Filling meals and snacks for Disneyland trip
July 31, 2015 1:00 PM   Subscribe

I'm making my annual solitary pilgrimage to Disneyland/California Adventure for 3 days in August. It's summer, and their diamond celebration is going on, so I anticipate mad crowds. I'd like to avoid eating in the park as much as possible. So what can I eat to keep me full (meals and snacks)?

I'm making my annual solitary pilgrimage to Disneyland/California Adventure for 3 days in August. It's summer, and their diamond celebration is going on, so I anticipate mad crowds. I'd like to avoid eating in the park as much as possible.

Best scenario would be not needing to eat during the day, i.e. eat breakfast at the hotel then dinner after I'm done at the park, probably late at night. Leaving the park takes precious time that I want to use for rides/parades/fun stuff. So what can I eat to keep me full (meals and snacks)?

Cooking is limited to a microwave and hotel-sized fridge. Nutrition and price are not important. Sports/protein drinks and bars suggestions are ok. I will be carrying a large-ish tote bag, but don't want to weigh myself down too much. Restaurants/fast food are ok too.

Bonus question: Best times to go to Harbor Blvd and eat (just in case).

Thank you very much!
posted by glass.hourousha to Travel & Transportation around Anaheim, CA (21 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I'm always amazed at how satisfying dates are as a snack. They're extremely sweet, so you get the immediate sugar payoff, and they've also got a ton of fiber so they make you feel full for a nice long time. Make sure you get good, whole dates (the ugly ones usually sold in plastic tubs in the produce section) and not the POS packets of dessicated date bits they have in the raisin aisle.
posted by phunniemee at 1:11 PM on July 31, 2015 [5 favorites]

Nuts/protein bars?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:11 PM on July 31, 2015

I like Clif's Builder Bars, especially the chocolate peanut butter and crunchy peanut butter ones. They are extremely filling and compact, and they taste good. One can keep me full for 6+ hours!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:12 PM on July 31, 2015

FWIW, and you may already know this, but Big Thunder Ranch BBQ is all-you-can-eat. People I know have gone for lunch ($24), and squirreled away ribs, or chicken breasts with each refill of your plate and used their take-homes for the rest of their trip.
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:13 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

Granola! Granola granola granola. The kind with nuts (protein!) and dried fruit (sugar rush!)
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:14 PM on July 31, 2015

What works for me for these kinds of days is breakfast consists of very few carbs and lots of protein - so eggs and yogurt and meat and cheese. If you're going to cook in a hotel you can make scrambled eggs in the microwave I've heard, and get refrigerated ham.

Then I snack nonstop during the day - every hour I eat carbs or nuts or jerky or dried fruit or chocolate or ice cream if it's around. Those gopicnic boxes are great for this - shelf stable and pretty tasty.

Dinner is whatever I like, but I try to eat vegetables to make up for having none earlier.
posted by umwhat at 1:20 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ooh, this describes every childhood trip to Disneyland ever. (Well, not the three day part.) Back in the day, there used to be a picnic area with benches and tables just outside the entrance, so we would go fetch our cooler out of the car and eat in what i now gather is the shopping area between the two parks. In later years we got those small portable coolers that fit easily in a backpack and just brought them into the park. It took me a long time to realize that the food in theme parks was actually a thing you could buy.

I would pack like for a hiking trip: summer sausage, hard cheese, crackers or rolls, nuts, dried fruit, carrots, that sort of thing. Anything durable and easy to eat and delicious! Bring water bottles to refill at the water fountains when there aren't lines. (And Lara bars are the best IMO since they are just fruit and nuts.)
posted by puffyn at 1:20 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

These pre-made picnic boxes are reasonably tasty and I think would do you pretty well for lunch depending on your appetite. Or, of course, you could pack two for lunch if you want a larger portion. Plus, they are reasonably sized/lightweight so I don't think they'd make you feel too "weighed down." That along with some non-chocolate trail mix (non-chocolate to avoid any melting) and a big water bottle would world well for me. Maybe dried mango from Trader Joe's - then again I might just be obsessed with their dried mango! You might like to invest in an insulated water bottle that will keep your water ice cold all day.
posted by rainbowbrite at 1:36 PM on July 31, 2015

I really love Moon Cheese (cheddar) as a hearty snack/meal replacement. High protein, calorie dense, and easily packed in a purse/bag. They sell them at Starbucks now, though you can get them cheaper online. They're my go-to snack if I'm not going to have an opportunity to have a meal or need something sturdy. Bonus: good energy and no sugar crash.
posted by quince at 1:49 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

I carry individual packs of nuts like these when we're going places. Lightweight & reasonably filling. Aldi and Costco often have good deals on similar products.
posted by belladonna at 2:18 PM on July 31, 2015

I read something recently about the techification of either Disneyland or Disney World (or both) that suggested they are doing something where you do something like texting them your food order so you don't have to stand in line forever.

