Here at Disney Dining we love hashing out all the most delicious places you can visit for meals and snacks during your Walt Disney World vacation.
From where to find the best ice cream, french fries, and breakfast items to sharing the names of fun restaurants in general, we are here to help you make sense of the dining options on your Disney vacation. Now let’s look at dining on a budget. And we’re throwing it way back to Rachael Ray’s 2002 television show $40 A Day.
In this series, early days-Food Network Rachael Ray journeyed around the United States and world, with the goal of budgeting her dining dollars and enjoying delicious meals. As the show title suggests, Ray went on gastronomic tours of cities on $40 a day allocated for dining. Viewers enjoyed watching her have a taste of the culture in the city she was visiting, while striving to stick to a budget.
We’ve decided to take some inspiration from Rachael Ray in this series (but we’re doing $50 A Day because, inflation, guys). Let’s explore dining possibilities in the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney Springs, and Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World!
Hey, sticking to a budget doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some incredible food on your Disney vacation, so we’re kicking off the series by diving into dining on a budget at the original Walt Disney World park: Magic Kingdom.
A key way to save some major money on your Walt Disney World vacation across the board is to skip breakfast in the parks. If you’re like me, breakfast isn’t a big deal when you’re at home. So why should it be any different on vacation?
You can save major cash by eating a banana or a granola bar in your Resort room and enjoying that complimentary Joffrey’s Coffee, courtesy of your in-room coffee maker. Sure, some people say that sticking to a $50 a day budget and skipping one whole meal in the park is cheating. I say not purchasing breakfast at your Resort or in the park is a great way to make your dining money go further.
My family satisfies our Mickey Waffle craving in the quick-service restaurant at our resort on the last day of our vacation before we leave Walt Disney World. Otherwise, we eat granola bars, fruit, or other breakfast items that we brought with us in our Resort room each day before we hit the parks. This little budget sacrifice can go a long way in helping you stick to your daily budget.
Morning Snack: Cheshire Cat Tail
Cheshire Cafe, Fantasyland
First on the menu for the day is a morning snack at the Cheshire Café located near the Mad Tea Party ride in Fantasyland. This cottage-inspired kiosk serves up adorable sweets that you won’t want to miss. Snag the best item on the menu, a Cheshire Cat Tail snack for only $5.79. The Cheshire Cat Tail is a pastry filled with cream filling, chocolate chips and covered in an adorable ribbon of pink and purple frosting. Talk about an Instagrammable snack, don’t forget to let the camera eat first and snap a photo of this classic Magic Kingdom snack before you dive in.
Lunch: Lobster Roll
Columbia Harbour House, Liberty Square
Are you under the impression that budget dining means you don’t get to enjoy delicious favorites like lobster? Think again! Lunch at Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square serves up one heck of a lobster roll. There are other awesome options on this menu as well.
Located just a short walk away from Fantasyland, Peter Pan’s Flight, in Liberty Square nearby the Haunted Mansion you’ll find Columbia Harbour House. This perfectly themed restaurant serves delicious seafood and New England-inspired favorites in a cozy nautical setting. Open from 11a.m. to 9p.m. each day, our favorite menu item at Columbia Harbour House is hands-down the lobster roll.
This lunch consists of a chilled lobster roll with a bit of mayonnaise and a New England-style bun served with a side of french fries for only $16.99. As always, we recommend you skip the soft drink to save money and stay hydrated with water. If you want to purchase a drink, you can do that. Assorted fountain beverages cost $3.99 each.
Other awesome options on this menu are the grilled shrimp skewer meal served with rice and green beans for only $14.29 per entrée, grilled salmon served with rice, and green beans at $14.29, or a four-piece chicken tender meal for those opting out of seafood for only $10.29. The delicious trio platter, a combination of fried shrimp, chicken strips, and battered fish with us hush puppies, and your choice of a side is only $14.29. Columbia Harbour House is an excellent option to get healthier food, enjoy seafood, and just overall indulge in a meal that is not typical of a theme park experience.
Afternoon Snack: Dole Whip
Aloha Isle, Adventureland
There is no way we are recommending another Disney snack over a Dole Whip. Drop by Aloha Isle in Adventureland near the Jungle Cruise to purchase one of these iconic snacks. If you’re new here Dole Whips are popular frozen blended pineapple, vanilla, or swirled soft-serve delicacies that have become quite iconic in the Disney realm.
Because we’re sticking to a budget, we recommend the Pineapple Dole Whip Cup for only $5.99. This treat gives you a choice of pineapple dole whip soft-serve, vanilla soft-serve, or swirl of the two that you can enjoy on a nearby bench as you watch the Magic Carpets of Aladdin swirl through Adventureland. Truly, there is no better way to chill out and cool off during a warm afternoon in the Magic Kingdom then with a Dole Whip.
Dinner: Footlong Hot Dog and Frozen Mint Julep Lemonade
Casey’s Corner, Main Street U.S.A.
You can’t end a theme park day without enjoying one of the quintessential Magic Kingdom meals. That’s right, I’m talking about a footlong hotdog from Casey’s Corner at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. Casey’s Corner is a staple of Main Street, U.S.A., serving up traditional American comfort food reminiscent of baseball park favorites.
The footlong hotdog really hits the spot but we are also crazy about the crunchy and juicy corn dog nuggets on this menu. This quick-service restaurant is expertly placed in front of the castle so you can enjoy your beautiful view of the hub grab grass and Cinderella Castle while you munch on dinner.
The footlong hotdog is served with a side of french fries and comes in at only $11.99. Our second favorite, the corn dog nuggets, are also served with a side of french fries and come in at only $10.29, making this eatery a very delicious and budget-friendly option.
We generally recommend you don’t purchase drinks in the parks, but we make an exception for the frozen julep lemonade for $6.49. Do not miss this delicious specialty beverage. This beverage consists of a classically-blended mint julep with lemonade topped with fresh mint leaves, cherry, and lemon. Talk about a refreshing end to a hot day, I can’t wait to snag one of these on my next Disney vacation!
That’s a wrap folks! Let’s see if we met our goal of sticking to a $50 a day dining budget at Magic Kingdom.
Morning Snack– Cheshire Cat Tail $5.79
Lunch– Lobster Roll and Fries $16.99
Afternoon Snack– Dole Whip Soft Serve- $5.99
Dinner – Footlong Hot Dog and Fries with Frozen Mint Julep Lemonade $18.48
We came in right under our budget at $47.25 total for lunch, dinner, two snacks, and a frozen beverage during a day at Magic Kingdom. Dining on a budget doesn’t have to be a drag; we did Disney for $50 a day! Do not miss our other articles outlining $50 a day budget plans for EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and of course, Disney Springs.