Stretching Your Dining Dollars at Disneyland
By Shannon M. Medisky
“Yo Ho, Yo NO!” you may very well be saying to yourself after you take a look at some of the food prices while visiting Disneyland. Fortunately, though, there are several ways you can stretch your dining dollars and still have your fill.
Know before you go and sign up for savings. Be open to eating outside of Disneyland to stretch your dollars the farthest. Do a bit of research online prior to your trip to determine the restaurants that are located closest to your hotel. A week or two prior to your arrival, consider signing up for email newsletters from these restaurants. You’ll likely find your inbox flooded with great coupons to help you have your food and savings, too. Don’t like the idea of leaving the park? Don’t. Opt to eat a big breakfast prior to visiting in the morning or stop off at a restaurant on the way back to the hotel in the evening.
Fill up for free before you leave. If your hotel offers a free continental breakfast, be sure to take advantage of it. A quick bowl of cereal or even a hot cup of coffee and a donut can start your day off right by keeping your stomach and your wallet full.
A big lunch can be light on your wallet. Opting to eat your larger meal at lunch time rather than dinner can actually help you save money and time. Lunch prices are almost always less expensive (especially at the Blue Bayou, for example), but you’ll also avoid wasting time standing around in line for rides during the usually peak mid-afternoon hours.
Divide to conquer the dining costs. Fortunately, most of the high prices in the park also come with large portions. So it often makes good fiscal and caloric sense to share a meal or treat. This can be especially true of families traveling with young children. It may be far less expensive to have young children split a larger meal rather than purchasing several smaller ones.
Strategically plan and purchase snacks. There are a number of fresh fruit snacks throughout Disneyland that not only feature great produce, but do so at very reasonable prices and in packaging that easily accommodates sharing and/or saving for snacking later. Frozen treats, on the other hand, may very well be tempting in the hot southern California sun, but they are pricey and you and your kiddo(s) may or may not be able to finish it off before visiting another attraction, possibly landing some of your snacking dollars in the trash.
Rest your weary feet and budget by dining in your hotel room. There’s no doubt about it. A day walking around the park can leave your feet sore and your stomach growling. Comfort both and help stretch your dining dollars at the same time by ordering food from nearby restaurants that can be delivered right to your hotel room. From the good ol’ standbys of national pizza chains to wide variety of local ethnic restaurants, they’re all vying for food bucks so make them work for it by first asking for any current specials prior to placing your order.
Photo credit: ljv
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