Disney Dining Tips, Tricks, and Secrets!

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Karlipants's picture
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Disney Dining Tips, Tricks, and Secrets!

What is your favorite Disney dining tip, trick, or secret that you would be willing to share with all of us?

One of my favorites is....

That if you go to the Yorkshire County Fish Shop in UK, you can get Fish and Chips: 2 Strips of Fish with chips for a total of $8.19 as opposed to going to the Rose and Crown and paying $17.99 for the same thing! That's a pretty hefty savings!!

Mangia, Mangia!! yay

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The best deal for a sweet treat at DHS is the Chocolate Danish at Writer's Stop. Honestly. Go get it. It's $2.50 and it will likely fill you up. AND DELICIOUS!

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My tip is to always make an ADR for your table service meals. However if you end up getting hungry long before your reservation time, head to the restaurant anyway and see if they can get you seated early. I've never had a problem, and only had to wait about 20 minutes at most for a table.

It may not work during busier times of year, but it never hurts to ask.

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Another one I just thought of..if you eat brunch, you're going to only need two meals that day = save money + time. Buy some granola bars or something to hold you over until your brunch reservation.

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Hardy0109 wrote:
if you eat brunch, you're going to only need two meals that day = save money + time.

Many times when we have the deluxe dining plan we'll eat a big brunch and then do a signature meal at dinner. That way we still get eat really well, don't over use our credits, and still get to do signature dining!

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We're lite eaters, especially when walking around so much, so we bring granola bars and trail mix from home and split usually split lunches.

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Karlipants wrote:
What is your favorite Disney dining tip, trick, or secret that you would be willing to share with all of us?

One of my favorites is....

That if you go to the Yorkshire County Fish Shop in UK, you can get Fish and Chips: 2 Strips of Fish with chips for a total of $8.19 as opposed to going to the Rose and Crown and paying $17.99 for the same thing! That's a pretty hefty savings!!

Mangia, Mangia!! yay

I KNOW! I was fuming about that when we left the restaurant. I kept seeing all those people with those fish planks and I was excited. Then we landed up paying more for less fish then the counter service. If it was the same amount then I would have thought well it is a table service but the portions were smaller. Just saying.

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Another one of my favorite tips is to buy your own bottled water and freeze it (if you have access to a freezer). You can bring them to the parks with you... And on a hot day it's great to have ice cold water... If you make sandwiches it also works as an ice pack and keeps your food cold until you are ready for lunch!

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angels444 wrote:
Karlipants wrote:
What is your favorite Disney dining tip, trick, or secret that you would be willing to share with all of us?

One of my favorites is....

That if you go to the Yorkshire County Fish Shop in UK, you can get Fish and Chips: 2 Strips of Fish with chips for a total of $8.19 as opposed to going to the Rose and Crown and paying $17.99 for the same thing! That's a pretty hefty savings!!

Mangia, Mangia!! yay

I KNOW! I was fuming about that when we left the restaurant. I kept seeing all those people with those fish planks and I was excited. Then we landed up paying more for less fish then the counter service. If it was the same amount then I would have thought well it is a table service but the portions were smaller. Just saying.

I think the counter service fish and chips at Cooke's are close to that price, too.

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I wish I had more to add to this thread but the last few years we have always traveled on the deluxe plan so we could eat anywhere (table or counter I mean) three meals a days. Now if you wanted advice on getting more bang for your buck table service wise I could give you some suggestions. Kristen travels Deluxe also, so I am sure she can even tell you where you get the better deals for your table service credits. I are usually so full I don't snack between meals. That is one of the things I miss though, all the great snacks everyone talks about,but I use my snack credits for things to bring home and the magic last a little longer. I am doing the cupcake crawl this year even if you have to roll me from location to location.

The only suggestion I have is water. Most of the restaurants will give you cups to go. Most sit downs will fill your bottle for you, I like this because it is cold filtered water, as long as they get it from the coke machine. Also, as we walk around the parks we will stop and get free water through out the day. All counter service locations will give free cups of water. I usually don't even have to wait in long lines. If you go to the food pick up and tell them you only want water then get it for you. I know this isn't a plan secret, but people sometimes don't know you don't have to use a snack credit or pay out of pocket for water.

