Tips for eating out cheap in Orlando (2023)

Planning an Orlando vacation? Food can be one of the most expensive parts of your trip, but our top tips could help you save money...

Don't worry, dining on a budget doesn't mean you have to miss out. Check out our top tips for saving money when dining at the Orlando theme parks.

Eat your largest meal for breakfast:

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, they say, and when it comes to Orlando, we agree. The best way to prepare for a long day exploring amazing theme parks is with a hearty breakfast. Our best advice would be to go for an all-you-can-eat breakfast, so you'll feel fuller longer and don't have to munch on snacks in the park. Plus, we all want an excuse to indulge in multiple Mickey waffles!

Bring your own snacks to the parks:

Eating out at theme parks can be quite expensive, and if you visit them every day, the cost of eating out can add up quickly. A great way to save money when eating out is to bring your own snacks to the parks. We recommend bringing some bottled water to stay hydrated in the Florida heat and some snacks or sandwiches for lunch. While we're sure you'll want to try some of the treats the parks have to offer, save on pricey snacks by bringing your own, and enjoy things you can't bring like ice cream—the perfect sundowner!

Choose counter service instead of table service:

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There are so many restaurants in the parks that it can be tempting to try something new every day. Whimsical themes seem to make restaurants even more appealing (especially to little ones!), while the idea of ​​sitting back and relaxing for an hour certainly appeals to adults. However, if you're looking to save money, we recommend choosing counter service over table service, as you can enjoy a delicious meal at a much lower price.

Enjoy snacks to share:

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Food portions at theme parks are usually quite generous, making them perfect for sharing. If you're eating at a restaurant and want to keep costs down, you can order a selection of appetizers and sides to share. If you're feeling a little peckish and just want a quick bite, there are plenty of super-sized snacks to choose from, perfect for family use.

One of our favorite options for a sweet treat is Lard Lad Donuts at Universal Studios Florida. Here you can get a pink ice cream donut covered in rainbow sprinkles that is actually the size of your head!

Enjoy a dinner with character at breakfast:

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While a character dining experience can be quite expensive, there are ways to cut costs if you really want to enjoy a meal with your favorite characters. Our best advice for travelers on a budget is to book a breakfast experience instead of a dinner. This makes the experience more affordable, as breakfast packages are often cheaper and include an all-you-can-eat buffet.

We also recommend booking in advance as character dining is incredibly popular. Another benefit of this is that you can spread out the cost of your vacation instead of digging into your pocket money when you arrive.

Click here,to view our character meal cards and enjoy breakfast with Mickey and the gang.

Find the gifts:

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You may not think it's possible, but there are some free giveaways at Orlando theme parks. For example, you never have to pay for water, as you can get free ice cold water at any quick service kiosk. You can also get free samples at various places, including cookies and cotton candy at the Main Street Confectionery in the Magic Kingdom. Our top tip when visiting Epcot is to walkclub genial,where there are more than 100 drinks from all over the world. Here you can enjoy as many samples as you want, including different flavors of Coca-Cola and Fanta.

Buy a refillable mug:

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Florida is famous for its sunshine, and when you're spending days at the theme parks, staying hydrated is very important. One way to save money on your drinks is to buy a reusable cup. Different parks have slightly different options, but at both Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort there is a FREE opportunity to refill your cup as many times as you like.

You can then pay a reduced price if you want to refill your cup for more days. Choose from tea, coffee and a variety of fizzy drinks. You can also take the mug home with you as a fun souvenir to remember your vacation. Look for restaurants that also offer free refills.

Buy a Kids Eat Free Card:

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Have you heard of thekids eat free menu? Buying the card for just £10 can save you money by not having to pay for your children's meals when you arrive in Orlando. The card is for children ages 3-9 and is valid at more than 130 restaurants in Orlando. With so many restaurants to choose from, there is a huge variety including CiCi's Pizza, Sizzlers, Pacino's Italian Restaurant, and even McDonalds. Simply present your card when purchasing an adult menu and you will receive a children's menu completely free!

Click hereto view our Orlando attraction tickets and start planning the vacation of a lifetime.

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How can I save money on food in Orlando? ›

Check out our top tips for saving money on dining at the Orlando theme parks.
  1. Eat your biggest meal at breakfast: ...
  2. Choose counter service instead of table service: ...
  3. Enjoy snacks you can share: ...
  4. Enjoy character dining at breakfast: ...
  5. Find the freebies: ...
  6. Purchase a refillable cup: ...
  7. Buy a Kids Eat Free Card:

How can I spend less money on dining out? ›

How to Save Money at Restaurants
  1. Save half of your meal. Before your food arrives, ask for a to-go box. ...
  2. Use coupons. ...
  3. Do a lunch date instead. ...
  4. Get the birthday discount! ...
  5. Skip the coffee, tea and soda. ...
  6. Skip the appetizer. ...
  7. Share a meal. ...
  8. Learn coffee shop hacks.
Nov 10, 2022

How do people afford to eat out? ›

Here's how to save money and eat out at your favorite restaurants for less.
  1. Buy gift cards below face value. You'll get more food for your buck when you buy restaurant gift cards at less than face value. ...
  2. Ask for a discount. ...
  3. Join the club. ...
  4. Make wise menu choices. ...
  5. Dine on national days. ...
  6. Take a survey. ...
  7. Leave room in your budget.
May 15, 2019

How much money do you need for food in Orlando? ›

Average Daily Costs

While meal prices in Orlando can vary, the average cost of food in Orlando is $51 per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in Orlando should cost around $20 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner.

