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by Run Diva

Whenever my family and I visit Disneyland and California Adventure, we try as hard as we can to make it cost effective. We always pack trail mix, protein bars, fruit, and sandwiches but sometimes the planning gets away from us so we need to go and have a budget in mind. Sticking to $40.00 for one day seemed like a great challenge for me! Keeping the food cost down means you can possibly squeeze in an extra day of vacation, right?

So first, let’s start off with the perfect morning. A cool 65 degrees at 8 am, (let’s hope) and as we are walking into the teal gates of DCA, we pass several souvenir shops, we hear the faint sounds of laughing and families walking down the streets and to our right is Starbucks. Ahhh, what a dream to find a strong cup of coffee for what will be a 14 hour day (most likely). For breakfast we will start here with a regular grande coffee which is priced at $2.19 and then to go with that we have the spinach, feta, and eggwhite breakfast wrap for $4.99. So far into this day we have used $7.18 of our budget.


Next, we are off to Tower of Terror, Soarin’, and The Grizzly River Rapids to spend the rest of our morning while we let our coffee set in. My family and I really love to hit the Aladdin musical after lunch so it works out perfectly that close by is Award Weiners. My husband and I are mostly vegetarian (I eat eggs) so I will pick the vegetarian portobello-mushroom philly which has onions, mushrooms, and pepperjack cheese. You have your choice of chips or apples as well, and on a hot day the apples are very refreshing. This sandwich costs $8.19 to make our total for the day so far of $15.37.


Photo Courtesy of Character Diva

Aladdin, like I said before, is perfect in the afternoon. It’s air conditioned and just the right about of time to digest, relax, and build back up your energy for the rest of the afternoon. Usually walking back towards Buena Vista Street we will stop at the fruit stand for a few quick things to eat to keep us full until dinner. I usually get a pineapple spear and pickle; you just have to when you’re at DCA! The pineapple spears are SO ripe and delicious paired with the salty pickle, both priced at $2.79 each.

Next we are off to the pier where we can ride Scream’ California, play some games, and ride along with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Mania! We have picked up our World of Color Fastpasses so now we just play and ride until dinner time. We head over to the food court at the pier which has a ton of options. I don’t quite know why, but being there we always crave Mexican food, so we pick Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill and grab a seat by the water. I like the soft tacos Monterrey with roasted vegetables. It’s actually quite a lot of food and I never leave feeling hungry. The tacos run about $11.49 which for the day brings my total to $32.44.

I have just enough left for a dessert to enjoy by the water for World of Color. Without a doubt, I ALWAYS pick the soft serve ice cream at the Cozy Cone Motel. They must sprinkle it with a little magic because it is quite addictive! And because we at Disney, why not make it a large for $4.19.


Photo Courtesy of Disney Magic Diva

Grand total for the day at DCA is $36.63! Not bad if you think about just how much food that paid for. I even have some left for my cup of coffee I might need towards the end of the night! You can get away with being quite frugal at Disney parks because there are so many food options besides a sit down restaurant. I loved this challenge but it felt practical and not like I was throwing money at food that wasn’t worth the price. Everything was tasty and my family was happy!