Easy Way to Save on Snacks and Drinks at Disney World

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There’s a million and one posts and tips out there about how to save money at Disney World, and they are all useful to varying degrees. Heck, I’ve written plenty of posts on the topic, but now for the first time since I was a kid we are actually staying at a 100% real Disney resort as opposed to just staying nearby or at a sort-of-Disney resort like the Swan or Dolphin. While staying at a Disney resort isn’t necessarily cheap, it has allowed us to save some money both on transportation to and from the airport via the Disney Magical Express Bus, but also in one other fun way I’ll share in case it helps your family, too!

 

First some background… If at all possible I do not check bags when we fly. I didn’t check bags for an around-the-world trip, I didn’t check bags on our last ski trip with ski gear, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to check bags for a few summer days at Disney. Checking bags slows us down both coming and going and increases the likelihood of lost or delayed items exponentially over just carrying them yourself. Remember the $135 pink Vegas bikini incident?

However, Disney tries to make it really easy to just arrive at the property and start having fun by sending you some tags to put on your checked bags so you don’t even have to claim them at the Orlando airport if you are staying in one of their resorts. You simply tag the bags at your home airport with both the airline checked bag tags as well as the Disney personalized Disney tags and you don’t have to touch the bags again until they are delivered to your hotel room by Disney staff a few hours after you arrive. It’s a fantastic concept, but since I don’t like not having my bags and stuff at the ready, I wasn’t going to use this service.

Bar code erased, but you get the idea…

We were all packed and ready to go to Disney when I realized that we actually could take Disney up on their offer to deliver a bag…a bag full of snacks and waters! Our visit is short and we aren’t going to have a car, so there was no super easy way to stock up on a few juices and waters once we arrived without paying much more than we pay at home – though there are grocery delivery services we could have used. However, by devoting one checked bag to waters, juices, and snacks we would easily save a decent amount of money and would barely have to lift an extra fingers thanks to checking the bag in at our home airport and then having it delivered to our room by Disney later that night.

About three hours after our plane arrived in Orlando our bag of drinks and snacks arrived to our hotel room at no out of pocket cost to us. If you had to pay a checked bag fee to your airline obviously this strategy wouldn’t be totally free, but there are lots of credit cards out there that come with checked bag waivers and of course Southwest doesn’t charge for two checked bags if that is your airline of choice. As soon as the bag arrived, we stocked a few drinks right into the room’s fridge and now we can drink and snack both in the room and the parks without having to spend any extra cash or haul an extra bag around. Thanks, Disney!

I’d love to hear your other little easy ways to save at Disney!

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. We usually do Garden Grocer delivery for waters, bfast and snacks. But we have also done the packing stuff in the past. Especially when we have to bring diapers and wipes etc!

  2. Do you actually need to ride on the Magical Express for them to deliver your bags?

    We are Passholders and typically stay at Contemporary, but we take Uber or rent a car at the airport – so we’ve never been on the Magical Express or received bag tags.

    I would happily tag my checked bags for Disney to deliver in my room and save the time at baggage claim and the hassle of dragging my luggage around – but I’m just not keen on the bus.

    Thanks!

  3. Dave’s vacation club, I just rent someone’s vacation club points and stay on property at a massive discount

  4. We love Amazon Prime Now when we do snack deliveries at Disney. We just pay to tip the person who delivered it and the prices are generally reasonable.

    • I have Prime Now, and would not have thought of using it to deliver to my room at Disney. Brilliant! Thanks!

  5. We stayed at Ft. Wilderness Cabins, which had a full kitchen. We had a rental car, so we bought enough groceries for the week with the exception of a few memorable meals out (Royal Table & Mickey’s Backyard BBQ). We saved tons of money.

  6. I guess that I pack some snacks/breakfast foods in our checked bags to Disney, but I still see a lot of value with using gardengrocer.com. Even on a shorter trip, I order a couple of cases of water which is way too much for a suitcase. I’m much happier to pay $8 a case and have leftovers (and be well hydrated) than pay $4 a bottle in the park. I also order soda, alcohol, and a few snacks.

    I’m also a huge fan of Magical Express baggage delivery. Because we don’t have a rental car, I’m an overpacker on Disney trips. I’ll bring a carry on with what we need for the first few hours we are there.

