Going to the Parks on a CP Budget

A day of Magic Kingdom fun awaits...

A magical day of fun at the Magic Kingdom awaits you…

As a CP, you get unlimited entrance into the four Disney parks at WDW (worth about $100 each visit) and also to the two Disney water parks too (worth about $53 a visit).

You can ride the Transtar bus over to the park (free) or drive your own car.  Parking is free for CPs; you just show your Blue ID to the parking attendant and they wave you in (currently a $17 saving).

But, once you get into the park, things can get expensive fast!

Here’s our advice for having a great time at the parks without spending a lot of money:

#1:  Eat a meal at your apartment before you go!  Budget for having a snack only at the parks.  The snacks at the parks are delicious; more on that later!

#2:  Bring a snack or sandwich in your bag or backpack.  Granola bars are great, energy bars, a baggie of Goldfish, or maybe a PB&J sandwich, which doesn’t need to be refrigerated.  Whatever is your go-to snack when you have the munchies.

#3: Bring your work water bottle!  Stay hydrated with plain water, pass on the $3 sodas and bottled water at the parks.  If you don’t want to wear your refillable water bottle, you can get free cups of ice water at any QSFB location throughout the day.

#4:  Wear a celebration button!  It doesn’t matter what you’re celebrating.  We had many, many magical moments involving free food while wearing our celebration buttons!

Best Park Snacks for Under $5:  These will fill you up!

You’ve followed our advice and eaten your breakfast/lunch/dinner at your apartment before leaving for the park with your friends.  But, after 2-3 hours of walking around, you’re hungry!  What should you do?

It’s snacktime!  Many snacks at the parks are actually quiet filling.  Save the sit down, full service restaurant meals for when your family and friends come for a visit.  (And even then, only go if you can use your CM discount at the location!)

Challenge accepted!  All under $5.

Challenge accepted! All under $5.

Here’s a list of our favorite snacks:

  1. Bakery items.  Every park has a bakery crammed packed with freshly baked pastries, huge cupcakes, muffins, cookies, cronuts, French macaroons…all of it delicious!  Find out where the park bakery is when you get there and stop in when you’re not hungry.  Plan on what you want to buy when you return hungry.
  2. QSFB cart snacks. Mickey ice cream bars, popcorn, huge Mickey pretzels, funnel cakes, churros and more.  Yes, please!  All under $5.
  3. Confectionary shops. Huge freshly dipped caramel apples, cotton candy, chocolate dipped marshmallows on a stick, bags of caramel popcorn.
  4. Dole Whip. Have some by itself or as a float with pineapple juice.
  5. Starbucks has locations in all the parks and two at Downtown Disney.  Iced coffees, hot coffee drinks, hot cocoa, pastries, snacks.  All of it good!

 Our recommended snacking locations:

MK: Main Street Confectionery, Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, Big Top Treats, Aloha Isle, Sunshine Tree Terrace, Cheshire Café, The Friar’s Nook, Storybook Treats

Epcot: Fountain View, Refreshment Port, Karamell-Küche (Germany), L’Artisan des Glaces (France), American Adventure pavilion

DHS: ABC Commissary, Dinosaur Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction

DAK:  Pizzafari, Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery, Tamu Tamu Refreshments, Anandapur Ice Cream, Anandapur Café, Trilo-Bites

DTD: Earl of Sandwich, Ghirardelli Soda Fountain, Wetzel’s Pretzels, Candy Cauldron, Goofy’s Candy Co. Glaciers (free samples!)

We love WDW cotton candy!

We love WDW cotton candy!  Under $5.  ❤


Delicious!  Dipped pretzels for under $5.

Olaf marshmallow on a straw is very popular with the kids!

Dipped marshmallows and little cakes, under $4.

Not sure what this is exactly...

Not sure what this is exactly…$4

Frosted sugar cookies.

Frosted rice krispies cookies, $2.

Cronut and cup of water, under $5

Cronut and cup of water, under $5

Free drinks!

Free soda drinks at the Fountain in Epcot!  Try them all!

Caramel apples. They will slice these for free for easier eating.

Caramel apples. They will slice these for free for easier eating. Enough for 2 people.  $6

Dipped snacks.

Dipped snacks. Under $5

Cake cake at DHS.

Carrot cake at DHS. $5

Freshly made caramel popcorn, $4

Freshly made caramel popcorn, $4

Macaron in France.

Macaron in France.


Yum…Coca-Cola icy! Free samples at Goofy’s Glaciers in DTD…try all 8 flavors!


Everything is between $3-$6.


< $5 snacks


Freshly dipped caramel apples, $6

Sweet Mickey treats, $3

Sweet Mickey treats, $3


At our book launch in Boulder, Colorado.

At our book launch in Boulder, Colorado.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.


Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.


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