Cheaper Breakfast Than Chef Mickey’s? This is One of Our Favorites!

Chef Mickey's substitute

Updated for 2016!

Looking for a cheaper breakfast than dining at Chef Mickey’s? Finding somewhere less expensive is not all that difficult, because while a fantastic experience, Chef Mickey’s Character Breakfast is definitely not cheap. But where to go for a cheaper meal and yet still have an experience of your own? Our suggestion is to head literally just feet away to the Contempo Cafe for a great tasting breakfast at a fraction of the cost.

Over 30 Free Activities at Disney’s Contemporary Resort!

The Contemporary Resort is one of two hotels originally built at Disney World  WDW hotels on the monorail loop servicing the Magic Kingdom. The fourth floor of the main building is known as the Grand Canyon Concourse, where you will find a variety of shops and restaurants. 

The Contempo Café replaced the 1st floor Food and Fun Center many years ago, now offering a 147-seat dining area with spectacular views of the monorail the 9-story Mary Blair mural with 18,000 hand-painted tiles. 

cheap breakfast at Disney World

contepo cafe menu at Contemporary Resort

Contempo Cafe is open from 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; hot breakfast items are served until 11 a.m. Bakery items, fresh salads, hot and cold sandwiches, flatbreads and pasta entrées are served throughout the day. Grab ’n’ go items are also available starting at 6 a.m.

Menu items and prices are subject to change without notice. 

best restaurant for breakfast at Disney World resort

cheaper than a Chef Mickey's breakfast

Mickey waffle with a choice of meat and fruit toppings.

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cost of Disney World breakfast

kids breakfast at the Contemporary Resort at Disney World

The child’s breakfast platter at the Contempo Cafe in Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

 

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best places for kids to eat at Disney World

Disney french toast breakfast deal at the Contemporary Resort

where to eat at Disney World

Disney breakfast sandwich at the Contemporary Resort

Breakfast sandwich with egg and ham at the Contempt Cafe.

menu and prices for Contempo Cafe

We were really impressed with our breakfast at Contempo Cafe. While it is true that there are no Disney characters posing for pictures with your children, you can see monorails pass through the building, within view of the iconic Mary Blair mural.

A counter service meal here will cost you 1/5 what you pay at Chef Mickey’s, and you will finish in less time, if this is important to those who plan to use lots of time for roller coaster riding.

Mary Blair: Why You Should Touch the Tile Mural in Disney World’s Contemporary Resort

Are there any gift shops at the Contemporary?

Bayview Gifts has refrigerated chocolates and fudge, products for the home, ladies’ and men’s casual fashions, watches, jewelry and framed art.

Fantasia offers Disney character merchandise and clothing, trading pins, and a multitude of toys.

Fantasia Market sells a variety of newspapers and magazines, alcoholic beverages, health and beauty supplies, and refrigerated and non-perishable food items.

Have a nice breakfast, do a little shopping (window or otherwise), and then head over to the Magic Kingdom. It’s a great start to an amazing day.

cheap dining at Contemporary Resort

where to shop at Contemporary Resort

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you watching the monorails pass by, slicing into a Mickey waffle…

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Afternoon Tea at Grand Floridian’s Garden View Tea Room: a Cheapskate Guide

Afternoon Tea at Garden View Tea Room prices

Looking for a special Disney activity, something different from the usual roller coasters and counter service meals? Then perhaps you should think about making a reservation for Afternoon Tea at Garden View Tea Room. Vacationers always remark that walking around the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, often referred to as the “flagship” of Disney resorts, is like taking a trip back in time. It’s time to experience a traditional afternoon tea served in grand British style.

The Location

To find the Garden View Tea Room, walk through the Grand Floridian first floor lobby to the lounge area at the far end of the building. This light-filled lounge overlooks manicured gardens, a fountain, and a pool area. You will “tour the globe” sipping international teas, dining on a selection of sandwiches, cakes and other delicacies.

Days and Times

Afternoon Tea is offered seven days a week and is held from between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. At three o’clock each day, enjoy the Grand Floridian piano player as he begins performing Disney tunes, a lovely accompaniment to your relaxing afternoon. You can make reservations for the Tea using this Disneyworld.com link.

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prices for the Grand Floridian afternoon tea

Prices

I was unable to find prices or menu descriptions on the main Disney website. After some research, the most up to date menu (updated 1/15) and price list was located on  wdwinfo.com. They have a tremendous wealth of information on their website, which you can visit with this link.  Remember that all menus are subject to change at any time with no prior notice.

Entree/Main Course

Mrs. Potts Tea (For Guests Ages 3-9)

Assorted tea sandwiches including tuna salad, ham and cheese, and peanut butter and jelly on white bread, plus a selection of two house-made pastries, together with a special “Dark Tea” (Chocolate Milk)  $13.00

Buckingham Tea

Assorted tea sandwiches, butter scone, jam tart, with a choice of two house-made pastries (Strawberries and Crème or English Trifle) together with your choice of tea  $25.00 ***

Prince Edward Tea

Assorted pâté, cheeses served with cumberland sauce, butter scone, jam tart, together with a glass of Fonseca Bin 27 Character Port and your choice of tea  $30.00 ***

The Grand Tea

Assorted tea sandwiches, butter scone, jam tart, with a choice of two house-made pastries (Strawberries and Crème or English Trifle) together with a glass of Domaine Ste. Michelle Sparkling Wine and your choice of tea  $35.00 ***

Princess Kate Tea

Choice of potted shrimp or tuna poke, cheeses and seasonal fruits, buttery scone, jam tart, with a selection of two delicate house-made pastries. together with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne and your choice of tea  $45.00***

***There is a charge for additional pots of tea. 

A Disney World Parks Guide: Tips from a Travel Agent

Grand Flroidian Tea

Teas

Cassis  Aromatic blend that harmonizes the sweet tartness of blackcurrants with depth of black tea

Chamomile  Infusion of golden chamomile blossoms with a smooth, apple-like finish

Eros  Medium-bodied Ceylon combines sweet mandarin oranges with warm vanilla for a sweet and creamy finish

Floral Jasmine Green  Spring harvest twisted-leaf green tea with medium- tannic notes and the delicate scent of jasmine

Garden View Blend  Assam and Keemun black leaves blended with the floral overtones or flowery Early Grey

Harmony   Mild and sweet with a blend of chamomile, orange blossoms, peppermint, and allspice

