Saving Money on Food
Though we do make sure to splurge on a character meal once or twice per trip, we have found a few ways to actually cut food costs while in Disney. First, we always stop to grocery shop before checking into our hotel. When we rent a car, this is particularly easy to do, and we can even make a few trips during the week. If we aren't renting a car, we hire Quicksilver Tours & Transporation to pick us up and included in their price is a 30 minute stop at a grocery store. We purchase breakfast foods, cases of water, snacks and lunch "fixings," such as bread, cold cuts, chips and such. Having breakfast and/or lunch in the room, saves us the cost and time of heading to a food court or restaurant.
We have also found there is a great way to save money at some of the food courts. At Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort, they have a Broiler Section. Here you can order complete meals, such as half of a roasted chicken (sometimes they offer turkey, pork and/or salmon too) with mashed potatoes (or rice), a vegetable and a roll. These are easily split between two children or an adult and a small child. Not only does this save money, but it is nice to give the kids something more substantial and healthier than chicken nuggets or cheeseburgers.
My parents travel with us every trip to Walt Disney World. Since my mom is a hairdresser, Princess Hayely and Princess Emily have their own personal Fairy Godmother on hand for the days they are heading to the parks dressed as princesses or getting ready for a princess meal. Having Grammie get them ready isn't the experience they may get at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, but with two girls, this is quite a money saver. Even better, at Castle Couture right before we headed to Cinderella's Royal Table this past trip, Hayley and Emily were sprinkled with Pixie Dust for free! They had the "sparkly hair" as they called it, just like the girls leaving Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
We also have a huge collection of Princess Dresses here at home. After Halloween, I head to every department store in the area to see which ones I can find on clearance. We actually found a Snow White costume for $2 last year! It helps too that my girls love to dress up and always have princess dresses on their Wish Lists, so Santa, their grandparents and aunts and uncles have "delivered" princess gowns for birthdays and holidays. These are definite things that cost a pretty penny if you try to purchase them while in Walt Disney World.
I could really go on and on about this topic, but these tips just happen to be the places we save the most money while on our Walt Disney World vacations.