Preschoolers Guide to Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland

Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland is a preschooler’s dream come true! From the bright colors, whimsical buildings and playful attractions this fun area is great for everyone, but especially for kids aged 2-5.

My tweens can take it or leave it and they don’t ever really ask to go to Toontown. My preschooler on the other hand loves this quirky area and would enjoy spending a good chunk of the day exploring Toontown. So here’s my preschoolers guide to Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland, including where to visit, what to ride, where to play and what to eat!

Please note that I include affiliate links in this post. If you click and purchase through the links it helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland for Preschoolers

Toontown can be easy to miss unless you’re looking for it. It’s located all the way to the very back of Disneyland Park, past Fantasyland. The entrance to Toontown is located just under the train tracks to the left side of it’s a small world. Be sure to check out the Toontown population sign!

You’ll dip below the tracks and then rise up into an entirely new Land, complete with rolling hills in the distance, Toontown sign (a la Hollywood!) and off-kilter buildings.

Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Roger Rabbit’s Car-Toon Spin

Walk straight forward and you’ll find Roger Rabbit’s Car-Toon Spin. Though this ride does offer a FastPass, this ride has a very cool interactive queue that is not to be missed. It’s worth the walk-through if you get a chance because the queue sets the stage for the ride and can help explain the movie to preschoolers who probably aren’t familiar with the plot (ie: “The Dip”!)

Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin is silly fun for everyone as there is no height requirement. This is combination dark ride (kind of like Monsters Inc Mike & Sully to the Rescue over at Disney California Adventure Park) and Mad Tea Party because you’ll be able to spin your vehicle freely as you move through the action. If you suffer from motion sickness, you probably want to avoid spinning your car!

I was able to ride this with my 10-month old sitting between my preschooler and I (she didn’t like the darkness or the spinning though).

Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

All these years of trying and still can’t get the barbell off the ground!

Gag Factory

Just as you exit the ride, you’ll be deposited in an alley with a few interactive scenes that preschoolers will enjoy. “Lock ’em up” in the jail, see if they can lift the barbell out of the concrete, press and pull the handles on the boxes at the Fireworks Factory and check out the door at the Power House. It’s all good fun!


At the end of the alley, you’ll find the Gag Factory Toontown Five & Dime for shopping. In the courtyard just outside are quick service dining locations where you can grab a bite. Daisy’s Diner offers basic personal-sized pizzas and Pluto’s Dog House has hot dogs and turkey sandwiches. After a meal you can hit Clarabelle’s for soft serve. I’ve found that these locations aren’t always open during the off-season, however.

Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Vroom-Vroom!

There is one set of restrooms in Toontown, located in the center of “town”. Be sure to have your preschoolers check out the gas station “fish” inside the tanks! There’s also a car to sit in for a photo op. There are several cartoonish vehicles around Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland including a firetruck that kids can climb on and sit in.

Mickey's Toontown in Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

The “fish” in the gas tanks just outside the Toontown restrooms.

When Toontown first opened the Jolly Trolley actually transported guests from one end of the area to the other on the cute, bobbing trolley car. But Toontown isn’t particular big and there were always so many guests wandering in front of the trolley, they stopped operating it long ago. It now sits on the tracks for photos.

Meet Minnie & Mickey

Minnie’s House is a preschooler’s delight! Sit at her kitchen table, see the cake baking in the oven and open her fridge to see what’s inside. Be sure to stop at the wishing well out back. Minnie often greets guests in front of her house.

Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Cooking up fun inside Minnie’s kitchen

Step inside Mickey’s House and check out all the hands-on surprises. Preschoolers can hop in Pluto’s dog bed, watch a vintage cartoon on Mickey’s TV and giggle at the pest who’s invading his garden. Keep walking back into the barn and you’ll encounter movie props through the queue and you’ll get to meet Mickey himself in a private meet n’ greet room. So much better than standing in the hot sun for a regular character meeting, you’ll be able to wait in the air conditioned screening room while watching cartoons on a big screen.

Mickey's Toontown for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Playtime in Toontown

I’ve actually never traveled up into Chip n’ Dale Treehouse because it’s never been open on any of my visits. According to the Disneyland website you can climb a staircase inside the tree for a great view of Toontown.