Imperial English Breakfast   Blend of Ceylon and China black teas. Decaffeinated English Breakfast is also available

Jade Leaf   Delicate tea with a hint of sweetness, fresh and grassy quality reminiscent of Nori

Jamaican Spice   Brilliant red zesty infusion of hibiscus, cinnamon, cloves, and orange peel

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party   Medium-bodied Ceylon tea leaves scented with the essential oils of vanilla and natural fruits, including passion fruit and pomegranate

Mango Oolong   Refreshing Tung Ting oolong, mingled with the scent of ripe mangoes

Masala Black Tea Chai   Layered and complex blend of spices with notes of clove and cardamum

Organic Breakfast   Blended true to the origin of “English Breakfast,” this organic connoisseur-grade version is made in the great tradition of strong, malty black tea

Organic Vanilla Rooibos   Madagascar vanilla bean natural essential oils sweeten this organic rooibos

Osmanthus Oolong   Rare Osmanthus flowers are placed next to oolong leaves for fragrance. It is highly coveted for its champagne aroma and deep, rich flavor

Princess Breakfast Tea   South African Organic Rooibos flavored with vanilla beans and a hint of strawberry, rich in antioxidants and vitamins and naturally decaffeinated

Russian Earl Grey   Blended in the honor of the Russian tradition, this Earl Grey uses the rind of the spicy beramot orange for an exotic blend of citrus

Silver Leaf   Harvested from south of the Yangtze River, this premier connoisseur grade of white tea is named for the silver downy hairs that cover the young, unopened buds

Thunderbolt Darjeeling   Often referred to by tea connoisseurs as muscatel, which is a grape varietal found in sweeter wines, this thin-bodied tea is light with a floral aroma

Vanilla Earl Grey   This “classic with a twist” has a decidedly smooth finish

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Afternoon Tea at Grand Floridian's Garden View Tea Room

Randy Ash, long-time Cheapskate Princess reader, took his family to the Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Tea Room this past January. We asked him how he enjoyed his experience. “I enjoy the down time that Afternoon Tea provides. It is a beautiful place to sit, enjoy a snack, and plan our evening. We’re very happy we purchased Table in Wonderland this year.

Disney Grand Floridian Afternoon Tea Prices

His wife Stacy also told us what she enjoyed about the Tea, “The exquisite foods, tea selection and timeless atmosphere are on our itinerary every Disney trip. Visiting the tea room is like walking into a grand time in history. The atmosphere is fancy, but the service is friendly.”
 
What were Stacy’s favorite foods? “We can’t pass up the cheeses and tea sandwiches, but the scones and lemon curd and fresh strawberries with cream are exquisite. Every WDW trip includes a trip to the tea room, that’s if we can get in!
Disney Moms fun outside the parks

Discount?

The cost for the Ash family’s four people was about $134 including tax, but they saved over $26 on their Tea by using the Tables in Wonderland card. You can read more about this at tablesinwonderland.com.  To my knowledge, there are not any price discounts other than Tables in Wonderland.
Remember even if this is not a full meal, it is essentially a table service experience. An 18% to 20% gratuity for table service meals is suggested.
 free day activities at Disney World

Our Fans

We asked our Facebook fans what they thought about the Grand Floridian’s Garden View Tea.
 
Pat S., “We enjoyed the tea, but it was five or six years ago. It was a fun girl’s time out.
Helen Z., “It was such a wonderful experience. They have several tea packages that they offer. I can’t wait until my next visit in April.
Jennifer E., “I took my two sons last year. It was so fun; they really enjoyed it, as did I. I see they raised the prices. My kids requested this for our spring trip, so we will see. It was awesome though, so I am considering it.
And our one negative vote:
Christina R., “In my opinion, it’s not worth the price. I have been to a lot of tea houses with my parents over my childhood. The food was average, service was fantastic though. I liked it better when you could order a la carte.”

fun things to do at Disney World

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you headed through the lobby at the Grand Floridian…

 

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

One of the Best Disney World Snacks Under $10? Try a Cupcake!

best Disney World snacks under $10

Updated for 2017!

If you’ve been to Disney World before, there are several really yummy snacks that cost under $10 that would easily qualify for the “Best” snack you can buy on vacation.

I’m going to make my pitch for cupcakes as one of the best items, because they are so colorfully appealing and large enough to share, which can help in cutting your snack costs. [Read more…]

Disney Springs Must Do: Chocolate Extinction at T-REX

Chocolate Extinction T-REX Disney World

Updated for 2017!

T-REX is a fantastic restaurant located in the heart of Disney Springs. You’ll feel like you’ve traveled back 200 million years when you dine next to wooly mammoths, pterosaurs, a giant octopus, and life-sized animatronic dinosaurs, the largest of which is a 15-foot-tall T. Rex. This dining establishment is a favorite of kids and adults alike, although see our warning at the end for small children.

Serving lunch and dinner, T-REX burgers start at $16, while seafood, pasta, and “carnivore” dishes start in the $20 range and go as high as $30 each. This can be a pricey meal for a large family. If you are looking to enjoy the T-Rex experience without breaking the bank, make an Advanced Dining Reservation and order the Chocolate Extinction!

Read – Disney World Vacation Planning: Non-Holiday Dates to Avoid

Chocolate Extinction dessert price

T-REX is unlike anything you will encounter at your neighborhood eatery for sure. Dinosaurs decorate this dining establishment, where every room has a different theme, depicting diverse primordial landscapes from an ice cavern to a fern forest. We are fond of the ice cave, which changes colors frequently.

T-Rex restaurant Disney Springs

ice cave at T-REX Disney Springs

Hello Chocolate Extinction!

Chocolate Extinction is a gigantic portion of chocolate fudge cake served with ice cream plus whipped topping covered in fudge and caramel sauces, then topped with Butterfinger crumbs. This dessert is enough for four people, and it’s priced at $17.99 (2017 prices). That would be steep for one person, or even two, but four…We’ve now cut our costs down significantly per person.

And as somewhat of a self-appointed Disney dessert expert, having eaten more sweets on vacation than entrees, I can vouch for how rich tasting this cake is.

Read – Pros and Cons of Staying at a Disney Resort: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

T-Rex Downtown Disney menu

chocolate extinction dessert Disney World

Here’s what the dessert looks like in the light, in much better quality than photos I take…

T-REX dessert menu

Noise Warning for Small Children

Approximately every 20 minutes, there is a meteor shower with rumbling and faux-fiery explosions. The lights dim, the explosion sounds get loud, and things get interesting. But little people with noise aversions who may have some fears of both tall dinosaurs that appear real with darkened lighting may not react with clapping hands.

