All About Food - My Disney World Planning

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Hello & Welcome to more Disney/Florida trip planning! This time it's aaaall about the food. 

If you missed my previous Disney holiday posts they are here -

If you have been on a holiday to Orlando before, you will know that food plays a big part in it. America is known for its amazing (yet unhealthy) food that comes in mammoth portion sizes that's enough for a family to share. Last time I wrote a list of all the places I wanted to eat at whether it be offsite restaurants or onsite at Disney and I think I pretty much ticked them all off my list. 
There are so many great places to eat that it can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but hopefully this will help you out a little bit.

Where you decide to eat will all depend on what your budget is, whether you are staying onsite or offsite and if you are on a dining plan.

Lets start off with staying on Disney property...


If you are staying onsite at Disney and have taken advantage of their Dining Plan offers then the only thing you need to think about is where exactly you want to eat. Eating at Disney can be very pricey so the dining plan means that you won't have to spend as much money on food during your trip, which is usually your biggest pay out on a Disney holiday, and just a quick scan of your magic band when 'paying' for your food makes it quick and convenient.

There are 3 Dining plans that Disney offer -

Quick Service - this includes 2 quick service meals, 1 refillable resort mug and 1 snack credits per person per day.

Full Disney Dining - this includes 1 table service meal, 1 quick service, 1 refillable resort mug and 1 snack credit per person per day.

Deluxe Disney Dining - includes 3 table service or quick service meals, 2 snacks and 1 refillable resort mug per person per day. 

Disney have hundreds of places to eat that it can be really easy to get overwhelmed when trying to plan, I suggest looking online at reviews of different restaurants and looking up menus, this way you can quickly start iliminating the ones you know wont be for you & your family, or writing down the names of the places that you might be interested in. Many places will require making a reservation for especially if they are popular places such as 'Cinderella Royal Table' (where you can dine with the princesses).You can make reservations from 180 days in advance, so being organised and planning a day to day itinery can really help you out and ease the stress.
When looking at the dining plans you may think that there wont be enough at first and will still be spending extra on food when you're out there, but this is often so far from the truth. Even for the biggest of eaters it is known to be quite the challenge to use up every credit while in Disney, this is probably to do with the heat and because the portion sizes are often enough to share, especially if travelling with kids.

Sack credits that can often be confused for just an icecream, actually include a vast amount of items throughout the parks. I know that at Eight Spoon Café (previously Beastly Kiosk) In Animal Kingdom you can get a small portion of cheese or lobster pasta for 1 snack credit, which could be enough for someones lunch instead of using a quick service credit. You can tell what counts as a Snack by looking out for the Snack Credit symbol next to the food item on the menu. Popular snacks that I have included on my 'Must Eat' list for this years trip include-

Jalapeno Cheese Pretzels found at kiosks in most (if not all) parks
Pineapple Dole Whip found at Aloha Isle in Magic Kingdom
Funnel Cake found at Sleepy Hollow in Magic Kingdom
Warm Cinnamon Roll found at Gaston's Tavern in Magic Kingdom

The great thing about Snack credits is that if you come to the end of your holiday and still have some left over, then you can use them up on food gifts found in onsite shops to take home with you!

Signature Dining
When deciding which dining plan is right for you, you need to think about the type of dining you prefer. If you are a lover of food and enjoy trying many different Signature restaurants then the Deluxe dining plan could be for you. The finest dining in Walt Disney World is found at the Signature restaurants, that require 2 table service credits per person when eating here to cover the cost, so if you are interested in fine dining then booking a dining plan would be the most cost efficient way. There are currently 12 Signature restaurants in Disney -

Yachtsman Steakhouse
Artists point
Le Cellier steakhouse
The Hollywood Brown Derby
The Boathouse
Fulton Crab House
Monsier Paul
California Grill
Flying Fish Café

No Dining Plan?
If you do NOT have a dining plan and are staying on Disney property then you need to factor this in to your spending money. Eating at Disney can be a very pricey way to dine on holiday so if you are on a budget you might want to consider other things that will keep the costs down.
If you are hiring a car, then this can include eating at offsite restaurants down International Drive. There are so many options offsite that are much cheaper than eating onsite so if you can easily get around this could be a good idea for a few nights of your trip. However, if you are planning not to hire a car then staying inside the 'Disney Bubble' might be the best choice for you, but you can still be on a budget this way. Sharing meals is a great way to keep costs down as the portion sizes are generally huge, either this or ordering from the Kids menu will mean spending less money on food that you aren't going to waste. Another option for those on a budget is to order your food from Green Grocer and have it delivered to your room. You can buy a 12 pack of water for around $5 which will save you spending $2.50 on one bottle of water in the parks and just eating cereal for breakfast in your room for a few days of your stay can save you between $30-$60 a day so It is well worth considering.

