I want to share with you my latest obsession and lessons learned from the first week-long Drennon family vacation. Feeding a family of four on the road is EXPENSIVE. Duh! You knew this right? Confession: due to our son’s food allergies we don’t eat out much, like, really only at Disney World. For some tips on how to do that, see my previous post on tackling Disney with food allergies. So, this trip was a bit more expensive than I expected. Sometimes, when ordering for the little guy (who can’t eat off a typical kids menu), the cost of safety is hefty. (Picture a 4.5-year-old housing half a pound of shrimp and asking for more).
Since we don’t eat out much, I decided that the last leg of our trip should include some home cooking, so, I booked us a room with a kitchen. That way, we could cook some food on our own and possibly save some money in the process. The idea of taking up precious vacation time grocery shopping, not to mention planning meals ahead of time, made my vacation seem like a nightmare.
Enter meal delivery services. Stay with me here. There are seemingly a million types of food delivery services out there. We used Blue Apron. Let me tell you why: they had some options on the menu that met our allergy needs and the meals literally come with everything you need (i.e., tiny bottle of vinegar and pats of butter, but not oil and salt and pepper). Some other delivery services require you to pack a lot of items from home. You can have your Blue Apron package delivered right to your hotel and it is either kept cold by the packaging or held in cold storage for you. That way you don’t have to spend any time at the grocery store! Dinner out cost us anywhere from $60 to over $100 a night. A meal plan that feeds four for two nights from Blue Apron was roughly $80.
Caution: extreme cost-saving hack ahead:
Users of Blue Apron can gift a free meal code to friends. I used one of these codes and got our two meals free! If you are interested in trying this out for yourself, send me a message and I can send you a free meal code, or reach out to another Blue Apron loving friend. Now, to make this an extreme saving hack I purchased this meal delivery via a rewards program called Swagbucks. By purchasing this meal through Swagbucks with a free meal code I actually made $35. You read that correctly. Blue Apron is offering a rebate of $35 for Swagbucks users. This deal is only good on your first Blue Apron order…but it’s a pretty good deal.
(Sign up for Swagbucks. Type in Blue Apron in the search bar and click “Place Your Order Using the Free Meal Code.” It typically takes 30 days for the rebate to show up in your account. Then, cash out for Paypal or any other gift card available.)
What if you don’t have a room with a kitchen? Well, I have you covered with another option: Nourish Foods Co. will send you prepackaged breakfast, lunch, or dinner options. These are not frozen dinners. They are freshly prepared and ready to heat up. You can heat these meals in a microwave or an oven. We ordered a shrimp dish and the shrimp was perfectly cooked! The meals have all been delicious. This option is around $12-13 a meal. Nourish has offered our readers a code for $15 off their first order. Use code 15OFF.
If meal delivery doesn’t fit your style, you can always hit up the grocery store. Publix is a short Uber ride away from the parks and you can pick up some essentials. They also offer prepackaged fresh meals in the butcher section of the store for around $7-8 a person.
I am a big fan of hanging at the resort of your choice for at least one day of vacation (see previous posts). If you have meals on hand to prepare, it makes it even easier. We can hang as long as we want at the resort pool without having to get cleaned up to make a dinner reservation. Or better yet, have lunch in the room right before nap time!
A travel agent will be super helpful here in determining what resorts or room types come with a full kitchen, kitchenette, or microwave/mini-fridge. Contact CJ Ayd at Cj.firstname.lastname@example.org to help you figure out the best room for you.
I want to go to Disney as often as possible and saving money on food in creative ways helps me achieve that goal. Do you have any money-saving hacks to share? Want to try Blue Apron for free? Send me a DM over on Instagram @drennons_do_disney. Let me know if you try either of these meal services in the comments.
Thanks to @dougdoesdisney for the use or the featured picture.