If your kids sailed right through and counted down until the next meteor shower, that’s fantastic. Having dined here multiple times through the years, we have witnessed several small crying children being walked out by a parent. So be aware of the noise/lighting changes and anticipate how your child will react. If your children can’t do dark rides at Magic Kingdom without issues, they may not be ready for the atmosphere of T-Rex’s prehistoric dining.

Use this link to more tips on Disney food.

There are a lot of appetizers on the T-REX menu that won’t break the bank. 2017 prices. 

Bruschetta $9.99

Tomatoes, herbed cheese, toasted focaccia bread, balsamic glaze

Dual Dip $11.99

Shrimp and Artichoke Dip plus Chili Con Queso Dip

Colosso Beef Nachos for Two $16.99

Cheddar cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, green onions

Mega Mozzarella  $8.99

Seared mozzarella, marinara, mozzerella fingers

Chicken Flatbread $11.99

Cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan, goat cheese, caramelized onions, balsamic glaze

Chicken T-Rexadillas $11.99

Red bell peppers, green onions, Monterey Jack, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, avocado cream sauce

Supersaurus Sampler (for Four) $18.99

Chili con Queso Dip, Bruschetta, T-Rexadillas, onion rings. Add St. Louis style pork spareribs 7.99
 
There are also other desserts if you want to make your reservation for an afternoon snack or after-dinner treat. 2017 prices. 

Ice Age Indulgence (for Two) $8.99

Layers of ice cream sandwiches, fudge sauce, whipped topping, Heath Bar Crunch®

Meteor Donut Bites (for Two) $9.99

Chocolate and vanilla donut holes, powdered sugar, caramel and chocolate sauces

Cosmic Key Lime Pie $7.99

Our own freshly baked key lime pie, graham cracker crust, raspberry sauce, whipped topping

Sorbet Sampler  $6.99

Mango and Raspberry sorbet, raspberry sauce, mango puree, chocolate covered wafer

Read – A Cheapskate Prince$$ Guide: Top 10 Freebies at Disney World 

We do recommend you make an Advanced Dining Reservation, which you can do 180 days in advance of your travel, but you can always stop by and see if they have an available table. Asking for a seat at the bar can be a fast way to get a seat.

T-Rex prices at Walt Disney World

Here’s a cute map of Disney Springs, March of 2016 edition, of the T-Rex location.

map to T-Rex Disney Springs

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you with fork and spoons in hand, ready to dig into some dessert!

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

10 Tips to Save Money on Food at Walt Disney World

save lots of money on Disney World food

Updated for 2016!

Through the years, I have found a lot of cheapskating ways to save money on Disney World trips, but food is one area where we struggle. Anything nicer than a counter service meal is going to cost a pretty penny, not to say that the meal won’t be worth that price. Driving off property for meals is often time consuming. We have tips to help you save some cash on your next vacation, because a little savings here and there can eventually add up to a character meal when you really want a vacation extravagance.

Don’t Eat Too Much of This at Disney World

1. Eat breakfast in your room

While this may not be all that exciting, eating breakfast in the room has saved my family a lot of money through the years. Many people are not big breakfast eaters, so they simply fix a bowl of cereal, some fruit, Pop Tarts, or some oatmeal in their hotel room. Boo-coodles of companies these days offer high energy breakfast bars.

So even if it’s not as magical, eating a bar on a bus headed for a theme park is faster and way cheaper than “eating out.” This gets you to rope drop faster as well.

where to eat breakfast at Disney World

2. Travel, thus eat, in the “off-season”

I have a good friend that is like a walking Disney-price encyclopedia. She rattles off prices of meals and ticket prices like I can quote Disney Dooney & Bourke handbag prices. Heather told me she noticed that Disney raised the price of meals at two character meal restaurants and a buffet when they went for Christmas last year. I checked with a couple of Travel Agent friends at Destinations in Florida, and they confirmed this often occurs during the peak travel times. You know when this is – when school is out and everybody is having a stroke to get to Orlando. They said you can pay $2 to $4 more for the exact same meal during these busy times, so go off-season to save a little cash.

Apparently this will not affect those of you on a Disney Dining Plan, whether you paid for it or got it for free.

3. Speaking of character meals… go during breakfast

Character meals are very expensive. I could feed my entire family of five at McDonald’s almost TWICE for the cost of one adult dinner buffet at Chef Mickey’s. But unlike Mickey D’s or eating cereal in the hotel room, character meals are a Disney experience, so go enjoy that character meal during breakfast rather than lunch. Prices are lower in the morning, even if the menu is different from lunch or dinner.

Are you eating for specific foods on the menu or for the seeing-characters experience? If the answer is characters, then I see waffles, eggs, and bacon in your future. And if you wake up early enough for a reservation before 8 a.m., think of the head start you’ll get to the parks.

Should You Purchase the Disney Dining Plan?

4. Character meal and then skip lunch

Anyone that has eaten at an all-you-care-to-eat meal knows how full you will be when you finish. If you make your reservations for “brunch time,” like somewhere between 10 and 11 a.m., you may eat enough to skip lunch all together. Lots of families I know do this – hey, including mine!

If the kids get hungry, pick up a counter service kids’ meal, or plan ahead and bring a sandwich if you know they’ll be hungry even after the buffet.

How to save money on Disney World food and drinks

5. Bring in your own snacks

Cast Members do bag checks to make sure there are no weapons or glass containers going into the theme parks. They are not checking to see if you smuggled in food. It’s 100% A.O.K. to bring your own snacks with you into Disney them parks.

There are some restrictions about glass containers, cooler sizes, etc. Check it out here:

What Items Can You NOT Bring to Walt Disney World Theme Parks?

6. Bring in your own meal

If you have ever walked the back trails of the Disney parks, the little pathways off the crowded sidewalks, you will frequently see many families having picnics on the park benches. Coolers open, sandwiches in plastic bags, juice boxes, and packs of animal crackers are consumed by group after group. I nod my head to them in cheapskate agreement. A picnic may not be as glamorous and fun as a character meal, but it’s WAY less expensive. The kids will not be scarred for life if they don’t eat every meal in a restaurant – ask me how I know! And eating meals you bring yourself can save you enough to splurge for a character meal later on.

See the link above for restrictions on containers and ice chests, etc.

