I Saved More than $300 on a Family Vacation with This One Ingenious Grocery Tip

published Feb 23, 2023
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There’s something undeniably magical about Disney World. On my first trip in almost 30 years, I was just as thrilled by the rides, entertained by the sights, and smitten with the characters as I had been three decades before; but unlike the vacation of my childhood, this time I, now a mother of two, had the responsibility of packing suitcases, booking reservations, and organizing meals. Fortunately, thanks to the sage advice of my next-door neighbor, I had an ace in the hole when it came to meal planning: Amazon Fresh.

Credit: Stephanie Ganz

My neighbor and fellow mom of two, Shelley, had recently returned from her own Disney World vacation just as we were planning ours, and her top piece of advice was to bring snacks with us to the parks each day. By packing snacks, she said, we could keep the kids happy while saving a little bit of money along the way. The idea made perfect sense to me, but instead of just bringing our own snacks to the parks, I decided to include breakfast, hotel snacks, and other essentials, all of which I ordered right to my room via Amazon Fresh. By my calculations, this one tip ended up saving us over $300! Here’s how.

Credit: Stephanie Ganz

How I Determined My Savings

We spent a total of $262.07 on several small Amazon Fresh orders during our week at Disney World. This covered breakfast, snacks (to bring to the park and refuel with after our daily adventures), and a few treats and drinks to enjoy in our suite. 

Taking a look at menus from around our resort, I estimate that breakfast for the four of us would have been about $50 per day. Snacks, based on the pricing I found in the parks, would have been another $50, and drinks and post-park treats would have bumped that up another $20 a day. That comes to around $600 (for five days), which means, by pre-ordering groceries on Amazon Fresh, I saved nearly $340, and I got exactly what I wanted.

Credit: Stephanie Ganz

What I Ordered on Amazon Fresh

I knew that we wanted to hit the parks relatively early, which made eating breakfast in our suite a smart move. So I ordered a dozen eggs and some shredded cheddar cheese for quick omelets. I also got Cheerios, Special K, and some frozen blueberry waffles, plus orange juice, milk, and, of course, coffee (and a small box of Splenda). I couldn’t have managed those early mornings combing through Genie+ reservations without it. 

Another huge focus of my orders was the snacks. I needed some chippy/cracker-y options, fruit, and a little protein to keep us going all day, so I ordered Goldfish (The Mickey Mouse variety because I love a theme!); apples, bananas, and blueberries; and a few bags of beef jerky. These kept us going each day, keeping the hangries at bay as we roamed the parks until it was mealtime.

Credit: Stephanie Ganz

I figured we’d also need snacks upon our return, so I loaded up the cart with prosciutto and mozzarella panino, a little wheel of triple creme Brie, La Panzanella crackers, and in a move that made me feel extremely satisfied with myself, an entire Charcuterie Tasting Board (filled with salami, olives, chocolate-covered cranberries, cheese, and crackers). This kept me from having to order a bunch of different things and then slice and portion them myself, and because we easily finished the whole thing, there was no waste to worry about. 

I also snagged a loaf of bread, some turkey, and a little Duke’s mayo for simple sandwiches. Those sandwiches and a few bags of chips made nice, hearty snacks for when we got back to the hotel in the afternoon and needed to restore blood sugar and energy levels. I threw in a case each of Diet Coke and Perrier to stash in the fridge, so beverages were covered. And la piece de resistance: I ordered a box of Mickey Mouse ice cream bars. In the park, these treats are $5.99 each, but back in our suite, they cost us a cool $1.50 a pop. I also ordered pull-ups for my youngest child to avoid having to pack them. 

If You’re Ordering Groceries for Disney World, a Few Tips

  • Check your hotel’s delivery policies before you order. Most hotels and resorts allow you to place grocery orders for delivery, and some will even put your groceries away for you when they arrive. 
  • Specify the level of ripeness on any fresh produce you buy. Our bananas were pretty green on day one, so we opted for the apples until the bananas had time to ripen up.
  • Buy pre-ground coffee. Even in a well-equipped resort kitchen, you might not find a coffee grinder.
  • Remember butter, olive oil, or pan spray. You’ll need them if you’re planning to do any cooking, like making the omelets I mentioned.
  • Bring a few reusable sandwich bags or small containers from home for divvying up the snacks each day. And bring your own empty water bottles to fill up once you get inside the park to avoid buying plastic water bottles.

Do you order groceries when you go on vacation? Tell us about it in the comments.