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angels444 wrote:

The only suggestion I have is water. Most of the restaurants will give you cups to go. Most sit downs will fill your bottle for you, I like this because it is cold filtered water, as long as they get it from the coke machine. Also, as we walk around the parks we will stop and get free water through out the day. All counter service locations will give free cups of water. I usually don't even have to wait in long lines. If you go to the food pick up and tell them you only want water then get it for you. I know this isn't a plan secret, but people sometimes don't know you don't have to use a snack credit or pay out of pocket for water.

yep, we do most of those things too:
- Fill up our water bottles with ice and water from the counter service soda fountains too.
- Use snack credits for souvenirs for the kids sometimes. Everyone loves a Mickey Krispie Treat in our house.
- Snack Credits are also plentiful enough on the Deluxe Plan to really enjoy them at Food & Wine Festival in place of a meal.

I love having the deluxe dining plan. I'm not on it for our next trip and I'm actually a little stressed out about it. LOL!

When paying out of pocket my best "value" tip is to have breakfast at the Boma Buffett or Whispering Canyon and order the Skillet. Both places offer seriously hearty breakfasts at decent prices.

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Kristen K. wrote:

I love having the deluxe dining plan. I'm not on it for our next trip and I'm actually a little stressed out about it. LOL!

LOL and you talked me into paying for the Deluxe. I was going to go with the free dining this year after 3 years of having Deluxe. I was so stressed about what I was going to miss out on and money out of pocket until you said just go with the deluxe and you will not have to worry about it.

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As far as water..when I went they have medium drink-sized cups full of ice cold water at many places. WE did a lot of that, and it is quick and free.. Also, another thing we did is each of us brought a 24-oz bottle of coke and we would ask counter service to give us a cup of ice and we would pour our coke in there once our bottle was no longer cold. This worked really good and make your trip a lot cheaper. Disney is good for budget families because they let pretty much every food or drink into the park, and the food there is cheaper than almost all other theme parks, which is quite impressive.

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ALWAYS share. You get to double your 'tastes'!

The ONLY exception is cupcakes. OH, and cheese plates. Never share cupcakes or cheese plates. Ever.

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Read menus and reviews and make your signature dining ADRs based on the types of food and experiences you like.

If you are traveling with children, and want to do signature dining, make your ADR at your "normal" meal time.

If you are a coffee drinker, bring your own coffee and filters, and drink your coffee in your room. Reserve your morning beverage allotment (if on dining plan) for bottles of water, which you take with you into the parks for the day.

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I recently found out the value resorts will be having fridges in all their rooms so make use of them. We bring bowls and spoons, buy a quart of milk and some cereal for breakfast. We also invested in a hot pot in case we would like to cook some oatmeal or maybe boil an egg for breakfast. We get the plus dining plan so the refillable mug is included and we find it is quite a value. It seems that even if you buy it, it pays for itself in two days. You just have to organize yourself a bit more by making sure you take it to the parks with you so on your return to your resort you fill it before you go to your room.

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Hardy0109 wrote:
Disney is good for budget families because they let pretty much every food or drink into the park

Hardy, you taught me something today. At Disneyland, outside food is only allowed in the Park for special dietary issues, so I had to go look it up when you made your comment.

The official stance on bringing food into the Park from the Walt Disney World website is "Guests are allowed to bring food items"such as snacks or foods that do not require heating"into any Walt Disney World Theme Park." I think it's worth noting though that there are no glass containers allowed in the WDW Parks, so just be sure to pack wisely. The website also mentions that you should let the guards at bag check know if you have food with you.

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Yes WDW is very nice to their guests. Policies only benefit that of the guest.

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I think it has a lot to do with the demographics of the guest. WDW has 70% out of town guests, where as Disneyland has a 70% local make up. So there are a lot fewer guests at WDW that are going to try to bring in their own food because they're not heading to the parks from home, less of a profit loss. Disneyland does have a picnic grove on property that you can use if you want to bring food, but you can't take it into the park.

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Kristen K. wrote:
I think it has a lot to do with the demographics of the guest. WDW has 70% out of town guests, where as Disneyland has a 70% local make up. So there are a lot fewer guests at WDW that are going to try to bring in their own food because they're not heading to the parks from home, less of a profit loss. Disneyland does have a picnic grove on property that you can use if you want to bring food, but you can't take it into the park.

Wow did not know that, but it actually makes a lot of sense.

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That's interesting, Kristen. I didn't realize that the policies for the two parks were different. I've definitely taken advatange of the WDW food policy and can't wait to do so again! yay

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I LOVE that you can bring food into the parks. We brought sandwiches and fruit last time we were there.. And while we were waiting for haunted mansion to open we sat and ate our lunch at the tables right across from it... Not ont does it save money but it's a much healthier choice!

