On our first two Disney trips, both girls were under 3, which meant no Disney Dining Plan for them. There are tons of upsides to kids under 3 (free admission to the parks, free dining at buffets and family style meals namely), but you do have to plan to pay out of pocket for their other meals and snacks… or get creative!
We like to bring a gallon ziplock full of snacks each day. It’s a little gutting to spend $4 on apple slices in the park and watch them eat 2 bites. We pack things like Goldfish crackers, Snapeas, fruit snacks, freeze dried fruit, applesauce pouches, apples, and bananas, along with their water bottles and a couple of juices.
These serve as snacks in the park, but can also help us stretch our meals with them, let them split a meal, or, my favorite, use a snack credit for their “quick service meal”.
Snack Credits that Stretch
Each park has at least a few snack credit options that can double as a kid’s meal. Heck, some of them can double as an adult meal! This is a trick best performed for breakfast, but there are plenty of lunch and dinner options too. Remember that they [usually] don’t include a drink, so you may want to bring juices or take advantage of the free ice water. Here are some of our favorites, broken down by park!
- Be Our Guest (lunch) – french onion soup
- Casey’s Corner – macaroni & cheese or chili cheese fries
- Cheshire Cafe – Cheshire Cat tail (large chocolate croissant drizzled with icing)
- Columbia Harbour House – clam chowder or chili
- Eggroll Wagon – cheeseburger egg rolls
- Gaston’s Tavern – giant cinnamon roll
- Liberty Square Market – baked potato (you can use two snacks and hop down to Casey’s or Columbia to top it with chili!)
- Lunching Pad – pepper jack warm stuffed pretzel
- Sleepy Hollow – strawberry waffle (not the Nutella one, it’s not a snack credit) or baked potato
- Kabuki Cafe – sushi rolls or edamame
- Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe – school bread or troll horn
- Les Halle’s Boulangerie Patisserie – there are a ton of snack options here, but my kids loved the croissant jambon fromage and the roule lard and fromage (bacon and cheese roll)
- Liberty Inn – clam chowder or macaroni & cheese
- Refreshment Port – croissant donut (this thing is so good, get two, so you don’t eat the kids’ whole cronut!)
In our experience, this park has the least snack turned kid’s meal options. Many of their QS spots offer the kid’s meal Power Pack though, which is great for little appetites who like to snack vs eat a whole meal. They are $5.99 and come with a whole variety of healthy snack foods (yogurt, carrots and ranch, apple slices, Goldfish, and juice). We would get one for the girls to split and supplement them sharing our meals.
- Herbie’s Drive-In – chili cheese nachos
- Sunshine Day Cafe – German pretzel
- Sweet Spells – lots of bakery treats that can double as breakfast, our favorite of which is the carrot cake cookie
- Eight Spoon Cafe – macaroni & cheese with either pulled pork or shrimp & sweet chili sauce
- Flame Tree Barbecue – french fries with pulled pork and cheese
- Mr. Kamal’s – falafel with tzatziki
- Pizzafari – tomato basil soup
- Smiling Crocodile – a variety of BLT sandwiches (pimento cheese, salmon, or turkey)
- Trilo-Bites – buffalo chicken chips
- Yak & Yeti – chicken fried rice or egg rolls
- Joffrey’s – gigantic donuts
- Starbucks – most of their breakfast foods are snack credits (and their coffees, so this is a win-win stop!)
- Various spots – Mickey Pretzel with cheese dip or churro with chocolate sauce