Think it’s impossible to have a kosher vacation in Disney? Let alone on a budget? Elana Maister, a Disney Vacation Specialist, shares her best tips today.
Disney World – the place where dreams come true, where fantasy is reality, where you spend your entire life savings for a week of fun??
Not if you know how to do it right!
With every Walt Disney World vacation there’s a lot of planning that needs to be done, especially if you’re hoping to stick to a budget. There’s the question of when to go, where to stay, how to get around once you’re there, how to avoid overloading on souvenirs and the list goes on!
In future blog posts, I’ll share some tips and ideas on how to get the most out of your Disney trip on a budget. But for the Kosher consumer, there’s the added concern about finding kosher food and how much it will cost. So in this post, I will help you figure out some of the best options for your family.
Disney is known worldwide for it’s excellent customer service and attention to detail. The restaurants at the Walt Disney World resort certainly live up to that excellent reputation. A meal in Disney is not just a meal, it’s an experience. Guests can eat lunch under the stars next to a river in Mexico (yes, I said lunch under the stars!), or inside an authentic British pub. You can even sit down to a candle lit dinner inside the Beast’s castle in the ballroom from Beauty and the Beast’s most famous scene.
The best part is, Disney has made those experiences available to the Kosher Traveler. With advanced notice you can order Kosher meals at any of the Disney owned restaurants on property. The cost is around $30 per person, plus any extra costs for drinks. Some of your meal choices include brisket or salmon for adults and hot dogs or chicken nuggets for kids.
Another great option, especially for those on a budget or those who don’t want to plan meals two days in advance, is quick service (cafeteria style) dining. Disney offers kosher meals at one quick service location in each park, and at many of the resorts, with no prior notice necessary. The quick service locations usually offer hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken nuggets for about $10 a meal and are a good size to keep even the adults feeling satisfied.
If you book a package deal with Disney which includes your resort hotel and park tickets you also have the option of purchasing a dining plan. The dining plan gives each member of your party two meals and one snack a day at a fixed price. The dining plan can be used to purchase kosher meals as well. A few times a year, Disney has been known to come out with a “free dining” promotion, so there are actually times when everyone in your party can eat for free! These promotions are usually announced about 3 months in advance and can usually be added onto existing reservations.
A great way to save money is by using a Disney Vacation Specialist to help plan and book your trip. (I’m not just saying that because I am one!) It is part of our job description to keep a look out for all Disney deals and promotions. So even if you’ve already booked your trip, if a new promotion comes out, we’ll know about it right away and can apply it to your reservation if applicable.
Another great way to save money on food is to bring meals and snacks into the parks with you. Outside food and drink are allowed in each park, with the exception of glass containers and alcohol. Schlepping an extra suitcase of food to Florida is a pain, and will cost you baggage fees, but in Disney World there’s no need.
Orlando is home to a few grocery delivery services that will deliver food straight to your resort, which is a great way to stock up on the basics; yogurt, cereal, milk, peanut butter, bread etc. The resort will accept your delivery, refrigerate your perishables, then deliver them to your room at your convenience. Refrigerators come standard in all Disney resorts at no additional charge. So you can pack your sandwiches, snacks, and drinks in the morning and not spend any extra money on food during the day.
Since there’s much more to a Disney World vacation than just eating, I’ll be back in a future blog post to talk about the fun stuff like choosing a hotel, and planning your days in the parks.
Want more information on the Disney Resort hotels, kosher food, Disney’s good neighbor hotels, or anything else Disney related? You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find Elana on Facebook.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, SteamFan