As you may know, we love our Disneyland passports. The one problem is that a lot of the food sucks. You have to be prepared to find the right choices or bring your home made versions of things that can compete with the attractive options your kids (or you) are begging for. With the enticing aromas formulated to drive you to the food stands, even real-foodies like us find it hard to resist the temptation to indulge in churros, chemical-coated popcorn and slushies. Whether you go to Disneyland, amusement parks, or even just the movie theaters, you know what I’m talking about. So, here are some options to help you stick with your real food lifestyle and fully enjoy your time at the park.
These are things we make ahead at home and bring for snacks:
A perfect snack to munch on as you flee from the churro and popcorn stands…and this will probably cost you less than 5% of what you’d pay there!
2 tablespoons coconut oil- where to buy
1 cup popcorn kernels
2-4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Heat coconut oil in a large stockpot with a matching lid over medium heat. Add popcorn kernels and cover the pot. Shake the pan often to “activate” and move the kernels (to prevent burning) until you hear the popping stop. Transfer popcorn to a large bowl and toss with melted butter, cinnamon, salt (to taste), and a drizzle of honey. *If you use honey, bring napkins or wet wipes to clean off sticky fingers. Store in ziplock bags or brown paper lunch bags.
Disneyland has huge turkey drumsticks on sale that I ate once and am positive are cured endlessly in sodium-nitrate and/or sodium-nitrite. YUCK! (Can you say colon cancer?) Here’s a simple alternative to make ahead and bring:
6-8 chicken leg drumsticks
1/4 cup butter, melted
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Coat drumsticks in butter, then season liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place drumsticks in a baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown. Wrap each drumstick in aluminum foil and place in a ziplock bag or airtight container. Bring napkins or wet wipes!
Easy peezy! Make your favorite sandwiches and enjoy eating together in the sun or shade while watching people scream on a ride. Considering a mediocre sandwich will cost you over $10 at Disneyland, you’ll be so glad you planned ahead.
These are things we’ll compromise on and buy there:
Apple Juice Slushie
If we are going to have “ice cream”, I try to find the apple juice slushies. There are only a few places in Disneyland that serve this, but I usually plan how we will get to these stands when we are ready for a cold treat. They have 100% apple juice slushies that are far better than the chemically flavored and colored options like “blue raspberry” or “strawberry lemonade”.
On the way out of Disneyland, there is a HUGE candy store, next to an ice cream store, next to a bakery. Ummm, can you just hear the kids whining about getting a treat?! So, I make a deal with the kids early in the day. If they are “good”, they can get a small bag of Jelly Beans on the way out. They are self-serve, and I usually fill the bag with no more than 15 beans. The girls get to eat 5 of them and save the rest for later. (Which means they go in the freezer and are totally forgotten about.) That little bit of a sweet treat is just as satisfying to them as a giant ice cream cone. I also like to time it right so they are practically asleep as they finish chewing that 5th Jelly Bean.
*Oh, and one last thing. Based on the featured image of this post, fresh fruits and veggies are a great real food option at Disneyland…but bring your own from home. Their fresh produce is way overpriced, not organic, and probably are GMO’s- YUCK! Bring your own water, too, unless you want to pay $5 for flouridated tap water from the Pepsi factory.