How We Eat on Disney Days

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One of the most expensive things about Walt Disney World is the food. Let’s just be honest, if we ate breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, AND adult beverages on property every weekend we would be BROKE. For this reason we have our own version of the Disney Dining Plan.

We typically eat breakfast at home/in the car on the way to the park, pack lunch, and buy dinner. Sometimes we add in a little snack, and frequently an adult beverage or two 🙂


Frozen waffles



The largest to-go cup of coffee I can muster


I know that breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day, but by the weekend I have typically exhausted my quick breakfasts because of school mornings. So our breakfasts usually consist of grab and go type items on park days when we are trying to get out the door. If we have already admitted to ourselves that Rope Drop isn’t in the cards I have been known to make eggs, pancakes or Olaf waffles in our Olaf Waffle Maker! This is once in a blue moon though.




With all of the walking around the parks we are usually ready for a snack around mid-morning. If it was just me, I would stop for a GIANT cinnamon roll from Gaston’s Tavern every time, but since we are trying to limit our family’s sugar intake for various reasons we grab a little something from our bag of tricks. My personal favorite bag of tricks is this Thirty-One Thermal. It’s cute and holds a lot more than it looks like it should.

thermal tote

Since our snacks are usually eaten while we are waiting in line for a ride and these are some of our favorites.

Rice Cakes – yes, my kids love these…weird, I know

Cracker Sandwiches

Mini boxes of raisins

GoGo Squeeze pouches

This is usually enough to push us through until around 1 when we stop for lunch and doesn’t cost a lot. Each of these items cost less than $3 for all 5 of us compared to a $5 Mickey pretzel that my kids would fight over.


For lunch time we grab some FREE water from a quick service stand and park it on a nice bench. Most of the time I pack peanut butter (and NO JELLY…can you imagine jelly hands at the park?) sandwiches, cheese sticks, veggies (usually baby carrots), Craisins, hummus, and lunch box sized bags of chips. Basically, it is almost the same lunch they get Monday through Friday at school, but everything tastes better surrounded by Disney magic. Also, there are lots of small components and they only get one thing at a time to keep down the mess.


The kids don’t usually start looking for another snack until around 4-4:30 so we give them a leftover from lunch (if there are any) and we start thinking about where we are going for dinner.


Since most of our trips are NOT hardcore planned (one of the major perks of being Annual Passholders and not trying to squeeze everything into a few days) we also do not usually make a dinner reservation (ADR) because we never know what park we will be in. Occasionally we try (like for a child’s birthday trip) but usually we just pick what sounds good. A lot of the time we head to Epcot to eat because they have the largest amount of restaurants and variety in food, but we usually spend 15 minutes talking Kid #1 out of Electric Umbrella. He is obsessed, but this is mostly classic “amusement park food” and if we are going to eat at Epcot we are hitting the World Showcase and trying something new!

shepherds pie

We don’t always do a sit down restaurant, but more often than not we do. By dinner time we are all in need of a rest and a bigger meal. With a family of 5 this can get expensive, but there are ways to save money.

  1. The kids can drink water! Unless their meal includes (an explicitly states that it includes a drink) they get water. Actually, this isn’t just a dining at Disney rule, this is an any restaurant rule because it saves us like $6.
  2. Consider getting 2 appetizers as your meal. Sometimes you just can’t pick what you want and this is a great way to try different things. It usually ends up cheaper than an entree at dinner time.
  3. Okay, don’t throw things at me, but skip the character meals. These meals you are almost 100% paying for the characters and you don’t always get a lot of facetime. I believe that you can meet almost every character that has a dining experience at a different location and it will not cost an arm and a leg. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
  4. Skip dessert unless your heart is set on something you can only get at this restaurant.

Chefs de France edit

How do you eat when you are in the parks? Are you a Disney Dining Plan person, or do you pack as much as you can into your backpack? Do you have a favorite restaurant that you always go to? Tell me how your family eats while at Walt Disney World.

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Disney Passholder Project Podcast #03 – FastPass +’s and -‘s

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This week we discuss the FastPass+ system. Do lines move faster without it? How can you maximize your FP+ utilization? Scan your Magic Band for a lively debate. We also discuss the changes to Pizza Planet and spend an evening at a very rainy Hollywood Studios in the Memory Shaker.

Show Notes

Kylo Ren now meeting at Hollywood Studios

Changes at Pizza Planet

AP Days at Disneyland


Circle of Life closed

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Ride All of the Magic Kingdom Rides Challenge

Earlier in the week we had the great idea to go to Magic Kingdom and see if we could hit EVERY ride in the park. We would get there at the elusive rope drop and run through the park with the sun shining and the children being happy and agreeable the whole way!

And then reality hit.

We had also realized that Kid #2 was tall enough for Space Mountain and told her that we had a surprise for her on our trip because surprises are fun. I should know better that to tell this child that there is a surprise coming because she is just like me and cannot sleep when she knows something is coming. Proof – She woke my husband up at midnight and 1am for a drink of water. Then woke me up at 3am for a drink and 4:15 because she had woken up Kid #3 and they were yapping away. What the heck! My alarm was already set for 5:45 (8am park openings are rough).

