In the previous post on Food Options we looked at the low cost alternatives to buying food in the park. In this post we're going to explore ways to save money and still eat the park food.
Strategic Food Buying
One of the best values in the park is to buy a whole pizza. This sounds expensive when you get the price for around $30. But when you compare it to just ordering two of the two-slice pizza meals, you see how much better of a value it is.
Sometimes when I see a couple moms who have paired up to take a bunch of kids to the park. I see some good teamwork applied to this tip. Often one mother stays with the kids and strollers while the other one buys the pizza. This helps hold a table and keeps the kids and strollers out of the line. Sometimes, if the kids are old enough, the mom who isn’t in line can also run, or send an older child for napkins, forks and drink refills.
Another consideration is to just recognize that a few of the food items are large enough to split between two people. Any of the meals with fries are good candidates for this. The fries are usually piled high and deep. The style of fry varies from store to store around the park. The bacon cheese burger meals, the two-coney meal at Skyline are two good options for splitting. The 3-Way meal comes with a coney. The two-entree plate at Panda Express comes with rice or noodles. The meals with chips or smaller sandwiches, like Subway or Chick Fil-A are good options, but only medium sized if you’re going by calorie count. Each of these options can provide two light meal options to two people willing to split them up.
You can usually ask for an extra plate as you pass through the line.
You can get an All-Day meal plan or an All-Season meal plan. This is a separate option from the All-Inclusive single day ticket.
You can add an All-Day meal plan for any one day visit whether you have a Gold Pass or a regular ticket. The 2016 rules were, that you are entitled to a meal every 90 minutes.
The All-Season plan is for two meals per day, separated by four hours. It is intended to cover a lunch and a dinner. The cashier can give you a receipt so you know when the computer will let you get your second one.
How many refillable cups and meal plans do you need? I touched on this idea in Chapter Four - Money Saving section, suggesting you might not want to buy an all-inclusive pass for every member of your family. The same is true with the all-season meal plan. We bought four meal plans the first year they were offered. The problem we discovered was that we wasted a lot of food and gained a lot of weight. Amusement park food is pretty high-calorie, especially heavy on the carbs. It is great to refuel a person after a day of exertion, but if frequently consumed, food like this will produce negative physical results.
We have five members in our family now and share three meal plans and two drink cups. The kids have a cup that is usually holding non-caffeinated and often non-carbonated drinks like lemonade or orange drink. The parent cup has Coke, Mellow-Yellow or what ever suits us in the moment. Unlimited refills will make you pretty sick of one flavor by the third or fourth refill. We often enjoy these same options our kids get when we start to feel Coked-out.
I need to footnote this section so that you are aware that the item options do change mid-season, without warning. The LaRosa’s dropped their hoagie option and the Philly Cheesesteak place by the Diamondback, first changed into a hotdog stand, then later changed into a Tom & Chee restaurant that didn’t appear to have any meal plan options.