Tips for spending less on food while vacationing at Disneyland

Tips for spending less on food while vacationing at Disneyland

Image courtesy of worradmu at
Image courtesy of worradmu at

With multiple price hikes on park tickets over the past few years, we can all agree that Disneyland is not a cheap vacation destination.  However, there are ways to cut costs.  In this post I share how my family and I eat on a budget that won’t drain our bank account.

Image courtesy of Iamnee at
Image courtesy of Iamnee at


  1. When possible, we stay at a hotel that offers a complimentary breakfast. I am not a breakfast person, but will often take advantage of my hotel’s free breakfast by grabbing some fruit, a bagel, or packaged pastry to throw in my bag for a mid-morning snack.
  2. If I can’t book a hotel that offers a free breakfast, I make sure to find a room that offers a refrigerator and microwave. Upon arrival, I either drive to a grocery store to grab what we will need or use a grocery delivery service. Vons is a local grocer that offers delivery. I like to stock my room with yogurt, fruit, cereal, milk, juice, etc.
  3. We designate someone in our party to make a breakfast run from a nearby fast food restaurant or donut shop.


  1. Disneyland allows guests to bring in food. I toss granola bars, nuts, fruit, chips, or whatever else we like into our purses or backpacks. The only thing I don’t recommend is chocolate or anything else that may melt. Southern California is warm and it is normal to experience temps in the 80’s even during the winter.
Image courtesy of bplanet at
Image courtesy of bplanet at

Lunch and Dinner:

  1. When we eat in the parks, we share. We have found it to be cheaper for our family to eat at restaurants with table service rather than the quick service ones. The reason for this is that the portions are huge! When it is just my husband, daughter, and I in the park, we often eat at Café Orleans. Our favorite dish is the Monte Cristo, which is around $19 per plate. However, we only order one plate and a side of Pomme Frites $7. This one plate, which also comes with fresh fruit, along with the Pomme Frites, not only fills the three of us, we usually have some leftovers. Most of the walk up window service restaurants serve plates that could be shared by two, if neither is extremely hungry.
  2. Leave the park. I don’t recommend leaving to eat at most of the chain restaurants that are nearby, as you will spend just as much there as you would in the parks. However, there are a few places in which you can eat for less. One of our favorite penny pinching restaurants is The Earl of Sandwich located in Downtown Disney. Another is Wetzel Pretzels. There my daughter and I have shared a soda and a bag of Pizza Pretzel Bites for under $10.
  3. Go back to our hotel and order takeout like pizza, Chinese food, etc. to be delivered. If we place our order as we are leaving the park our food s arrives shortly after we do.
  4. Stay at a hotel that offers a complimentary dinner, has a refrigerator and microwave, or a kitchenette.
  5. Bring a sandwich.  Guests can’t bring in hard sided coolers, but you can bring small insulated soft sided ones.  We use insulated Lunch Box sized ones that we throw in our backpacks.

It is completely possible to not drop one penny on food in the parks if you plan accordingly.  That is if you can resist the aroma as you pass by the amazing offerings Disneyland has.  Stay tuned, because in my next post I will share some of our favorite Disneyland foods!

Wishing you a magical day!

The Disabled Diva





Published by Cynthia Covert

Diagnosed in 2001 with psoriasis, followed by fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, endometriosis, and later a botched hysterectomy turned her world upside down. Cynthia shares her experience, advice, and tips for how to make life with chronic pain easier and less painful.

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