Updated for 2016!
If you ever brought your own snacks into the Disney World parks to save money, then you are definitely a Cheapskate Princess! I am constantly looking for ways to cut my food costs down while we vacation at Disney. I have eaten fries for dinner so I would have room for a snack later on that night. I have brought half a hamburger in a ziplock along with me in a backpack for a post-dinner yet pre-midnight-ice cream meal. I all about trying to save money on food so I can purchase take-home souvenirs
I asked Disney’s Cheapskate Princess Facebook fans if they brought snacks into Walt Disney World or purchased snacks in the parks. The overwhelming response was to bring your own snacks, but lots of fans brought snacks to save enough money to purchase Disney snacks at some point on the trip. Get your pen and pencil handy, because hopefully some of these tips can save you some money.
Bring Your Snacks With You
Laurie, “I bring grapes, oranges, sandwiches, and chips along with water bottles filled with water and tea.”
Melissa, “I bring a bag full of mixed snack… Dried fruit, chips, cookies, fruit snacks. I always bring bottled water and some Capri Suns for the kiddies.” What does she did with the money she saves? “Then I have some extra $$$ to splurge on a candy apple or ice cream!”
Kiy, “I bring those squeeze applesauce things. You can freeze them and add them to you cooler – snacks and keeping things cold, double duty! We also bring juice boxes, granola bars, home-made gorp, frozen grapes, goldfish, Uncrustables (we have the little round containers for them so they don’t get smashed), sandwiches for the adults (in plastic containers, same reason). Dum Dum lollipops for long waits.”
Ashley, “We’re bringing Handi-snacks this time. The cheese and pretzels and cheese and crackers.”
DeAnna, “We bring waters, peanut butter crackers, sweet & salty granola bars, grapes, carrots.”
Teryl, “Did you know you can order bottled water or snacks off Amazon and have it delivered to your hotel cheaper than most of the local stores?”
Sara, “We have bottled water delivered/shipped. We had peanut butter, bread and string cheese delivered this year. Having water delivered or shipped is one of the best things we do.”
Katie, “Lollipops are great for waiting in line. Keeps everyone quiet!” Now my crowd is all over the age of 13, but I’m loving this idea for my next trip.
Rebecca, “Goldfish crackers – they are easy to carry and don’t make their hands messy. Also, thermos water bottles – the water stays cold and the ice lasts much, much longer. We just use the water from our dining plan and top them up throughout the day.”
Sarah, “We don’t carry our own snacks in. We take extra fruits and things from the buffets when we eat.”
Debi, “Raisins, granola bars, applesauce squeeze pouches, goldfish, small water bottles with some lemonade packets, so we don’t get too sick of water all the time.”
So that’s the bring it yourself crowd, and now for the semi-opposing view…
Buy Those Disney Snacks!
Karen, “We used to bring some, but now we just buy there. We don’t snack too much and when we do, it’s usually a popcorn bucket.”
In what was one of my favorite submissions, Jennifer says, “I would rather eat Ramen at home so I can have Disney snacks.” Amen, Disney sista!
Randy does a bit of both, “This year it was carrots, celery, ranch dressing, cheese and crackers, and bottled water. That way we could use our dining plan snack credits for the fun stuff. Hard to pass up the bakery while meandering back down Main St.” Randy wanted to throw in a plug for an Orlando company called Garden Grocer. “Local place with good website, and they delivered to our resort on day one of our arrival.”
Alyssa, a self-professed Disneyland addict whose mother is a “Disney pro” is a big fan of the Disney Dining Plan and gave us fabulous Cheapskate suggestions. “We brought snacks the first day granola and such, but then we saw the food we could get with the DDP (Disney Dining Plan) one snack – one quick one table and wow, the snacks you can get! My husband LOVED the Rice Krispies turkey leg, my son loved the unicorn suckers, and I loved everything else! (LOL) So if you have the DDP, don’t bring anything but your water jugs. Ice and tap water are free. But if you don’t DDP, put cheese and meat in a small cooler, bread in a bag zip lock, some chips and granola. Then when lunch comes around, go to a quick meal restaurant ask for mustard and mayo. Put it on your bread, add meat and cheese, and you have instant sandwich. Never take chocolate or something that melts as a snack or something that has to stay cold for very long.“
Rosanna, “We bring bottled water, granola bars, peanut butter and crackers, grapes etc. We always go on the Dining plan and that gives us one snack per person per day which we always use for an ice cream or popcorn (something a little more special)…I would hate to have to use a snack credit for a bottle of water, when I could have easily brought it (or spend the $2.50-3.50 they charge for it)”
Marie does a bit of both. “I travel with a diabetic, and we make sure we have some snacks for her. I’m not a candy or chip person, so I bring a lot of granola bars, and I do fruit. I also give in and buy some mickey shaped chocolate chip cookies just once.“
What does this Original Cheapskate Princess do besides eat fries for dinner and order kids meals? I haul in my own packaged snacks, freeze water in bottles, and take any leftovers out of the restaurants in Ziplocs for later. No food is left behind on a plate! But oh, do we snack! But when we snack, we always share. I practically order a plastic knife with the food.
So let’s do a quick recap on our Cheapskate Princess fan’s suggestions for bringing your own snacks.
- Bring water, or re-fill water bottles at WDW for free.
- Fresh and dried fruit
- Chips, cookies, anything granola
- Apples or applesauce
- Frozen foods like fruit, Uncrustables can keep other foods cold
- Suckers, Lollipops and candy can calm the savage vacationers!
- Peanut butter crackers, cheese crackers, and goldfish
- Items to whip up sandwiches
- Water flavorings for variety
- Think about having food shipped/delivered from Amazon.com or Garden Grocer
- Avoid chocolate and foods that will melt
And fan tips for those people buying snacks…
- Don’t use your DDP(Disney Dining Plan) snack credits on water or drinks unless you just have to. Buy actual snacks instead and drink from your re-filled water bottle.
- Give in to that Disney snack temptation and purchase a snack once in a while!
So what do you think? If you are not getting snacks with the Disney Dining Plan, should you bring your own snacks to save some money or just bite the bullet and pay retail for Disney snacks?
Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you pulling crackers out of your bag, and possibly a juice box as well…
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Amanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.
Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast.
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