DVP: Grocery Delivery

21No matter who you’re talking to, there seems to be a general consensus that a Disney vacation is expensive. And truth be told, it really is. But there are ways that you can save money on your hotel, park tickets, and overall trip costs. It really comes down to setting a budget and sticking to it. One of the major expenses you’ll run into when planning your Disney vacation is the cost of food. You’re in the parks most of the day, and if not then you’re most likely in your hotel – neither of which are normally equipped with a kitchen that you are free to use as you’d like. You’re only choice to feed you and your family is to buy food from quick service or sit down restaurants, and Disney knows this.

Just as with most things on property, there is a significant mark-up on food. Now there are a couple methods guests use to try and offset this cost. The Disney Dining Plan is one of the most popular add-ons to a vacation package, but in some cases it may actually cost you more to go this route. You could also focus on buying large portion meals and splitting them, to help alleviate the cost. The most full proof method however is to circumnavigate buying food from Disney all together.

But I Want All the Disney Snacks!

I hear you, my day at Disney isn’t complete until I’ve had Dole Whip and a Churro.  Disney parks have some of the best and most iconic treats of any theme park. Epcot and California Adventures even have festivals dedicated to food (and wine!) But most of the good stuff is expensive and small. While many standard meals, like pizza and burgers, are just down right awful for some reason. So how do you manage to stick to a budget, feed your family, and still enjoy those splurge worthy snacks if you aren’t buying food at the parks?!

The idea of bringing your own food into the parks isn’t new, and many locals of both coasts do this. While you don’t want to bring in a four course meal, a couple sandwiches or lunchables are great to have on hand! Outside of the parks even, it’s just plain convenient to have some food in your hotel room for late night bites. If you read about the Disney Park Bag Essentials than you know that in line munchies are a must have, too! Nobody wants to get out of a ride line to go wait in a food line and then miss the attraction. Packing your park bag with a few filling options will keep your troupe on track, and let you save enough money on meals to indulge in snacks!

Here’s What You Should Have on Hand

Only you know what you, and your family, like to eat. But there’s a few general guides about what to include. When deciding on what food to include in your park bag, you want to consider that you aren’t going to have temperature control, you’re going to be carrying it around all day, and it has to fit inside your bag. To make the most of the little room you’ll have to store these goods, you want to pack small bites that are high in protein (which gives you energy). Think about including beef jerky, almonds or mixed nuts, trail mix, fruit, string cheese, sandwiches, and things of that nature. Items that are easy to eat on the move and will keep your crowd satisfied.

For your hotel stash though, you can think a little bigger. Be sure to check the amenities offered in your room, many of them will have a mini fridge and microwave – which gives you many more options. You can also store larger size items, since you’re not carrying them around all day. Sandwich making supplies, cereal, microwaveable meals (including breakfast), salads – whatever you and your crew enjoy. Take into consideration the time of day you’ll be spending inside your hotel, for many of us that is breakfast. Maybe part of your park strategy is to take an early afternoon break, or to eat dinner outside the parks. Plan on the type of food you’ll be looking to eat at that time of day.

How to Get the Goods in Your Room

If you are one of the lucky ones that is close enough to drive to Disney, then make your shopping list and pack up your car. Unfortunately, most of us don’t fall into this category and will have to fly. In that case you have a few different options available. You could hire a cab to take you to the grocery store, or rent a car and go to the grocery store. Neither of these options sound particularly appealing on a vacation though, and they’ll end up being pretty expensive. Your best option however is to have your groceries delivered right to your hotel room. A lot of companies now a day are offering grocery delivery, including the all mighty Amazon. But the top pick for SoCal Style is Garden Grocer.

Garden Grocer is one of the leading delivery services at Disney World and has a wide selection. The prices are on par with what you would see at most stores, and the delivery fee is a minimal $14. Placing your order early will save you between 5-10%, so be sure to take advantage of this offer by ordering ASAP. On your delivery date the company will bring the groceries straight to your resort, if you aren’t in your room at the time the hotel will accept them and keep them in a temperature controlled room for you to pick-up when you return. It’s the easiest shopping trip you’ll ever have!!

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What’s your must have snack at Disney, or what snack are you most looking forward to?

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