Have a Disney Parks trip planned (or planning to be planned) and wondering just how you're going to make sure you eat everything you want to eat? Allow me to try to help make sure you maximize your Disney treat-eating experience!
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Don't groan at me, this isn't the kind of researching you had to do for term papers or whatever. This is fun, potentially life-changing research. It blows my mind when people go to the parks with absolutely no plan, partly because the planning and anticipating part is so much fun!
I always start with the Disney Parks blog, especially if there is a special event going on (like PixarFest or around holidays). You'll be able to find a post with at least the highlights, if not a comprehensive list.
For some of you, that may be enough. But for me, it's just the beginning, as I will then embark on a journey down the rabbit hole known as social media. It's time for my favorite hobby: searching hashtags and locations on Instagram. Seriously. This is how I find a lot of the best stuff, and also discover awesome accounts to follow. Search by location (under "places" in the search tab- you can find the park itself or sometimes even specific locations inside the park), or type in potential hashtags. For example, when I was looking for PixarFest goodies, I was all over that #pixarfest hashtag on Instagram, as well as #pixarpier after that area opened. Check out #disneyland (or whichever park you're headed to), #disneyfood, #disneyeats, and hashtag hop your way through any random combination/synonyms of disney and food! Click on the "recent" tab to make sure you're seeing the newest pics.
Bonus tip: there's an Instagram "save" feature that will help you organize your research! When you find a photo that catches your eye, just tap the little bookmark icon on the bottom right of the image. Then to see your saved photos, head to your profile page, then go to the menu bar on the top right. You can even group these photos into organized collections. Instead of cluttering up my phone photo album with screenshots, I've been saving photos in Instagram until closer to my trip. Then, I'll take screenshots right before I go so I have them super handy and all in a row when I hit the park!
2. PRIORITIZE. Your research should lead to prioritization. This is especially true if you want a meal at one of the more popular restaurants. If your traveling dates are flexible, check out meal reservations first, and plan around that to avoid disappointment later- you don't need to already have park tickets to make dining reservations, and there will be time to cancel. Then, you can plan your other meals/snacking sessions around your special meal. Also: if you're hitting the parks during a special event, make sure you prioritize the limited-time offerings over park mainstays!
3. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN TAKE HOME. Yes- you can bring the experience home with you! For example: I always bring a caramel apple (or two) home with me. Maybe a cake pop too. You can ask them to pack your apple in a plastic box that helps protect it for the journey home. It might set off the alarm at airport security (it looks like an unidentified organic mass, I guess?), so be ready for that, but no big deal. If you want to take home something else less automatically transportable- like maybe a churro or beignet?- you could always plan ahead and bring your own plastic baggies or containers too.
4. DON'T GO ALONE. Bring your friends, family, whoever you want. And I'm not having a cheesy "spend as much time as you can with your loved ones" moment here (although side note, that's always good advice), this is completely and selfishly in your own best interest. A lot of the tasty foods - especially the desserts - are HUGE, and maybe you just need a few bites. You want to surround yourself with people who are preferably not on diets and will share your food, so that you can eat MORE food. TL;DR: Having people to share with means more belly room for more treats.
5. BE GUILT FREE. We all deserve to let loose once in a while. Unless you're on a super strict diet because you need to be, don't count calories when you're at the park! Let yourself regain the blissful ignorance of youth when you could eat whatever you wanted without a worry. Or, pick out that one special treat you want the most, and enjoy the heck out of it. Plus you will put in SO MANY STEPS walking around everywhere!! Having said that, this is where tips #3 and especially #4 come in handy too- spread those calories out among other days or other people!
Also... I will say that I like to put in a lot of extra gym time in the days preceding my Disney trip. Not so much to burn extra calories in preparation (although, not a bad idea), but so that I will be EXTRA HUNGRY when I'm there and able to eat that much more.
6. BE PREPARED TO HAVE FUN! These tips apply to more than just the food too- please make sure you put in some researching time before any parks trip! Prioritize the rides you MUST go on, be aware of any attractions that might be closed for refurbishment, realize that some items are only available in certain parks, and know when special events are beginning and ending- put in some planning time to avoid any major disappointment.
Unless you're a passholder and can just pop in and out of the parks whenever you please. Then... I expect you're living your best life. Why did you even read this?
Hope my tips help you plan for your next trip!! Let me know how it goes!