7. Bring in your own water.

I don’t have many negative Disney issues, although I am not a fan of these new Fastpass+ changes, but one of my huge complaints with Walt Disney World is the taste of the water. Bleh!! I frequently joke that their fountain water is spiked with yukiness so I will have to pay retail for their bottled water. I think you get somewhat used to it after several days, sort of, but it really tastes awful to most people.

Bring your own bottles of water to the parks with you, no matter how you have to get them there. Refill them frequently, or bring reusable, BPA-free water bottles, which cuts down on garbage when you throw away those plastic bottles.

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why bring water into Disney World

8. Bring a water filter or enhancer

More eco-friendly than throwing away 64 bottles of water in a week’s stay? Get one of those reusable bottles that filters your water. A company called Berkey makes a water filter that removes bacteria and parasites, heavy metals like lead and mercury, VOCs and toxic chemicals like benzene, chlorine and chromium-6 to levels higher than 99.99%.

Still taste yucky? Bring along those small bottles or flavoring. Mio, Dasani, Propel, Skinny Girl, Aquafina, Crystal Light, and Nestea all make water enhancers.

9. Freeze it

Have you ever tried this? We freeze our bottles of water in the summer. Perhaps it’s all in our heads, but we think the water tastes better while it’s melting, and I can always put that cold water bottle on my neck or in the crook of my arm when it reaches 107 degrees outside at noon. I like to wrap this frozen bottle up with a wash cloth, which we occasionally use throughout the day to keep our travel backpack dry.

If a rain shower pops up, you now have a cool drink as well as a wash cloth to wipe your face. That’s a cheapskate win-win.

Where Can You Find FREE Disney World Snack and Drink Samples?

10. Two people split an entree

Food is really pricey at Disney World, but most people will readily admit you get what you pay for. You might pay a lot, but you most likely will not walk away hungry. Not a big eater? Then you should consider splitting an entrée.

Don’t think that will be enough food? Order an appetizer or an extra side to share, because the price of an appetizer is still less than ordering a full meal. Just ask for an extra plate.

Why bring your own snacks to Disney World

These ideas sound too familiar? Then you must be a regular in Orlando, been there and done that. Most of our readers are new to Disney trip planning, so leave a comment and tell us some of your other tips to save money on Disney food. We’re already working on “Saving Money on Food” part two, so maybe we’ll add your quote in using just your first name, to protect the cheapskates!

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you in the water isle at Wal-mart, looking for flavoring to take the sting out of that free Florida water.

 

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Disney World Food Tip #8: Avoid Eating Too Much Sugar

stay healthy on a Disney vacation

Updated for 2016!

My son and I have a little verbal game we play on walks when we are not visiting Disney parks. You know on those mundane days when we are surviving non-Disney reality, because somebody has to walk the dog in reality-ville. He likes to ask me, “What snack would you eat at Disney World right now?” I answer based on how long ago I ate a meal and which resort or park I can re-call to mind first. He always starts off with that same question, “What snack would you eat at Disney right now?” He doesn’t ask that repeatedly because he lacks imagination, but rather he asks because snacks occupy a HUGE part of our Orlando trips.

Ask anybody…Disney snacks and goodies are the stuff vacation legends are made of.

5 Steps for Planning a Disney Vacation: A Cheapskate Guide

sharing snacks at Disney World

I remember like it was yesterday. Several years ago, our children all went to the video arcade at the Contemporary Resort, leaving me and my husband to explore without kids. We wound up at the Contempo Cafe, so I could watch the monorails zip through the building. I bought a Black Forrest cupcake, and knowing my children wouldn’t be around to beg, I proceeded to eat the entire thing. That cupcake was as big as my fist; pretty soon after finishing it, I felt sick as a dog. And what should have been a lovely adult-quiet-time snack turned into an all too common occurrence on vacations. I had a sugar crash.

Wait, wait. I thought sugar was supposed to make you feel good?

Livestrong.com explains that eating sugar gives you an instant surge of energy, but this doesn’t last very long. Your blood sugar will surge to respond to the sugary snack you just ingested, your metabolism will burn through it, and then your “system crashes.” Now you wind up feeling sluggish and tired. You could feel yucky after eating too much sugar because your fullness sensors become impaired. When this happens, you may wind up eating more food or snacks than your body needs, and again, you feel uncomfortably full and sluggish.

I now call this phenomena “cupcake crash.” 

Differences in the Disney World Resort Levels: A Cheapskate Guide

cupcakes at Walt Disney World

I don’t eat sugary treats on vacation for energy; I eat them because, for the most part, they just simply taste amazing!  Assuming these snacks and desserts are sometimes about equal to what I can purchase at home in terms of quality, home food 100% of the time remains unmatched by Disney atmosphere and theming. I swear that cupcake truly tastes better than the average home-made cupcake when eaten outside by the pool at Coronado Springs. A Goofy’s Glacier icee is definitely better than the absolute best Slurpeee I ever slurped, because it was consumed outside the Word of Disney Store, Tinker Bell lights twinkling in the trees, Disney music piped in from the bushes. A hot fudge sundae during Wishes? Man, oh man…

Any of those treats seriously trumps a Zinger eaten at my back yard table any day.

The key to vacation snacking dining success is to examine the type of sugars you are consuming.

Should You Purchase the Disney Dining Plan?

caramel apples snacks at Disney World

Bodybuilding.com explains there are two types of sugars, simple sugar and complex sugars.

Simple Sugars

Simple sugars are those that can get absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly. They are sometimes called “fast sugars,” and foods containing these types of sugars are high on the glycemic index. This sugar can be sucrose, glucose, maltose, fructose, or different types of natural sugar.

Simple sugars can be disguised as jams, sweets, cakes, pastries, soft drinks, chocolates, biscuits, ice creams etc. They can also be found in mass quantities at the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Confectionary. I can just imagine the sweets counter now, with a Cast Member asking what I need today…

Complex Sugars

Complex sugars are those that release sugar slowly into the blood, thus they are referred to as “slow sugars.” Foods containing complex carbohydrates are generally low on the glycemic index. Fairly common examples of these foods are apples, peanuts, strawberries, lentils, green vegetables and mushrooms.

Low glycemic foods release sugar into the blood in quantities that the body can cope with without having to release high levels of insulin. Also these foods provide the body with nutrients it needs to burn sugar effectively.

