Eating at Disneyland Paris pt. 3

This will, probably, be the last blog post about eating at Disneyland Paris and will contain miscellaneous information and general tips and tricks for your journey, such as advice about food allergies, how food works at Davy Crockett Range and character dining.

General tips and tricks

  • Disneyland Paris does allow their guests to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages with them to the park, but what they don’t allow is those large cooler bags where you store food in. You may bring food in your backpack and have a picnic for lunch inside the park, as long as it’s not in a large group, so my advice would be to have a picnic just outside the main entrance or by the lake in the Disney Village. Find yourself a spot on a bench and eat away, and remember to throw away the rubbish in the bins once you’re done.
  • If money is tight on food, there’s a McDonald’s in the Disney Village, along with a Vapiano and a Five Guys, where you’ll able to spend less money for more food than you would inside the park. Generally, the restaurants, even the Disney ones, outside of the park, are a bit better priced than the ones inside. The portions are also a bit larger and filling too.
  • There are no supermarkets within walking distance of Disneyland Paris, it’s a train station away, and the ones that are close are accessible by car. This is rather unfortunate, since a supermarket could really help you keep your food costs down. But then again, it would be a shame not to try some of the food at the parks, since it’s pretty tasty – but really pricy.
  • France has a law against refillable drinks, so you can’t get unlimited cups at restaurants, the only exception, for some reason, being Five Guys at Disneyland Paris. The price is slightly higher for sodas at their restaurants to compensate for that and their menu board clearly states that refills are included in the price.
  • Breakfast isn’t included in the price as a standard on regular rooms, but they are include when you book superior rooms or suites.

Saving at the restaurants

  • When you’re at a table service restaurant – ask for a set menu to save money. The general rule is that a set menu will be a bit cheaper than buying each dish separately. Restaurants will usually have a set children’s menu too, as well as adult menus.
  • At fast food restaurants it’s best to get a menu too, for the same reason as above – it’s on the whole cheaper to get a menu consisting of a main, side and a drink, like a hamburger, side salad or French fries, and a soft drink.
  • Go out from the park and eat lunch or dinner at McDonald’s – which is your cheapest option and they do have a couple of vegetarian alternatives too.
  • At counter service restaurants, or even at table service places, sharing a plate or two of French fries amongst yourselves is a great way to save money, especially if you’re a family with young children who might not eat a full portion of French fries by themselves. Sharing two sides instead of purchasing 5, one for each member of your group/family, will save you about 10€. Even if you get three sides, you’ll still save a bit of money.

Davy Crockett Range

Davy Crockett Range is a bit special as a hotel, it’s not even a hotel – it’s a series of cabins. The way they offer food is also a bit different. Davy Crockett don’t have a breakfast restaurant, instead you’ll receive your breakfast in a basket and you’re expected to cook it yourself at the cabin you’ve booked. Naturally the cabins are equipped with a kitchens and cooking it depends on your skills. Dinner can’t be eaten at their tavern either at the moment, since they’re renovating it. From 8.1 2018 to 31.7 2018 their tavern will be refurbished and not available to the guests, but they do offer alternatives for dinner.

Character dining

Character dining at all the Disneylands and Disney Worlds is one of the most popular forms of dining and the restaurants that offer it books up faster than lightning. Character dining is a meal, either breakfast, lunch or dinner, where you’ll eat your meal and is visited by various Disney characters during the meal, who cruises from table to table to interact with the diners and allow them to have their picture taken with them, or get an autograph.

A few of the hotels serves breakfast where Disney characters and princesses will attend, all of them are official hotels: Disneyland Hotel (5*) and Hotel New York (4*) are two examples. Drop your hotel a phone call, or check the Disneyland Paris website, to see what hotels offers character breakfasts. The breakfasts can be booked up to three (3) days before your arrival, so put in a reminder in your calendar or on your phone to get in on this meal, if you’re interested. For lunch meet and greets with princesses, Auberge de Cendrillon is the place you want to book a table at. They serve fine French cuisine and is well worth a visit! For a random mix of Disney characters at lunch time it’s the Disneyland Hotel, which overlays the main entrance, that’s the place for you. When you want to meet Disney characters for dinner, instead of lunch, you’re going to find them at Mickey’s Café. Mickey’s Café has a nice Italian menu and is a table service restaurant, unlike the lunch at the Disneyland Hotel which is a buffet with dishes from all over the world.

