Eating Cheaply at Florida’s Theme Parks

By James | Last updated May 9, 2024

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With the high price of food these days, it can become expensive to eat and drink in Florida’s theme parks.

You can easily spend $50 or more on a meal for a family of four, with a burger costing around $8.00 and a single bottle of water $2.50

When visiting Florida’s theme parks you have several options when it comes to cheap food and drink:

  • budget wisely and eat at the cheaper restaurants and food outlets
  • bring food into the park with you (if allowed)
  • eat outside of the parks
  • simply cut down on how much you eat whilst at the parks !!

Budget Wisely at the Restaurants

It is possible to cut down on your food bills if you hunt out the cheaper food options. All the parks have the equivalent of fast food outlets where you can get a simple meal and drink but expect to pay around $10 a head.

Most restaurants also offer child meals with smaller portions for the kids. Unless you are eating in a table service restaurant you can often get away with ordering a child meal for an adult.

Another thing to watch out for are some of the side items or “souvenir boxes”. If you do not want them, ask as it may be cheaper without. Also consider splitting a meal between two, most restaurants are happy to do this.

For less than $6 you should be able to find things like hot dogs, quiche, croissants, fruit and cheese, pastries or pizzas.

Often you will find similar food served at counter service restaurants rather than table service restaurants which will be cheaper.

If you plan on spending a lot of time in the parks, another option is to look at the various dining plans and meal deals that the parks offer, such as Disney’s Dining Plan, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens All Day Dining Deal and the Universal Meal Deal.

Bringing Food into the Theme Parks

A few years ago, Florida’s theme parks were very strict about bringing any food or drinks into the parks. These days, they are a bit more relaxed and most parks including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld will now allow you to bring a reasonable amount of food and drink into the park with you.

Here you will find more details about bringing food and drink into Florida’s theme parks.

Eat Outside the Parks

If you have a car, then why not consider taking a break from the park and eating at a nearby hotel, resort, local restaurant or your own private condo or villa.

Many restaurants offer “all-you-can-eat” buffets where you can literally eat yourself silly.

Taking a couple of hours out will also help you recharge the batteries and allow you to enjoy the rest of the day, that little bit more. During the longer summer months, you need a break for a couple of hours, perhaps to have a lie down, read a book or take a swim.

You could even bring a picnic with you to the park, leave it in the car and then go back to your car to eat. Just remember about the heat and that a car park does not make the best and most picturesque picnic spot !!

Cut Down on How Much You Eat

When you see the number of overweight people on vacation in Florida, do you really need that second turkey drumstick? Why not have a good healthy breakfast before entering the park and then eat dinner after you leave the park in the evening. In this way you only need to worry about lunch time and snacks throughout the day.

As mentioned before, you can get “all-you-can-eat” buffets which include breakfast deals as some restaurants like the Golden Corral.

With the high temperatures and humidity in Florida you need to keep hydrated but don’t forget that perfectly good drinking water is available throughout the parks at the many drinking fountains and many restaurants will serve free ice cold water.

If you bring your own bottled water, then you can top it up from the drinks fountains during the day to save buying expensive sodas and other drinks.

If you don’t like the taste of the water, consider sweetened Crystal Light or Kool-Aid or even Lipton Cold Brew tea bags.