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Hi,

For breakfast, I recommend the buffet at Boma at the AKL. For under $20.00 you get American food AND a variety of Africal specialties too!!! It is NOT a character meal, but is well worth the trip over. I especially enjoy the mini blueberry muffins, (Maynard, one of the kitchen crew, remembers that I like cold real butter for the muffins and has 2 pats ready for me each morning--talk about service!!), the fresh strawberries, and the fresh fire grilled asparagus. They also have several carved fire roasted meats available. You can even see the rotisserie with the meat cooking.

For dinner (AND only 1 sit down meal credit!), you can't beat Crystal Palace. It is also a buffet--the food is GREAT--and it is a character meal. Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet join you for your meal. The whole grain rolls with cranberries are fantastic and the buffet choices are quite varied. I like the cold boiled shrimp, and the variety of salad choices. The desserts are really good too!

If you like seafood, and characters are not a concern, I HIGHLY recommend the Cape May buffet. The crab legs are delicious, the cornbread is really nice, and the mini desserts are small enough I can try every single one!! It is also only 1 sit down meal credit for those of you on the dining plan.

Patti Shock))

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The last few times we've gone, we've had free dining, but I sent a box of breakfast goodies down ahead- Pop-Tarts, granola bars, Rice Krispie treats and those little boxes of cereal. We'd eat breakfast in our room, grab a snack to take with us then have a decent lunch in one of the parks. The last time though, I didn't plan quite as well and ended up eating lunch too close to our dinner ressies. The most disappointing was dinner at Ohana- I was still full from lunch and didn't enjoy the meal half as much as I should have!

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I love trying to find ingenious ways to use my snack credits. I went for a long time thinking I was stuck with the "list" they give you with your Dining Plan and could only get an apple, a cookie or a bottle of water!

I was so flippin' happy when I found out I could get a Ham and Cheese Croissant in the France Pavilion with a single snack credit! It was perfect, because I was able to make that my lunch, and still have my 2 credits left for breakfast and dinner. Woo hoo!

This wasn't the original site that taught me all that, but these people offer a super-helpful guide to snack credits around the World and Resorts:

http://magicaldreamtours.com/index2/snack-credits-list/

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Nancy D wrote:
I love trying to find ingenious ways to use my snack credits. I went for a long time thinking I was stuck with the "list" they give you with your Dining Plan and could only get an apple, a cookie or a bottle of water!

I was so flippin' happy when I found out I could get a Ham and Cheese Croissant in the France Pavilion with a single snack credit! It was perfect, because I was able to make that my lunch, and still have my 2 credits left for breakfast and dinner. Woo hoo!

This wasn't the original site that taught me all that, but these people offer a super-helpful guide to snack credits around the World and Resorts:

http://magicaldreamtours.com/index2/snack-credits-list/

wow! what a great site! clapping

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I think another reason Disney allows food from the outside in is simply the water factor. If they didn't allow guests to bring that in, they would have far fewer guests and possibly face legal action. And if you allow water, it is kind of hard to say what else you could not bring in. But on to my tip.
Don't have much in terms of saving money, but if you want to eat at restaurant and it isn't Christmas time, chances are you can eat there. The castle (and maybe some other character dining) excluded it isn't that hard to get a Disney reservation. Being a regular I have often called in a reservation the day before and occasionally the day of, and I almost always got in. The whole being able to make reservations 180 days out makes some people think it is next to impossible to get a reservation once you are at the park, but give it a try. Worst they can say is no, and chances are something just as yummy will be available.

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Jym's Top-7 Best Dining Tips/tricks:
7. Most restaurants will bring meals that you're splitting out on two plates by request.
6. The easiest to get late-notice signature dining reservation is Bistro de Paris.
5. The carved meat selections at Tusker House's breakfast don't get taken town until noon.
4. The best value for the counter service dining plan is Wolfgang Puck Express.
3. At California Grill, you can have dinner early, then come back at fireworks time to watch from the balcony
2. Flying Fish Cafe offers an out of this world Chef's Tasting 5 Course Dinner
1. Call (or check online) often for hard to get reservations, openings happen all the time.

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mickey
If you are at Epcot and can leave the park and re-enter, head for the Boardwalk to eat. The exit for the boardwalk is over near the UK. There is a pizza window there where you can get a slice for a pretty reasonable price. My husband and I often do this.

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Hi and welcome Alisonspad!

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Hi Alisonspad and welcome and a word of warning, when you purchase the pizza from the takeout window just BEWARE the seagulls are very aggressive and have been known to snatch an entire slice of pizza right out of the hand of unsuspecting customers. It actually happened to my wife a few years ago and when she went back to the window to purchase a replacement, the CM at the window said that it happened all the time and they did not charge her for another slice.

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