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Great tips. I've traveled to Disney World twice with 15 other family members, and once to Disney when my children were young, back in the 80's; also, I live near Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington and have season passes every year; both of these parks will GIVE you a plastic cup of ice and water for FREE. I'm 54 and have been going to Six Flags since I was 9 years old and I've always done this.
At Disney, just go into a restaurant, get in line and order as many glasses of water to go as you need, no problem. Then at the walk up stands that sell drinks with ice, do the same thing, they happily give it to you.
We take those instant oatmeal bowls, heat water in the coffee maker and bam, you have individual bowls of oatmeal for breakfast or a snack; really filling. Poptarts, individual bottles of juice, instant dry milk that you reconstitute in the hotel. We had so much food to eat at the hotel including cookies and candy, that the kids really couldn't feel bad at the parks because you didn't purchase things for them at the parks.
Do A LOT of research on the Internet before you go and you will find tons of great tips from others that have gone before you.
Like you we went to the parks early and went back to the room for lunch, a nap and then pool time and dinner before we went back to the park. It worked out great for us.
Long before you go to Disney or another Amusement Park, visit all of the local thrift stores, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. and look for theme park drink cups there; I've paid 10 to 50 cents each for these. None of the Disney Parks will refill them with soda, but you can pour the free ice water into them and your kids would love that. At the Six Flags in Arlington, TX, they will refill any Six Flags amusement park theme bottle with soda for the refill price, no matter what year the bottle came from. They will not refill bottles that came from Disney, Sea World, etc. but, we've taken them into the park empty without any problem, then we just have the park employee refill the Six Flags cup and we immediately pour the soda into the other bottle and the employee just continues to refill the Six Flags cup until we have we want.
Having a fanny pack that you can hang the empty cups from is great, you can purchase "hooks" in the sporting goods department at Walmart.
I have food allergies, so even when I am not traveling, I must be careful with what I eat. I like to take some food with me, because I may not be able to find anything I can eat in an airport or bus station.
Every summer we make a 1000 mile (one way) drive back home to visit family. I always end up doing last minute shopping and spending too much money to buy snacks for travel, until this year!
Stay in a suite and you will be able to make meals and save money on restaurants. By Denise Mower
I've really found that it's better to buy any sandwiches or snacks you might want to eat on the plane, on the way to the airport, if you don't make them at home. It's easier on your wallet than to purchase them in the airport restaurants or vendors.
We vacation in a cottage. I try to conserve on space when packing things into our compact car. Also, we try to be frugal by bringing from home as much as we can to save on grocery shopping. Prices are too high in vacation areas.