Talk to me about food prices in Anaheim

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by friedela, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. friedela

    friedela Mouseketeer

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    For our first trip last year to DW we were really disappointed in the food at the parks, of course it was horrendously expensive, especially when paying Canadian exchange and the food was just NOT good IMO. We did 2 character meals which I am happy we did, just because of the experience.. but we ended up cooking in our condo and packed lunches for the other 3 days at the parks. This time, going to Disneyland I want to do things a bit differently. I'd rather not cook on vacation! So if we want to avoid DL food, is it feasible to leave the parks and eat out somewhere close and return again, so we aren't paying DL prices and in turn, get better quality food? Our budget for the week for food is $1000 CDN which is about $800 USD for a family of 4 (my kids are 7 and 8, no we aren't feeding teenager!) for 7 days.. we have free breakfast at our hotel which is a bonus!! Is it doable? Or should we be ordering in groceries and packing some simple lunches for a couple days?
     
  2. starry_solo

    starry_solo DIS Veteran

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    It depends on what you want to eat; burgers & fries, ok. Steaks every day...possibly.....oh, and how far away do you want to go? There are chain restaurants around DLR and a little further out.

    I do like Bubba Gump's, but it can be on the pricey side. However, two children can easily split an adult meal. Heck two adults can also easily split an adult meal there, depending on their appetites
     
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  4. sherilaine

    sherilaine DIS Veteran

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    Well hello there fellow Canadian from Calgary!

    You can definitely do outside the park for dinner - as eating dinner in the parks can add up since hamburgers and fries for a family of 4 can eat through $80 CDN pretty fast!. Your kids are at the perfect age since they are both under 9 so that will save you a lot right there.

    These are our go-to places for eating outside the parks though as they are close to where we are staying:

    -- Pizza Press - good value for your $ here, we always have too much to eat for dinner and end up with lunch the next day
    -- PF Chang's - we order this and eat in our room and normally get a lunch the next day out of it, and it's reasonably priced as well
    -- Bubba Gump - this is not an expensive place either and my DH loves it
    -- Tony Roma's just across from the park is pretty decent if you want some red meat and not too expensive
    -- Tortilla Joe's in DTD is excellent.

    I'm guessing you don't have a rental car if you are asking about ordering in groceries - I would definitely get a few things for the room for snacks and perhaps some lunch items to take with you to the parks. We have teenagers but they are not huge eaters, and we still could not do 7 days for $1000 CDN! Now admittedly we will have a few meals in the parks although the character breakfast days at $200 CDN a pop once the kids are over 9, are now behind us I think since last time my son flat our refused to take pictures with Fairy Godmother.

    We rent a car and always head to Target to pick up a few things once we arrive as we don't have the free breakfast where we stay but we are not big breakfast people anyway.

    I find the money pitfalls are snacks in the park though - oh look a churro/popcorn/ice cream stand - and it's only $4 for example - well no, it's actually $5.50CDN and that is what adds up and ends up blowing any budget we bring with us. So if you can bring snacks then you are golden!

    Have fun planning!
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  5. Cal-Pie

    Cal-Pie I admit that in the past I've been a nasty

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    Where are you staying? Is it close enough to easily and quickly get back and forth to the parks? If so, you can keep a few things (and leftovers) in your room. You will most definitely want to bring your own water bottles and drinks to the parks, if you have rental car I'd pick up a case of water, or you could have water and snacks delivered to your hotel. I always have mac and cheese cups, soup, and a couple other microwavable things to have on hand for the kids. I don't find that I save all that much when we eat outside the parks. But we do like Pizza Press, Panara, and Jim Boys Tacos, all within walking distance. I hear a lot of good things about Marri's Italian, they will deliver to your hotel. When we eat inside the parks, we tend share entrees, as many times portions sizes are really large.
     
  6. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    One big money saver is not to buy bottled water in the parks. Cups of ice water are free at most CS locations -- just ask! Also, there are filtered taps in both parks where you can fill a refillable water bottle. This can save so much money over several days! If you don't like the taste of the water, bring the small packets of Crystal Light or other flavored drink mix to add to the water. Also, certain CS locations in the parks have generous portions and are totally easy to share. Plaza Inn's fried chicken meal is easily shared -- and additional chicken pieces can be added for a small price. Certain meals at Rancho del Zocalo are large enough to share, too.
    Don't eat at Captain Kidd's across from the parks on Harbor -- unless you want to get sick. The low price may tempt you, but posters here will tell you that it isn't worth the risk.
     
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  7. sherilaine

    sherilaine DIS Veteran

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    Amen to this!! We are not big fans of Denny's or IHOP either but at least they are safe.
     
  8. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    DLR has a picnic area with tables and lockers (large enough for a cooler -- more info on this on the DLR website) right outside the west end of the esplanade, before you get to the M&F tram loading area. You could easily pack lunches or another meal in a cooler, store it in one of the lockers, then have a nice al fresco meal at one of the tables (it is a rather secluded area) without having to go far from the parks. This way your meal could still have a sort of Disney feel to it and you wouldn't have to miss a lot of park time.
    And general opinion on this forum is that DLR has better CS choices than WDW, so you might not be so disappointed with the food on this trip.
     
