We frogs are always looking for ways to save money at Disneyland and make the trip more affordable. (Saving green is kind of our thing!) If you are smart, you can really save money inside the parks, especially when buying food.
While theme parks are not known for having the most affordable food and treats, you can find a number of Disneyland food and drinks that are close to $5. Knowing where and how to find the cheapest food at Disneyland can help you stretch your budget and use that money for other valuable things like, say, getting Disney MaxPass.
You can also find some of the same foods for less money depending on where you buy them in the parks. Or, you can eliminate a few unimportant sides to save big money. Whaaat? For real! Let's get hopping!
The Cheapest Food at Disneyland
Many of the snacks and treats at Disneyland are about $5. Just stay away from the souvenir buckets. You can find regular popcorn, ice cream, churros, cotton candy and even pineapple Dole Whip at affordable prices. You can also get unique treats such as a Tigger Tail in Critter Country. Other fresh treats made in the parks include fudge and decorated cake pops/marshmallow treats at Pooh Corner, Candy Palace, Bing Bong's Sweet Stuff and Trolley Treats. The iconic Matterhorn Macaroon at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café is a weighty treat that is one of the least expensive foods in the parks!
There are bready treats for about $5, including a Mickey Mouse pretzel — a must-have treat for us. Did you know you can get the same Mickey pretzel at Refreshment Corner and Bayside Brews as at the pretzel carts for less money (plus, AP and Disney Visa discounts apply at restaurant locations for even more savings). In Cars Land, at Cone-Concoctions you can also get twists: a chocolate twist or a cheddar garlic bagel twist. In New Orleans Square, we always hop for the affordable fritters at the Royal Street Veranda.
For an adventurous twist, bite into a bao or lumpia from Tropical Hideaway in Adventureland. It's a favorite go-to spot to get a hearty snack. But one of our favorite Disneyland foods under $5 is the Firefly. This often secret menu item is one of the best on-the-go Disneyland foods. It comes in a bag and includes chili, cheese and jalapeños over corn chips. All for under $5!
Some of the cheapest food at Disneyland is also the freshest! There are so many healthy snacks at Disneyland, and that makes it easier to make better dietary decisions too. Corn on the cob, cut fruit, pickles, apple chips, fresh pineapple spears, whole fruits and more are among the cheapest food at Disneyland. You can also get hummus and veggie cups at any of the fruit stands throughout the parks. We love the hummus trio with crisp veggies at Bengal Barbecue and Tropical Imports. The dill pickle is one of our favorite low-calorie snacks in the park. Many restaurants sell Power Packs. They include a Dannon Danimals smoothie, a mandarin orange, apple slices, carrots, crackers and a small beverage. Bargain snack for the win!
While it is easy to find treats and starches, protein is a little more challenging to find for a bargain. Our favorite spot for affordable protein is the Bengal Barbecue in Adventureland. The skewers offer a less sugary, affordable treat that will give you some staying power. The Banyan beef skewer is hot and spicy, while the Bengal beef skewer is more sweet. We also like the chicken skewer in a Polynesian sauce and the pork belly — they are all so tasty! You can get bacon-wrapped asparagus or a vegetable skewer (perfect for vegetarians!). The skewers are more of a snack than a meal. However, they will certainly fill you up more than cotton candy without the sugar spike (or the impending crash). Add more skewers to make it a meal.
For breakfast, the in-park Starbucks locations like Fiddler, Fifer & Practical and Market House offer breakfast sandwiches and wraps just over and under $5, as well as other baked goods to start your park morning off with a full tummy. But one of the cheapest on-the-go breakfasts in the Disneyland parks is the breakfast chimichanga (a vegetarian option exists too) at just over $5. You can find it at Ship to Shore Marketplace across from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
The majority of the nonalcoholic drinks in the park are under $5. We save money and stay hydrated by drinking free water in the park. All restaurants have free water upon request. But sometimes, we treat ourselves to a special treat. We love Dole Pineapple juice, flavored frozen lemonade, a Golden Horseshoe Ice Cream Float or some Starbucks. Both Market House and Fiddler, Fifer & Practical sell Starbucks. Most coffees, Frappuccinos, Refreshers, smoothies, espressos, teas and hot chocolates are all about $5.
Sometimes, you have to get creative to make your indulgences less expensive. We are great sharers! At the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café, Lily and I often share the Jolly Holiday Combo — she eats the grilled cheese and I eat the tomato soup. We are both happy, and sharing brings our meals down to about $5 per person. BTW, the sandwiches at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café make for some of the most affordable meals in the park. Speaking of sandwiches, we are also fans of the turkey pesto club at Pacific Wharf Café at Disney California Adventure as well. At both restaurants, the sandwiches run about $10. (Soups and salads come in at a lower price point at Jolly Holiday Baker Café). Toddler meals at most restaurants are usually under $5, so you can feed those small appetites affordably.
If you look at scooped ice cream prices at Gibson Girl or Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream, you’ll see that a double scoop of ice cream is just slightly more than a single scoop. If you’re willing to share or divide the ice cream yourself, you can save a lot of money by getting double the ice cream for a fraction of the price!
Another favorite way to save a few bucks when getting corn dogs (at the Corn Dog Castle or the Little Red Wagon) is to skip the small bag of chips or apple slices that automatically come with the corn dog. If you really have a taste for only the corn dog, skip the sides to skip paying that extra money.
If you love drinking a refreshing Mint Julep in New Orleans Square, but one is never enough, there’s a way to get unlimited Mint Julep. Instead of ordering a single Mint Julep at the Mint Julep Bar, you can order your Mint Julep as part of your meal at Café Orleans. It’s refillable! Plus, if you haven’t finished your drink when it’s time to go, they’ll give you a to-go cup! Granted, you are probably pairing your drink with a more expensive table service meal, but if you are going to eat there anyway, then that’s the time to get your Mint Julep fix.
FYI: The popular Monte Cristo Sandwich (which is cheaper than the Monte Cristo at Blue Bayou) is large enough to share. So split the sandwich, maybe share a generous order of the famous pommes frites with friends and drink all the Mint Julep you can while people watching and enjoying the views at Café Orleans. You won’t feel like you are cheating yourself of your favorite Disneyland treats!
We hope you've enjoyed our look at the cheapest food at Disneyland. If you're pinching pennies, be sure to check out our post on free things to do at Disneyland. If you are visiting this summer, be sure to check out our tips for managing summer crowds and beating the heat (perhaps with one of the frozen treats mentioned above).
Related: How to Save Money at Disneyland