Many Disney employees say they bring their own lunch to work — but there are 7 park treats they just can't resist

Disney World Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich

  • Walt Disney World dining can be pretty costly.
  • That’s what a number of former Walt Disney World cast members told Business Insider, when asked what their favorite park food was.
  • Meals purchased in the Orlando theme park were more of an occasional treat for cast members, rather than a daily ritual.
  • Still, a number of cast members who previously worked through the Disney College Program, had fond memories of their favorite park order, from frozen treats to French cuisine.

Walt Disney World’s dining options don’t have a reputation for being cheap.

John Quagliano, a former cast member who worked in the Magic Kingdom, told Business Insider that he steered clear of eating in the park for this reason.

A former participant in the Disney College Program, he began working at the park as a recent college grad who was considering graduate school. Spluring on food wasn’t an option for him. He added that park guests should follow his example if they want to “save a crap ton of money.”

“You can bring in your own food and snacks,” Quagliano told Business Insider. “Most people don’t realize that and, of course, the company doesn’t advertise it. But you can physically bring in an entire cooler full of snacks, water, whatever you want, and not only can you bring it into the park, you can ask the company to store it for you. They’ll take it, tag it, and store it in the back.”

Quagliano has seen this firsthand. He worked on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom near a storage area where cast members would store guests’ items.

“We’d be like, ‘You know, we’ll do you a favor. We’ll put it in the back and store it,'” Quagliano said. “They’d seem to think we were doing them some big favor. In reality, we’re just doing what the company lets us do.”

Business Insider asked a number of cast members who previously participated in the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World to share their favorite park foods with us. A number of their responses reflected Quagliano’s comments on the cost of food. But they still had fond memories of certain park treats and meals.

Here’s a look at their favorite treats:

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Mickey pretzels

“I always loved the Mickey pretzels,” Devin Melendy, a former cast member who wrote “Devin Earns Her Ears: My Secret Walt Disney World Cast Member Diary,” told Business Insider. “I love hot pretzels, and the Mickey ones were always huge!”

Mickey pretzels are sold all around the parks, at stops like Anaheim Produce in Hollywood Studios, Liberty Square Market in Magic Kingdom, BoardWalk Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas in Epcot, and Harambe Fruit Market in Animal Kingdom.

A Mickey pretzel with cheese goes for $5.69 at the park.

Melendy said that for the most part, she didn’t eat in the parks. She noted that some local restaurants around Walt Disney World gave cast member ID card-carrying patrons a discount on meals.

The Citrus Swirl

Quagliano said he only bought food in Walt Disney World twice.

“I really didn’t eat out a lot,” he said. “I made my own food because it’s way less expensive.”

In his experience, most of his friends in the program did the same.

“You know, a hot dog’s 10 bucks,” he said. At Casey’s Corner in the Magic Kingdom, hot dog prices range from $8.49 for a “corn dog nuggets meal” to the $12.49 “foot long all-beef Cuban hot diggity dog.”

But Quagliano said he was impressed with “The Citrus Swirl” ice cream — which has since been replaced by “The Orange Swirl,” a frozen order with slightly different ingredients.

“It was good,” Quagliano said. “But it was five bucks so, yeah, that was a one-time deal.”

According to the Disney Food Blog, the Orange Swirl’s pre-tax price is $4.29.

Anything from Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café

Jake Kleckner, a former Disney World cast member who worked in Frontierland, told Business Insider that most cast members’ lunch breaks weren’t long enough to allow frequent trips to park restaurants.

“We don’t really have enough time to get out of our costume, run up into the park, get something to eat, and eat it,” he told Business Insider. Those task would take an hour, he estimated. “We only have a half hour,” he said.

Still, he said that “experiencing new restaurants” and “new food” at Disney was one of his favorite activities.

“A lot of my financial irresponsibility was due to me wanting to eat all the different food at Disney,” he said. “I was always the one being like, ‘Hey guys, let’s make a reservation for this restaurant at this time.’ And people would be like ‘Why?’ And I’d be like, ‘Because I want to go. Let’s just go eat something cool.'”

“I would also be the first one to get in line at Casey’s for a foot long hot dog. Those are the ones that are so expensive,” Kleckner said.

When it comes to his absolute favorite park chow, Kleckner called himself a “big softie” for choosing a Frontierland staple: Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café.

Entrees at the Old West-style saloon range from a veggie rice bowl for $9.99 to a fajita platter for $14.99.

“If someone told me, ‘You can only eat at one restaurant at Disney for the rest of forever,’ I would say, ‘Okay. Pecos Bill it is, I guess,'” Kleckner said. “I love being in there, eating the Tex-Mex food, and being in Frontierland. I am such a nerd for Frontierland now.”

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: FS – All – Entertainment – News
Many Disney employees say they bring their own lunch to work — but there are 7 park treats they just can't resist