  9. Caumann

    Caumann Earning My Ears

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    I think the food in the parks is pretty good ( and I am a food writer & food guide). I was expecting crap but have been pleasantly surprised. The trick to saving money is to pack snacks & beverages (we just drink water). We eat lunch at the quick service spots , and I check out the menus to make sure there's options we'll all like. On average were we're spending $10-$14 pp for lunch.. I just don't think you find much cheaper outside the park ( maybe fast food or subway? ) . Plus you don't have to walk. We had success at Pacific wharf ( Mexican, Asian rice bowls & bread bowl soups from 3 different restaurants). I also thought the food at Red rose tavern was pleasantly edible. For our dinner ''plurge' we went to Carnation cafe, and still only paid $80 usd for 4 people .
     
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  10. DLgal

    DLgal DIS Veteran

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    First of all, it needs to be said (and this cannot be overemphasized): Disneyland food is WAY better than WDW food. WAY better. We are Disneyland locals and go very, very often to the parks and purposely eat there (instead of at home 15 min away) because it's so good. There are plenty of great counter service restaurants that are a good value and serve large, shareable portions. The TS restaurants in the parks are kinda meh, with the exception of Carnation Cafe in Disneyland (which is also a great value). The restaurants in Downtown Disney, though are fantastic! They are almost all Patina Group restaurants and we love them all. There is literally NOTHING outside the gates that is good enough to justify leaving and wasting time having to come back through the security checkpoint on Harbor.

    The best new value is Napolini, a CS "build your own pizza" located at Downtown Disney. You can get a 10" Neapolitan personal pizza for under $8 and it is big enough for 2 people to share. I can't believe how cheap this pizza is and it is amazing quality (it's the same as they sell at the sit down place next door for $22 for an individual pie).

    In the parks, Plaza Inn, Rancho del Zocalo, French Market, and Jolly Holiday Cafe (Disneyland) all serve huge, shareable meals for around $15-17 each. At DCA, Flo's V8 Cafe has similar sized meals. The Pizza Port at DL and Boardwalk Pizza have large pasta meals that are shareable, and also a family meal deal that isn't expensive when you consider it feeds 4 ($60?)

    Plaza Inn is one of the best options because they have a huge fried chicken plate that comes with 3 pieces, mashed potatoes and gravy, steamed veggies, and a biscuit for $17.99. Then, you can purchase additional biscuits or sides a la carte and easily feed two adults off one meal plus an extra biscuit and side (which adds like $3-4 more). We are going this weekend and my son and I are looking forward to sharing that fried chicken meal! It's so, so good!

    The kids meals at the parks are a decent value, but it's better to have the kids split an adult entree at a CS location if they can agree on one thing.

    I think a budget of $800 is totally do able if you skip TS restaurants, or at least skip character meals. Those are a money grab, plain and simple. The food is just not good at any of them, and you can meet characters FAR more easily at DL than at WDW. They roam around "free" at DL and are everywhere. So save your money and skip those. Having free breakfast is a win win, as that leaves you more than $100/day for lunch and dinner.

    I will say, where Disneyland really makes their money is on alcoholic drinks and bottled beverages. Buy and bring in your own drinks and you will save a ton! Obviously you can't bring your own alcohol, but waters/soda, definitely bring those in! Water will set you back $4/bottle and a soda will be $4.50. Don't do it.

    As mentioned, the Garden Walk has some chain restaurants, but frankly the prices are similar to what's inside the DL gates and it's kind of a haul over there, especially with kids. Parking is annoying and it's just not really worth it, IMO.
     
  11. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    Agree with this. We save so much money by avoiding snacks or by sharing one thing among the whole group. That way everyone gets a taste, but we don't end up spending a fortune on snacks for every single person throughout the day. Repeated churros can add up fast. And we drink water in the parks, too. Sodas are expensive and most don't come with refills now. Checking the menus ahead of your trip is a good tactic. Menus can change, but at least you'll have an idea of what's available, what's shareable, and approximately how much you'll be spending. (Always round up, just in case!)
     
  12. SOCALMouseMommy

    SOCALMouseMommy DIS Veteran

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    I echo all of this! DL food is GOOD, especially counter service. I believe it’s because DL caters to so many locals and they know we won’t tolerate generic “amusement park food.” I love eating in the parks!

    My one trip to DW we ate counter service only since it was a last minute trip and we couldn’t get any ADRs. I thought the food was awful.
     
  13. BrianL

    BrianL Doom Buggy Driver

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    This. I was going to say the same thing. Counter Service especially is much better than at WDW (not that WDW doesn't have some good places, but I can totally see how someone could hit a lot of bad ones). The prices are high though. My top recommendation for relatively inexpensive is Earl of Sandwich. You can take the monorail right to it from the park and then re-enter the same way.
     
