Tag Archive for: disneyland

The answer is yes, yes you can. With these budget tips, I managed to head to the happiest place on earth with Paolo and not break the bank. Here’s how I did it:

First off, I had an annual pass.
For the people who don’t go to Disneyland that often, this tip isn’t for you. But for people who are obsessed with the parks (like I am), I used the crap out of my annual pass and discounts. I have the signature pass, which gets me 15% off food as well as free parking. That’s already $25 off our budget every time we visit, which is a HUGE save. If you go to the parks more than 14 times a year, the signature pass is actually a better deal and cheaper than the Deluxe pass because you get free parking as well as a higher discount on merchandise and restaurants. That means my price for entering the parks is $0, and my price for parking is $0.

Double up on your Starbucks rewards if you have them.
If you have a Starbucks gift card, if you aren’t already, PUT IT IN THE APP. Your gift card goes further by earning you points that you can redeem towards free drinks. There are two Starbucks locations in Downtown Disney, one Starbucks in California Adventure, and one Starbucks in Disneyland Park. If you are an annual passholder like I am, skip the lines at the Downtown Disney locations and wait in line at the park. I get that you cannot mobile order within the parks which can be a bummer, but if you’re willing to wait in line, not only can you redeem Starbucks rewards and gift cards there, but you also are eligible for your annual passholder discount. I had a coupon for a free drip coffee, Paolo got a drip coffee for $3.50, and we both bought $5 breakfast sandwiches. Plus the 15% discount brings our total to $11.50 for breakfast.

One of my favorite pictures from a previous Disneyland visit.

Pack snacks/lunch to eat in the parks.
Food is EXPENSIVE in the parks. If you’re not careful, things can add up incredibly quickly. If you can, bring some snacks, a water bottle, and maybe even a full lunch with you if you can. Paolo and I brought water bottles, mixed nuts and seeds, turkey sandwiches, prepackaged cookies, chips, and some apples and bananas. Other ideas could be veggies and ranch, prepackaged snack olives, yogurt in a tube, string cheese, and dry cereal. We didn’t buy any drinks at the parks because we had water, and we had a light lunch in the parks. We ended up sitting on the benches outside Grizzly Peak in California Adventure, and it was a great (and shady) spot to sit and relax while we ate our lunches. That means we spent $0 for lunch and snacks in the parks.

Skip the pricey souvenirs if you plan on coming back.
While merchandise is changing constantly, I find that window shopping is the best way to get my fix of souvenirs without wasting money purchasing them. There are also other ways you can get free mementos, like asking PhotoPass people to use your phone to take pictures of you, getting a free button at City Hall, or even a limited edition map (Hello, Galaxy’s Edge!). The photos I’ve taken have been far more valuable to me than any T-Shirt ever could be. When we last went, we spent $0 on souvenirs, opting for buttons, maps, and, of course, photos.

Wait, there’s free food in California Adventure?
Yes, yes there is. If you, like me sometimes, forget to bring snacks into the park, California Adventure is host to a little-known secret: the Boudin Bakery Bread Tour. It’s a small attraction right by the Ghiradelli Fountain, and when you enter, you get a small slice of DELICIOUS sourdough bread to savor. If you are getting hangry in the midsummer heat, this is a great place to cool down, taste some amazing bread, and see how the addicting loaves of sourdough that Disneyland sells are made.

Where do you eat at Disneyland on a budget?
Now THAT is a great question. There are a ton of places to choose from, but there are some places that are more expensive than others. In Disneyland park, Bengal Barbecue has a bunch of skewers that you can choose from that are reasonably-priced if you don’t go overboard. However, the best meal deal in Disneyland in my opinion is the Margherita pizza that you can get at the Red Rose Taverne in Fantasyland. Pictured above, it is a very large pizza that would definitely be filling for two people to share, and it’s priced at just $10. Combined with my 15% off discount, that turns out to be $8.50 for a meal for two. Flo’s V8 Cafe is also great in California Adventure for simple diner fare, with most meals being about $12.

What about a sit-down restaurant?
In general, quick service restaurants are your best bet if you don’t want to break the bank. However, our favorite sit-down restaurants are the Carnation Cafe as well as Cafe Orleans. Carnation Cafe has typical Americana fare, but what I love about it is if you time your reservation right and get outdoor seating, you get a front row seat to parades. Cafe Orleans is my second choice for a cheap sit down restaurant in the parks because it offers practically the same menu as Blue Bayou, but for half the cost. Granted, you don’t get the ambiance, but they serve a very similar salad, very similar entrees, and of course, you can get a mint julep and a monte cristo sandwich for much cheaper.

So there you have it. Disney doesn’t have to break the bank if you budget carefully and plan. I hope these tips are helpful for the next time you visit the parks! Let me know if you used any of these tips in the comments below!