Dining plan or not, you will still need to think about tips while in Orlando. 18%-20%
is recommended so it does add up over a 2 week holiday, but it is something that is expected of you when eating over there as it is a large part of restaurant staffs wages. If you are eating at a self serve buffet style place you would leave slightly less than this (perhaps about 10%).

planet Hollywood



cheesecake factory

Offsite dining is perfect for those staying outside of Disney, it gives you that freedom of eating whenever and whatever you want without having to make reservations and it is also a hell of a lot cheaper than eating in the parks. I personally love trying out the different restaurants that we don't have here in the UK, which is a big part of the reason why I like staying offsite on International Drive. Staying here means I have an endless amount of bars and restaurants literally on my doorstep, so no need to jump in the car and we can even have a few drinks if we wanted to. If you aren't staying on I-drive but in an apartment or villa in one of the nearby areas such as Kissimmee, you still
 never have to travel far to find some of the most popular restaurants and bars.

Offsite dining suits everyone from single travellers or couples to big groups and families and there is something for every kind of budget and taste. Dining offsite gives you a great choice of restaurants including American grills, Italians, Pizza places, Chinese & Oriental, as well as lots of takeaways and fast food like McDonalds and Subway.
Remember, the same tipping rules apply for offsite dining.

My personal favourites from my last trip were -

Longhorns Steakhouse- Can be found down I-drive, gateway village, Vineland Avenue. Has the best ribs in the world!

Chili's- Can be found down I-drive and Sand Lake Road. Really great choice of food & we loved taking advantage of the 2 for $20 deal.

Cheesecake Factory- Found in the Mall at Millennia. So much amazing cheesecake, so little stomach space!

Other places we visited were TGI Fridays, Applebee's, Five Guys & Bahama Breeze.

Breakfast was my favourite meal of the day while in Orlando and this was mainly down to IHOP. I had been wanting to try IHOP for so long so it was first on my list as far as breakfast was concerned. It definitely didn't disappoint, the chocolate chip pancakes were to die for!
Even if you aren't a lover of pancakes the menu has so many other options such as cooked breakfasts, crepes and pastries as well as more savoury options like burgers and fries. It is reasonably priced like most restaurants offsite,for my boyfriend and I we would spend about $25 dollars on a drink each and a sampler breakfast each (cooked breakfast with pancakes on the side) excluding tip.
Another place we enjoyed for Breakfast was Golden Corral. This was the only buffet style restaurant we went to which gave us a nice change. Wow, the amount of food on offer was quite overwhelming! Who knew you could have steak for breakfast? This place was brilliant and at only $8.99 per adult, its suitable for even the tightest of budgets. Both of these restaurants can be found, of course, down international drive.

After a week of eating mountains of pancakes for breakfast, it soon took its toll on us and we literally couldn't do it anymore. For the last week of our holiday we changed to eating a small breakfast in our room that we had bought from the local supermarket. This was a really good idea for us as it meant we felt more comfortable throughout the day and could enjoy our evening meal more because we were actually hungry!
Walmart is a 2 minute drive away, just off International Drive on Turkey Lake Road and there are others around the area.This is great for anyone staying in a villa or self catering accommodation as you can do a big shop on the first night and make a few breakfasts or dinners when you don't fancy going out anywhere or if you are on a budget. We stocked up on things for our breakfast such as milk & cereal, as well as loads of snacks for the room and bottles of water. As I mentioned earlier, buying a multipack of water saves you spending a ridiculous amount on one bottle in the parks.
Along with Walmart there is also Wholefoods, Publix and Walgreens within a short distance where you can stock up on supplies.

Speciality Dining
If you are celebrating or just like eating at more 'up market' restaurants then these are also easy to find in the area. Recommended 'special' places to eat in Orlando -

Seasons 52
Bull & Bear at Waldorf Astoria
Capa Steakhouse at Four Seasons Resort
You can find so many great offers for lots of the restaurants in Orlando that are so easy to take advantage of. Try visiting the American websites of the restaurants you know you like and see if you can sign up anywhere to emails/newsletters from them. If so, you will be updated by email with their current offers or they could even send you money off promotions for you to use. I signed up for TGI Fridays newsletter and I am always receiving offers from them so its well worth a look!
2016 park tickets often include many freebies such as a VIP Dine4Less card. These cards are great to use as they offer discounts at so many local restaurants
such as IHOP, CiCi Pizza and McDonalds and is valid for you and up to 3 guests. If you are not buying park tickets or have already purchased them, you can still buy this card at a price of $29.95 from *here*.
Kids Eat Free cards are also easy to get your hands on and can be a great money saver. It is partnered with hundreds of restaurants such as McDonalds, Senor Frogs, Dominoes & Tony Romas, meaning you no longer have to worry when eating out as a family. These cards are also usually offered for free with park tickets but can be bought online *here* for only $19.99.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when it comes to food on this trip! I could go on and on about dining but hopefully this has helped you out a little bit if you're planning a trip to Orlando and are a complete foodie like myself! Keep looking out for more Disney posts coming soon.
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