Mickey's Toontown for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

The next two playhouses are great for preschoolers to just run around and burn off extra energy. Donald’s Boat is called the “Miss Daisy” and is a double-decker playhouse where kids can spin the Captain’s wheel and pull the ship’s whistle.

Mickey's Toontown in Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Goofy’s House, decorated for the holidays

Next door at Goofy’s Playhouse there’s a playground in the garden that includes a slide. Inside the house, kids love to play the “goofy” piano! There are waiting areas in both play areas for parents to sit and relax.

Mickey's Toontown for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Gadget’s Go Coaster

The other ride in Mickey’s Toontown is Gadget’s Go Coaster, a preschooler’s perfect first roller coaster. This ride is based on the animated show Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers (which parents may be more familiar with than kids). I appreciate all the quirky details here to look at in the queue.

There are lots of fun “found objects” that create the coaster like beach blankets, “Tinkertoys” and office supplies. It’s a great way to pass the time, spotting these items while you’re waiting in line.

Mickey's Toontown for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Gadget’s Go Coaster

There is only one coaster so the line tends to move slowly. But kids will excite at having the coaster whizzing by overhead while they wait! The ride itself is only one-minute long so it’s really a great place to start if your preschooler is interested in faster rides.

Say Hello to a ‘Toon Friend!

Occasionally characters are out to meet n’ greet including Pluto and Goofy and we’ve found the lines are generally shorter than elsewhere in the park.

Read more about taking preschoolers to Disneyland on my TravelingMom post!

Mickey's Toontown for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Save money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 

What’s your favorite thing in Mickey’s Toontown? Share with me in the comments!

Mickey's Toontown in Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

 

 

 

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Potato Soup Recipe

 Guilt-free Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Potato Soup Recipe

Guilt-Free Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Potato Soup Recipe

Last week we had our first hint of fall here in Southern California. Temperatures dropped from the high 90s and we were blessed with several cool days. I struggle to cook in the summer months because it’s just so darned hot in my little house without air conditioning. And I sure do get bored eating salad at every meal! As soon as I felt a cool in the air, I delighted in baking chocolate chip cookies and made a delicious pot roast in the Dutch oven. I also made a family favorite, my roasted garlic and rosemary potato soup recipe.

Guilt-free Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Potato Soup Recipe

I’ve been making this soup for years, much to the delight of my family. I like that I can prepare the potatoes ahead of time and then put together the soup quickly for dinner.This soup is appropriately creamy and flavorful with a wholesome thickness but without the guilt that creamy soups usually have. You know, like tons of butter and cream? Not here!

Recipe for easy Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Potato Soup

Half of the potatoes are peeled, then sprinkled with chopped onion and rosemary and drizzled with olive oil

Recipe for easy Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Potato Soup

Check out that beautiful garlic clove, pure heaven!

No butter or heavy cream in this one, just a little bit of half and half. The thickness comes from the potatoes themselves, pureed into the base inside your blender. Couldn’t be easier! And if you wanted to make it even more of a healthy dish, you could replace the half and half with milk instead.

Recipe for easy Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Potato Soup

Guilt-free Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Potato Soup Recipe

This soup is wonderful served as a meal of its own or alongside a fresh green salad, turkey sandwich or just a piece of buttered bread (that’s how I had it!) We had a small amount left over for lunch the next day so I warmed it back up in a pot with a drizzle of milk to thin it and it reheated back up nicely. Mmmm, such a warm and cozy fall meal, I think you’ll love my Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Potato Soup Recipe!

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Potato Soup Recipe

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Potato Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 large bulb garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 14 oz chicken broth (or one bouillon cube dissolved in 2 cups of water)
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup of half and half

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel and cube three of the potatoes and place on one side of a 9" x 2" pan.
  3. Cube the remaining three potatoes with the skin on and place those on the other side of the pan (peeled potatoes on one side, unpeeled on the other).
  4. Sprinkle chopped onion and snipped rosemary across the top of the potatoes.
  5. Peel off the dry outsides on the garlic bulb. Cut across the top, leaving the bulb intact but exposing the cloves. Place upright in the center of the pan.
  6. Drizzle oil across the top of garlic and potatoes.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes. Set aside to fully cool.
  8. Squeeze the garlic paste from the bulbs into a high-powered blender.
  9. Add peeled potatoes, half the onion, half the broth and all of the flour and pepper into the blender.
  10. Blend until nearly smooth.
  11. Pour into a medium saucepan and add in unpeeled potatoes, rest of onion and broth. Add half and half.
  12. Cook until bubbly and warm.
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5 Favorite Off-Site Disneyland Area Hotels

