Here is what we do on our trips.
Stock up on food and drinks for the ride
This is a lot easier if you are driving, but even if you are flying you can take advantage of this tip! If flying please note restrictions on liquids per TSA guidelines found HERE.
If you are driving, stock up on goodies for the car and hotel. We have 5 kids that are always eating. It's great to be able to let them snack most of the trip and only stop for main meals when we stop for gas. It also helps when we get back to the hotel each night and they want a snack before bed, and in the morning when they are "starving!!!!". I personally pack my items in a cardboard box that I position in an easily accessible place in the car that the kids can easily reach. Then when we arrive I can just grab the box and take it into our room.
My favorite non-perishables are:
I also pack a couple things that don't get opened until we arrive such as:
I also take a small cooler. Rather than fill it with ice that can melt and leak, I freeze a handful of water bottles. This keeps it nice and cold, but there's no mess. I can also pop the bottles in our resort's freezer and reuse them on the trip home.
Here is what I pack in the cooler:
How to get perishables during your stay
Once we arrive I either stop and pick up these or have them delivered:
You have a couple options to get these last minute perishable items. You can stop just before you enter the park (there is a Walmart very close to Disney), but I choose to get them at my resort's store to save time. If you are staying at or traveling close to Fort Wilderness, there are two trading posts that sell grocery items. Other resorts usually have these items in their quick service eating area. Simply ask a cast member where the closest place to get the items are. You also have the option of using The Garden Grocer. This is a service offered to Disney guests and other local resorts. You can order items and have them delivered to your room. They sell groceries (fresh and pantry items), baby care items such as diapers, and first aid items such as Tylenol. There is a small delivery fee and minimum purchase amount, so check it out before you decide to order. We used Garden Grocer last trip and absolutely fell in love with them. I am incredibly frugal and was really impressed with their prices, esp. for bulk items such as granola bars, bananas, Powerade and water bottles.
If you fly, you can take advantage of The Garden Grocer too. You can look into it before your trip, but Disney will have sheets in your resort with info. If not, simply contact the front desk and they will provide it.
A little frugal note: the sooner you order, the higher the discount you can score. (15 Days= 5%, 30 Days= 7%, 60 Days= 10%) You can always update and revise your order up till just before your arrival. https://www.gardengrocer.com
Another option is to have items shipped directly to your resort. Of course you will only be able to ship non-perisbale items, but this can not only save you on food, but it can also save parents of little ones from having to pack diapers, wipes, formula, etc. (I have even heard of parents buying and shipping a cheap stroller and then donating it before they left.) My favorite go-to site is amazon. Many don't realize that you can get grocery and baby items from amazon. They pretty much have EVERYTHING! To ship to your resort, call the resort your are staying at and tell them you would like to have items shipped. You can call 407-939-5277 and ask for your resort's front desk number. Your resort will give you the correct address to have items shipped to. Make sure your name is on the package. (If you ship from amazon it will have the amazon account holder's name on the shipping label.) Please note that you must ship no sooner than 2 weeks before your trip. I personally would choose amazon's 2 day shipping and do it 4-3 days before arrival. I would also call the resort after you order to notify them that you have a package being delivered. When you check in, let the front desk know that you had a package delivered.
CLICK HERE to view amazon Grocery
CLICK HERE to view amazon Mom for baby items (+ discount) CLICK HERE for a FREE trial of amazon prime for FREE 2 day shipping, discounts and more.
Ask for a fridge (and microwave if you need one)
Most resorts come with a mini fridge, but not all. Make sure you ask for a fridge in your room. This will save you money and more importantly time during your stay. If you need a full sized kitchen, some resorts do offer them. The Cabins at Fort Wilderness is our favorite that offers a full sized kitchen, but many suites also offer them, so be sure to ask a cast member when you call about your options. It's great to be able to get up and have a small breakfast before heading to the park. It also helps little ones that might not be able to wait all the time it can take to get into the parks. Trust me, those bus and boat rides to the Magic Kingdom are soooooo much nicer when kids aren't whining "I'm hungry" over and over. Having a fridge in the room is also a nice way to keep some cold beverages on hand. If you have access to a freezer, freeze a couple of water bottles over night and put them in your cooler to keep drinks cold. By the end of the day those frozen water bottles will be melted enough to drink.
|Here is our fully stocked kitchen in our cabin at Fort Wilderness.|
You can also have your water bottles filled up in the park throughout the day. Any quick service dining establishment will gladly fill your water bottles with water for FREE if you ask. (You can also just ask for a cup of water.) Just keep in mind that the water is not the best water. It will taste like tap water. If you have super picky eaters in your group, they may not like the water.
Have a comfortable bag/backpack
I like to use a large backpack when I visit the parks. I personally use a Vera Bradley campus backpack. It's comfortable, holds everything I need and I can still take it on rides if I have to. This allows me to keep snacks on hand all day. I can also stash a cooler in it to make carrying around drinks easier. I have found that an average little cooler that can hold 6 drink bottles is about what we need for the day. Of course your family will vary, but this is a good starting point. Keeping drinks and snacks on hand is crucial for surviving long lines and waiting for parades with little ones. As much as I love Disney food, when you have a cranky, hungry little one it's nice to just whip out a favorite snack and something to drink without having to walk and find someplace and wait in line to get something.
Hopefully these tips will help you plan your trip with a little more ease and relieve a little stress in the parks.
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