Top 15 Disneyland Dining Tips And Tricks

Dining at Disneyland is half the fun of a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. Enjoying delicious seasonal food, historic restaurants Walt himself enjoyed, and reserved seating for the best shows makes for some of the best vacation memories. Here are our top Disneyland dining hacks to save time and money on your next trip!

Dining Restrictions? No Problem!

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If you have any dietary restrictions or are looking for vegetarian options, Disneyland is amazing at accommodating guests with any dietary need imaginable. Just make a note on your reservation for sit-down restaurants, and someone from the kitchen will come talk to you to find out how to give you the best experience.

Split Larger Dishes

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Some of the dishes at Disneyland are large enough for two! If you have light eaters in your group, splitting a dish can be a great way to go to save some extra bucks.

Find the Cheap Monte Cristo

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While the Blue Bayou is well-known for their Monte Cristo sandwich, you can actually get the same exact sandwich a few doors down at Cafe Orleans for a cheaper price!

Make Dining Reservations

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Make dining reservations for your trip, especially for popular restaurants and dining packages. To book a meal reservation at the Disneyland Resort, head to the official Disneyland website, app, or call the reservation hotline at (714) 781-3463. You can make your reservation 60 days in advance! These reservations do sell out.

Get Free Water

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Any counter-service restaurant at Disneyland will give you free cups of ice water if you ask! Don't spend money on overpriced bottled water and grab some free water instead.

Bring Ziploc Bags for Leftovers

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Packing a few quality Ziploc bags in your backpack or purse can be a great way to save your leftovers for snacks. Especially if you're traveling with kids, this is a great hack to save money when they only eat half a Mickey pretzel.

Splurge on the Dessert Party

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While you can easily see the World of Color nighttime show at Disney's California Adventure without paying for a dining package or dessert party, this is one fun area for a splurge if it works out for your group. Enjoy the show in style while you're served champagne and dessert in seated directors chairs.

Use Mobile Ordering

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You can use mobile ordering (Disneyland mobile ordering guide here) in both Disneyland's theme parks and at many locations in Downtown Disney using the Disneyland App. Mobile ordering saves time and allows you to grab your food without waiting in long lines. If there is one place you do use it, make sure it's for getting your Dole Whip, as the Tiki Juice Bar always has the longest lines.

Eat Breakfast in Line

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We always recommend using our Disneyland morning touring strategy and getting to the gates an hour before the park officially opens. Grab some breakfast to take on the go and eat it while you wait in line for the park to open. This is a great time saver in the mornings!

Consider a Magic Key Pass

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If you're planning on dining inside the parks often and are staying for a few days, it may be worth it for just one person in your group to upgrade their ticket to a Magic Key Pass and take advantage of the dining discounts ranging from 10-15% off your meals! Since we first shared this tip, the Disneyland Annual Pass program, now called the Magic Key, has gotten even more popular and passes are not always on sale. Check when you are booking your trip.

Find the Seasonal Treats

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Disneyland always has seasonal treats offered year round with some of the best finds during Disneyland Christmas and Halloween at Disneyland. Make sure you don't miss out on all the seasonal favorites, like the coveted hand-pulled candy canes or the seasonal beignets!

Don't Forget the Disneyland Hotels

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Don't overlook the Disneyland-owned on property hotels, which all offer great dining options. Enjoy a Dole Whip with rum at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel or stop by the Craftsman Bar at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel.

Consider a Dining Package for Entertainment

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Using a dining package to see entertainment like parades, World of Color, or Fantasmic! can be a great way to enjoy a meal and save some time with reserved seating. If you're already planning on eating at one of the restaurants, spending a little extra to make it into a dining package can be a good way to go. My favorite is the Blue Bayou dining package for Fantasmic! so we can always enjoy front row seating.

Use This Target Gift Card Hack

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This gift card hack is a great way to save money on your Disneyland dining. Sign up for the Target Red Card (debit or credit) and use your Red Card to save 5% on Disney gift cards. I always do this to cover our dining on our trips, and it's a great way to save money. You can use Disney gift cards inside the parks and in most places (as long as its Disney owned) inside Downtown Disney.

Do Character Dining on Your Off Day

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If meeting characters is high on your list, then doing a Disneyland character dining meal is a must. Make this a way to start off your vacation on your arrival day or to say goodbye in style on your departure day. Since all of the character dining options except one take place at the Disneyland-owned hotels, it's best to save this meal for a day you're not in the parks.

I Go to Disney World 20+ Times Per Year—Here Are Easy Ways to Save Money

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A Disney trip can get expensive quite quickly between travel and lodging costs, food, merchandise, and more. However, there are several ways that you can enjoy your visit without breaking the bank, which we'll discuss in our list of easy ways to save money at Disney World. 

Disney’s Splash Mountain Is Closing Permanently—Here’s What Will Replace It

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Splash Mountain is permanently closing, and the ride will be rethemed to the The Princess and the Frog Disney animated movie. We will walk you through what to look forward to, including concept art, the storyline, new animatronics, and other details!

I Saw Disney’s New Live-Action Little Mermaid. Here’s What Surprised Me!

disney live action little mermaid

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The live-action Little Mermaid remake offers a fresh take on this fan-favorite story. We'll break down ten surprising moments from the live action Little Mermaid movie, including our overall thoughts! Warning: this article contains spoilers for the movie. 

1 comment add your comment

  1. Did you hear about the new show. The Little Mermaid Live? I think it’s on ABC. Unfortunately, I heard it wasnt’ very good. Whish is really too bad.

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