Disney Food Tip #1: Share This Meal!

sharing food on a Disney World vacation

Updated for 2017!

Food is a hot topic among Disney vacation planners. People online are raving about their favorite restaurants and special meals. But food is also pricey, and if you are on a limited food budget, character meals and Disney Signature Dining meals may not be on your trip itinerary. Budget WDW trips often call for counter service meals. Counter service is simply where you walk up to the restaurant counter and order your meal, take it back to your table yourself, and clean up your own mess. There is no wait staff at counter service restaurants like there are at table service locations, and this meal will be less expensive than table service.

You can save money by choosing counter service meals over table service, and then save even more by sharing, because who says you have to eat the whole meal by yourself?

Remember when mom said, “Sharing is caring.” Well, it’s also cheaper…

Disney Food Tip #1: Share This Meal!

Ordering an adult meal and sharing is a smart way to save money, and there are numerous reasons two adults may choose to share a meal. In the heat of the summer, many people can get a queasy feeling after all the walking around the hot, humid parks following a big meal. After eating a large breakfast or lunch, you might not have the appetite for another meal so soon. Meal sharing can also save calories.

My daughter and I regularly share counter service meals, especially sandwiches. She eats frequent mini meals throughout the day, and I am essentially just saving calories for dessert before bedtime, or perhaps dessert before lunch!

share food on vacation at Disney World

There will be times you just don’t feel like eating an entire counter meal on your own, so sharing will make sense.

sharing Disney World meals

How much are counter service meals?

As an example from a 2017 menu, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight cafe in Magic Kingdom has a wide assortment of Entrees that are just perfect for sharing.


save money on food at Disney World

cosmic ray's menu at Disney World

So one meal from around $12 to $15 now turns into two meals, which is both less money and less calories.

save money sharing Disney World counter service meal

yummy Disney World food options

We asked our readers if they shared Disney meals or had any suggestions.

Brad, “The omelette at POP Century is huge, and we share the chicken meal at Cosmic Rays.”

Heather, “At Columbia Harbor House, pretty much anything there you can share, especially the chicken and fish plate!”

Melanie, “We usually get the dining plan during free dining. However, I wouldn’t be opposed to it as I feel like every counter service gives so much food. A half sandwich is filling for me.”

Brandy,I think this year, the boys and I will be sharing meals (my 17-year-old isn’t a big eater) or ordering kids meals. We HAVE learned to bring snacks and breakfast items with us and eat at the hotel. It’s easier to talk teens into stuff like that, especially when they’ve learned the value of a dollar!” 

Alicia, “At Hollywood Studios, head to Min and Bill’s Dockside diner. I ordered a Turkey leg (you can get this at other parks too) and it came with chips and a HUGE milkshake. My 18-year-old son, two daughters (5 and 7) and I all shared it as a meal and it was plenty.

And with the money you save sharing a lunch or dinner, you can now share a snack, or splurge and get your own cupcake!

Contemporary Resort Contempo Cafe food

It may not have been the healthiest meal at the time, but several years ago on a night when I wasn’t very hungry, I ate the fries off my child’s kids’ meal for dinner. And later that night I split a Cosmic Rays’s chicken nugget meal with three children that wanted a late night snack. Let’s not talk about all the calories I consumed the next day…

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you looking over the menu, doing the mental math!

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Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess


Disney’s Cheapskate Princess


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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.