Friday, December 9, 2011

Amusement Park Lunches and Snacks

It's no secret - food at amusement parks is expensive and overpriced.  The cost alone to get into most amusement parks is enough, let alone spending $6 for a hot dog.  Our family has recently been blessed with season passes to a local amusement park (read: Disneyland!).  We love being able to go on a regular basis, but can't afford to eat there every time we go.  Instead, we pack our own lunches and snacks, saving us a lot of money (and it's healthier as well).  Below are some of our favorite foods to take with us when we go.  Next time you're heading out to an amusement park, consider packing your own food!

It seems that my 3-year-old is always hungry, asking for snacks every 10 minutes (which she doesn't get).  So when we go to Disneyland, I don't want to have to dish out almost $4 for a pretzel every time she needs a snack.  I make sure we take a variety of snacks for my daughter, my husband, and I.  This avoids any temptation to buy the overpriced amusement park snacks.

Refrigerated Snacks:  We take one or two lunch-sized coolers with us when we go to Disneyland.  Since our daughter's usually with us, we just keep everything in the stroller.  When we choose to go by ourselves (shhhh...don't tell our daughter that we go without her), we rent a locker to hold all of our goodies.  I believe it costs about $6 for a locker that is large enough to hold 2 lunch-sized coolers, plus a whole bunch of other stuff (i.e. sweatshirts).  Even though we are having to pay, it's still much cheaper than buying food there.  In one cooler, we'll usually put ice packs.  The other cooler we'll keep cold with frozen water bottles.  That way, we have a way of keeping our cooler cold, plus we'll have cold water to drink later in the day once the ice has melted.

In our coolers, we'll take string cheese, yogurt, (I splurged and bought some GoGurts for a 3-day Disneyland trip we took a couple months ago), and grapes.  You could also take cut up veggies with Ranch (or hummus) or cut fruit.  If I didn't have the GoGurts, I would probably just put yogurt in a small plastic container and a spoon.  That would be the more economical way to do it.

Non-Refrigerated Snacks: I usually take a small backpack to carry around the park with us.  In here, I'll pack whole apples, Cuties, pretzels along with a plastic container filled with peanut butter or hummus, Cheerios, granola bars, goldfish, trail mix, etc.  And I'm not talking individual-size pre-packaged goldfish and pretzels.  I'm talking about filling a zip-top bag.  It's much cheaper and accomplishes the same goal.  For price comparisons check out Sumiko's post here.  I will take individual-size pre-packaged snacks if I find them at a decent price.  For example, I bought a box of fruit snacks on clearance for $0.25, which I took with us one time we went.

Special Snacks: One of the fun things about going to an amusement park is the fun and special snacks.  The kettle corn, popcorn, cotton candy, and churros.  Since going to Disneyland is a special occasion, I do try to pack some special snacks for our trip.  In the past I've taken caramel corn, chocolate covered caramel corn, and candied almonds.  Kettle corn and popcorn would also be fun to take!

For lunch, I'll usually pack sandwiches, and we'll splurge and buy a bag of chips.  We'll also eat some of the snacks we've brought if the sandwiches and chips don't fill us up.

So, it's pretty simple, and you can get pretty creative with your food!  Just make sure to have lots of fun!  For other snack tips, read Sumiko's school lunch post.

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