Low Cost Yum Near Walt Disney World Resort
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?
12 thoughts on “Low Cost Yum Near Walt Disney World Resort”
Flipper’s, east from Downtown Disney along Hotel Plaza Blvd and in the perpetually crowded Cross Roads shopping center, is a good pizza place.
Flippers is tasty. Getting in and out of Crossroads is a hassle though. They need 2 exits, one for people who aren’t going left to I-4.
We hit up 4 Rivers on the way to the parks. There is also a large shopping and dining center on the 429 in winter garden.
Although I wouldn’t drive 25+ minutes from WDW to go to 4 Rivers Smokehouse, it’s mighty tasty. The location in Winter Garden isn’t far off the Florida Turnpike if you’re coming in from the west, and the location in Winter Park is just off I-4 if you’re coming in from the east. If you’re hungry on your way to or from WDW, it’s a great place to stop. Along with the meats and sides, the desserts are incredible. When I drive, I often hit the Orlando area around evening rush hour and stop for dinner to let the traffic die down.
I’ve also found that some of the chains closest to WDW have captive-audience pricing. It’s still cheaper than a burger on-property, but–for example–you may find that there’s no dollar menu at McDonald’s.
Good points on the chains, David!
I’m a big fan of Hash House A-Go-Go. Their food is freshly prepared and the portion sizes are ridiculous. It’s up on International Drive so it’s not super close, but if you are headed to a non-Disney park (/gasp!), it might be a convenient choice.
Thanks for the suggestion!
Sweet Tomatoes is great! We stopped by there when we were returning from the, er , “other park”. Sign on to their website to receive discount e-mails.
This is great – but if you haven’t got a car you are stuffed! Anyone got any good suggestions for places you can get to on public transport? Can you get to Sweet Tomatoes by bus?
Hi Julie! Sweet Tomatoes off of Apopka Vineland is actually within walking distance from Downtown Disney in the Crossroads Shopping Center.
Great news – thanks Kristina
I *love* Chuys! And if you take the back roads it is just a couple miles from Animal Kingdom. Great happy hour!!!