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 all make up some of the best vacation memories. Here are our top Disneyland dining hacks to save time and money on your next trip!
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1. Make Dining Reservations
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 or call the reservation hotline at (714) 781-3463. You can make your reservation 60 days in advance!
2. Find the Seasonal Treats
Disneyland always has seasonal treats offered year round with some of the best finds during the Holidays and Halloween time! Make sure you don't miss out on all the seasonal favorites like the coveted hand-pulled candy canes or the seasonal beignets!
3. Use Mobile Ordering
You can use mobile ordering in both Disneyland's theme parks and in many locations in Downtown Disney. Mobile ordering great saves on 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 to get your Dole Whip which always has the longest lines.
4. Get Free Water
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.
5. Bring Ziploc Bags for Leftovers
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.
6. Split Larger Dishes
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.
7. Eat Breakfast in Line
We always recommend using our 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.
8. Consider an Annual Pass
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 an annual pass and take advantage of the dining discounts ranging from 10-15% off your meals!
9. Find the Cheap Monte Cristo
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!
10. Dining Restrictions? No Problem!
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. For some guests, these Disneyland dining hacks are a must.
11. Splurge on the Dessert Party
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 splurge if it works out for your group. Enjoy the show in style while you're served champagne and dessert in seated directors chairs. You can read our most recent review of the experience over on Mickey Visit.
12. Don't Forget the Disneyland Hotels
Don't overlook the Disneyland owned property hotels which all offer great dining options. Enjoy a Dole Whip with rum at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar or enjoy fine dining at Steakhouse 55.
13. Consider a Dining Package for Entertainment
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.
14. Use This Target Gift Card Hack
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.
15. Do Character Dining on Your Off Day
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.
Go Enjoy these Disneyland Dining Hacks!
Now that you have your list of Disneyland dining hacks, start planning your next trip to Disneyland and we can help! Be sure to subscribe to our Disneyland deals newsletter for all of the latest information on deals and saving tips to help you save money and experience more! Sign up here.
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