Earlier this month, we took a family trip to Disney World. We were bound and determined to not eat out except once for my birthday during our trip. With a family of 6, it’s really too expensive to eat in the parks. Even if we added a dining plan, it would have been very expensive. As long as you bring a cooler and plan everything in advance on what you will eat on which day, you will find that you can do the same. Here’s what we have done at various resorts in order to save money on food.
Back several kids ago, we were able to stay at All Star Resorts, which is the value resort and least expensive. Now our family size is too large for a regular room. While at the All Star resort, we took a trip without eating out. We simply brought along our toaster oven and our crockpot during that trip. With the toaster oven we were able to make english muffin pizzas, canned biscuits or cinnamon rolls, chicken nuggets, etc. In the crock pot, we could make BBQ, chicken dishes, or really anything!
When we outgrew All Star Resorts, we started staying at the cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort. It was a little more expensive than All Star, but with 6 people, we made up for it with the complete kitchen! In the cabins at Fort Wilderness, you have an oven, stovetop, full size fridge, and microwave. Having all those appliances makes a world of a difference when you can cook a real meal vs eating at the parks.
Now that we bought a popup, we are able to cook all of our own food in the comfort of our own site at Fort Wilderness Campsites. The campsites have a grill and of course you still have whatever appliances that are in your camper. The biggest thing to do is PLAN PLAN PLAN.
During this last trip, we stuck to our “only eating out once” idea. I had to be a little creative, but we made it work! Here’s some things that we brought with us for simple meals:
- Breakfast – Bagels with cream cheese, cereal, Belvita Breakfast bars, Eggs and toast, yogurt
- Lunch: Peanut Butter Sandwiches, lunch meat sandwiches, leftovers, hamburgers, fruit, chips, snack foods
- Dinner: Hamburgers, Hotdogs, BBQ for the crockpot, frozen pizza, cheese quesadillas
We planned it well, too. Such as the hamburgers we brought were the frozen patties. We cooked all of them the first night since they wouldn’t have stayed frozen and then heated up the leftovers for another night. Pretty much everything that needed to be heated could be put on the grill since we didn’t have a microwave. Yep, pizza on the grill, cheese quesadillas on the grill, it all works.
For park days, we packed our lunches to take with us in our big red book bag. We were given no problems about bringing in food, drinks, snacks. Although, they did tell us one of the days that it was a good thing we brought green apples instead of red apples. You know, since Snow White was poisoned by one, they have been banned by the park. The security guard was totally kidding of course, but it gave us a good laugh. We had enough food for 6 people’s lunches and snacks. Really, the red book bag was pretty full with food and never did we have a problem.
To eat our lunch, we’d just find a empty spot to sit down for a few minutes, eat, and then clean up our mess. So much easier than waiting in line, trying to find a table, and paying a ridiculous amount just to feed everyone.
Any of the restaurants or stands that offer fountain drinks will give you free water if you ask.
By the way, here’s the amount of sandwiches it takes to feed our family at lunch:
With a little bit of planning in advance, you can do the same. You also have the option of using GardenGrocer.com to deliver food right to your resort if you are flying in. It’s still much cheaper than eating out!
Has your family ever taken a trip and not eaten out? Do you have any tips to add?
For more of my Disney World Tips, CLICK HERE.