After completing the recently Disneyland Park $40 Dollar a Day Meal Challenge issued by the Enchanted Tiki Talk Podcast, I realized: one does not spend just one day at the Disney resort. So, let’s walk across the esplanade and play the game again at Disney California Adventure!
The rules are the same as before: $40 to spend on meals without going over. I must purchase a SNACK, a COUNTER SERVICE meal, and a TABLE SERVICE meal, which must include a 20% tip. Planning ahead helps me out, as before I have eaten breakfast in my hotel room, and I am carrying a water bottle that can be refilled at the park’s drinking fountains.
When planning a table service meal at Disney, as it is in most restaurants, its important to know that a lunch menu and dinner menu tend to have different prices, along with portion sizes. For today’s challenge, I’m taking advantage of a less expensive lunch menu as I sit in Carthay Circle Restaurant. I’ll be drinking tap water to go with my Ultimate Beef Sandwich, which is an open faced slowly braised beef short ribs topped with sautéed portabella mushrooms, arugula and parmesan cheese. The atmosphere of the Carthay Circle make this $24.00 meal before the gratuity will make the rest of the day a challenge, but is worth it.
With nearly 75% of our meal budget now spent, its fortunate that one of the best counter service meals in Disney California Adventure happens to be one of the cheapest. In Paradise Pier stands Corn Dog Castle, home of the freshly dipped corn dogs. The Original Corn Dog is served with a choice of apple slices or a “small bag of chips” for $6.69 Although there are no calories in Disney, I’ll still select the apple slices to round out my meal, and drink from the water bottle I carried into the park this morning.
On a typical day in DCA, I prefer a ride on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror before heading back to Paradise Pier for the Wonderful World of Color water spectacular show. On the way I’ll stop at a bug’s land Beverage & Ice Cream Cart to purchase my snack, the obligatory Nestlé’s Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar, which has a required “minimum one per visit” in place. My snack will set me back $4.25.
A chocolaty snack, a deep fried meal on a stick, and a luxurious dining experience. The goal budget was $40, and we came in JUST under, at $39.94. After a day at Disneyland and a day at Disney California Adventure, I have ten cents left over in my dining budget, it doesn’t look like a pressed penny is in my future. Maybe after spending a day at Downtown Disney I can make it happen.
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