). I redeemed my Disney Movie Reward Points for a $10 Disney gift card, and used this gift card for our treat.
Tortilla Jo’s ($17.34 out of pocket) – We were able to save $30 on our meal, because Tortilla Jo’s is part of the Pantina Group of restaurants, and they offer a $30 restaurant coupon for your birthday. My husbands birthday was in April, so we were able to use the high value coupon on our meal. The remainder of our meal was $8.65, add the tip and our final cost was $17.34. This was a super meal too! We were very pleased with the food and the service.
I highly recommend that you sign up for this great freebie! The coupon will be sent before your birthday and will be good for 60 days after your birthday. The coupon will be good at the following restaurants in Downtown Disney:
- Tortilla Jo’s
- Catal Restaurant
- Naples Ristorante E Pizzeria
- Catal Restaurant & Uva Bar
Earl of Sandwich ($11.03 out of pocket) - We chose to eat a lighter breakfast, because we knew we had a bigger lunch and dinner planned. We both had a yogurt parfait and shared a chocolate chip scone. My husband also had an orange juice and I just had water. My husband has an annual Disney Pass, so we were able to save an extra 10% off our meal.
Flo’s V8 Cafe ($0 out of pocket) - This is the restaurant that we chose to use the other voucher. Since there were only 2 of us and we had $43 to spend, we were able to splurge and get shakes with our meal, which is not something we do on a regular basis. The voucher once again covered the entire meal.
Cheesecake Factory ($0 out of pocket) – We like to eat outside of the Disney parks on occasion, because we can only handle so much park food before it starts to get old. The Cheesecake Factory is one of your favorite restaurants, and they have one just down the street from Disneyland. I was able to get a FREE $50 Cheesecake Factory gift card by redeeming my Best Western Rewards (the points we earned were actually from our last family Disney trip in October).
There are so many ways you can save money when eating at Disney here are a few more options:
- Book a Disney World vacation that includes a FREE Disney Dining Plan (next promo starts 5/8)
- Bring in your own food and snacks
- Order ice water at restaurants instead of other drinks
- Print coupons (many of the restaurants in Downtown Disney have coupons)
- Earn Disney Rewards Dollars with a Disney Visa
- Share a meal
I’d love to hear some of the ways you save money when dining at Disney!