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7 Reasons Why Leaving Walt Disney World for Food Is a Bad Idea

Since a Walt Disney World vacation is expensive, many guests look for ways to cut costs. One thing that some people do is to leave the parks in search of a cheaper meal. While leaving for a couple of hours might save you a few dollars, it will cost you in other areas. Here are seven reasons why you won’t want to leave Walt Disney World property for food.

7) The Disney Experience

There is something special about Walt Disney World. It’s known by some as “The Disney Experience”. Every inch is carefully planned and thought out, and there is magic around every corner. The Disney Experience allows you to escape the real world for a little while. If you leave Disney in search of food, you’ll be reentering the real world for part of your vacation. That’s not what a Disney vacation is all about.

6) Atmosphere

You’ll find themed restaurants all over Walt Disney World. Even the quick service options in the parks have themes. If you eat at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, for example, you’ll be serenaded by the smooth sounds of Sonny Eclipse while you dine. You’ll find fun themes at other restaurants as well, and you might be pleasantly surprised by some of the prices. If you don’t mind spending a little bit extra you can eat in a car at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater or dine with a Princess at Cinderella’s Royal Table. You won’t find opportunities like that elsewhere in the area.

5) Crowds

You might think that leaving Walt Disney World property for a meal is a good way to leave the crowds behind. But you’ll find crowds at most other restaurants that aren’t far away, especially during traditional meal hours. There will be other vacationers eating at such places, as well as locals. If you want to eat with fewer people around plan a meal at a Disney resort instead. You’ll be able to eat in a more relaxed atmosphere without taking a huge chunk of time out of your day.

4) Cost

One of the main reasons that people leave the parks to eat is to save some money. There is no guarantee, though, that a meal at a close-by restaurant will cost you all that much less. If your budget is tight, bring in peanut butter sandwiches and save money that way, since Disney allows you to bring food and drinks into the parks. The portions at some of the restaurants are huge, so save money by sharing a meal. You can also save by not ordering a combo and by asking for a free cup of ice water. With a little bit of planning and sharing, your in-park meals could cost about the same as they would have cost if you had left Disney property.

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3) Parking

If you’re thinking about leaving Disney property for food, chances are that you have access to a car. Parking at Walt Disney World is efficient, but it’s also a bit of a hassle. Do you really want to give up the close space that you snagged because you showed up early, and possibly end up with a spot that is far away? Also, you don’t want to chance that you’ll remember the wrong lot and row at the end of the night, since you’ll have parked in more than one place. If you eat on Disney property, you can park your car once and forget about it until it’s time to leave.

2) The Quality of Disney Food

The food at Walt Disney World is delicious. If you’re looking for an inexpensive quick service meal you can find staples like pizza, chicken, and burgers. You’ll also find sushi, Nutella and Fruit Waffle Sandwiches, and couscous. There are so many choices that you might have a hard time deciding what you want and where. The food also tastes a lot better than what is served on a fast food restaurant’s value menu.

1) Lost Time

Your Walt Disney World tickets are expensive. Do you really want to waste one moment of your time in the parks to go in search of food? Leaving requires more than just running down the street for a quick bite. Just getting out of the park and to your car will cut into your vacation time. From there you will need to leave property and find where you want to eat. After you’ve made that decision you’ll have to wait your turn and order. If your order is large or there’s anything different about it you’ll have to wait. After you eat you’ll need to get the family back into the car and figure out the best way back to Disney. Then you’ll park, ride the tram, go through bag check, scan your MagicBand, and walk across the park to your next ride or attraction. That’s all time wasted from your vacation.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.