Check out this list of my Favorite Off-Site Disneyland Area Hotels

The area around the Disneyland resort is packed with hotels, many that are within a quick walking distance to the park gates. If staying at one of the Disneyland resort hotels is beyond your budget, these tried and tested hotels in the Anaheim area are highly recommended. While there are many hotels, I’m only going to suggest hotels that I’ve actually stayed in. This is my list of my five favorite off-site Disneyland area hotels.

Please note that I received compensated stays at some of these locations, which in no way swayed my opinion. This post contains affiliate links.

Off-Site Disneyland Area Hotels – Criteria

Must be reasonably priced and clean. We’ve stayed at plenty of the “cheap” hotels but you sometimes get what you pay for in that sense. The hotels we stay at offer great amenities and are close to the Disneyland resort.

Check out this list of my Favorite Off-Site Disneyland Area Hotels

Holiday Inn Express Anaheim Penthouse Suite

Holiday Inn Express Anaheim

Located about half a mile away from the Disneyland park front gates, this newer hotel has plenty of perks. From the clean and chic design, complimentary hot breakfast and options for roomy family suites this is a great location if you don’t mind a little walk at the end of the night.

See the full review on Traveling Mom.

Anaheim Residence Inn

Oh yeah, another one with a free breakfast buffet! What a great money saver for a big family. Located about a half mile from the park gates, the Anaheim Residence Inn resembles town homes. And with full kitchens and roomy suites these can totally be a home away from home, making this a great place to stay for a longer vacation.

Check out this list of my Favorite Off-Site Disneyland Area Hotels

Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel

Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel

This newly refurbished gem is ideal for families who like a lot of space. The standard rooms are large and the grounds of the hotel are spacious. Kids will like the elegant castle theming throughout and grown-ups will like the decent price! Guests can also watch the fireworks from Disneyland from the hotel pool area.

Read the full review on Traveling Mom.

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This photo was taken from the parking lot of the Park Vue Inn, facing the front entrance of the Disneyland Resort

Park Vue Inn

You can’t get much closer to the park entrance than this! It’s located directly across the street from the main entrance. This is a no-frills hotel but it was clean and offered a continental breakfast, which is always a plus. And there’s a Coldstone Creamery right there, bonus!

Check out this list of my Favorite Off-Site Disneyland Area Hotels

Anaheim Marriott Hotel

Anaheim Marriott Hotel

This classy hotel is several long blocks away from the park, but they do offer a shuttle to the gates (nominal fee). I’m all for a comfy bed and linens and this location delivered.

On or Off Site?

If you’re on the fence about staying on-site at a Disneyland Resort hotel or off-site, be sure to check out these posts outlining the pros and cons about staying off-site and the benefits of staying on-site.

disneyland-resort  hotel-pin

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels

Benefits of Staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel

When it comes to booking, if you aren’t particular about the hotel, I highly recommend making your reservation through Priceline. We’ve been able to get a superior room for $60 (even on a weekend!) Click the Priceline link via Ebates and you’ll save a few dollars cash back that way too (every little bit helps!)

Though many of these off-site hotels do have a “Disney Desk” that offers sales of Disneyland tickets, I still recommend that you purchase tickets ahead of time.

Save money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 

https://www.getawaytoday.com/?referrerid=7529

 

 

 

 

Brick-or-Treat Party Nights Halloween Celebration at LEGOLAND® California Resort

We’ve been attending the Brick-or-Treat Party Nights at LEGOLAND California with my kids since it’s inception! We enjoy the party exclusive entertainment, generous treat stations and the all-around vibrant energy throughout the park. LEGOLAND is so much fun during the day, especially for little ones (check out my post about taking preschoolers to LEGOLAND, on TravelingMom). Be sure to keep reading and see how you can combine a full day enjoying the park and stay late for the party!