How do you eat food on a budget? ›

We've listed some top tips for how you can make the most of your money and eat well on a budget.
  1. Eat out less. ...
  2. Check your cupboards. ...
  3. Take a shopping list. ...
  4. Make new meals using your leftovers. ...
  5. Choose cheaper brands. ...
  6. Buy cheaper cuts of meat. ...
  7. Eat more veg. ...
  8. Try eating a smaller portion.

Is it cheaper to eat out or cook for one person? ›

Is It More Expensive to Eat Out? There's almost no way around it—eating out will almost always cost more than cooking a meal at home. While the average cost of eating out varies dramatically depending on the restaurant you go to, most restaurants charge about a 300% mark-up on the items they serve.

What day of the week is best to dine out? ›

Because weekdays are quieter, many chain restaurants have happy hours and weekday specials to drum up business. This means you can take advantage of promotions and save money by dining out on a Tuesday, especially if you opt for lunch or early dinner.

Is eating out more expensive than groceries? ›

For those who want a quick and easy answer: It's generally cheaper to cook food at home than eat out. The reason so many people can get stuck on the question is the human psychology variable. People don't always spend wisely, and it isn't as if prices are always the same at a supermarket or a fast food restaurant.

How much spending money do I need per day in Orlando? ›

But how much money do you really need when going to this attraction-packed city? We'd recommend budgeting an average of $100 per person, per day for your Florida vacation.

What is the cheapest month to go to Orlando? ›

January and parts of early February are some of the cheapest times to visit Orlando because many families have just gone home after the holiday season. You're likely to find cheaper flights and accommodation during this quieter time of year.

What is a realistic eating out budget? ›

The average American dines out 5.9 times per week and according to BLS data, the average household spends about $3,500 on eating out every year, or just shy of $300 per month. But before you go setting your budget at a neat and tidy $300/month and move on, there's a more important question you should be asking.

What is a reasonable daily food budget? ›

According to the USDA website, the average cost for a family of four with two children under 11 is $235 weekly or $8.39 per person per day on a THRIFTY PLAN (Up $0.70/per day since the last quarter). This would assume using coupons and price comparison while shopping.

How much does one person spend on eating out? ›

How much do we spend eating out? The most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the average American spends roughly $3,000 per year eating out.

How much should I budget for food at Disney World daily? ›

When you consider all of the various ways you can eat at Disney World, a family of four should expect to spend roughly $200 – $250 per day on dining. This estimate is based on one Quick Service meal, one Table Service meal, and one purchase of snacks and drinks for all four people.

How much should I budget for food at Universal Orlando? ›

With table service, restaurants often costing an additional 50% when compared to quick-service options. As a result, most families having lunch, dinner, drinks, and snacks inside Universal Studios Orlando will spend on average $50 per person, per day.

How much is an average meal in Orlando? ›

Prices in restaurants in Orlando.
Meal in a cheap restaurant20 USD (12-30)
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course70 USD (40-180)
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)9.00 USD (8.50-12)
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)5.00 USD (3.00-8.00)
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)5.50 USD (4.00-12)
5 more rows

How many times a week should you eat out? ›

If you really want to save money, Gidus recommends limiting yourself to once a week. But, she adds, “if you can get a nice nutritious lunch from the deli next door, you can do it every day.” You can also make the most out of your meals out by saving leftovers and getting more meals out of them.

Does eating out waste money? ›

According to a report from Wellio, It costs nearly 5 times more money per serving to eat at a restaurant than cooking the same meal at home. Cooking your meals through a Meal Kit service is a slightly less terrible financial decision, where the average cost per serving is nearly 3 times more than cooking from scratch.

Do single people eat out more? ›

Single persons spend a larger portion of their food budget on meals away from home than any other family type. In 1997, single persons allocated 36.7 percent of their total food expenditures to meals at eating places.

What day of the week is slowest for restaurants? ›

Most studies and reports from other restaurant owners say that the slowest restaurant days are Mondays and Tuesdays. The social suggestion is, then, that most people are feeling too tired and are suffering from post-weekend blues to consider going out to eat on Monday and Tuesday nights.

How do I choose a menu for the week? ›

How to make a weekly meal plan
  1. Give yourself time to plan. Set aside time each week to make a meal plan. ...
  2. Check what you have. Check what ingredients you already have in your cupboard, fridge or freezer. ...
  3. Include some of your favourite meals. ...
  4. Use up your leftovers. ...
  5. Cook in bulk. ...
  6. Make your ingredients work.

What month are restaurants least busy? ›

Every restaurant experiences a slow season and for many, it's the post-holiday lull of January and February.

What are 2 things you can do to save money on food? ›

7 easy ways to save money on groceries and eat healthy
  • Go into the grocery store with a plan. ...
  • Always round grocery prices up. ...
  • Shop the sales (and get the extras) ...
  • When it comes to pre-prepped food, DIY when you can. ...
  • Shop at warehouse stores when it makes sense. ...
  • Don't Waste—only get the food you know you'll eat.

How much should I budget for food at Universal Studios Orlando? ›

With table service, restaurants often costing an additional 50% when compared to quick-service options. As a result, most families having lunch, dinner, drinks, and snacks inside Universal Studios Orlando will spend on average $50 per person, per day.


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