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When the average price of a cocktail is close to $20, have you ever wondered how people factor food and drinks into their Disney World budget?
Or maybe you’ve been to the parks and have experienced waiting in the standby line for Flight of Passage only to suddenly realize how freaking hungry you were.
Orrrrr maybe you’re like us and realized you forgot something important at home after you’ve already gotten to your destination.
This is why we recommend anyone traveling to Disney nowadays should take advantage of grocery delivery services like Instacart during their trip!
WHY BUY GROCERIES?
Thanks to generous rules about what people can bring into the parks, a popular “hack” (and one of the most cost-effective ways to travel to Disney World) is to BYOG – bring your own groceries!
We’ve recommended it to our readers plenty of times as a great way to:
While eating snacks and having those sit-down meals are a big part of the Disney experience, it does add up over the course of a trip.
Yes, you can absolutely find good value within the realm of Disney dining. But buying every meal and drink is not feasible for most people on a 5-day (or longer!) trip to Disney.
This is especially true for those traveling either in large groups or families with children.
Note: We recognize that dining at Disney is a source of enjoyment for most people. For budget-conscious planners, we suggest getting groceries so that not every meal at Disney is purchased. That way, you can save some room in your budget for that Akershus princess dining or those tiki drinks at Trader Sam’s!
It helps to have easy, convenient snacks you can pull out in line at the parks. Trust us, you and your group will have way more fun at the parks if you aren’t hungry and cranky.
Eat a light breakfast in your room and skip the big, expensive sit-down breakfasts that eat up valuable park time!
The morning especially is often the best time to get on those headliner attractions.
Have you ever gotten back from a long day at the parks and needed a snack? Or maybe a glass of wine for that theme-park view balcony? Oh, look, you’ve got groceries in your room.
WHICH SERVICE SHOULD I USE?
We’ve used and tried the wide variety of options like Garden Grocer, Target, Walmart, Amazon, and Instacart. And so have our readers. Some are fine, some are better than others.
But we keep coming back to Instacart for our own Disney trips. We find it to be the most consistent, the fastest, and the best quality of all the delivery services we’ve used.
Pro tip: Drop your luggage off at your room first so you aren’t carrying groceries and suitcases across the TOTALLY UNSHADED pool area of Pop Century on an 80-degree morning. You know, from personal experience. 🙂
HOW GROCERY DELIVERY WORKS AT DISNEY
Spoiler: It’s really easy.
- Place your order.
Although we’ve been known to do it on the way to the airport, we normally like to place a bigger grocery order on Instacart around 24 hours in advance.
This makes it a piece of cake to order from home before we even leave for Disney and helps ensure our items are available for us.
Just set your address to your Disney resort and start shopping!
Pro Tip: If you fall into our type A planning category, know you can place an Instacart order up to several days ahead of time and check it off your to-do list!
- Meet your driver or pick up your order from bell services.
If you aren’t physically at your resort to receive your order, your Disney resort will hold your items for you until you can pick them up from the concierge.
The only exception to this rule is if you’re ordering alcohol. Disney won’t hold alcohol, so plan to be present for that delivery!
Most resorts even have a refrigerated area to store any cold or perishable items for you until you can come to get them.
Note: A $6 handling fee for deliveries gets billed to your room, but that’s peanuts compared to paying the astronomical “convenience” markup Disney charges for things like sunscreen, toiletries, or basic grocery items.
PROS OF USING INSTACART
- It’s convenient and easy. Not many things are easy about planning a Disney trip, so we appreciate it when we get it!
- The selection rocks. Instacart delivers groceries via Publix, and we find it superior as far as selection. There is a ton of variety, plus we love having the option to order fresh bakery items.
We’ve found the selection at Garden Grocer, Amazon, and Walmart isn’t as good or as readily available (or it’s more expensive).
- It’s speedy. Instacart is quick! We usually get our groceries within 1-2 hours of ordering and have never had an issue with delivery.
This is especially handy for those easy “oops, I forgot XYZ at home” orders!
- It saves us money overall. Delivery and resort fees aside, ordering from Instacart automatically saves us the cost of having to purchase essentials from the exorbitantly-priced Disney resort shops, where you’re further limited by the minuscule selection and itty-bitty quantities.
OUR STANDARD DELIVERY ORDER
Depending on the length of our stay and our refrigerator access, some of our Instacart orders are bigger than others. Some things, like certain toiletries, are easier to deliver to your resort (which frees up valuable space in your luggage!).
Here’s a list of what we normally get delivered, plus a few extra things our readers have suggested:
- Case of water bottles
- Snacks (non-melty snacks to take to the parks to keep from getting hangry)
- Granola/Protein bars
- Trail mix
- Crackers (Goldfish, Cheez-Its)
- Individual peanut-butter cups for dipping
- Fruit (easily packed like apples, bananas, clementines)
- Tortilla chips & guacamole (individual cups)
- Squeezable fruit pouches
- Breakfast items
- Iced coffee/Cold brew
- Half & Half/Creamer
- Bagels & cream cheese
- Cereal (individual cups)
- Alcohol (beer, wine)
- For those who prefer cocktails, you can use Instacart to deliver liquor and mixers from nearby liquor stores
- Just remember you have to be present for this delivery!
- SPF lip balm
Note: Most resorts have a mini in-room refrigerator or beverage cooler, but if you get placed in a room without one, talk to the concierge. They should be able to bring one directly to you to use for the length of your stay!
Alright—you’ve got a grocery strategy, but do you have a park strategy? The Complete Parks Strategy Playbook to WDW is bursting with top-tier strategies, lesser-known tips, and all the exclusive insider knowledge you need to make your Disney trip one for the highlight reel.