Walt Disney World’s Giant Turkey Leg; Gotta Have It or Skip it?

best snacks at Walt Disney World

Eating more of the slow sugars (complex) and less of the fast sugars (simple) ensure your energy levels stay constantly ramped up. When there is no huge sugar crash, this usually means you are less likely to crave another instant sugar hit.

So what are you to do, surrounded by all those delectable treats and desserts? Because like Mickey t-shirts and key chains, there are desserts, ice creams, and pastries everywhere you turn. If you don’t see them, chances are you can smell them as you walk down the sidewalks. And darling, they smell fantastic!

Try to eat more fruits and vegetables than sweets while you are at Disney World. That’s a simple concept that most of us learned in high school health class, but it’s easier to say than actually to do on vacation. You can bring healthy snacks with you or spend more for them on property.

And yet sometimes you will just need to give in to that yummy Disney treat-temptation.

Go buy that cupcake, purchase that Glacier drink, order that chocolate pie with a Dole Whip on the side. But then in true Cheapskate Princess style, you are going to share it.

Grab a knife ands split it in half, fourths even if you are traveling with a larger party. Divide it up, and have a “snack sample.” I tell my children all the time that a Disney snack isn’t meant to be a meal, it’s a sample. And some of those Disney muffins, pastries, fritters, cakes, pies, ice cream bars, and frozen drinks have enough substance to make you as full as if you had just consumed a meal.

Your vacation problem arrives when you overindulge on sweets, because a “cupcake crash” can be right around the corner.

Walt Disney World’s Giant Turkey Leg; Gotta Have It or Skip it?

Mickey Mouse cake pop at Disney World

Buy three snacks, cut them up, and make your own dessert sampler. Just get a taste, and your body will thank you later. Trust me, your kids will LOVE this idea if you present it the right way. Hey kids, you get to try more desserts with the Cheapskate Sharing Plan, just in smaller amounts. You get what you pay for at Disney World, and sometimes it’s more about quality than quantity.

Ok, maybe they won’t thank you immediately, but you’ll be glad their little stomachs aren’t aching after consuming a cupcake built for four.

If you ever divided a cupcake into four parts because another snack time is only several hours away, you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you with a knife in hand, explaining to the kids the differences between a snack and a meal.

how to save money on food at Disney parks

 

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Should You Purchase the Disney Dining Plan?

Disney Dining Plan recommendations

Updated for 2015!

Ask a group of seasoned Disney visitors about paying out-of-pocket for the Disney Dining Plan, and you are guaranteed to spark a pretty good debate. Many people love it, while others refuse to pay, only using the dining plan when they can get it during a free promotion. It’s hard to argue with that logic, as every Cheapskate Princess loves FREE! But what do you do if the free option falls outside of your travel window? Do you pay for your own food whenever you feel like it, or do you pay for the Disney Dining Plan in advance of your vacation?

Walt Disney World’s Giant Turkey Leg; Gotta Have It or Skip it?

Resort guests who purchase a Magic Your Way Package or book using Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points can purchase The Disney Dining Plan (DDP).  With the dining plan, you simply purchase a certain number of meals on a “voucher system.”  Every night of your stay, each guest on your reservation receives an allotment of quick service meals, table service meals and snacks. The number of meals you receive depends on the dining plan you choose.

Your Key to the World card (room key) monitors your group’s allocated meals.  After you finish your meal, your receipt will display how many meals you have remaining for each room (not per guest), which allows you to keep track of what you have left.  Meals and snacks may be redeemed in any order during your stay until the balance is at zero or until midnight of the night you check out.

The Disney Dining Plans come in three types. Magic Your Way Package Plus Quick Service Dining, Magic Your Way Package Plus Dining and Magic Your Way Package Plus Deluxe Dining.

These are prices for the 2015 dining plans. Each price is per night.  Going by Disney rules, adults are people 10 years and over, and children are ages 3 to 9. A ten-year-old may not be an adult in your house, certainly not in mine either, but they are viewed as adults at Walt Disney World. Maybe it’s time to send grown up Jr. (age 10) out to mow the grass before you leave?!

Quick Service Dining

2 quick service meals, 1 snack, 1 refillable mug

$41.99 per adult, $16.03 per child

Regular Dining

1 table service meal, 1 quick service meal, 1 snack,  1 refillable mug

$60.04 per adult, $19.23 per child

Deluxe Dining

3 meals – any combination of table service and quick service,  2 snacks, 1 refillable mug 

$109.53 per adult, and $29.86 per child

I Completely Disliked Starbucks at Walt Disney World, Until This Happened…

should you get the Disney World Dining Plan

We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans what they thought about paying for the DDP; their answers can help you plan your next Disney vacation!

No – Do Not Purchase the Plan

Vegetarian Options are Limited

Lisa, “No, we don’t because we are vegetarian, and the dining options are very limited. It’s mostly the meat dishes that are expensive.”

Too Much Food

Stefanie, “We tried the dinning plan, and we decided it wasn’t for us until our son decides to eat more. I ended up sharing with him a lot. Disney does know how to fill a plate! We never left hungry!”

Stacey, “We have done it both ways, and the dining plan is just way too much food for us. We don’t want a dessert with every meal. It is just cheaper for us to pay out-of-pocket and get what we want rather than purchase the dining plan.”

Food Costs Less with No Dining Plan

Erica, “I took my three youngest kids in April, and due to their ages, Disney wanted $200 a day for the dining plan. We spent less than that for the entire three days we were there.”

Tammi, “When we don’t get the dining plan for free, it just does not make sense. We normally never eat desert, etc. When we have it, we eat two times as much as we normally would.”

Liz,We didn’t even get it free this time. The Room Only discount made more sense financially for us. The first time we went, we paid for Deluxe Dining, and what a mistake that was! Way too much food and way too much time spent getting to and from restaurants. This trip in September, we are paying out-of-pocket for food. We made a few ADRs but not many.  We will eat breakfast in our room most days, and we will eat what we want, when we want, from counter service spots. My back-of-the-envelope calculations/estimates have us paying just over half what we would have for the dining plan.

Jennifer, “We don’t purchase the dining plan, because there’s just two of us. We feel like it’s not worth the price, because we share a lot of food, and we don’t want to be ruled by reservations and desserts! We end up eating wayyyy more when we have the dining plan, and it kind of drags me down. So we just eat when we are hungry, and we save a lot of money.”

Freedom from Constant ADR Scheduling

Salina, “We pay out of pocket for our food. We are big eaters, but we always do much better paying as we go! Then we can have a few sit down and character meals and not have to have a sit down meal every day. Our kids want to go go go!”