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  14. azdisneylover

    azdisneylover DIS Veteran

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    Everyone has posted everything I wanted to say! Check out the menu prices on the Disneyland site. Get familiarized with where the eateries are in the parks. Remember, this is on the Disneyland app too, so, you can check it out when you are in the parks and you feel your tummy start to rumble. Hopefully when you go to DL, Whitewater Snacks in the Grand Californian Hotel has a great selection of food and snacks. An added plus is it is so calm and quiet there, you may see a Disneyland cat! We love getting the chicken nachos here. There is a thread or two that does have pictures of food (figment posts the best and consistent pictures of the parks' fares). You can eat as healthily or junk foody as you want. Have fun planning! I will try to find a thread with pics so you can get a better idea of serving sizes.

    Found the correct poster's name. Search for figment_jii .

    Figment posts such great pictures of food, prices, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  15. friedela

    friedela Mouseketeer

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    Yes!! Isn't the exchange right now absolutely killer???

    We are staying at the Staybridge Suits, we were planning on taking the ART transit between the park and hotel. Still not super sure about that decision, it seems hard to imagine doing a week without a vehicle. Maybe someone can speak to that as well?

    Great tips and recommendations, thanks everyone!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  16. sherilaine

    sherilaine DIS Veteran

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    If you are staying at Staybridge Suites on Ball Road then you could also walk to the Mickey and Friends parking lot and take the tram to the parks - that would be free and I think it would be about a 10 min walk to the loading area of the parking lot. I have read of many people using that route. I think with uber now it's not as hard to go without a car to run errands especially if Disney is all you are going to do - we often rent a car as we like to do other things in the area as well so it's convenient that way. We also stay at a hotel that offers free parking which helps, not sure about your hotel.

    And yes the dollar is not doing so super hot right now, hopefully it improves before your trip - I doubt we'll see much improvement within a month though. Our first three trips to DLR it was around par with the USD so we didn't even think about the exchange when buying meals, snacks or merchandise and now we have to really think twice.
     
  17. felice

    felice Mouseketeer

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    If you're staying at the Staybridge Suites Resort on S Manchester Av then the ART service is good value if Disney is all you are doing on your trip. Multi-day tickets are the way to go, although these are for consecutive days which can be a pain for some.

    Although the tickets will get you over to other areas such as the Block at Orange, which is good for shopping deals, particularly on clothing.
     
  18. lilmissfoodie

    lilmissfoodie Mouseketeer

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  19. cmwade77

    cmwade77 DIS Veteran

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    Honestly, eat in the parks, the food is actually very good at most locations in Disneyland, just avoid pizza in the parks at all costs, unless you get the gluten free pizza at pizza port, by all reports I have seen that is far better than the regular pizza. If you want good pizza, walk across harbor and go to Pizza Press. As for where to eat outside the parks, watch where the cast members go, that is usually a good choice and do not eat at either iHop on Harbor, they will cost more than in the parks and service is terrible.

    As for eating in the parks, in my opinion, the better food options are:
    • Disneyland:
      • Hungry Bear - Good Burgers and Sandwiches
      • River Belle Terrace - Good BBQ, but a bit higher than some other locations
      • Cafe Orleans - Nice sitdown restaurant with Monte Cristos at a more reasonable price than Blue Bayou
      • Rancho Del Zocalo - Decent Mexican
      • Bengal Barbecue (This is good, but I think it is overpriced for the portion sizes, even by Disney standards)
      • Tropical Hideaway (good for a snack or lighter meal)
      • Jolly Holiday Bakery - Good Sandwiches as well as bakery items
      • Plaza Inn - Get the fried chicken, a little pricey, but worth it
      • Red Rose Tavern - A bit of an eclectic menu, but good and they even have a Poutine Flatbread (or did)
      • Carnation Cafe - One of the more affordable sit down meals in the parks
    • DCA:
      • Smokejumper's Grill - Burgers and such
      • Carthay Circle - Expensive, high end restaurant, food is delicious though
      • Studio Catering Co. - Food truck in Hollywood Land
      • Flo's V8 Cafe - Classic "American" food
      • Pacific Wharf Cafe - Soups in breadbowls are the specialty.
      • Cocina Cucomonga (sp?) - Decent Mexican Food
      • Paradise Garden Grill - Menu changes frequently and completely, but always good
      • Lamplight Lounge - A very mixed menu, dine downstairs and almost always accepts walkups with reasonable waits
      • Wine Country Tratoria - Sit down Italian food
    Please note that this doesn't mean the other locations are bad, this is just where I tend to like. I would avoid Pizza Planet (aka Pizza Port) and Tommorowland Terrace though, both tend to not be as good.

    As for prices, in general you will find Disneyland is currently around 30% cheaper than the equivalent food at Disney World since their latest price increases out there and the quality is much better, especially at counter service locations.
     
  20. dina444444

    dina444444 DIS Veteran

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    Most Multi Day Disneyland tickets just have to be used within 13 days of first use.
     
  21. sherilaine

    sherilaine DIS Veteran

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    I believe they were talking about multi day ART passes which have to be used consecutively.
     

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