Theme Parks, are notorious for charging a lot for their food, after all, they have a captive audience. On top of the price of admission, you have to worry about how your going to eat for the day at the park. If you are willing to sacrifice your time and leave the resorts it often sucks up a couple hours of the time that you already paid for. You also probably thought of packing food for your trip the night before but then never really got around to it in all your excitement. Sometimes when you go in a group or a class field trip, it is required you have money for food. In past years our article has included 3 meals but as meal prices have gone up and noting that a lot of people eat breakfast before entering Disneyland we decided to make it 2 meals and a snack . You can definitely eat 3 meals for just under $30 if you eat burgers and hot dogs all day but we wanted to add a variety to your meal choices.
Recently our elementary school students got to spend a day at Disneyland for their graduation day. As a part of their school “package”, $30.00 was required on top of their discounted price of admission, then set aside and given back to the students the day of the trip so they had money to eat while they are there (I guess kids in the past have gone without food and/or money for food, so this helps make sure the kids don’t walk around starving all day), thus giving them the option to choose for themselves what they want to eat and work within a budget.
Now $30 may seem like a lot of money for food for one person a day, but it goes quickly, especially if you were not able to pack any of your own snacks to supplement your food. You really have to figure out how to get the most bang for your buck. We made sure that the food was not at all the same restaurants but spread out throughout the park. We tried to avoid suggesting hamburgers or regular hot dogs just to show the variety that is available and kept it to 2 meals and a snack. We have put together some sample menus of how we would keep on a budget and be sure to send us your ideas!!!
You can find Disneyland Resort and outside dining menus and prices HERE.
Make Disneyland Dining Reservations HERE. (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
What we would eat!
We often split our meals at Disneyland Park. Here is a sample of what we would eat.
1. Plaza Inn, Main Street USA – Plaza Inn Fried Chicken $17.49 Three pieces of chicken, fried to a golden brown, seasoned with distinctive herbs and spices. Served with mashed potatoes, buttermilk biscuit and mixture of vegetables.
2. Cafe Orleans, New Orleans Square – Cresent City Salad with Chicken $18.00 Choose Blackened Chicken on top of fresh Spinach and Mixed Baby Greens, tossed with Carmelized Pecans, Red Grapes, Navel Orange Segments, Caramelized Onions, Chopped Green Onions, Roasted Sweet Corn, and Orange-Cilantro Vinaigrette. Plus an order of Pomme Frites $7.oo; traditional French-fried potatoes tossed with Parmesan cheese, garlic and parsley, served with a Cajun spice remoulade. Total =$25.00 ( Beware they charge a split plate charge so one of you needs to order the Pomme Frites as your meal.)
3. The Little Red Wagon, Main Street USA, Hand Dipped Corn Dogs A La Carte (we don’t split these, they are too good) $14.00 for 2 (approx)
Total= $56.49 before tax and tip. Just over $60 total depending on your tip (roughly $30 a piece)
Geared toward Elementary and Tweens
1. Tomorrowland Terrace, Tomorrowland – Countdown Chicken Fusilli $10.99. A favorite of kids and adults alike. It’s basically Chicken Alfredo with “Curly” noodles. For smaller children the portion is rather large so it can be split, for growing tween its a nice sized portion.
2. The Little Red Wagon, Main Street USA- Hand Dipped Corn Dogs a la carte: $7.00
3. Harbour Galley, New Orleans Square-Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Bread Bowl $ 10.99. Most kids don’t want the slaw on their potato so you can ask for it on the side or to leave it off all together.
Total= $28.98 before tax
Hungry Adults who want a variety.
1.Galaxy Grill, Tomorrowland-Jedi Order Chicken Sandwich:BBQ Rubbed Chicken Breast with Tomato, Lettuce, Crispy Onion Ring, Gouda Cheese, and Golden BBQ Sauce on a Premium Bun served with Dannon® Greek Yogurt or French Fries $11.49
2.Jolly Holiday Bakery, Main Street USA – Seasonal Bundt Cake $5.19
3. The Golden Horshoe, Frontierland – Chili in a Bread Bowl $10.99
Total-$27.17 before tax
Healthier Appetites (smaller portions and healthier options)
1. Bengal BBQ, Adventureland – Chieftan Chicken Skewer $4.49 plus Bacon Wrapped Asparagus $4.49
2. Red Rockets Pizza Port, Tomorrowland – Asian Chicken Salad $9.99. Marinated chicken, lettuce, cabbage, mandarin oranges and carrots tossed in a hoisin-soy vinaigrette, topped with sesame seeds, toasted almonds and won-ton strips.
3. Wicket’s Wicked Veggie Wrap , Galatic Grill, Tomorrowland – Portobello and vegetable sandwich served with Greek Yogurt or French fries. $9.79
Total=$28.76 before taxes
1. French Market, New Orleans Square – Creamy Corn Chowder – garnished with roasted corn and black eye pea Macque Choux in a sourdough boule $10.99
2.Red Rose Tavern, Fantasyland-Enchanted Cauli-Flower Sandwich- Grilled Cauliflower Steak, Spicy Lime Aïoli, Tempura-battered Green Beans, Lettuce, and Tomato on a Toasted Roll, served with Pommes Frites or sliced Apples $10.99
3.Tomorrowland Churro Cart, Tomorrowland: Light Saber Churro: $4.50
Total= $26.48 before tax
If you split your meal with someone and you both have a $30 budget you can get more bang for your buck. This works well with small eaters, people who supplement with snacks they have brought or someone sharing with a child.
