Between all of the souvenirs, drinks, crazy eats, and perks you can find within Disneyland, it’s easy to spend a lot of dough in a short amount of time. Tack on the roughly $165 price tag, and your magical adventure will be great at making your money disappear. Is it possible to get through a day of Disney adventure without spending a ton of money? One food blogger attempted to find out in a five dollar Disneyland challenge that’s only for the brave of heart.
Photo: Glen Scarborough on Flickr
Munchies writer Julia Prescott took it upon herself to tackle this challenge, and it did not sound easy. Throughout the day, she struggled to obtain free samples by pretending it was her birthday. It worked for quite a few spots, including Jamba Juice and Earl of Sandwich. Some clever hacks were also employed, like using an “extra plate” to score on some free toppings to serve as a meal at one establishment.
For those of you considering taking on this quest yourselves, here are some of the key tips suggested by Munchies:
Go on, or pretend, that it’s your birthday. It definitely sucks if you get caught lying on the birthday end, but you get a whole bunch of free items and discount opportunities when you tell Disney it’s your special day. Free sandwiches at Earl of Sandwich are an example, but require e-mail registration and a bar code. Not everybody has these, however, so use this approach with caution.
Condiments and samples are your best friend. This is what really got Prescott through the day, and though it may not sound that appetizing at first, it helped her survive, for the most part. It’ll probably be a go-to for you as well.
Use the “Extra plate” trick if you have to. By asking for an extra plate, it makes it seem like you already ordered. It also gives you access to the side items and accoutrements at establishments that have them, like the roasted peppers and trail mix at Smokejumper Grill. Again, this one is risky, but pays off if you manage to get away with it.
Ask for free water. Going to cafes and just asking for the water may generate a little bit of sympathy for you, if you play it cool. Prescott was able to score a free cookie when she did this at Pacific Wharf Cafe, and although it’s probably rare for it to happen, it’s good to see the people of Disney exhibiting some goodwill to a frugal, starving soul.
At the end of the day, Prescott managed to make it through the whole ordeal without spending any of her coveted five bucks. She celebrated by spending it on (what else?) a serving of Dole Whip. Through this experimental trial, she proved that it is possible to get through a day at Disneyland on virtually no currency.
If you’re going to attempt to be thrifty at The Happiest Place On Earth, some of the Munchies tips will definitely work out for you. However, with all of the food there that you want to try while in the park, it’s okay to go all out and splurge, too.