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Eat This Not That: the Best Budget Disney Eats

Eat This Not That: the Best Budget Disney Eats

Disney has some of the best signature restaurants, but they are expensive. Learn how to enjoy similar food for less.

Signature Dining

Credit: Monica

Disney World’s signature dining restaurants offer a luxurious fine dining experience, including delightful food, an extensive wine list, and top-notch service. However, this experience comes with a higher price tag.

Before your trip, make sure to check the dress code requirements for the restaurants you plan to visit. You can make reservations either by phone or through the My Disney Experience app, similar to other table service locations at Disney. For more information on signature dining, please refer to our complete guide HERE.

Check out dress code requirements when eating at a Disney signature dining location.

Dining on a Budget

Credit: Susan

Disney World trips can be quite costly, especially when traveling with your family. While it’s wise to set a budget for merchandise, food, and souvenirs, it’s easy to go over that budget. If you’re anything like me (Susan), you enjoy taking a break at table service restaurants and expect delicious food.

Are you looking for delicious food on a budget? Check out these budget-friendly alternatives that offer similar cuisine to signature dining locations.

There are budget-friendly choices for Disney World table service restaurants.

International Dining

Credit: KatieP

Signature Choices

New Disney Dessert
Credit: Disney

Jiko is a restaurant that specializes in traditional African, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisine. Their menu features a variety of dishes including steak, chicken, seafood, and plant-based options with bold flavors and fragrant spices.

Tiffins Restaurant, located just outside the entrance of Pandora in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, offers a unique menu that features Spiced Chickpea Falafel, Charred Octopus, and Tamarind-braised Short Rib. The restaurant has three separate dining rooms, each with authentic theming based on travel and adventure.

Whether you prefer lunch or dinner, Tiffins is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal and admire original artwork by Joe Rohde.

Budget Friendly

Credit: Susan

If you enjoy international cuisine on a budget, head over to Yak and Yeti (table service) or the Nomad Lounge for affordable dining options. Both restaurants are situated within Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.

The Yak and Yeti restaurant proudly displays a collection of Southeast Asian artifacts that add to its ambiance. The menu features a wide range of delectable dishes, including sweet-and-sour chicken, ahi tuna nachos, pork pot stickers, and Kobe beef burgers.

The restaurant also offers vegetarian options, as well as kid-friendly choices like cheeseburgers and mac and cheese. If you hold a Landry’s card, you can visit the restaurant anytime without making a reservation.

Credit: Monica

Located just before the Pandora entrance, the Nomad Lounge is a hidden gem. The Nomad Lounge is an extension of Tiffins and serves some of the best food! If you eat here, be sure and try the freshly made churros and the beef sliders. They are out of this world!!

Instead of dining at Tiffins or Jikos, consider trying Yak and Yeti or the Nomad Lounge.

Best Steaks

Credit: Monica

Signature Options

Credit: Katie

There are several great places to enjoy a steak at Disney World, but they can be quite expensive. Some of the top options include Yachtsman, Le Cellier, and Topolino’s Terrace.

Yachtsman has an upscale nautical theme. The soft, dim lighting sets a relaxing atmosphere. Enjoy French and Italian cuisine at Topolino’s Terrace. Character breakfast is also available. Le Cellier is a restaurant located in the Canada Pavilion at EPCOT, offering delicious steaks, seafood, and poutine fries inspired by Canadian cuisine.

Credit: Monica

Last but not least, Hollywood Brown Derby offers a fantastic steak that is so tender it seems to melt in your mouth. The restaurant is a replica of the famous Brown Derby, a landmark of Tinseltown known for its glamour and glitz. The walls of the restaurant are adorned with caricatures of famous faces, adding to the upscale atmosphere reminiscent of Golden Age Hollywood.

Less Expensive Choices

Credit: Susan

It’s hard to measure up to Disney’s signature location steaks. However, Steakhouse 71 and Chefs de France come very close to doing that! At Chefs de France, both the food and service are consistently outstanding. It’s also fun to people watch out the panoramic windows.

If you’re visiting during the Food and Wine Festival, you can order the cheddar soup and a small steak at the Canada booth. They are similar to those served at Le Cellier.

Steakhouse 71 is the best all-around alternative to any signature dining location. The menu features dishes inspired by some of Walt’s favorites, including French Onion Soup, Prime Rib, 6-oz Filet Mignon, or Dry-aged Bone-In Pork Chop.

Steakhouse 71 is the best all-around alternative to any signature dining location.

Japanese Cuisine

Credit: Susan

Takumi-Tei, located at EPCOT’s Japan Pavilion, features five beautiful rooms, each inspired by a natural element: water, wood, earth, stone, or washi paper. Diners can choose from two courses.. However, be prepared for an expensive meal! The Omnivorous Course starts at $250, and The Plant-based Course starts at $150.

For a much lower price, you can dine at an amazing new restaurant in Japan. Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya offers incredible views, authentic dishes, and the experience of Japanese festivities that take place all year round. If you visit at the right time, you may even get to see the fireworks at EPCOT from your table!

Local Cuisine

Credit: Monica

Signature Choices

Credit: KatieP

Located at Disney’s Grand Floridian, it’s a treat to dine at Citricos. Citrico’s menu features Florida cuisine with a Mediterranean influence. Begin your meal with a strawberry salad or sweet corn bisque. Then, enjoy mouthwatering entrees like guava-barbecued short ribs or butter-poached Florida cobia.

Another fantastic option is California Grill. The views, along with the food, are top-notch! And you can watch Magic Kingdom fireworks from the private balcony.

Great Alternatives

Credit: KtP Writer Christina

Searching for fresh flavors that fit your wallet? Then, check out the Grand Floridian Cafe or Steakhouse 71. The Steakhouse 71 menu includes daily specials that rotate based on what is in season. And the Grand Floridian Cafe is an upscale but family-friendly location filled with Victorian charm.

Tropical Dining

Credit: Monica

When visiting Disney’s Polynesian Village, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a tropical oasis. And ‘Ohana fits right into that theme! Get ready for amazing grilled steak, chicken, shrimp, and more at this all-you-can-eat buffet.

Photo Credit: Heather

Another choice for a buffet is Sebastian’s Bistro at Disney’s Caribbean Resort. Sebastian’s Bistro serves delightful family-style dishes infused with rich Latin and Caribbean flavors. They even have bread pudding served with caramel sauce! And, this meal is about half the cost of ‘Ohana.

Sebastian’s Bistro also serves fan favorite bread pudding and is about half the cost of ‘Ohana.

Have you tried any of these cheaper options? Or would you like to give them a try? Let us know in the comments and share with someone who wants delicious food on a budget.

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