Character dining is primarily aimed at children, but adults attending without children are most welcome too. I’ve been to the character dining at Mickey’s Café and I thought it was nice, plus the cast members appeared to be used to adult Disney fans. They’ve seen it, so don’t feel ashamed or too old to choose this as an option for one off your meals, it’s perfectly okay! See it as a fun meal that’s part of your overall Disney experience and go with the flow. Remember that this option costs a bit more than a regular meal, unless you’re on the Premium meal plan – then it’s included in the price. You do need to be early to book this, again to avoid disappointment at the park. Call the Restaurant Reservations on +33 1 60 30 40 50 to make your booking. Should you forget it and not remember it until you’re actually already at the park, head over to your concierge or receptionist as soon as possible to assure a chance of snagging a table for yourself and your family and/or friends.

Now you, hopefully, know a bit more about how dining at Disneyland Paris works and what your alternatives are. Sometime in the future I’m going to write a post where I introduce all the restaurants and fast food places and tell a bit more about what they serve and what their prices are.

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Oven baked Pastrami Sandwiches

Baked sandwiches are amongst my favourite types of foods, hands down! The simpler ones require hardly any prepping and are filling on their own, or with a salad. When it comes to toppings, the combinations are almost endless – it’s so easy to make sandwiches for every taste and these are very cheap and budget friendly. I chose pastrami as my protein but you can naturally use ham, turkey, a selection of veggies or any plant based food you like.

Ingredients

4 slices of toast

Butter

4 slices of pastrami

Grated cheese

Mustard

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 225 Celsius
  2. Place the slices of toast on a baking tray
  3. Butter the toasts on the side that you’re putting the filling
  4. Put the slices of pastrami on the toasts
  5. Drizzle mustard over the sandwiches
  6. Top them with grated cheese
  7. Place the baking tray in the oven and cook until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown.
  8. Enjoy!

Tikka Masala

This might not be the original version of tikka masala, but it’s a good one – one that I make every time I make tikka masala. If carrots and chickpeas aren’t cheap when you want to make it, feel free to add other vegetables – for example peas, cabbage, bell peppers etc.

Ingredients:

500gr chicken fillets

1 onion

1 can of chickpeas

1 carrot

3 cloves of garlic

1 can of coconut milk

5dl cream (1 pint/2cups)

2 cubes of chicken stock

1-2 packs of Tikka Masala spice pouches

Paprika powder, salt and turmeric

Butter to fry in

½dcl tomato purée

2tbsp soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Grate the carrot, chop the onion finely and press the garlic cloves
  2. Chop the chicken fillets to cubes
  3. Empty the can of chickpeas in a strainer and rinse them with cold water to get rid of the salt water
  4. Heat up a large frying pan or a cast iron skillet and fry all the vegetables, except the chickpeas until they’re brown
  5. Add the chicken and let it get some color too, but it doesn’t have to ready in the center
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix it well.
  7. Let it simmer for at least 10 minutes. Put in salt, paprika powder and turmeric to taste.

Curry sauce recipe

This is a basic, tasty recipe that I use all the time for different chicken dishes. It makes a lot of sauce, but you can easily freeze the sauce in small containers and use later. To make the sauce even tastier – put in the chicken fat that comes off the chicken, if you grill it in the oven. It really adds flavour!

To make this recipe vegan: use vegan butter, vegan milk and vegetable stock instead! (for vegetarian, use vegetable stock)

To make it gluten free: use corn starch instead of thickening/flour.

 

Ingredients:

3-4tbsp curry powder

2-3tsp turmeric

2 cubes of chicken stock

1 litre of cream

2tsp paprika powder

3tbsp butter

3tbsp flour

Salt, pepper

 

Instructions:

  1. Mix the curry powder, turmeric and the paprika powder together in a small glass or a little bowl.
  2. Melt the butter in a sauce pan and whisk in the flour. Make sure there are no lumps, it should be smooth.
  3. Whisk in the stock cubes and the spices in to the mix.
  4. Add the cream little by little and let the sauce thicken a bit before adding more.
  5. Season with salt & pepper, if you want.
  6. Let it simmer on low heat for a few minutes and make sure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Cheap ways to entertain yourself PART 1

When you’re like me and don’t have much money in the bank, it’s difficult to find things to do outside the house or apartment. This is why I’m always trying to find different & new, free if possible, attractions and amusements. Things that’ll get me outside instead of just sitting inside the house all day on my bum and be lazy. This is part one, and there will be more parts as I find things that you can do, and please leave a comment if you have tips and suggestions for me!