Please note this post contains affiliate links. Clicking and purchasing through my links helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

LEGOLAND® California Resort Brick-or-Treat Party Nights Halloween Celebration

Brick-or-Treat Party Nights at LEGOLAND is the biggest kids’ Halloween celebration in San Diego and offers children and their families trick-or-treating and entertainment throughout the Park. It takes place each every Saturday night (Sept. 30, Oct. 7, 14, 21, & 28) at 5 p.m.  when LEGOLAND California transforms into a not-too-spooky Halloween party.

LEGOLAND® California Resort Brick-or-Treat Party Nights Halloween Celebration

NEW FOR 2017: The Model Shop roof will be the home to The AstroBash, a space themed dance party. There will also be a new Midnight Monster Jam at Fun Town Stage where you can boogie down with the monster crew.

This year features a new Ghost Cruise adventure, a new pop-badge challenge through Fun Town, a theater show in Castle Hill, a fall festival complete with a LEGO® pumpkin patch building activity and blue-grass style music in LEGO Friends Heartlake City, 31 treat stations with specialty items including a  LEGO® commemorative Brick, roaming candy carts throughout the Park and treat stations inside SEA LIFE® Aquarium.


On our visit last year we were able to trick or treat through the park, go on a few rides and participate in a dance party. Read my post about last year’s experience on TravelingMom, Is the LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat Party Worth the Extra Cost?

LEGOLAND® California Resort Brick-or-Treat Party Nights Halloween Celebration

Brick-or-Treat Party Nights is a special event and admission can be purchased for as low as $49 if purchased online in advance. New this year, guests can purchase a full 2nd day Resort Hopper ticket to enjoy LEGOLAND California, SEA LIFE aquarium and LEGOLAND® Water Park. Special event ticket holders can enjoy costume contests, trick-or-treating at candy stations filled with tasty goodies and other surprises, festive music and live entertainment.

The LEGO themed treat stations and candy carts offer a safe, fun and entertaining trick-or-treating experience for all to enjoy. Last year we received Clif Kids Z-Bars, Red Vines, Honest Kids juice pouches and commemorative LEGO bricks!

LEGOLAND® California Resort Brick-or-Treat Party Nights Halloween Celebration

Guests can also “boo-gie” down at frighteningly-fun dance parties such as Midnight Monster Jam at Fun Town Stage where guests bring their imagination to Mad Marty’s Monster Machine to see what monster will be created. Plus, our new monsters need help to learn how to scare like a pro at Monster Training in the Imagination Zone. The night continues its themed entertainment with “The Curse of the Hallowmeenie” show and entertainment from The Witchettes.

LEGOLAND® California Resort Brick-or-Treat Party Nights Halloween Celebration

When’s the Party?

LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE Aquarium are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on select dates throughout October and LEGOLAND Water Park is open weekends 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. through October 29 . With special event admission to Brick-or-Treat Party Nights on September 30, October 7, 14, 21 and 28, guests can extend their day until 9 p.m. at both LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE Aquarium to enjoy all the Halloween festivities plus add on a 2nd day Resort Hopper to extend the fun all weekend long.

Legoland BloggerStaying at the LEGOLAND Hotel?

The LEGOLAND® Hotel joins in the fun with its own Halloween celebration on Oct. 31 with candy giveaways, a dance party and a special visit from Brick-Or-Treat Characters exclusively for Hotel guests!

From cool rides, water parks and billions of bricks, here's why you should plan a LEGOLAND California vacation!

This big pirate ship play area is inside the LEGOLAND California Resort Hotel lobby

Save money at LEGOLAND!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 

 

LEGOLAND® California Resort Brick-or-Treat Party Nights Halloween Celebration

Love Disney? Support the CHOC Walk & Earn a Free Disneyland Day!

Love Disney? Support the CHOC Walk & Earn a Free Disneyland Day!

CHOC Children’s began as a regional hospital in 1964. Today, it has grown to be a regional healthcare leader that treats patients from throughout with United States and around the world. CHOC Children’s is now made up of two hospitals, as well as more than 30 specialty clinics and programs, and four renowned centers of excellence – the CHOC Children’s Heart, Neuroscience Orthopaedic, and Hyundai Cancer Institutes. Moreover, CHOC Orange offers the only pediatric emergency department in the region and, in 2014, began operating a Level II pediatric-focused trauma center.

