Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday's Tips: Disneyland on a Budget #2

Welcome to the second edition of Disneyland on a budget! Today's tips deal with drinking and eating, my favorite parts of Disney.

Image courtesy of starrynight_12 on Flickr. Click here for original

Tip #1: Drink lots of free water!
I don't know how you feel, but for me, the water fountains at Disney are not very good. The water is a little bit, umm, shall we say, like pool water? It isn't very tasty. But, you don't have to buy $4 bottles of water either!

You can get free glasses of ice water at any counter service restaurant. There were days when the sun was beating down, we would dive into the Golden Horseshoe, ask for a few glasses of ice water, put our feet up, and enjoy Billy Hill and Hillbillies.

I never had a Cast Member grumble about my request for ice water, and there were times I would ask for four or five ice waters at once. However, do respect the other people around you, and if the restaurant is particularly busy, I wouldn't ask for just water without purchasing something. Also, Rancho del Zocalo provides coolers of free ice water with cups right next to it.

If you don't feel like waiting, simply slip into the restaurant and grab a glass of water. Want something cool, icy, but isn't water and doesn't cost a fortune? Pack some individual drink flavors. Our favorites were always raspberry iced tea. Ask for your glass of ice water, toss in a drink packet, and viola! You have a delightful refreshing drink that didn't cost $4.

Image courtesy of HarshLight on Flickr. Click here for original.

Tip #2: Eat cheap.
Eating on property is expensive, especially if you want to sample all the incredibleness Disney has to offer. I always wanted a full meal and several snacks, such as my love, Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Sandwiches.

A way to remedy the stomach and the wallet is to purchase kids meals. Mousekemeals, as they were called, are perfect for a light lunch and much cheaper. It is perfectly acceptable for an adult to purchase a child's meal, even if they don't have a child.

This way, you can allow for a Dole Whip while you listen to Jose and his host of Tiki Room buddies.

Image courtesy of cokeisit7 on Flickr. Click here for original. 

Tip #3: Pack a picnic!
We always brought food and sandwiches into the parks. You cannot bring coolers, but if you toss a PB & J sandwich, a bag of chips, an apple and a cookie in your bag, no one will mind. There are so many lovely spots for picnic within Disneyland. I have several favorites.

Sometimes, when a quick service restaurant is not open, the tables are free for picnics. We have often slipped down to the Harbor House across from the Haunted Mansion and enjoyed our dinner as the Columbia sailed past. Another favorite was the Hungry Bear, which had a similar view of the Rivers of America.

 Of course, you can't beat a moving picnic in the Disneyland railroad or on the Mark Twain Riverboat. How about while watching the daily parade? There are so many quaint spots to picnic, it makes even a normal sandwich special.

And, have a warm soda that has been jostling around in your backpack? Beebop over to a quick service restaurant and ask for a cup of ice. Now you have a cold soda, a nice lunch, a beautiful spot full of Disney charm, and your wallet isn't screaming in pain. You can even splurge on a Mickey Bar later!
The Hungry Bear from the Mark Twain Riverboat.
Image courtesy of ste3ve. Click here for original. 

What is your favorite Disneyland budget tip?

All images used under this Creative Commons license. 


  1. When I went to Disney, we stayed in one of the resort hotels, and each room had a full kitchen, complete with dishwasher, large refrigerator, and complete dining sets and utensils. We brought tons of food and only ate in the park a few times in four days.

    I also noticed that restaurants will mix and match orders on request, like giving you a bowl of kids' meal mac&cheese instead of the baked beans on the menu.

  2. One more thing about the ice water. It does taste much better than filling up at the fountains, but when it was time to keep moving, we poured the cold water and as much ice as we could into our bottles.

  3. Hello Alex! Thanks for stopping by ;) I didn't realize the tip about mixing and matching kid's meals! Thanks! Also, great idea for throwing the ice water in a bottle. Then you can be refreshed all day. Good to hear from you!