Where to Find FREE Disney World Snack and Drink Samples!

Disney Dining Plan Tips

Yes – Pay for the Dining Plan

Given the cost of the dining plan, it always somewhat surprises me people are willing to spend that much money on food. But the beauty of a Disney vacation is that no particular vacation plan is right for every family. Some people go to Disney to experience all the amazing cuisine WDW has to offer, and the DDP is a great way for Disney foodies to whoop it up.

Mendi and Nick, “The dining plan may be our favorite Disney perk. That is where they hide the magic.”

Tammy, “We’ve done it both ways – free and out-of-pocket. On our last trip, we did four nights at Disney World, (three days in park,) then Disney cruise, and then back to the parks for two days. So we got a Five day Magic Your Way with dining. The dining worked for the first part of the trip, but for the last part after the cruise, that was out of pocket. We were using the ‘leftover’ two days of park tickets and paid for a hotel at the Art of Animation. After always having the dining plan, paying out-of-pocket was very different. We said then that we would never pay out-of-pocket without the dining plan again ( if our stay allowed.) It just makes things so much more simpler and a little easier on your budget, if you plan on eating in ‘the world.'”

It Saves You $

 Jordan, “Last November we chose to go with the upgraded (free) dining. We kept receipts and did the math. If you plan to do character meals, and ever consider doing desserts (even though most of ours ended up coming back to the room with us,) then paying full price for the dining would be worth it.  You do come out saving some money. But if you pay for it, then for sure use it.  If you want that 25$+ steak, then have it because then you really get your money worth.”

Nancy, “Before we started staying on property, we paid for meals with cash. Now when we stay on property, we use the deluxe dining. It totally saves money! Especially since we do a lot of character and signature meals. We feel it is definitely worth it!

Disney World Food Tip #1: Why You Should Share Dessert

Relax- It’s Paid for in Advance!

One big reason many people choose to purchase the dining plan in advance is because it takes a lot of worry over pricing out of your hands. Why worry about looking at prices, because it’s already paid for?

Randy, “We have used the regular dining plan since our children reached their upper teens. We park hop and most days and nights, we plan to be back at Epcot for lunch or dinner, even if we are taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours at another park. For us, knowing that a table service meal each day is paid for allows us to try a new restaurant each time we vacation, and yet we still get to enjoy our favorites… LeCellier and Via Napoli.”

Amy, “Yes! We did character dining each day plus Ohana for dinner. That added up. We didn’t have to think about prices, we ordered what we wanted. It made dining so simple and care free.”

Julie, I have payed out-of-pocket because I love the dining plan; it affords me the opportunity to pre pay my food and eat whatever I want! The no-worries feeling helps us enjoy our vacation much more!

Melanie, “We just got back last week, and I did pay for it. I tracked all our expenses and we broke even, actually it was a little bit of a deal for us. I like the fact that my meals are paid for in advance. That’s one less expense to think about on the trip, since I have to think about tips.”

Are Disney World’s “Rapid Fill” Refillable Resort Mugs Worth the Cost?

Character Meals 

Most people who seem to really talk up paying for the dining plan are people who know for certain they will go to character meals.

Amanda, “We are making our first ever trip in December with our daughter. She will turn five while we are there. We are paying for the dining plan, because we plan to take full advantage of character dining and special dining. It would cost too much to pay for all of it without the plan.”

Melissa, “It depends. If you plan on doing character dining, then the dining plan pays for itself! I’ve done both; I think you can eat cheaper, and there are some really great quick service options. I’m not just talking burgers and fries here! My kids are spoiled though, and I must admit, so is their mom. We need our character interactions!”

Kelly, “We are DVC members, so we ALWAYS pay for the dining plan out-of-pocket. Going with two teenage boys, the dining plan is worth it. When they were younger, the dining plan allowed us to enjoy ALL of the character meals. The price of one character meal was usually equal to one person’s dining plan for our trip. When it is just my husband and I, we don’t usually purchase the dining plan because it isn’t worth it for just the two of us. We have friends that only go when there is free dining. So, my advice is, if it is only two adults and they aren’t big eaters, or not interested in trying some of the finer dining offered by Disney, then I say pass. But, if you have small children that love the characters it is worth paying for.”

What Are the Top Three Character Meals at Walt Disney World?

Disney Dining Plan

Bring Your Snacks Home

Bridget “We pay for the dining plan. We are DVC members, so I have to pay for it, but with character meals, it pays for itself.  My daughter loves Chef Mickey. If we have left over snacks or quick service items, we bring stuff home to enjoy once we are back to real life.”

Judy, “The last three times I have visited Disney, we have paid for the dining plan, and I feel it was totally worth it. If you look at the cost of what meals would cost without it, and compare it to what you get with the meal plan, you can see that it pays. At many counter service and table service meals, you can get a meal and a dessert, or an appetizer and a meal. When we didn’t use the dining plan, I would normally skip the appetizer or dessert. Then if you add in all the character meals that you can attend, it definitely pays for itself. If I didn’t do the meal plan, I would only do one character meal. But since we purchased the plan this last time we visited last summer, and it was kids first time visiting, we were able to do three different character meals. At the end if the week, we had so many meals left over, so we used them to get snacks for traveling home. The other advantage I have found is that we try restaurants and meals that we would not normally try if we were paying for the meal out-of-pocket, like Tandouri chicken at Sanaa in Animal Kingdom Lodge.”

information on the Disney Dining Plan

Remember the Tip at Table Service Meals

And remember, table service meals at Disney World come with a steep tipping cost added in for larger groups. Large by Disney numbers is any party over six people. 

Melissa, “We purchase the dining plan, but it’s almost impossible to figure out if it’s truly a cost savings. We kept all our receipts, but the problem is that we ordered differently than we would if we were paying out-of-pocket, so it was really impossible to do a cost savings analysis. There is one thing to watch out for; if you have a group of more than six people, you pay an 18% mandatory gratuity on the ticket price of the meal. So, all those free desserts and free drinks, etc., start to add up. For our group of nine people for nine days with 2-3 table service meals per day, the meal plan cost roughly $5,ooo, but we paid over $1800 on top of that in gratuities for the trip. It was NUTS! Again, the gratuity is based on the ‘ticket price’ of your meals, not the cost of the dining plan. (18% of the dining plan would only have been $900). I would never do the dining plan for large groups for this reason, because it gets out of control. The ‘freebies’ aren’t free.”