  • Check the posters at your library for concerts, lectures, art shows etc that are cheap or even better – free!
  • Sometimes your local food market/shop has special events to celebrate a new opening, a holiday or the chain’s birthday! When they do, there’s usually free food, happenings, deals and things for kids to do. Be sure to take full adtof this and make it a half or whole day’s outing. There are ofte good discounts on these days!
  • Many libraries have CDs and films of different sorts, go and see if they have anything good and check them out! 
  • Learn a new craft or get a new hobby by borrowing a few books from the library – why not teach yourself how to mend you own clothes or learn a new language?
  • Get an allotment close by and start growing things!
  • Once again, check at your library what kinds of local societies and clubs there are in your town or village. See if anything takes your fancy and join it.
  • Join a study circle, or start one yourself if you can’t find what you’re looking for. Chances are that you’ll get a full group very fast as other people have looked for the same kind of group, but have been too lazy to start a study circle about the subject. Why not start a circle about self-sufficiency or a group where you can trade coupons with others?
  • Go to flea markets and check them out – it doesn’t cost you anything unless you buy something.
  • If you live close to the sea, pack a pick nick basket and go down to the beach for a day of sun, sand and swimming in the ocean.
  • A lot of museums are free, almost free or have one day each week/month that’s admission free. Use this and pack a lunch box if it’s a bit far away.
  • Host a Dutch-treat at your house for your friends or family. Cheap and a great way to meet up and is even more fun if you pick a theme for it.
  • Download a film or documentary and watch it.
  • Go to local markets and traveling carnivals. 

As I said, this is part 1 and remember to leave a comment with suggestions of things you can do on a budget or upcoming topics that you’d like to see!

UPDATE: Emergency Travel Kit 2

I’ve totally forgotten that I’ve updated my Emergency Kit for my travels and so I’m going to share this update with you. Perhaps you already have these things in your travel kit and if you don’t then I hope you can have some use of my idea. Remember that this is only one way to do this and is only supposed to give you guys a general idea of how you can do it. The possibilities are endless when it comes to putting together an Emergency Travel Kit and should always be varied depending on your needs, the length of your travel, ways of travel & wallet. The only wrong thing to do is NOT bringing a kit with you or not putting any thought behind putting it together – and therefore missing vital things when you open it!

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This kit is basic food kit that I always bring with me and it contains:

  • A couple of packs of ketchup, mustard & mayonnaise.
  • Small packs of salt & pepper (not in the picture)
  • A pack or two of wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger. I absolutely LOVE sushi and so I always have these things. Plus they’re good on a salad if you haven’t bought a dressing.
  • Dark chocolate or a bar of candy, just in case I need something to eat while I wait. Sometimes I bring fruit too or a homemade sandwich,
  • Plastic cutlery and/or chop sticks. Usually I bring chop sticks if I’m flying on a plane, since the security officers often take the plastic cutlery away for security reasons.

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Where do I get all the stuff from and how much does it cost me, you might wonder. Well, most of the things I bring with me are free or near to free. The condiments (ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper etc) are always free – you simply take them from your local McDonalds, Burger King or whatever other fast food place that have them for free. I just take a few extra with me to the table when I’ve ordered and then just put the extra stuff in a ziplock bag, which I then store in my backpack. I always keep them in the fridge just in case.

The wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce packs were bought at the chain Wasabi, a chain that sell prepacked sushi, for a few pennies per pack. They last a long time, but be sure to check their expiration date anyway.

The snacks are often the most expensive parts of my food kit, but I always try using coupons and deals to make them as cheap as possible. Dark chocolate is good, raisins, a couple of candy bars, dried fruits, fresh fruits, popcorn etc. I never bring nuts since there are so many that are allergic to them. Remember that there are nuts in Snickers! Snacks are important to keep your energy levels up and if you have an unexpected layover or a long delay – your mood will go down if you’re hungry.

2 half liter bottles of water. It’s very important to stay hydrated on a trip, which is why I bring two bottles of water with me on every trip. If you go an airport, remember to empty them BEFORE the security check or they will be confiscated, and new bottles are expensive. Besides, most airports today have water stations just past the security where you can refill your bottles.

Chop sticks are vital to me, and should be to you. I’ve often been in the situation where I arrive late at night, or on a Sunday, only to find that there are only fast food restaurants, a supermarket or a sushi place open. I go there and buy my food, go back to the hotel room… only to find that I’ve forgotten about cutlery and have nothing to eat with, except for my hands. Not fun. Which is why I always bring chop sticks and since I always forget about utensils, I’ve perfected the craft of eating everything (and boy do I mean EVERYTHING) with a pair of chop sticks.

