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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Saving Money on Meals in Disneyland

When I travel to Walt Disney World I frequently purchase the Deluxe Dining plan, however for our upcoming trip to Disneyland that just won’t be possible. Disneyland does offer a set of vouchers to purchase for your dining, but it doesn’t seem to me like they really offer any added value, so we’ll be using Disney Gift Cards that we’ve saved money on for our meals.  We had saved $900 on the card before we had to start making changes, so that’s what I have to work with. Using Gift Cards just for meals will help us maintain our budget since the money is set aside from ticket money or spending money.

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When I discovered I would have to cut out budget significantly, the first thing I did was decided that we would only eat at counter service restaurants. This is a fairly simple choice to make at the Disneyland Resort because not only is it easy to get to any place you want to eat on foot, but they truly have some exceptional counter service establishment. This choice immediately cut what we would need to budget for food by 40%.

Added benefits of switching to all counter service meals include:
  • No need to make priority seating reservations.
  • Save more money by not having to leave a tip.
  • More flexibility in our touring plan.
water is good for you
I also decided to save money in our food budget by cutting out soda. I could not believe how much we will save when I ran these numbers. By carrying water bottles and single serve crystal light packs we will save at least $40 a day. For our 6 day trip, that’s a savings of $240 from our budget. That’s HUGE!! The added benefit here is in overall health, less sugar and more water are always good things.

Next, I headed over to AllEars.net where I was able to look up the menus for Disneyland Counter Service.  There I could get an idea of what was available, and which restaurants had the most options that my kids would eat. In order to create our budget, I added up the cost of the most expensive entree at each restaurant and multiplied it by 4.  By figuring my budget in that manner, it gives me a maximum cash lay out to expect for each meal.   For our family of four, I can expect a range of between $40-$60 per meal at the following establishments we picked.
AKL Villa Kitchen

I made one more choice in my attempt to cut the food budget. We’ll be eating 3 breakfasts and 1 lunch in our room. The Villa has a full kitchen, I figured that we might as well make it work for us. Not to mention the requisite morning Starbucks coffee in our room since the new stores won’t be open yet. At the Disneyland Resort you can have groceries delivered to you for a fee through the Vons.com website.

According to AllEars.net, most of the Disneyland Resort counter service restaurants also give a 10% discount to DVC Members. I’m not sure if that’s correct, but you know that I’ll be asking at every place we go! I’ll report back on that later.

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We’ll be departing Disneyland on Mother’s day, and I’m hoping that we’ll have enough money left over that we can squeeze in an early breakfast at the Storyteller’s Café, which is my favorite Character Meal in Disneyland.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

I think that these savings tips could probably be applied to a Walt Disney World vacation as well. They were really just common sense placed to pinch out pennies. I can’t wait to share our Disneyland food adventure! Do you have a favorite counter service place to eat in Disneyland? Leave me a comment and let me know!

I'm thrill to have this post featured in Disney Blog Carnival #45 
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