Also, an automatic gratuity charge may also be added to your bill for items you order that are not included in the Disney Dining Plan, like alcoholic beverages.

I’m all about being a cheapskate, but if you can’t afford to tip, then you should be dining at counter service restaurants. We travel with five “adults,” so that’s where you’ll find our family.

Can’t Afford to Stay at This Pricey Disney Resort? Then Go Eat Here!

For a much more in-depth look at the entire Disney Dining Plan, use this link. Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you waiting for your character meal reservation time.

Get a taste of the Dark Side

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Disney World Must Eat: the Giant Turkey Leg

turkey leg Walt Disney World

Oh, Disney World giant turkey leg, thou art so…huge! Have you watched someone eat a turkey leg at WDW? There’s not really a cool way to do it; you just dig in and hope for minimal mess on your Splash Mountain t-shirt. Ever wondered where these snacks, or meals depending on who you talk to, came from, and how much they will cost you to buy one? Should you buy one or just skip it for something less carnivore-ish?

We have all your juicy, meaty answers, plus advice from our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans on what to do with your ca$h – spend it on this iconic treat or save it for a Dole Whip.

Today.com’s travel section relates that the giant turkey legs were first introduced at Disney World during the 1990s, which according to a The New York Times article in 2013, started as single stand in the late 1980s next to Big Al’s Coonskin Caps in Frontierland. The legs became such a popular item, they were quickly introduced to the other parks. More than 1.6 million turkey legs are consumed at the resort every year, and you can even buy all sorts of parks merchandise with pictures of turkey legs on them.

5 Easy Tips to Save Money on Food at Walt Disney World

Disney World giant Turkey Leg

Where can you buy them?

They are sold at both Disney World and Disneyland.

How much does it weigh?

Cured with a salt solution, the legs weigh 1.5 pounds each.

JeffCheapskate Princess Facebook fan, said, “I’m not a calorie counter, but I heard the calorie count on those along with the break down of fats and sodium per leg. And it is amazing how much of each can be packed in. I don’t remember all the numbers, but the calories were over 2000, and all the others were more than double a normal daily allowance. I’ve never had one, but after hearing all that… I never will!”

Good point, Jeff.

Exactly how many calories will you be devouring?

Each leg is roughly 720 calories with 36 grams of fat, according to a supplier, Yoakum Packing, as quoted by the The New York Times.

Want to Save Money on Food at Disney? Two Words: Kid’s Meals!

The turkey leg is so popular, there is a shirt in its honor.

Disney World Giant Turkey leg shirt

Do the legs really come from turkeys or some other animal?

The New York Times reports that while people are accustomed to Thanksgiving turkeys (female birds or hens) the Disney legs are from the males, called toms, which are bigger. They can weigh up to 50 pounds each.

Steffi, Cheapskate Princess Facebook fan said,”No thanks. I’m a vegetarian. Don’t you wonder how the legs get SO big ???

Excellent question, Steffi.

Are they chock full of Steroids?

The New York Times quoted Keith M. Williams, a vice president at the National Turkey Federation (industry trade group) as saying farmers give toms “plenty of room to exercise their legs.” Federal law prohibits the use of steroids to make turkeys any meatier.

For a Fabulous Disney Meal, Make These Reservations ASAP!

And if eating animals isn’t your thing, they have a rice crispy treat version with exactly zero meat.

Disney turkey leg rice krispy treat

kids love turkey leg snacks at Walt Disney World

How many are sold each year?

The New York Times reported that at Disney’s six Florida and California theme parks, the company served up an astounding two million of its jumbo turkey legs in 2013. That’s 25 percent more than three years ago, and if you have noticed the turkey leg showing up in different park locations, like Tomorrowland at Florida’s Magic Kingdom, that number is sure to be on the rise.

The cost?

The legs each costs $9.49 before tax at Disney World, and apparently almost $12 at Disneyland. That’s not going to bust up your vacation budget, especially if you share it between a friend.

To Save Money on Food At Disney, Bring This Bottle With You

Turkey leg, t-shirt version…

turkey leg t-shirt at Disney World

So we asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans what they thought about the well-known turkey leg, is it a must-do or should you skip it?

Yes, snack or meal

Yuuki Snack or meal. It depends on how hungry you are….”

Angela, “We like them! With a side of fries. But two will feed a family of five (3 kids) and just add fries. Just make sure the birds don’t take them!”

Brittany, “Mmmmm! I let my inner fat kid out when we’re at Disney, so I might say snack!!!”

Laurie, “Snack. Hubby, son, and I share one. It’s tradition.”

Angela, “Meal, and usually the only one of the day. After that maybe some snacks later.”

Shelley, “Meal…my grandson and I usually split one.”

No way, Jose the Tur-kay

Christie, “Skip. There are Dole Whips around the corner!”

Christine, “SKIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EW!!! Definitely skip!!!!! Caveman meal for sure! LOL!”

The following may be the most men we have ever had respond to a Facebook question, and ironically (you know that saying about how men love meat) they all said to skip it.

James, “At 1,136 calories per serving, not to mention 54 g fat, I will SKIP.”

Bill,  “Skip. It’s gross, loaded with salt, and tastes more like ham.”

Sean, “Skip. I always think of cavemen when I see people walking around munching on those things.”

The results among our Facebook crew that answered the question were about 40% said, “Yes, we gotta have it!” and 60% said “Ewww, skip it!”

Can You Bring Your Own Food into a Disney World Theme Park?

“Bizarre Foods” host Andrew Zimmern, in a photo by Gene Duncan from wdw.news.com, chowed down on some turkey legs with Chef Goofy in 2009. This guy eats all kinds of strange foods, so if he gives it a thumbs up, you know you’re probably OK!

Andrew-Zimmern eats a Disney World giant turkey leg

And a pin from the Disney World Pinterest site offers this this last bit of tasty advice…

keep calm and eat a Disney turkey leg

So what do you think?  At around $10, you gotta have it or gotta skip it?

Leave us a comment below and tell us what you plan to do on your next Disney vacation.

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Disney Springs Must Do: Starbucks by the Lake

new Starbucks at Downtown Disney

Updated for 2017!

