Last week, we talked about some of the best and worst deals at Disney, and since one of the things that we think are the worst deals are the ordinary, every day snacks, we thought we'd also suggest a way to save big, because who doesn't need a snack!
You don't have to give up the snacks you want, but you can save big, just by where you get them. I don't know about you guys, but I really think having the same things as everyone else, but spending a lot less, is pretty magical!
Here are a few examples.
Instead of buying that banana for a quick on the go breakfast while passing Harambe Market ($2.29) why not bring your own? A banana usually costs around a quarter at the grocery store!
Stopping by the resort food court to grab a Powerade to stick in your pack? It's $4.69, PLUS the time to stand in line. How about 89 cents at Walmart, toss it in your backpack and you've got a lot more flavors to choose from, plus you don't lose any time!
There are many snacks that you can pick up either locally, or if you drive down, can get on the way, to have the exact same snacks sold at Disney, but at more than 50% less! Our kids love individual bags of chips, because they don't get those too often. Instead of $2.99-3.99 for a bag, the nearby gas station, or any store will have that same bag for around $1.50.
A Dasani bottle of water to go with your chips is $3.50, or, $4.19 for a bottled Coke. Ouch! Even at a gas station you are going to be able to get twice the drinks for the Disney price.
Replace one Disney bought snack, per family of four, with a grocery or gas store alternative, and you'll have quite a bit of savings each day.
Use those savings on a fun in park treat you can't get elsewhere!! Doing Disney on a budget, doesn't mean sacrificing ANYTHING. It means enjoying the same things everyone else is enjoying...but paying less! Like I said... I don't know about you guys, but I think that's pretty magical!
Here are a few of the snacks you'll find for sale at Disney, in the parks or at our resort but that might not be the best use of your Disney dimes!
Bags of chips
Single serve packs of donuts (like, Hostess)
Single cup of yogurt
Browse the Disney menus, Disney pictures or even recall previous trips of what you saw, or bought, jot down the prices locally, and calculate the savings. It might be worth it to you to put a few consumables in your park bag!
One of our favorite things about Disney? The snacks! You probably have your own favorites there too, and you've seen a few of our copycat ones, but doesn't it stink when on your next visit, you don't see the same things you had last time and fell in love with? While some things are never changing, like the Dole Whips, or Mickey Pretzels, others are in a constant rotation, things like cupcakes, cones and prepackaged specialty baked goods.
If there's an allergy in your house, I'm sure you especially know how upsetting that can be. Your choices for treats are already limited, and when your choices shrink, it can make your trip to the Magic Kingdom not as magical.
Recently we experienced that when Disney switched up some of their offerings, in particular, the prepackaged cookie and brownie area. Where previously they had sold OMG Brand products, now, it's two different brands, and the brownie, which is definitely a good substitution dessert in the sea of cross contact forbidden cupcakes, was made in a facility with nuts. If you've got a nut allergy, do you REALLY want to take that chance and ruin your vacation? We don't.
So of course, we did what anyone would do. Food allergy people understand. We PANICKED. I won't lie, my heart was heavy and there were tears and I felt absolutely sick to my stomach. The very few treats that our 6 year old would actually want had now been cut in half, and when you are 6, and everyone else has something yummy, that's a Big Deal.
Thankfully, I discovered that you can still buy the OMG products, directly through their website! What's even more exciting, is buying them ahead of time is actually going to SAVE us money, over The Mouse's Markup. I was so excited about this, I decided to share with you guys, so that you can have a safe, or heck, just plain AMAZING Disney dessert, AND save money! They didn't ask me to write this, and might think I'm slightly crazy for how obsessed we are over these, but I want to make sure everyone knows!
Don't don't let the gluten free part scare you if you don't need to be gluten free. I admit, I wondered if they would have the "healthy" taste of Enjoy Life products, but O.M.G. I bit into one, and the heavens opened. A choir of angels sung, and for just a brief moment, through the heavy snow falling, the sun shone and everything was perfect. Then my kids gave the puppy dog eyes and sighing, I handed over the rest.
They say these are gluten free....I cannot tell at all. They are so incredibly fudge-y inside, flaky on the tops, moist, rich...I could go on and on. The perfect brownie has been made, and it is one most everyone can enjoy!
The brownies are shipped freshly made, sealed in pretty thick plastic, and are meant to be frozen, and thawed. Once thawed, they say to use within two weeks. I hope they last that long here. I have them in the freezer right now, so I can practice thawing before our summer trip. I'll be buying more, so that when the oldest buys Disney treats to bring home, the youngest can eat his heart out on these brownies. These are even going to replace the Wolfgang Puck brownies I bring back every time and free. I can even keep a stash for when SURPRISE! There is a birthday party I didn't hear about until the last minute, and didn't have time for make him his own cupcakes!
OMG has a lot of other products too, cookies, rolls, pizza dough, muffins...a big list! If the other things taste as good as these, you won't be disappointed. Another great thing? Their customer service! Before I even ordered, I sent several emails with questions, and was surprised at how fast I got answers! When does that EVER happen? I think it was even the owner herself who answered me each time! Huge!
Shipping was free, I don't know if it's that way on all orders, but it was only about 3 days from when I ordered, to when I got my brownies! So fast! They weren't broken or crumbly at all, like I worried about.
I'm excited to try these jazzed up too! Ice cream on top, or whipped cream and hot fudge, shaped like Mickey.... these stand alone, but a dash of Disney sprinkles, when I can manage to find them, will definitely be awesome!
Here's a peek what they look like kind, of hard to see through the wrapper. It's not safe for me to open any more, and I forgot to take pictures while it was out! (The three seconds it lasted!) And, here is the ingredients label, for you to check out, yourself. If you go into the Food Service tab, you can see all of their ingredients, for all their products. Isn't that so nice? I sure appreciate it.
