Welcome to The Teen-Only Guide to Eating in Walt Disney World Series!
In my three years on the DISboard’s Teen Disney board, I’ve seen two things happen. For one thing, I’ve seen first-hand just how quickly a debate about the best Disney Princess can heat up.
But another thing I’ve seen is the rise in teen-only Disney trips. It seems as though there’s a shift in how teenagers tour Walt Disney World. Instead of going with their families, the 15-20 crowd seems to be going with their friends—graduation trips, birthday trips, spring break trips, you name it, we’re going. And we’re going with our friends. That means we’re using our own money for the most part.
Budgeting is the key to touring anywhere. It’s especially the key to touring Magic Kingdom, where there’s so much magic to be bought. Princess themed souvenirs are calling your name at every corner.
If you’re staying off-property, you’ll want a Magicband. Maybe you’ll want the Duffy bear you’ve been eyeing up for a while. Or maybe you’re a pirate person looking to get a nautical makeover at The Pirates League. No matter what your #DisneySide is, you’ll want souvenirs to remind you of your trip. And the best way to make sure you have enough money for souvenirs is to save money on food.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “what a weird way to introduce this topic”, but it totally makes sense. Teens are traveling with their friends. Teens don’t always have the money to buy all the amazing souvenirs they want. Teens don’t always have the money for Advanced Dining Reservations ( Disney’s version of a reservation). Saving money on food is the best way for teens to make the most of their vacation. So today I’m going to talk about the best places for teens to eat and how to budget their money in the Magic Kingdom!
The Magic Kingdom
In order to save the most, I recommend only having one TS (that’s a table service or “sit-down” meal for those of you who aren’t familiar with Disney jargon) reservation per trip, if any at all. If you simply have to have one, I recommend a character buffet. That’s where you’ll get the most from your money. In a character buffet, you get all-you-care-to-enjoy food plus some time with beloved characters.
If you decide to go this way, I recommend booking your reservations (or ADRs as Disney refers to them) as soon as your window opens up, which is 180 days from your desired date to dine. For a character meal in the Magic Kingdom, you can’t beat The Crystal Palace. I love having early morning, pre-park opening ADRs here. You meet Winnie the Pooh and his gang (Piglet and Eeyore can be quite elusive otherwise) and have some of the best breakfast food on property. I personally love the puffed French toast, breakfast lasagna, and savory cheddar and bacon scones. Breakfast is $24.99 per adult.
But let’s say you don’t want to have breakfast at the Crystal Palace. There are plenty of other places to eat! The Main Street Bakery is now a Starbucks. If you can swing Starbucks prices at home, you can swing Starbucks here. The coffee is my favorite, but I can’t speak on the breakfast sandwiches. If you’re more of a waffle person, Sleepy Hollow makes the best waffles with Nutella and fruit. It’s big enough to share between two people.
Now it’s time for lunch and dinner. Casey’s Corner is often crowded, but great for those of you who love their famed corn dog nuggets and hot dogs. You also can’t beat Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café or The Tomorrowland Terrace, both located in Tomorrowland. Both serve your WDW standards (bacon cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, caesar salads) during lunch, and it’s not unheard of for them to serve up roasted chicken with mashed potatoes for dinner.
If you have members of your party who absolutely need to eat at Be Our Guest(BoG), lunch will be your best bet. Meals range from $9.49-$13.99 (before drinks) and the tiny, signature cupcakes are $4.19 each.
Another more “upscale” Quick Service (QS) option I like is Columbia Harbour House (CHH) in Liberty Square. For lunch, meals range from $8.49-$12.49. They have a lot of great options from classic chicken nuggets to their signature lobster roll. However, dinner is arguably better, and perfect for a last night at WDW for teens who need to make the most of the QS options at WDW.
For dinner, where the plates range from $8.99-$13.79, you can find unique options such as seafood mac & cheese (with lobster, shrimp, and BREADCUMBS) and chicken pot pie. CHH is perfect for teens who want to tie off their evening at MK with something a little nicer without paying BoG prices.
If you find yourself running low on blood sugar in between meals and need a snack, there are some great options for you. The obvious route would be to head to one of the shops on Main Street USA and pick up one of the economic, delicious prepackaged goods. You’ve got three kinds of prepackaged snacks at WDW. The chocolate or candy stuff will be Goofy’s Candy Co. branded, the cookies will be Minnie’s Bake Shop branded, and the savory stuff will be Chip and Dale Snack Co. branded.
I love, love, love Chip and Dale Snack Co.’s cheese crackers, which I believe to be better than goldfish and come in a great snack-sized portion for a very small price that slips my mind. For those of us who favor “fresh” snacks (I know I do!), there are Mickey pretzels and popcorn carts all around the park!
There are also ice cream carts with Mickey Premiums and Mickey Ice Cream Sandwiches around the park… but if you’re in the mood for ice cream, can you really beat an Adventureland Dole Whip? 😉
That’s all for this time! The next installment in this series will bring us to Epcot. Be sure to tell us what your favorite thing to eat in the Magic Kingdom is!
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