 

I hope this post will help you prepare for your next trip and that, if an emergency should arise, you’re as ready as you can be!

How to save on holiday foods!

What you serve at your Christmas dinner depends on where you live, as well as when you celebrate it – on the 24th or the 25th of December. You might nog even celebrate Christmas, you might have Chanukka or some other holiday. But there will be food and it can often cost a lot of money to buy. How many of us doesn’t curse at the expenses of food during regular weeks? Imagine the costs during a major holiday. If you want to save, like I do, or can’t really afford the food – but still want to give your family a nice meal – then planning, coupons and the weekly ad will take you a long way. I’m going to give some general tips and then post some links to coupon sites.

I’m using Christmas as an example since I celebrate it, but the tips and tricks can be applied to any holiday.

 

Tips:

  • Like when you’re buying the holiday gifts, planning is everything. If you haven’t planned anything then you’re going to end up overspending, miscalculating dishes for the amount of people present, multiple and unnecessary trips to the shops.
  • Start planning any dinners/lunches where your extended family will attend at least 3-4 weeks in advance. Plan what dishes you will be serving, what the ingredients are and how much you need to make of each dish.
  • Remember to plan for the side dishes, condiments, snacks, sweets and drinks! It’s easy to remember mustard when you sit there at the dinner table and want some.
  • Lists are everything! Make lists of what you need to buy and group the ingredients after what type of food they are, for example:
    • Fruits
    • Vegetables
    • Condiments
    • Baking goods
    • Meats
  • When you make the lists, make sure to separate them buy shop chain as well! Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, Walmart, ICA, COOP, you name it!
  • Will anyone be staying be staying with you, other than your closest family (spouse and children)? They need food too!
  • Will it be a buffet, formal dinner or a regular meal? Each have their own advantage, but I’d recommend some type of buffet.
  • If you choose to have a buffet, first decide on what dishes you’re going to be serving or assign a dish to each guest (if you’re having them). If guests are bringing some of the dishes, you all save on food!
  • Shops usually start marketing their Christmas food at least 6 weeks before Christmas. Take advantage of this and start buying what you know you need. Some things we always have at Christmas, every single year, so why not buy them now and tick them off your list?
  • Always check the weekly ads in the shops closest to you! More often or not they have one or two Christmas foods on sale every week leading up to Christmas, make sure you buy them and always buy the full allowance. For example: you have a baked ham on your Christmas table and one week your shop allows you to buy 2 good sized hams for 10€. It’s one purchase per household. Buy those two hams, even if you know that you’ll only eat one. You can cook the other one too and have dinners and lunches for a rather long time after, if you freeze it.
  • Remember that manufacturers often put out a lot of coupons for their products during the holidays, since they want you to buy their products. Take a few coupons and save them. You should of course use some of them for the items that you need at the moment, if it gives you a good price, but after Christmas the shops often drops their prices to make room for new products. That means that you can score some incredible deals, and even freebies or money makers, if you took a couple of extra coupons when there were some.
  • If your shop allows overage – use it to buy the things that you can’t get coupons for
  • READ YOUR WEEKLY ADS LIKE IT’S THE BIBLE, PEOPLE!
  • Take a couple of hours to surf around for coupons and discounts and print as many coupons as you’re allowed.
  • Your shops usually have some kind of loyalty card. Make sure to sign up for that. That way you get instore coupons, deals and rebates. The instore coupons can be combined with a manufacturer’s coupon and make a product free, close to free or a money maker.

 

Links:

Coupons.com (US): https://www.coupons.com/

Grocery Coupon Network (US): https://www.grocerycouponnetwork.com/

Be frugal (US): http://www.befrugal.com/printable/restaurant/

Retail me not (US): https://www.retailmenot.com/coupons/fastfood

Coupon Mama (UK): https://couponmamauk.co.uk/

Money Saving Experts (UK): http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/supermarket-coupons

Extreme Couponing (UK): http://www.extremecouponing.co.uk/

Extreme Couponing & Deals (UK): https://excoupuk.com/

Super Savvy me (UK): https://www.supersavvyme.co.uk/offers/coupon

Hot UK deals (UK): http://www.hotukdeals.com/groceries

Hip2Save (US): http://hip2save.com/

Southern Savers (US): http://www.southernsavers.com/