I will say, you will see these on Amazon. Don't buy them there. WAAAAY overpriced. Buy directly. And tell everyone you know, because these things are so amazing, it's a disservice NOT to share the word, and help get them into stores everywhere! Happy eating! And if you stop by my house? Umm. Sorry. All out. Can't share. Nope. Move along. Nothing to see here...
If you are budget minded like we are, you want to get the best deals possible while on vacation. I'll bet even if you want to splurge, you still don't want to waste your money! We think these are the best four, and worst four deals at Disney.
The Best Deals
We've told you before here, and then again later here why, and how much we LOVE the refillable mugs! We even did the math of how many times you need to fill up in order to break even or, come out ahead. Word has it, there's an extra special refillable mug coming for Mickey's 90th, and we are so excited!!
Our last trip, we bought the Photopass for the first time. In our 6 park days, we had over 900 photos taken by Disney photographers! Wow! We never went out of our way to find them, and while I still used my camera, I felt like it was nice to be able to enjoy the character experiences in the moment, instead of later at home, through what I captured on the camera.
Quick Service Meals with topping bars or refillable drinks
We love Quick Service, for the speed or ordering, and the budget friendly options that taste great, but we especially love the places that have the topping bars and FREE drink refills! At $4 a soda, isn't it nice to take one for the road, or hydrate yourself fully before you move on?
Every kids meal we've gotten at Disney has been filling enough an adult could eat it if they wanted! Kids meals come with two sides, and an entree and drink. At Pop, the pizza slice was so big, it didn't get finished, or the two sides touched. That makes for two snacks later!!
The Worst Deals
What is the best, without the worst? We think these things aren't really deals at Disney!
Wait! Didn't we just rave about the Photopass? We did, but if you aren't going to be at Disney for several days, or you aren't into meet and greets, then the Photopass just isn't a good deal. There is a middle ground though, you can look into a one day pass, or buy just a picture or two if there is something special you wanted to have captured.
While we love Disney snacks, not all snacks are a good deal. $2 for a banana? $3 for a small bag of chips? $4 for a bottled water? Ouch! Why not stock up ahead of time on the exact same brands Disney sells, but at Grocery store prices? I'd rather splurge with that Mickey Money for something I can't get back home!
Forgetting your _____
Ohhh there's not much worse than forgetting something on vacation. Once, I didn't realize that in"helping" pack a suitcase, the youngest was tossing clothes out! The result was the big brother had NO shorts or pants other than what he was wearing when we got to our destination. That was stressful, and an unexpected expense. Same thing when we ran out of sunscreen at Magic Kingdom, and I paid nearly double what I'd originally spent at Target. You can get most anything you need in a Disney gift shop or resort, but doing that, isn't deal. Convenience costs!
In room celebrations
I totally get wanting to make a special trip even more special, but the in room celebrations that are offered are just too much, for too little! You can go here to see what is offered, but it's a better deal, and more personalized, to surprise sometime by doing it yourself! A few balloons, some themed surprises like plushies, snacks, towels or toys, and you'll have an awesome surprise, with better gifts than the price of the delivery service.
What do you think is a great deal at Disney? Anything you'd advise a first timers to skip or pre plan for?
Recently we talked about how to Disney up your phone, for FREE with Disney ringtones and more, but I want to mention too, that there are times that it might be useful to NOT have a Disney ringtone!
There I was...strolling through the Star War area at Hollywood Studios. "Where are they?" I wondered? "I can't find them!" I had waited, and sighed, and looked everywhere. "Boy, I sure love how they have Star Wars music playing everywhere I go! I just love that Cantina song. Where are they? It's been 20 minutes!" Oh! The music cycled, it's the Cantina Song again! I have that as my ringtone. What?! My phone!"
You guessed it...I thought I was totally immersed in the Disney theme, and didn't realize that my ringtone blended in so well, I was wasting Park Time!
There's nothing like the Pirates of the Caribbean music! It ads the adventure to the Adventureland at Magic Kingdom! Let the swashbuckling commence! That jaunty little tune helps as you wait...and wait...and wait for the friends who were SUPPOSED to call after Big Thunder Mountain. Sheesh. What's taking so long? 15 minutes later, frantically waving your arms, you see them. "Why didn't you answer your phone?!" They ask. "My phone? You didn't call!" "We did! Over and over! See?" As you pull out your phone they call, and the exciting Pirates music starts again. Ooops. That's a true one too. But happened to Mister Disney!
We've had a few other Disney ringtone mishaps, and have considered going with Non Disney ringers on our next trip! If you need some, and FREE ones too, you can go here and this blog article from the other week will point you to the best place to get more ringtones of every kind, wallpapers and norification sounds, all for F.R.E.E.
Are you one of those people that can't pass by a pressed penny machine without stopping for a souvenir? Disney make's it very easy to indulge in that adventure, with over well over 100 different machines on Disney World property!
You can press pennies, and in a few select locations, you can even press quarters!
In case you need a place to put all those pressed coins, most of the gift shops sell a nice looking souvenir pressed coin book. Click the picture below to buy one before your trip, at the ShopDisney site!
While we have never done anything with ours other than collect, I have seen some amazing things made out of these pressed coins! Necklaces, bracelets and keychains are all ideas if you don't want to just keep them in a book.
If you have ever wished that you had a map of the locations of each machine, Disney is there to help! Recently they added the location of each machine in the My Disney Experience App, but you can also click here, to go to the official Disney website and browse locations or print maps!
Are you going to be hunting for these on your next trip?