You might be wondering what a “food strategy” is and why I’m covering it. Well, part of it is that I simply want to tally up the food I ate at D-Land and why I chose it (including yummy photos). The other part is to show that it’s possible to have delicious snacks while still staying a little bit economical while at a theme park. I’ll be sharing prices to help you plan ahead.
Parks like Disneyland are notorious for having expensive food. However, the food is also delicious. Conundrum! How to save money and still try all the cult classics?
Your own food
First and foremost, I loaded up my tummy with a bagel and cream cheese (and coffee) before leaving home in the morning. Bagels are super dense and keep me full for a long time.
You can also bring your own food from home. You could keep a picnic basket or cooler in the car or put some granola bars in your purse (I love KIND bars). A picnic basket is thrifty, but not as exciting, and you’ll have to take the tram back to your car. But you can decide your own priorities.
You must bring your own water bottle. Theme park drinks are pricey and add up fast. Plus, drinking soda all day will dehydrate you. There are lots of water fountains scattered about and you can fill up any time.
Food portions in America are huge, and at theme parks that is still true. While it might be painful to fork over more than ten dollars for a turkey leg, rest assured that what you receive will be massive, and when paired with corn on the cob, splitting between two people is actually reasonable. We got these at the Eidelweiss cafe stand near Matterhorn (under the monorail) for an early lunch, around 10:45. $17 total.
Spacing out treats
While we hung around Tomorrowland we enjoyed a churro each. I’m super into churros and even though recently I’ve gotten the chance to experience fresh churros in Spain and Mexico, getting one at Disneyland will always be a tradition for me. $9 for two.
Disneyland doesn’t serve alcohol in their family-friendly park, but they have a delicious non-alcoholic mint julep available in the New Orleans area. Doug and I were a little hot and dry, so we split one while waiting in line for Pirates of the Caribbean. Hack: After finishing the julep we muddled the mint with ice in the bottom of the cup and poured plain water over it—very refreshing. One julep: $4
Best food in the park
Okay, that heading is really subjective. Would you go to Disneyland and just have a burger or pizza? Maybe, and those are definitely a safe bet for kids, but there is a lot more offered if you know where to look. Sure, when I was in high school I always ate at Redd Rocket’s Pizza Port, but that was because their soda fountain served Surge until like 2003 or 2004!
My current go-to Disneyland dinner is a bread bowl from Royal Street Veranda, a walk-up window in New Orleans Square. I got the chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and Doug got the jambalaya. Pro tip: add a spoonful of jambalaya to the chowder! Two bread bowls: $23
Next time I want to try the kebabs at Bengal Barbecue. 🙂
Did I mention sharing?
Hard to believe, considering I have been to Disneyland many times in my life, but I’d never been inside the Enchanted Tiki Room nor had I ever had a Dole Whip.
Doug and I sat through the Tiki Room experience, a very impressive display of animatronic musical birds. Then we split a Dole Whip which definitely lived up to the hype. Next time I think we’ll each get our own 😉
Classic Dole whip: $4.50
So, the total cost of food for the day was $57.50 ($28.75/person). Not cheap, but I also didn’t spend any money on souvenirs or anything else. Photos of food make good souvenirs to me!
If you prefer a less “on the go” dining experience you can check out the rest of the dining options on the Disneyland website and take a peek at the park map with food locations and short descriptions of what each place offers.
All photos by Staci and Doug Jackson for The Voyageer.