Summer can provide a number of pitfalls for the committed dieter, not the least of which is that classic Southern California destination, Disneyland. As someone who’s had an annual pass for years, here are my Top 10 tips and tricks I’ve picked up while exploring the land of that famous mouse.
- Relax just a bit—you’re chalking up activity points! You may not realize it, but you will by the end of the day. Commenters on a popular Disney blog seem to center on 10 miles a day walked at Disneyland, give or take. Other estimates range as high as 12-14 miles a day; it depends on your pace. I think this applies whether you’re visiting one or both parks (Disneyland, or its slightly more grown-up sibling, Disney’s California Adventure, heretofore referred to as DCA. More on that later.) Take a pedometer with you if you’re curious.
- Drink lots of water. The heat and the walking will definitely dehydrate you, and this will help you hit your daily water intake target. In addition, Vitamin Water Zero and even my dear, sweet love Coke Zero are available all over the park.
- One of my favorite zero-point snacks: the GIANT PICKLE. It’s all vegetable and brine; perhaps not the best option if you’re watching your sodium, but it’s yummy, cool and takes a while to get through.
- We all benefit from the trend of healthier food options for kids. Stands selling fresh apples, bananas, pineapple wedges, sliced mangos and more are all over the park. They even have trail mix, which for some reason is inexplicably labeled “Student Food.”
- Generally, an adult-sized meal at Disneyland is very big. I recommend splitting that burrito with a side of rice with one of your park buddies. Also, consider getting the kids meal. They are cheaper, smaller, and usually have a healthy side option.
- If you feel the need for some extra exercise, DCA features the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. Great for kids and adults, it’s a maze of trails, slides and rope bridges on which you can explore and burn a few extra calories.
- Though Disneyland is alcohol-free (unless you can get into Club 33, which is no easy task), DCA offers a few choice adult beverages. Beer is available at a few locations, as well as blended margaritas. But if your want the best bang for your your alcohol and calorie buck, check out the wine options at the Golden Vine Winery. They actually have very good wines and knowledgeable staff who will let you taste before you buy and help you pick things you like. Just remember not to overdo it—keep drinking that water too!
- The Fortune Cookery at DCA serves edamame! Great price for a healthy, yummy snack. This little gem also has rice bowls with your choice of sauce and chicken, beef or tofu—a great vegetarian option and spot to work in a few vegetables.
- Continuing the “more healthy options” trend, many spots offer salads, and multiple kinds at that. For example, Tomorrow Land Terrace (AKA the Pizza Port) near Space Mountain has a number of different salads and other vegetarian options as well.
- I haven’t tried them, but I wonder if the chocolate-covered bananas available all over the parks are at least a slightly better option than, say, the ice cream sandwich.
There you have it—tips for eating well at Disneyland, from a closet Disney dork. Another note—if you are going to splurge on something, I highly recommend the jalepeño cheese-filled soft pretzels. Just sayin’.
One word to the wise: Disneyland doesn’t seem to give out their nutritional information very easily. There are no calorie counts posted in the park, and I neglected to ask someone for this information while I was there. I’ve sent an email, and haven’t heard back yet. I’ll report back if I do get more information! Feel free to leave any additional Disneyland food tips in the comments section.
Originally published on the now-defunct 3 Shrinking Ladies blog.