Let’s face it: eating at Walt Disney World can get expensive. Whether you’re investing in the Walt Disney World Deluxe Dining Plan, or paying cash for Quick Service (even a cheeseburger at Cosmic Ray’s will set you back 10 bucks), the costs can add up quickly. But rather than forgoing all meals on property altogether, or resorting to extreme cost-cutting measures, one way to reduce the meal budget is to think outside the
box…er…world: dining off property.
Although this concept may be out of the realm of many guests’ imaginations – or possibilities (especially with transportation concerns) dining minutes away from the Walt Disney World Resort can be a way to experience a bit of the area, break away for shopping/other area attractions, or maybe even save a few dollars.
Sweet Tomatoes (Salad Bar) - two area locations: 12561 S Apopka Vineland Rd, Orlando, FL (near Downtown Disney) and 6877 S Kirkman Rd, Orlando, FL (near Universal Studios Orlando)
- Though a nationwide chain (known on the west coast as Souplantation), Sweet Tomatoes offers a large fresh buffet comprised of salads, soups, flatbread pizzas, pastas, baked goods and more. The wide range of options allow for as healthy (non-dressed salads) or as indulgent (mac and cheese and chocolate lava cake) as you like.
- Distance from WDW: 10-20 minute drive
- Price range: Kids ~$5 – Adults ~$10 (soft drinks / tea additional cost) – Tip: sign up for Club Veg rewards for discount coupons that can be redeemed right from your smart phone.
4 Rivers Smokehouse (BBQ) – closest location to WDW: 1047 South Dillard Street, Winter Garden, FL 32787
- A local favorite, 4 Rivers Smokehouse boasts five locations in Florida, all stemming from the success of founder John Rivers’ foray into bottling barbecue sauce. Customers can order a variety of smokehouse favorites, from salads and sandwiches to St. Louis-style ribs. The restaurant is also known for its charitable nature – advocating for community organizations and causes.
- Distance from WDW: 20-25 minute drive
- Price range: Kids $4.49 – Adults entrees range from $6.25 – $21.49
Chuys (Tex-Mex) - 7913 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Kissimmee, FL
- A chain based out of Austin, TX, this relative newcomer to the Kissimmee restaurant scene boasts “Burritos as Big as Yo’ Face” and an eclectic atmosphere to complement the spicy flavors. Kids picks range from cheese quesadillas, to tacos and enchiladas to chicken fingers, burgers and more. Bonus: Chuy’s offers a great to-go menu if you prefer to take the party with you.
- Distance from WDW: 10 – 15 minute drive
- Price range: Kids – $4.99 – Adults entrees range from $4.99 – $10.29
Columbia Restaurant (Spanish) - closest location to WDW: 649 Front Street, Celebration, FL 34747
- A direct cousin to its Ybor City counterpart known as Florida’s Oldest Restaurant, The Columbia Restaurant boasts a Spanish menu full of authentic tastes and ingredients. Favorites include the 1905 salad, a variety of tapas, The Original Cuban Sandwich, paellas and more! Kids can be as adventurous as they choose, with options like their own cuban sandwich, steak, chicken fingers or macaroni and cheese.
- Distance from WDW: 15-20 minutes drive
- Price range: Kids ~ $5.95 – Adults entrees range from $8.59 to $32
Of course, there are a variety of fast food locations nearby (think: McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, Taco Bell and more, 5-10 minute drive out of most WDW property limits), so in a pinch, there are quick options to check out, as well.
Where do you dine off Walt Disney World property?