1. Cafe Orleans, New Orleans Square – Monte Cristo Sandwich $20.00. Sliced turkey, ham and Swiss cheese fried in a light batter and served with berry puree dusted with Powdered Sugar. This dish is very rich and begs to be shared. Be aware that Cafe charges $4.00 to share a plate (split plate charge). In order to combat this the other person orders an appetizer soup or salad as their main course and just don’t say you are splitting the Monte Cristo . In this case the Le Salade de Maison is very good, Our Cafe Orleans signature house salad, featuring tossed baby greens in a raspberry vinaigrette, topped with cherry tomatoes, crumbled goat cheese and caramelized pecans. ( ask for ranch dressing if you don’t like raspberry vinagrette) for $6.00. Total= $26.00
2. Red Rockets Pizza Port, Tomorrowland – Forest of Endor – Casarecce pasta, smoked cremini mushrooms, kale, broccolini, cannellini beans, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, tossed in garlic oil and freshly grated Romano cheese. $11.99 Plus Breadsticks served with dipping sauce $4.99 Total= $16.98
3. Stage Door Cafe, Fish n Chips: $9.99
Total $52.97 before tax and tip about $60 (roughly $30 and change per person)
If you have a $30 budget and you want one splurge meal this is our choice for Disneyland Park. However, with tax and tip it will bring you over the $30 amount but within a few dollars, after all it is a splurge.
Blue Bayou Lunch, New Orleans Square – Priority Seating Reservations recommended. Monte Cristo Sandwich Turkey, Ham, and Swiss Cheese battered and fried to golden brown, served with a Fruit Skewer. $28.00. Your meal comes with Blue Bayou House Salad or Cup of our Signature New Orleans Gumbor Cup of our Signature New Orleans Gumbo, and Bread Service.- We know you can get the Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans for cheaper but having it at the Blue Bayou is all about the experience. The Blue Bayou Restaurant is located inside of the Pirates of the Caribbean Attraction and is the most beautiful and atmospheric restaurant inside Disneyland.
What we would eat!
1. Cozy Cone Motel, Cars Land – Red’s Apple Freeze $4.99
2. Pacific Wharf Cafe, Pacific Wharf – Broccoli Cheese Soup in Sourdough Bread Bowl $10.99
3. Lucky Fortune Cookery, Pacific Wharf – Thai Coconut Chicken over rice $11.99
Total= $27.97 before tax
Balanced Menu on the healthier side
1. Flo’s V8 Cafe, CarsLand – Spit fired Roasted 1/4 chicken served with mashed potatoes & roasted vegetables $12.49
2. Pacific Wharf Cafe, Pacific Wharf – Chinese Chicken Salad in a Sourdough Breadbowl $11.49
3. Paradise Pier , Don Tomas –Corn on the Cob – buttered or chile-lime $4.79
Total= $28.77before tax
1. Flo’s V8 Cafe, CarsLand – Veggie Tater Bake $10.99. Roasted Vegetables, Bulgur Wheat & Mashed Potatoes topped with Cheddar Cheese, served with Fresh Fruit
2. Hollywood, Schmoozies:Golden Icicle Lemonade – All-Natural Odwalla Lemonade with flavors of Blue Cotty Candy and Granny Smith Apple, topped with Citrus Fruit Foam and a Golden Icicle. $4.99
3. Lucky Fortune Cookery, Pacific Wharf -Teriyaki Tofu Bowl over Rice $10.99
Total = $26.97 before tax
Splitting Meals (If you split your meal with someone and you both have a $30 budget you can get more bang for your buck. This works well with small eaters, people who supplement with snacks they have brought or someone sharing with a child)
1. Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, Pacific Wharf – Sonora Burrito $11.99. Chicken or Roasted Vegetables with refried beans, seared peppers and onions, and shredded cheese topped with a traditional Guajillo sauce. All plates include Mexican Rice and Refried Beans, Pico de Gallo, Guacamole and Sour Cream.
Sauteed Vegetables may be substituted for Rice or Beans (The burrito is on the large size making it perfect for sharing)
2. Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta, Paradise Pier – Chicken Sundried Tomato Pasta $10.99 +Lemoncello Cheesecake$5.19 =$16.18( Adding a little something extra to a split meal helps ensure that everyone is full when the meal is finished.
3. Paradise Pier, Cover Bar CB Lobster Nachos – Tender lobster pieces atop fresh house made tortilla chips, with black beans, pico de gallo, chipotle crema, and our signature aged cheddar and Oaxaca cheese sauce. $16 and Trio of Tri Tip Sliders – mojo criollo with crispy onions, barbecue sauce with tangy slaw, and a bacon, arugula, and bleu cheese slider all served on toasted brioche $13
Total for 2 =$47.17 ($23.59 each before tax)
There are definitely different ways to stay within budget. Bringing snacks really does help considering all the walking you are doing, one might get extra hungry.(bring your own bottled water or opt for a cup of Anaheim’s finest for free) Eating a large breakfast before you visit is another appetite deterrent to help tight budgets and the double whammy of eating a large breakfast plus bringing snacks will help you in paying for less meals (you might only need one purchased meal) and also if you still have a $30 budget you can get one splurge meal at a table service restaurant. Be sure to send us your tips and tricks on saving money at the Disneyland Resort!!