Eating at any theme park - including Walt Disney World's Florida parks - can be expensive. Time your meals well and eat off-park when possible to enjoy better nourishment at a lower cost.
Food at Walt Disney World can be outrageously expensive and, in some cases, of poor quality. It can make a very large dent in your vacation budget if you don't plan ahead.
Picnics are not really the solution. You are not allowed to bring your own food into the theme parks.(the exception being the two water parks where you can and should take a picnic with you) People do seem take food into the parks, and I have never seen anyone challenged. I guess the watchword here is "be discrete"If you arrive at the gates with a large cooler and picnic hamper you are inviting the Disney people to take action.
1. Get a good breakfast "Off -World"
Fantastic breakfast deals abound on Hwy 192. Deny’s and International house of Pancakes have a number of locations serving really good breakfasts. Some smaller restaurants and big chains like Sizzlers serve a breakfast buffet where you can really stuff yourself for a few dollars. My personal favorite is Cracker Barrel who dish up traditional Southern cooking. A good breakfast will set you up for a hard day at the parks and prevent mid morning hunger pangs.
(However it might not be a good idea to ride "Tower of Terror" or "Mission Space" with a full stomach!)
2. Avoid Killer Snacks
Snacks at Disney World can make a big hole in your wallet. You could buy a full meal "off world" for the price of a Disney coffee and cake. Try to carry a drink. The parks sell a nifty shoulder strap to hold a small bottle. After your first expensive purchase you can replace the bottle with cheaper sodas from a supermarket.In really hot weather you will appreciate a drink at regular intervals. Water is probably best. Try to find some kind of waist strap to hold a bottle which you can replenish at the water fountains as you come across them. (Totes do a good one)
3. Avoid fast food.
The best way to avoid expensive, inferior fast food is to arrange in advance where and when you will eat Trouble comes when you are too tired or thirsty to care - the result will be a very inferior hot dog or slice of pizza at top dollar prices. A proper sit down restaurant, carefully chosen, will represent much better value for money and you will have a nice rest in the process.
4. Eat Your Main Meal at Lunchtime.
Many restaurants have similar dinner and lunch menus but the lunch time one will be quite a lot cheaper. My family enjoyed a new meal called Linner. As brunch is to breakfast and lunch, linner is to Lunch and Dinner. Basically we ate from the lunch menu as late as possible. We missed the lunch time crowds but ate before the more expensive dinner menu kicked in (usually around 3pm). If you have a really good breakfast it will be easy enough to hold out until 3.00pm. We would often buy something to munch as we sat and waited for Parades, Fantasmic etc.
5. Use the Monorail
Use the monorail to go to a resort hotel at lunch or dinner time. They are often much less crowded and cheaper than the theme park restaurants. Get a hand stamp and you can return to the theme park later.
6 Treat Yourself to a full Service restaurants at EPCOT
Many people consider the restaurants in The World Showcase to be an important part of the EPCOT experience and you will definitely want to try one of them. The trick here is to choose carefully because they can be expensive, make sure it is the right choice for your family. (Not much point in shelling out for Japanese if junior will only ear burgers)