For anyone that knows me in real life, you know there are two things I love more than anything else in the world: food and Disney. So when I had the opportunity of a lifetime to get advance reservation tickets to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. And boy, was I impressed. Everything was carefully crafted to the last detail — and that includes the foods. Here’s what I thought:

Meiloorun Juice, found at Ronto Roasters in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

First off: Is the Cantina worth it?
If you’ve read up on Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll know that one of the featured locations is the Cantina, where a live DJ spins galactic jams and you can order alcoholic and non-alcoholic concoctions that only a bartender on Mos Eisley could think of. This also happens to be the only place in the park where you can order alcoholic beverages. Even with the advance reservations, there was a line at least a half-mile long to get into the Cantina, and by the time we got there, reservations were not accepted, so we didn’t get to try any of the food or drinks inside.

HOWEVER, if you’re really nice and ask a cast member, they may be willing to let you go inside and tour the packed Cantina. Unless you specifically want the experience of ordering alcohol in the park, don’t waste your time and just try to peek inside instead. The bar is very crowded and the non-alcoholic offerings at other stands are just as interesting (and some are the same).

Green and Blue Milk, found in various places throughout Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. (The Green looks yellow here due to lighting.)

The non-alcoholic drinks are good…but pretty similar
I had the opportunity to try quite a few different “mocktails” around Galaxy’s Edge. Most of them are either iced tea or juice-based, with lemonade and exotic fruit flavoring added. All of them are pretty good, albeit a little sweet for my taste. Most of the drinks have a similar flavor profile: tart, fruity, sweet, and refreshing — perfect for the blistering heat that Southern California is notoriously known for.

The big drink that’s on everyone’s minds, however, is the blue milk. It actually comes in two flavors, blue and green, and if you ask a cast member what the difference is, they’ll jokingly say, “One is blue and the other is green.” In reality, the blue and green milk are both the same base of coconut and rice milk (no dairy!). The blue milk has dragonfruit flavoring added, while the green milk has an orange blossom flavor. Both of them are more like a smoothie in consistency than actual milk.

The serving size is a bit small, but what it lacks in size, it packs in flavor. Neither particularly tastes like the fruit that they’re emulating, but that doesn’t make them any less delicious. I preferred the green milk, while others I’ve talked to prefer the blue. The TRUE hack that a cast member taught me, though, is drinking one sip of one, and then another sip of the other for an unforgettable, unique flavor.

Outpost Popcorn Mix from Kat Saka’s Kettle in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

What about the snacks at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?
Unfortunately, quick bites around Galaxy’s Edge are currently few and far between. There are a few drink carts here and there, but there aren’t a lot of snacks to munch on as you walk. Currently, the main area to grab a snack is Kat Saka’s Kettle, where you can get some Outpost Popcorn Mix. One common theme I noticed throughout Galaxy’s Edge is the food scene is heavily sweet-skewed. This snack was no different.

The popcorn is a take on kettle corn with a fruity/spicy twist. The purple kernels have a fruit flavor that vaguely reminded me of Trix cereal, while the red kernels are not quite hot, but have a slight twinge of spice to them. Even though the description says that it’s a “sweet and spicy” mix, I didn’t find it to be spicy at all, and you could definitely share this with little ones or people with a low spice tolerance. The other quick bites location is Ronto Roasters, where you can get what basically is a hot dog in a pita wrap. I didn’t have a chance to try those, but they looked pretty good from spying on other people’s purchases.

Fried Endorian Tip-yip, found at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Is there a place to get a full meal at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?
Why yes, there is! Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo doesn’t require any reservations, and is similar in style to other casual sit-down restaurants in Disneyland. I found that the food offerings were simultaneously trying to cater to foodies with unique flavors while also remaining accessible to less adventurous palates in the park.

I had the Endorian Fried Tip-yip, which basically was a rectangular chicken finger on top of a mashed potato and vegetable mix, with a gravy on the side. While I was expecting something more “intergalactic” if you will, it was a solid meal. The chicken was perfectly moist on the inside, but crispy on the outside. The mash and vegetables weren’t glue-y or lumpy, and had the perfect amount of salt. But the REAL star of the dish was the gravy. There was a freshness to it that I couldn’t place my finger on, unlike a typical gravy that bogs down the dish. It mixed perfectly with both the potatoes and the chicken in a way that was simultaneously comforting, yet exciting and new.

It’s also worth mentioning that the food comes served in reusable cast-iron plates, and the utensil you are given to eat with is a heavy spork. I love that Disney is slowly making a move towards more sustainable options at their parks, and I think it’s great that they’re really making an effort at Galaxy’s Edge.

My overall review?
Overall, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a foodie’s paradise while still remaining accessible. Disney has made some great strides in the effort to bring delicious and unique food to all of their park restaurants, and this is no exception. Beware, however, of the prices. If you are on a budget, eating at Galaxy’s Edge is at least 25% more expensive than other places around the park. Sodas, for example, cost a dollar more and are significantly smaller (probably because they are custom-made for Galaxy’s Edge). Also, if you have the Disneyland app, take advantage of Mobile Ordering as much as you can to skip the lines for Docking Bay 7, the Milk Stand, and Ronto Roasters. Otherwise, I would say eat, drink, and be merry at the Happiest Place on Earth!

Have you tried any of the foods at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Drop me a note in the comments with your thoughts!