I am one of those people who handles change pretty well, but when I heard my beloved Main Street Bakery in the Magic Kingdom was being over-run by Starbucks, I was quite skeptical.  I don’t have anything against the Starbucks Corporation; I’m certainly not anti-corporation. I’m just not a coffee drinker, and even if I was the biggest Starbucks fan on the planet, the magic of Disney World’s original Main Street bakery was gone forever for me once they competed the make over. No more park-closing after-hours cinnamon roll.  No more carrot cake while watching the glass blowers work their magic next door at Crystal Arts.  No more, blah blah, gone forever…

So how ironic is it that the first place I go on every visit to  Disney Springs is the Starbucks, located by the Characters in Flight balloon. [Read more…]

FREE Disney World Snack and Drink Samples: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Free fudge samples at Disney World

Updated July 2015!

It’s tough to find anything truly free in real life. Perhaps after all the money you pay to vacation at Walt Disney World, it’s a special bonus to find something free. Technically, unless you’re a local just hanging out, you paid for it with your theme park costs of admission. But you know, we all love the idea of getting something for free. Disney World offers free snack and drink samples in their parks and resorts.  Now by “sample,” we don’t mean an entire pizza or a whole chocolate-covered caramel apple, but rather samples are just small bite-sized and single cup amounts, designed mostly to wet your appetite enough to make a purchase. [Read more…]

Disney World Food Tip #9: Why You Should Share Dessert

Everywhere you look at Disney World, you will be surrounded by incredible sweet snacks and desserts. They are inescapable on Main Street, U.S.A, restaurants, Goofy’s Candy Co. at Downtown Disney, and now there are even dessert cases in the resort gift shops. I joke that you cannot walk more than about 100 feet without running into something with sugar as a main ingredient.

But man oh man, you have to see those desserts. Chocolate-covered caramel apples, brownies, ice cream sundaes, Dole Whips, tropical icees, pastries, turnovers… the list just never ends. [Read more…]

What Are the Top Three Character Meals at Walt Disney World?

best Disney character meals, how to pick Disney character meals, eat the best Character Meals

Updated for 2016!

There are so many decisions that go into a Disney World vacation. Behind determining where you will actually stay, where to eat comes in a pretty close second in terms of important reservations. Character meals are often three and four times the cost of a counter service meal, so how do you know if you have picked the best one? We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans to tell us their favorite character meal. Ask yourself if you would rather get my personal opinion on a restaurant or dining opinions from hundreds of people. You want to go with the the hundreds, of course!

And our fans say the top three character meals are…

 The Top 20 Best Disney Restaurants, So Says the Fans!

Chef Mickey's Character Buffet

#1. Chef Mickey’s

Location?

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

What do you get?

You will enjoy an all-you-care-to-eat buffet while Disney characters mingle with guests for photos, autographs, songs, and dances. Soak up the expansive views of Bay Lake and behold the stunning 90-foot-high mural created by Disney Legend Mary Blair, plus you’ll spot monorails zipping through the building.

What characters will you meet?

  • Mickey Mouse
  • Minnie Mouse
  • Pluto
  • Donald Duck
  • Goofy

The Cost and Other Details

The cost is $35 to $59.99 per adult.  There are no children’s prices currently listed on the Disney website.

Reservations are recommended, and they can be made up to 180 days prior to your visit.

Character appearances and entertainment are subject to change.

Some dining plans are accepted.

Menu items and prices are subject to change without notice.

Hours

Breakfast
7:00 AM – 11:30 AM 
Brunch
11:35 AM – 2:30 PM 
Dinner
5:00 PM – 9:30 PM 

Important Links

Use this link to check Chef Mickey’s availability. 

Use this link to see a complete menu.

Over 20 Disney Character Autograph Tips from Fans and Parents

The Crystal Palace

#2 The Crystal Palace

Location?

Main Street, U.S.A., in the Magic Kingdom

What do you get?

This restaurant is inspired by Victorian greenhouses of the late 1800s, so you’ll find lots of light, topiaries, and tropical plants

Meals are served buffet-style, starting the day off with breakfast items like French toast, made-to-order omelets, freshly baked pastries, fruit and more. For lunch and diner, meal items include carved flank steak, sirloin, oven-roasted chicken, Atlantic salmon, peel-and-eat shrimp, turkey, mashed potatoes, chicken nuggets and more. Be sure to consult the complete menu to determine when these items are served.

There is a separate buffet area for kids called “Pooh Corner.”

What characters will you meet?

Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, and Tigger.

The Cost and Other Details

This buffet starts at $15 to $35 per adult and goes up to $35 to $60 per adult. There are no children’s prices currently listed on the Disney website.

Reservations are recommended, and they can be made up to 180 days prior to your visit.

Character appearances and entertainment are subject to change.

Some dining plans are accepted.

Menu items and prices are subject to change without notice.

Hours

Breakfast
8:00 AM – 10:45 AM 
Lunch
11:30 AM – 2:45 PM 
Dinner
3:15 PM – 9:30 PM 

If you want a guaranteed lunch reservation, this is your only choice of our top three suggestions, since Chef Mickey’s only offers brunch at certain times, and ‘Ohana does not offer lunch.

Important Links

Use this link to check availability.

Use this link to see a complete menu.

If You Do This on a Disney Vacation, You May Totally Regret It Later

'Ohana Character Meal prices

#3 ‘Ohana

Location?

Disney’s Polynesian Resort

What do you get?

Feast family-style at breakfast while Disney characters sign autographs and pose for photos. You’ll enjoy games, storytelling and a Hawaiian-style feast at dinner.

What characters will you meet?

You will meet Lilo and Stitch, Pluto and Mickey but only for breakfast. There are no characters at dinner.

The Cost and Other Details

This buffet starts at $15 to $35 per adult an goes up to $35 to $60 per adult. There are no children’s prices currently listed on the Disney website.

Reservations are recommended, and they can be made up to 180 days prior to your visit.

Character appearances and entertainment are subject to change.

Some dining plans are accepted.

Menu items and prices are subject to change without notice.

Hours

Breakfast
7:30 AM – 12:00 PM 
Dinner
3:30 PM – 10:00 PM 

Important Links

Use this link to check availability.

Use this link to see a complete menu.

12 Totally Cool Ideas to Replace Your Usual Disney Character Autograph Books

Of course opinion can vary from person to person, but we felt like this was indeed a good place to start when it’s time for you to make your character meal reservations. It’s always smart to make your Advanced Dining Reservations 180 in advance so you get your first choices.

Let’s give a big word of thanks to our Cheapskate Princess fans for their answers, and now you can let us know if your favorite made our tops three character meal list.

Top 3 Disney Character Meals

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you searching for a character to hug…

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

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Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

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Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.