MICKEY'S LAND ON A MOUSE'S BUDGET
by Penny Pincher
It's absolutely true that the hot California sun will melt money as quickly as it will melt an ice cream cone. But there are ways, aside from the already cited package deals, to trim the miscellaneous costs, which can really add up!
Food is probably the third most expensive part of a trip after transportation and accommodations. Fortunately, it yields easily to our penny-pinching tactics.
Pizza in your room: After a long day at Disney, and before an even longer evening, kick back and order pizza sent in. Let your fingers do the walking through the yellow pages to your favorite pizza emporium.
Go grocery shopping: Yeah, it's a drag, but the savings are big. If you have a car, a quick trip out of the park will take you to a big supermarket. Stock up on snack food: high-energy items like granola bars, dried food, nuts and trail mix are great for days in the park. Save a bundle on breakfast by buying chocolate milk and donuts to eat in your room. (See our article on Food On The Road for more extensive recommendations in this area.)
Most hotels come equipped with mini-fridges. We always immediately unpack each and every item into a bag or box with a note we have not used anything. Stash the box and put your groceries in the refrigerator.
Within the park, dining out is half the fun. One insider's tip we picked up on our last trip is that anyone can order a child's meal at the restaurants on-site. My teenage daughter and I ordered the children's plate each time we dined, were never questioned about that, and got more food than we could eat. You might also consider splitting meals, as portions are huge. Extra plates were always brought with a smile. Try some of the more expensive restaurants for lunch, when prices are lower.
Pack a picnic lunch from the provisions you bought at the store and enjoy it at a picturesque spot in the shade. Get drinks from the local vendors.
Incidentals and souvenirs are another bottomless pit for your cash. Bring everything you anticipate needing from home, i.e., film, disposable diapers, toiletries, batteries. These are the little things that keep those cash registers ringing.
We have a souvenir rule: If we're staying more than a day at the place, everyone gets to pick one souvenir within our pre-established price range, that they want. And we purchase it at the end of the day. This gives everyone something to look forward to and encourages everyone to comparison shop instead of impulse buying. Some of the souvenirs we have enjoyed the most are: Mickey Mouse ears (I made a great Minnie one Halloween), T- shirts (bought big), autograph book (our one exception to buy early) which we carried around, magic wands, and princess hats.|
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