  7. Use a box instead of a suitcase and that way you can leave it behind… unless you buy a lot of merchandise, in which case that could be your merch-bag.

  8. Great idea, I love it! Also, at quick serve counters you can get a water cup and if you bring your own flavor packets or drops, you can save a bundle that way too on flavored drinks.

  9. Marriott World Market was amazing! There was water coolers all throughout the pool and lobbies filled with free iced cold, bottled waters. I also don’t check in bags. As for snacks they had various little market stores right there in the hotel.

  10. Brilliant idea!!! I cannot see myself without a car in Orlando so as soon as we are set at the hotel a trip to the closest Publix is mandatory. 🙂

  11. This is a good suggestion. Disney can get really expensive so it is nice you can bring along the snacks and not have to worry about them. I know another tip is that the more expensive hotel Grand Floridian includes some snacks, drinks and meals as well at various times throughout the day. The price difference may outweigh the additional benefits though.

    • I believe you are referring to the Club level which is offered at many of the deluxe Disney properties. It is definitely not included with all stays at the Grand Floridian. While the Club levels are very nice and convenient, they are no value. You can purchase a lot of food and drinks for the price difference between a regular and a Club level room.

  12. I think this is quite clever, though a big bag with lots of liquids could run into weight limits. Perhaps one can weigh it at home or do a rough calculation by multiplying the weight of each bottle (and taking into account the weight of the bag and other stuff that will go in it)?

  13. When you’re in the parks, all of the counter service places will give you a free (large) cup of ice water if you ask for it.

  14. Last trip we packed a whole suitcase of food – not just snacks. We had bread, peanut butter/jelly, cereal, etc. We try to eat most breakfasts in our room and pack in a sack lunch. Food can add up so quickly at Disney!

  15. Because my child is GFDF, we always pack food, no matter where we go. Several times, I have gotten luggage at a thrift store/yard sale for a few dollars with the intention of tossing it at the end of a trip after we have eaten the contents:). Our last cruise, I left one checked size bag and 2 carry-ons in the room. I also pack clothes almost grown out of, etc….. anything not to have to lug a bunch of stuff back.

  16. We’ve used Garden Grocer for delivery and were happy with the service. It’s a bit pricier than buying drinks/snacks at home and packing them, but when it comes to vacation I feel it’s worth it to pay a bit extra for convenience sometimes. We still save money over buying in the parks, and we also eat breakfast in the room most mornings.

  17. The last trip to Disney we used Prime Pantry and had it delivered to our hotel a day before we arrived. Worked flawlessly. Shipping was only 5 dollars and there were so many things we were able to stuff in the box.

  18. I’ve done Amazon Prime Now and Whole Foods delivers around Orlando too. We’d make sandwiches, bring small bagged food portions and more for the day. Freeze grapes and they are amazing half way through the hot day!

    Also, while in the park, cups of ice water are free at any kiosk. Some of the kiosks don’t have cups so they will tell you where the nearest location is that does. We learned this on our 2nd trip to WDW and saved a bundle instead of buying bottled water.

    Another idea, buy a refillable bottle at the Dollar Tree in Orlando. You can refill as many times as you’d like!

  19. We just returned from Disney and stayed on property. If you have an Amazon Prime membership, I have to say that Prime Now makes this whole idea of packing food totally obsolete. (Garden Grocer charges $14 to deliver unless you order over $200 of food (!) ) Our flight landed at 7:30 pm, and what they don’t clearly note beforehand is that in the evenings, they have fewer people working the luggage, and it can take up to FIVE HOURS to get your luggage via Magical Express. I was told this directly by the manager at our Disney hotel. Our luggage didn’t arrive to our room until 12am, which is not a great idea after you’ve just flown, are tired, and are planning on spending a whole day at the parks the next day. However, my Prime Now order was waiting for us when we arrived…..there is a fee but it’s much less than GG, and the selections and prices are much better. Also, you can pack dry food in carry-on luggage, just not anything that is liquid. So crackers, chips, bread, etc. — if you’re determined to bring it, that can all go in a carry-on. Waters, etc. can be ordered by Prime Now. Also, you can always get a courtesy cup of water at any kiosk within Disney.

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