Through blurry eyes and loud children yielding frozen waffles and bananas we made it out the door on time to stop for gas and coffee. For once we were going to make it to rope drop…but then the gas pump wasn’t working, they didn’t have breakfast sandwiches, and the attendant was less than pleasant so we had to go to a second gas station before hitting the highway.

We didn’t make it. 😦

We were on Disney property when the Opening Show was going on, but we just couldn’t get there in time…however, we walked through the gate at roughly 8:05am and bolted straight to Seven Dwarfs.

Seven Dwarfs 1

The posted wait time was 30 minutes, but I am pretty sure that they list that at park open. It took us no more than 15 minutes from the time we stepped in line to getting off the ride. What a great way to start the day.

Seven Dwarfs 2

Then we headed to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but were distracted by a 15 minute wait for Peter Pan. We hopped in line. This was our first time ever going through the line because we usually grab a FP+. The line is ADORABLE and is the perfect set up to the ride. In fact, I think I appreciate the ride more after waiting in the line. I wish I would have been able to get some pictures, but we were really only in line 5 minutes.

Peter Pan

After our ride to Neverland and back we made it to Big Thunder and were able to ride it twice because the wait was only 5 minutes! We were going to jump on Splash Mountain since we were there, but it wasn’t open. I’m not sure if it was because it was early, or something was going on, but the big drop didn’t have water on it and there were some alarms going off. We decided to come back later.

Space Mountain (and Kid #2’s surprise) was next up on our list. Hubs took the big kids while Kid #3 treated me to my first ever trip on the Astro Orbiter. I am NOT a fan. I don’t to heights well and I kept feeling like I was going to slip out of my rocket…not cool. The view, however, was pretty cool.

Astro Orbiter

We decided to do a switch since the Space Mountain wait was still only 10 minutes and I took the big kids and Hubs took the little guy on the Tomorrowland Speedway.

Space Mountain

I know it is cliche, but I love Space Mountain! I am well aware that it isn’t actually an impressive ride with the lights on, but when you don’t know what’s coming it’s awesome.

Now, friends, this is about where we started to loose traction for our “Ride Every Ride” Challenge. We decided that we needed to pick a spot and just circle the park to be more efficient so we started with the Circus.


Our family loves the quick and easy Barnstormer. I don’t know why, but we do. The ride is no longer than 30 seconds, but sometimes that’s all you need. We got in the 20 minute wait line knowing it would only be about 10, but then the line stopped moving…and the ride stopped running. Soon they made the announcement that the ride was down and they did not know how long it would be until it came back up. We gave the kids a snack, but after a few minutes decided to get out of line and head over to Dumbo.

Insert meltdown here.

I won’t get into the gory details of the meltdowns that occurred (ain’t nobody got time for that) but just know that this was about where we gave up on hitting every ride in the park. We decided to hit the rides we had FP+ reservations for (Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Jungle Cruise) plus a few more, have a little snack, and play a round of Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom and then after dinner we would decide whether to go home, or try to stick it out for a few more rides.

forgot ADR

Ahhh dinner. Earlier in the week when we decided to go to the park I was supposed to make a ADR (advanced dining reservation) for dinner. I was having trouble with my phone when the decision was made so I planned to do it later. I forgot. We got to dinner time and had no dinner reservation. BOOOO. You can’t walk in anywhere at Magic Kingdom. There are just too many people vying for those reservations…so we monorailed over to Epcot. I love dinner at Epcot.

The longer you read this blog, the more you will notice a pattern…we almost always go to Epcot for dinner. The food is just fricking amazing that we just can’t help ourselves. Oh, and you can almost always walk in and get a table. We have only been turned down once, and that was on date night at Le Cellier during Food and Wine so we were silly to think we would get in. I digress.

We bolted straight to dinner at Nine Dragons and were not disappointed.


dinner 2

After dinner I completed a Agent P mission with the big kids while hubs took Kid #3 on the Grand Fiesta Tour (a MUST in the Mexico Pavillion). We then we went to Spaceship Earth were I sat through the entire ride in a language I did not understand compliments of my daughter’s pinkie brushing the screen.

Once we returned to the present day I insisted on a park departure treat of ice cream. It had been years since I had a Mickey ice cream bar…it was time. This also helped quiet everyone since we were leaving relatively early and still had to monorail over to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC).

So there you have it. We attempted to do all of Magic Kingdom, only to be thwarted by our own planning. Whoops! Have you ever ridden every ride at Magic Kingdom, or any other amusement park, all in one day? How do you deal with meltdowns (from kids or adults) while at the park? Tell us below, and make sure to check out our NEW weekly podcast!

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Disney Passholder Project Podcast #02 – Best in Show

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This week we discuss the live shows throughout Disney World. Which park has the best? Which ones need an update? The curtain rises on our showy debate. We also discuss the upcoming Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and attempt to go on every ride in Magic Kingdom in the Memory Shaker.

Show Notes

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Garden Rocks Lineup

The Boneyard closed for refurbishment

Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60



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Voicemail Number: (424) 274-2352