Today we’re going to talk about saving money inside the park. Specifically FOOD, but also souvenirs and other goodies.
I like most of the food choices at Disneyland (OMGoodness Gibson Girl Ice Cream), but it can get a little expensive. So here is what we do: Rent a locker and bring a picnic.
I pack a soft side cooler (like this one from Thirty-One) with a few frozen water bottles, lunch meat, fruit, frozen yogurts, and a small re-usable grocery bag with bread, individual packets of condiments (you can buy them at Smart and Final), and Ziploc bags with snacks, and we put all this stuff, plus our jackets and a few other misc. things into a locker.
We like the lockers on Main Street, but if you have a larger group going with you, there are bigger lockers immediately outside of the park. More info about Lockers, including prices, and locations can be found here. Reviews of the lockers can be found here (I love Yelp!)
There are various picnic areas inside the park (there is one up by Big Thunder Mountain, and various tables and benches scattered throughout the park), as well as one right outside the main gate by the large lockers.
For snacking during the day, I pack snacks that fit in our pockets (we both usually wear cargo shorts) like bags of pretzels, hard candy in Ziploc bags, and a 16oz. or so size bottle of water that we refill at the various water fountains throughout the park. We’ll stop back at the lockers for fruit or a larger nosh if we’re nearby and hungry.
That doesn’t mean I’ll go without my beloved Ice Cream. We usually pick one treat a day and share it. Ice cream, frozen banana on a stick, Dole Whip…. Whatever we both can agree on.
We also save money by buying our Disneyland shirts before we go on vacation. The Disney Store usually has an end of summer sale, and I can stock up of D-land shirts for 50-75% off retail prices. The mall closest to our house has a Disney Store, so we cruise in frequently (Lil’ Man is obsessed with Mickey Mouse). Other Disney Souvenirs like sippy cups I’ll buy in advance and sneak in our bags so he doesn’t see them until we arrive. In the past, I have scored a sweet new Disney shirt for $2.00!
99 Cents Only has a great selection of Disney Branded and Licensed items like crayons, coloring books, sippy cups, sandwich boxes, and other lunch/food storage containers. I’ve been sneaking 1 or 2 items into the cart each week when Lil’ Man isn’t looking!
We also set a budget when we go on a trip and stick to it. Bring cash with us each day of the trip, and when it’s gone we’re done spending. It’s just that simple.