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Enjoying Signature Disney Restaurants on a Budget

Enjoying Signature Disney Restaurants on a Budget cobb

For me and my family, dining at Disney is just as big a deal as any of the attractions that we experience. Food in the parks and resorts can take a huge chunk of a vacation budget. There are certainly ways to save money on food such as the much debated Dining Plan (free or not), forgoing sit down dining for counter service meals or simply not eating in the parks at all.  For us, Signature Dining is an experience that we’re not willing to compromise. However, what we order can keep the bill down to a sane level while still enjoying the service, atmosphere and culinary expertise of these exceptional chefs.



Our recent lunch at Carthay Circle in Disney California Adventure is a great example of what I’m talking about.  If you were to order the usual two entrees, say a steak and a seafood dish, and an appetizer you would be looking at around ninety dollars. Instead, we dined tapas style. We enjoyed the Carthay House Biscuits, Ceviche of Blue Cobia, Ginger Pork Pot Stickers and the Signature Fire Cracker Duck Wings at around fifty-six dollars! Four fantastic tastings and plenty of food, indeed.

Enjoying Signature Disney Restaurants on a Budget biscuits 2 biscuits 2



 

Enjoying Signature Disney Restaurants on a Budget biscuits biscuits

Enjoying Signature Disney Restaurants on a Budget ceviche ceviche



 

Enjoying Signature Disney Restaurants on a Budget dumplings dumplings



Enjoying Signature Disney Restaurants on a Budget duck wings duck wings

Another way to save money is to take advantage of the lounges in the deluxe restaurants. Most of these have wonderful bar specific menus. The selection is limited but they are prepared with the same finesse as in the dining room. Carthay Circle, for example, had this fantastic Butcher’s Plate served with several slices of gorgeous Sour Dough Bread. This, paired with a perfectly crafted cocktail or glass of wine, and you have a spectacular lunch for two at under forty dollars!



Enjoying Signature Disney Restaurants on a Budget charcuterie charcuterie

Lounge hopping is also a great excuse to explore different resorts. Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village are worth the trip over in any case, but you can also stop into the Sanaa lounge for their one-of-a-kind Bread Service for only about ten dollars!

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If you and your dining companion have the same tastes, a great way to save money (and calories) is to share meals. This is perfectly acceptable, even if you are on the dining plan. There may be a small plating fee, although Ive never been charged extra. On a recent visit to Artist Point, my husband and I enjoyed the famous Portobello Mushroom Soup, a nice salad and then split a stunning scallop dish. This came in at around sixty dollars.

Enjoying Signature Disney Restaurants on a Budget mushroom soup mushroom soup

 

Enjoying Signature Disney Restaurants on a Budget scallops scallops

You may want to consider just drinks and dessert at one of these amazing destinations. At Napa Rose in the Grand Californian Hotel you can walk right up for seating in the gorgeous lounge. We tucked into this delightful Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp on a past trip. Amazing! Sure, the Chef’s Counter Tasting Experience  is something we all would wish to experience, but anyone can enjoy a dish prepared in the kitchen of this three-star, Michelin rated restaurant for well under twenty dollars.

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Enjoying Signature Disney Restaurants on a Budget bar tender bar tender

Enjoying Signature Disney Restaurants on a Budget napa rose bar napa rose bar

Fine dining in Disney is very expensive by all accounts. However, being a little bit creative allows guests of  most any budget to experience these top notch dining destinations. Bon Appetit!

I'm a musician and a married mom of two young adults from the South Shore of Massachusetts. My husband and I honeymooned in Walt Disney World in 1989 and sadly, were not able to return for twenty years. We are making up for lost time visiting both Disney World and Disneyland Resort every chance we get.




















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