Disneyland Tip #3 – Food

If you don’t know, food is expensive when you’re on vacation. Especially at Disneyland.

Granted, the food there is very good and very tasty. But there are fast food places (even a McDonald’s) within the parks, and everything is inflated beyond what it costs in “the real world.”

If I had been able to, I would have brought two Costco boxes of Uncrustables with me and had the kids eat them at least once a day. You can bring food into Disneyland, but not a full “meal” or picnic, and no glass bottles. Plastic water bottles, milk, and juice are fine. Snack food is also fine. Baby food is also okay (for those with babies). Because I couldn’t bring Uncrustables on the plane (and keep them frozen), and I didn’t have access to “the real world” on our trip (we traveled everywhere by shuttle van or tour bus), I instead packed a large quantity of Costco peanut butter crackers and cereal fruit bars in a shoebox (that was then packed in one of our suitcases). Having those reliable snacks was a very good thing, because it warded off extreme hunger for the kids (and occasionally for us as well), and they never seem to get tired of them. I wish I had packed more cereal bars, because we did start our days very early and breakfast usually wasn’t the first thing on our agenda.

One thing we finally learned to do was to keep a bottle of water on hand at all times. I freely admit it – we are all spoiled up here in the Seattle area, because our water that comes out of the tap is quite possibly the best anywhere. It really doesn’t need filtering at all. By contrast… I swear I could taste every mineral in the tap water in Disneyland. The only thing that helped was it being ice-cold – and it didn’t help that much. So we spent a lot on bottled water on this trip. Again, if I’d been able to, I would have brought a Costco flat of bottled water with me. It would have saved us a pretty penny.

Still, the point of being on vacation is to eat those special foods that you can only get while on vacation. So, on our first full day at Disneyland, the kids were treated to their very first Mickey pancakes at River Belle Terrace.

This is a must-do whenever you are at Disneyland. The Webmaster and I even ate Mickey pancakes on our honeymoon.

As I’ve said, all of the character meals offer excellent food, but you can’t do that at every meal. Well, you could, but then you’d be very broke later. Splitting fast food between adults is a way to save money, though I don’t recommend doing it more than once a day. My advice, when tackling Disneyland, is to eat a fairly large breakfast, and then go lighter the rest of the day, keeping in mind that there will be sweet snacks at different points. And drink lots of water.

The other must-eat-at place we went to was Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Restaurant, which is just outside Knott’s Berry Farm. We went for an early dinner, and feasted on the best fried chicken known to mankind. It really IS that good. I’ve always thought that staying near Knott’s Berry Farm would be neat, especially because so many things linked to the park are located outside of it (like the replica of Independence Hall and the shopping area and the restaurant), so you don’t even have to pay admission to enjoy these places.

Oh, and it really is the best fried chicken EVER. Obachan’s funyu chicken is not this kind of fried chicken, so it is okay to say that Mrs. Knott’s is the best. Funyu chicken is in a class by itself.

If we ever drive to southern California, I would be able to plan food a little more efficiently – especially since my kids tend to stick to their favorites and would be happy to eat peanut butter once a day. Ever since we got back, that’s what they’ve been doing. The Webmaster and I, in an effort to get ourselves out of vacation mindset and pay off the credit cards this month, have vowed not to eat out until our anniversary/Tad’s birthday (these are both on the same day) in August. No takeout, no fast food, no sit-down restaurants, no drive-thrus, no pizza – nothing that can’t be bought at the grocery store. I haven’t even touched Starbucks since we got back, either (though I don’t know if I can keep that up, but I’m sure going to try). I’ve made every meal since we got back and a lot of it has been peanut butter and jelly for the kids.

They don’t mind, though. I got out the large Mickey cookie cutter I bought on my honeymoon and I’ve been cutting their PB&J sandwiches with it. Ane thinks it’s great, and Tad says “Mimmi!” every time I do it. It makes the sandwich taste special, don’t you know.

4 Responses to “Disneyland Tip #3 – Food”

  1. Ressis
    July 16th, 2008 07:53

    If you think California water is bad, then NEVER taste Texas water. I have to boil it, then filter it to make it palatable. Then I have to clean the tea kettle of lime and calcium buildup each month.

  2. Webmaster
    July 16th, 2008 11:12

    Yes – we know we have it good up here with our water and we do not take it for granted.

    Btw, honey, I just looked: there are TWO Costcos within approximately 3 miles of Disneyland. The Garden Grove Costco involves two turns out of the hotel!!!

    I am ashamed.

  3. Aunt Lynda
    July 17th, 2008 07:47

    I just read that peanut butter is going to be very expensive; the peanut farmers are planting corn for biofuel and transportation costs are doing their part. What a shame!

  4. Bruce Hopkins
    September 27th, 2008 13:38

    It’s a sad state of affairs when you have to resort to smuggling in your own food and water to eat and drink what YOU want. Used to be that only alcoholics had to carry a flask!