Disney Dining on $40 a Day

I was listening to old podcasts and found a challenge from just under a year ago to plan a day at one of the Walt Disney World parks dining on only $40 a day. It sounded fun but of course I am...about a year late. So instead of submitting this to the Internet At Large I'll just put it here.

Magic Kingdom

I generally don't eat breakfast, and when I do, I don't eat very much, so I'm already at kind of an advantage here. For breakfast here I'll go with my usual MK breakfast, a funnel cake at Sleepy Hollow for $5.99. 'What a ridiculous breakfast, Ria,' you may be saying. 'I am on vacation and you're a killjoy,' I respond.

For lunch I am going to pretend I have a coveted Be Our Guest reservation (they're taking lunch reservations as of tomorrow morning, fyi) and get myself a croque monsieur for $11.49. I love croque monsieurs and occasionally make them at home, but mine are never quite right. I tried the croque monsieur at the Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles in Epcot but it had been sitting under a heat lamp for who knows how long and it was truly disappointing. I've never had the Be Our Guest version but I would hope it hasn't been sitting around all day.

Sometimes I don't even have a snack during the day so I possibly wouldn't even use this one. My mother-in-law says I eat like a little bird. You know how they say your stomach is the size of your fist? My ring size is 4.5, I'm sure you can extrapolate from there the size of my teeny tiny baby hands, and thus teeny tiny baby stomach, I guess. Anyway, if I'm going to have a snack, I'm going to first run over to Adventureland for a Dole Whip float at $4.99 and then a churro from Frontierland at $4. Go big or go home, right? And also that Dole Whip float is my first fruit of the day, so. Health. I am the picture of it.

I'm currently at $26.47 before tax, which leaves me more or less stuck with more counter service for dinner. Luckily the battered fish platter at Columbia Harbour House is only $7.99, putting me right at the budget. Gonna have a lovely malt vinegar-covered dinner upstairs at the Harbour House. Delightful.

Magic Kingdom total: $34.46


While I said I have a regular breakfast at Magic Kingdom even though I generally don't eat breakfast, I've only ever eaten breakfast at Epcot once, and I really don't care to repeat it. I even like Starbucks but I found the Fountainview really lacking in all arenas. Pass.

I will however, immediately start eating upon World Showcase's opening. It opens at 11 which is technically lunch time in my book, so I'm going to start off with the empanadas con queso from La Cantina de San Angel for $10.99. I've always been wary of Mexican food outside of Texas, because I am very set in my ways, but these spicy cheesy empanadas are soooooo good. And usually the people with me are Texans who are also very wary of non-Tex-Mex, so I generally get all the empanadas to myself, despite trying to convince my companions of their deliciousness. Score.

I find it much easier to snack around World Showcase, just because there's so much I want to eat and I generally stick with small enough portions that I don't get too full. (Unless I get a beer in Germany. Which is not happening on a $40/day budget.) I'm gonna stop in Italy for a chocolate gelato for $5.95. I thought about adding an Italian margarita because they are so delicious, but then I'd have to sacrifice a French dessert, which is not gonna fly.

In making this list I'm finding myself sticking to most of my usual orders. I guess I eat pretty cheaply without thinking about it? Although honestly if I'm gonna splurge on anything, it's eating around World Showcase. But not on this $40 day. I'm gonna stuck with my usual dinner, though: the lamb shawarma platter at Tangierine Cafe. It's currently $13.99 but I remember the halcyon days of it being $10.99 when my husband and I literally had between us six lamb shawarma platters in the space of a week. Delightful.

I'm deeply sad there isn't enough money left in the budget for a box of macarons, but I will soothe my pain with a Cafe Liegeois for $5.50 (mostly because I can't find the price of the lemon tart online and am concerned it may no longer be available).

Epcot total: $36.43

Hollywood Studios

Okay, I never eat in Hollywood Studios so this is going to be difficult. It's usually only a half-day park for me, so I just eat at whichever other parks I'm going to.

I clearly have to have a carrot cake cookie from Writer's Stop for breakfast. It's $3.99 and there's carrots in it maybe. Health. (It's also the only food at Hollywood Studios I'm truly excited about. It's a magical cookie.)

At this point I turned to my husband and said, "Ugh, I never eat at Hollywood Studios! All I ever eat is the carrot cake cookie." Ben said, "How much is that?" "3.99" "TEN COOKIES!!!"

I mean, that would probably be pretty filling. I am, however, going to come up with something else. I guess if I'm not walking over to World Showcase for lunch (which, seriously? it's right there. why would I eat at Hollywood Studios when World Showcase is RIGHT THERE) I'll grab a southwest chicken salad at Backlot Express for $9.99. I SUPPOSE.

I'm going to skip an afternoon snack because I have Grand Plans for dessert. I'll grab a buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese at Min & Bill's Dockside Diner for $9.99. It sounds interesting.

Now for dessert I am going to the Sci-Fi Dine-In. I don't like the food at the Sci-Fi but it's hard to mess up dessert, and atmosphere-wise it's my favourite restaurant in all of Walt Disney World. So I'm going in for a chocolate milkshake at $5.19, and I know it's annoying to have someone only come in for dessert so I tip generously.

Before I close out this section I'd like to note that it took me FOUR TRIES to come up with a menu for this day because honestly, like 100% honestly, I'm not gonna eat at Hollywood Studios. It's like a 20-minute walk to World Showcase. I do not care.

Hollywood Studios total: $33.97

Animal Kingdom

Last time I was at Animal Kingdom I fully intended to have a white chocolate elephant cupcake from Kusafiri for breakfast but I didn't see any, though the internet claims they are available all day? Hmm. Either I will have this $5.19 cupcake for breakfast or I will just have an early lunch. But if I don't have the cupcake for breakfast I'm coming back for it.

For lunch I'm gonna stop by Mr. Kamal's for a falafel sandwich at $9.49. If I didn't already get my cupcake I'm going back for it after lunch. You will be mine, elephant cupcake.

I will definitely need a snack in the afternoon. Animal Kingdom makes me really hungry for some reason. I'm almost tempted to go back to Mr. Kamal's for hummus and pita but that seems a little silly. So I think I will stick with more churros at Dino Bite Snacks for $3.79.

I've still got a pretty good chunk of the budget left for dinner, so I think I'll go to Yak & Yeti and just order the dim sum basket for two (and eat it all myself) for $8.99, of course setting aside some extra tip money because I'm the jerk who came in and only ordered an appetizer.

Animal Kingdom total: $35.46

Sorry the pictures kinda petered out, it turns out I don't have pictures related to most of these, haha. This was fun though! Maybe next time I will quit procrastinating and write my Frozen post. Sigh.


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