When I go to fun places with pricey food (like an SFF con), I usually pack in peanut butter sandwiches, or PB on graham crackers. Also, I personally love trail mix. (And another vote for Tr. Joe's dried mango, esp. the non-sugared up version.)
posted by puddledork at 2:36 PM on July 31, 2015

Actual peanut butter makes a light snack way more durable for me. The Jif To Go single-serve packs are perfect for this kind of trip. Carry an apple and some triscuits and you've got a meal.
posted by workerant at 3:02 PM on July 31, 2015 [4 favorites]

One trick my Scouts always liked for hiking trips - those foil packets of tuna + mayo packets (from a fast food place) + crackers. It can be mixed in the packet... they'd toss in a plastic spoon or fork if they didn't have their spork.

Any kind of trail food like Clif bars, granola, dried fruits... when I took my kids to Disneyland, I had a whole trip's worth of sandwich baggies with gorp with slight variations. If you have a natural foods store nearby, that's easy to do.

Jerky. If you want fruit, ones with their own "packaging" like bananas and oranges are a little sturdier when you haul them around in a bag.

Your mileage will vary, of course, but I suspect that your water bottle will be the most important - keep it full and keep drinking. Heat + running around tends to make a lot of people less hungry anyway... and being too full might make you sleepy, leading to a nap instead of park time. And have fun for me. Wish I was going!
posted by stormyteal at 3:42 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

Along the lines of phunniemee's answer, prunes are also incredibly filling and sweet. They have a bad reputation but they're really delicious and always shut my stomach up when I'm heading out the door and I don't have time to eat properly.

Seconding workerant that adding peanut butter to food stuffs makes it that much more filling: celery, apples, crackers, etc. Excellent way to feel full.

In the end, though, I get terribly cranky when my blood sugar is low, and the Disney crowds and heat don't help any, so if I run out of food I've packed I'll go ahead and give myself permission to splurge on something.

I'd often crave salads after so many days of "treat" food while visiting Disneyland; in that case I would have no qualms about recommending Wendy's or McDonald's for quick, consistently good salads. It's been a few years but ISTR the McDonald's salad was so big I'd usually have some left over for my partner, or we'd take it back to the hotel for later. You control how much dressing to put on, which is nice.

I would also get coked-out and turn to iced tea in mega cups while at fast-food restaurants; sure, you can't take these into the park but iced tea has saved my mental state on more than one hot Disneyland summer. McDonald's and Jack in the Box do *great iced tea* - though I don't eat at Jack in the Box; quick place to decompress and re-hydrate when you're out of the park. If you're on your way back to the hotel, have your fill in the restaurant and then fill 'er up and take the plastic cup back to the hotel - large plastic cup holds more water than those small hotel glasses, and is convenient for keeping on your night-stand.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:08 PM on July 31, 2015

I think Kind bars are perfect for this kind of thing. I like them better than a lot of other bar type of things since they really are basically just fruit and nuts, but I think they're easier to deal with than trail mix, and you get a sugar boost from the sugar. They're on the small side compared to Cliff bars, but they're quite filling, and easy to eat when you're on the go. Plus, lots of choices to choose from!

I would also probably throw an apple in my bag, since they're pretty easy to eat, can tolerate being tossed around, and don't need to be refrigerated. I also feel like they're one of the more filling fruits.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:40 PM on July 31, 2015

Those little hummus and pretzel packs? They need to be refrigerated, but the hummus has a lot of protein and fiber, which can be filling. And the dipping one-by-one means you can't swallow it in one bite, so it feels more like a real snack.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:20 PM on July 31, 2015

If you eat meat: jerky of all sorts. Not necessarily the cheapest 7-Eleven brand, but any kind of hippy-ish jerky you can afford/tolerate. If you go the jerky route, just make sure to drink water, too.

I am usually a huge Clif Bar fan overall, but I will second the Kind Bars -- I find them much less sweet and better overall (although maybe not as much dense). Those GoPicnics work depending on what you're going for -- they're definitely an adequate meal.

Any "snack" mix is good -- if you have a Trader Joes/etc. nearby, it's not hard to make your own. I like cashews/pistachios, dried fruit (cranberries, but other things, yeah), seeds (pumpkin, sunflower), and whatever else (candied ginger/etc.). You can definitely add whatever jerky you like into this mix, too, and it will sustain you.

(You should still definitely eat at least one balanced meal per day, but for a few days, you should be fine.)
posted by darksong at 10:43 PM on July 31, 2015

Boiled eggs are perfect for this. We boil up to a dozen.. they keep for days. Just put a teeny amount of salt in plastic wrap to dip them in. You can even pre-peel them if you're of a mind to. Egg sandwiches are good also.
posted by taff at 1:47 AM on August 1, 2015

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone, for your ideas! This is going to be a great trip! :)
posted by glass.hourousha at 9:42 AM on August 1, 2015

Another vote for protein + fat (eggs, tuna, cheese, PB, etc.). Also, think about packing things that feel like a real meal to you (sandwiches or something that feels hearty). Maybe it's just me, but even snacks that should be filling leave me unsatisfied because I feel like I've "only" been snacking, if that makes any sense.

Many energy bars are some variation on nuts and chocolate, which can get boring (and melty!) but I find Luna Bars are really tasty and come in a variety of flavors.

If you think you might get bored of just water, those little flavored water drops that are everywhere now are a very portable way to jazz up drinking fountain water.
posted by mouse noises at 7:01 PM on August 2, 2015

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