Walt Disney was a champion for CHOC right from the start. In fact, he was even on the hospital’s first board of directors more than 50 years ago. Today, the Disneyland Resort continues to stay very involved with CHOC through the Disneyland Resort Patient and Family Lobby featuring the Disney California Adventure Park attraction Turtle Talk With Crush twice daily for patients and their siblings, frequent character visits, and of course, presenting CHOC “Walk in the Park”—the largest and most unique pediatric walk event in the nation. In addition, the Disney-led Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders team is on track to be the highest fundraising groups for this year’s event.

Love Disney? Support the CHOC Walk & Earn a Free Disneyland Day!

The 2016 walk covers three miles through Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park where “CHOC walkers” get a special peek at the magic of the Disneyland Resort before the parks open to the general public. At the end of the 5k walk, the event continues in the resort’s Downtown Disney District at the CHOC Walk Festival where event sponsors, hospital support groups, shops and restaurants have special offers for participants.

Those who want to walk in the event can register at  chocwalk.org and join a team or walk as an individual. All funds raised through the CHOC Walk benefit the hospital’s KidsCare Fund. This special fund provides support to the programs and services in the greatest need—from mental health services to an expanded neonatal intensive care unit to providing healthcare for children and families who cannot afford to pay.

Love Disney? Support the CHOC Walk & Earn a Free Disneyland Day!

There are many great reasons to take part in the CHOC Walk, in addition to the huge impact the funds that are donated and raised make on the health and wellbeing of Southern California’s children. Here are three reasons that Disney-loving families will really like.

  1. Participating in the CHOC Walk and supporting CHOC Children’s is an opportunity to carry on Walt Disney’s passion for supporting the health and wellness of the children in the community surrounding the Disneyland Resort and the advancement of pediatric medicine. Raising money for CHOC Children’s provides parents the opportunity to teach their children about the importance of helping others—even children—in their community. It can be particularly powerful for children to learn that their fundraising can help other, less fortunate kids.
  2. By raising money for the CHOC Walk, walkers can earn prizes, including free Disneyland Resort tickets that can provide a cost-saving option for families planning a Disneyland Resort vacation. Participants who raise between $375 and $599 earn one 1-Day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Ticket. Participants who raise $600 or more earn two 1-Day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Tickets.
  3. By participating in the walk, families are not only helping to further CHOC’s mission, they are also able to gain a unique look at the Disneyland Resort through the Walk experience, purchase reduced-rate group ticket admission for the parks as part of the perks of participating in the CHOC Walk and enjoy special discounts in the Downtown Disney District the day of the walk. Together, all of these make the CHOC Walk an ideal time to plan a family getaway or staycation to the Disneyland Resort.

Love Disney? Support the CHOC Walk & Earn a Free Disneyland Day!

In order to purchase the reduced-rate group tickets, walkers must present their CHOC Walk In the Park wristband at a Disneyland Resort Ticket Booth to purchase a special CHOC-Tober Disneyland Resort 1-Day Park Hopper ticket for $83 or a 1-Day 1-Park Ticket for $55 for use on the day of the walk or another visit to Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. A maximum of five tickets may be purchased per wristband. The offer is valid on October 30, 2016 only. Tickets expire November 30, 2016 and are blocked out November 19-23, 2016.

Event and registration information can be found at www.chocwalk.org and real-time event information can also be found on  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This year’s hashtag is #chocwalk.

7 Top Tips to Save Money on Food at Disney Parks

Dining is an important part of a Disney vacation. You can certainly include all the fun restaurants and character dining experiences into part of your entertainment for the day, at a cost of course. But if you’d rather spend your money on something else, keep reading. Eating inside the Disney parks can be expensive! So how can you save money on food at Disney parks? Check out my expert tips how budgeting food, packing your own and even what to order that will help you save a lot!

Save Money on Food at Disney

These are my 7 top tips for how to save money on food at Disney. Try one or try them all, you will be shocked to know you could save hundreds off the cost of your vacation implementing just a few of these ideas.

Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

1. Stay Off the Dining Plan

Contrary to what Disney will have you believe, the Dining Plan isn’t the best bargain. True, it’s convenient to pay for meals upfront and not have to worry about paying the bill each time you eat. But unless you are eating at the most expensive locations and ordering the most expensive dishes every time, you won’t be getting the best value.

You’ll also be receiving a lot of food, including dessert. Depending upon your appetite it might be too much food. Also, everyone in your group has to be included in the Plan so there’s not opportunity to share. There’s more about why to skip on the Disney Dining Plan on TravelingMom.

Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

Flatbread at Pinocchio’s Village Haus in Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

2. Skip a Meal

I know, sounds odd that I would suggest that you DON’T EAT as a way to save money! But hear me out…here are several ways you can opt out of purchasing another meal and save yourself a chunk of money.

Instead of buying a restaurant breakfast, have your family eat a meal to go that you prepare in your hotel room. Run hot water through the coffee maker to make oatmeal with store-bought packs. Nibble fresh fruit while waiting for the bus. Tote crunchy granola bars or trail mix to munch on while you walk to the parks. Provide just enough breakfast to fill tummies before you purchase an early lunch in the parks.

Or consider this second way of meal skipping; Eat a large breakfast (perhaps indulging in a buffet at a character experience) that will stave you off until late afternoon. Enjoy a snack or two mid-day (something that you pack in), skip lunch completely and then eat dinner early.

We’ve also done this: Early breakfast that we packed in, eaten while waiting for rope drop. Several decent snacks throughout the day that you brought with you. Big lunch purchased in the park, something hearty that will fill you up, eaten past your usual lunch time (this is a great way to avoid the usual crowds during the lunch rush too). Then when you get hungry late in the evening for your usual dinner meal, enjoy a special treat instead like ice cream! Ice cream for dinner is one of our favorite ways to celebrate at Disney.

#Dinner is served! Gibson Girl #IceCream sundae #Disneyland #dessert #TMOM

A photo posted by Julie Bigboy (@juliebutterfly2000) on

3. Dine for Breakfast

If you really want to enjoy a Character Dining Experience, consider booking one for breakfast instead of lunch or dinner. The breakfasts are considerable less pricey and no less enjoyable. Sure you won’t get freshly carved meats but you’ll still get a hearty breakfast buffet and the same fun character interactions you’d find at dinner.

We’ve enjoyed the Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey and Friends at the Paradise Pier Hotel and Minnie and Friends – Breakfast in the Park at the Plaza Inn. At Walt Disney World you can even find a character breakfast at a non-Disney resort hotel (the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista) near Disney Springs for half the price of Disney parks character meals – Check out this review on Traveling Mom, Save Half the Cost on Disney Character Meal.

Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

Mickey waffles at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista for half the price of usual Disney character dining

4. Make Water Your Beverage of Choice

Skip the soda and ditch the juice. Water is your budget-friendly beverage option! Feel free to bring in your own bottled water or an empty bottle that you can refill at the fountains. Ask for complimentary ice water at any quick service restaurant. That’s a savings of at least $2 per person, per meal to just drink water.


5. Share a Plate

If each person in your group orders their own dish, you’ll not only be stuck with a large bill you also may be stuck with leftovers! Since leftover food is unpractical (and depending upon the food, it could require refrigeration to keep it safe to eat), so it’s better to order just enough to enjoy fresh. Many of the platters in the Disney parks are large enough to share between two or more people.

Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

We shared these generous platters of food in Epcot’s Morocco pavillion

You can find large platters at full-service and quick-service dining locations. Full-service restaurants may charge a plate-splitting fee. If you’re eating quick-service, request extra plates to divvy up the meal. One place you will be unable to share is at the buffet (unless you have a child 2 and under).

Be sure to read this post for exact recommendations on what to order at the Disneyland resort, What are the Best Meals for Sharing at the Disneyland Resort?

 

Sharing is a great idea when it comes to park purchased snacks and treats as well. Did you know that if you buy one of those enormous candied apples, they will slice it up for you to make it easier to share? And buying the Kitchen Sink dessert sundae is less expensive than purchasing individual ice creams. You can even buy cones separately if you want to take some of the sundae and put it in a cone (which is what I did for my kid!)

Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

6. Get Groceries

Getting groceries is a practical way of stretching the food budget while at the Disney parks. This will allow you to keep food in the hotel fridge. Things like milk with cereal for breakfast, fresh fruits and veggies for snacking or even frozen dinners that can be microwaved (if you hotel room has one) are all great ways to save on the cost of restaurant dining.

If you’re visiting Disneyland, a grocery store or Target is just a few miles away so you can easily drive your rental car or take Uber to the store to supply whatever you need.

At Walt Disney World, there are many grocers that can deliver foods directly to your resort hotel. Local places like Garden Grocer and WeGoShop will deliver for a relatively low fee. You could also use Amazon or Amazon Prime Pantry for your grocery needs and have them delivered to your resort. I used Garden Grocer on my last trip. I ordered mini boxes of cereal, a bottle of milk, fresh cut melon and a case of bottled water. The cost of buying groceries was significantly less than if I’d purchased meals in the Park.

7. Pack Snacks (or a Full Meal)

Yes, you can take in your own food to the Disney parks, just use common sense when packing in snacks or meals. Certain foods will require they be kept cool, like lunch meat so pack them in a soft sided cooler with a chill pack. We packed in a full tray of sandwiches from Costco on our last trip; we kept it in a cool bag underneath the stroller and it was good until lunchtime!

Bag up precut veggies or fruit. Pack items that won’t get crushed or broken in your bag (nobody wants that mushy banana, do they?) Crunchy granola bars, sturdy crackers, nuts and dried fruit are also good choices that will keep in your bag all day. That’s my kid, eating the Costco sandwiches and carrots we toted in!


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Disney On Ice Passport to Adventure – An Honest Review

Disney on Ice Passport to Adventure

Last week my family experienced Disney on Ice Passport to Adventure on opening night in San Diego. Though I’ve been to Disneyland many many times, for whatever reason we’ve never been to Disney on Ice! Knowing how well Disney puts on a show, I knew to expect top notch entertainment but to be honest, I was still blown away!

Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment

Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment

A Jawdropping Live Production

It dawned on me that though I’ve watched ice skating on television for years, I’ve never actually seen it in person (other than a hockey game). To watch the performers jump, leap and twirl right in front of you is quite spectacular. I literally gasped at some of the stunts during the show. The costuming was so bright and fun and having the Disney characters there added to the enjoyment. I loved hearing the squeals of delight from the crowd when recognizable characters skated out onto the ice. I’m still trying to decide which part was my favorite (it’s a toss up between Tinker Bell’s pixie dust or the dancing starfish “Under the Sea”). I had my 6-month old on my lap and she kicked and laughed through the whole show (especially when she spotted her favorite, Minnie Mouse!)

Gadgets & Gismos Galore

There were so many great souvenirs in the lobby from t-shirts, light spinners and glow-in-the-dark sno-cones! I’m not sure how much anything cost as I’d already prepped the kids that we wouldn’t be able to purchase anything during the show. Since I had all four kids with me, I went the budget route and brought in a package of Dollar Spot glow stick bracelets so they wouldn’t feel left out. The kids had a good time putting on their glowing jewelry while we waited for the show to begin. Many of the kids in the crowd wore their Disney costumes which added to the excitement of the show.

First #DisneyOnIce for all of us! We’re excited for this #PassportToAdventure @disneyonice #hosted

A photo posted by Julie Bigboy (@juliebutterfly2000) on

Little Ones? Take Them to the Matinee

We attended a show on a Thursday at 7 pm. Due to the late hour, my 4-yr old was tired and ready to leave just after the intermission. He was enjoying the show but could barely keep his eyes open and ended up falling asleep against his big brother just before the Frozen scene began. If you have little ones, consider a matinee so they can stay alert for the entire presentation. It was also a school night so my big kids were getting tired as well. We ended up leaving a bit early so we could gracefully carry him out to the car without much disturbance.

I sure was disappointed not to see the rest of the show (we left just as Elsa finished singing “Let it Go”) and would love to return to another Disney on Ice production and stay for the whole thing! Disney on Ice Passport to Adventure was truly entertainment for the whole family.

Disney on Ice Passport to Adventure

Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment

Thank you to Feld Entertainment for supplying me with complimentary tickets so that my family could see the Disney on Ice show in San Diego.