Leave the Park- Food is expensive in both parks. One option is to go out of the park and walk over to Harbour Blvd where there are a multitude of restaurants. There is a Mimi’s Café down by the Howard Johnson Hotel that is excellent, and you will find McDonalds’, I hop, Denny’s, etc all along this area. There are also inexpensive souvenir shops along this walk way as well.
Downtown Disney® is another good place for food and shopping. They offer 2 hours of free parking, outdoor entertainment, and restaurants such as Tortilla Joe's, Rainforest Cafe, ESPN Zone, and House of Blues, among others.
Goofy's Kitchen®- If your kids love the Disney® characters, this is a must do at the Disneyland Hotel®. Plan ahead for the character dinner/breakfast. Make a couple of reservations (they don't cost a thing) for different times. Then, when the time comes you can go to the one closest to where you end up. A bit spendy but worth it especially with small kids. They supply a "Birthday Bag" which includes a balloon, party hat, souvenir pen, toy maraca and puzzle, plus an individual cupcake for the birthday boy or girl. Reservations line - (714) 781-DINE.
Ariel's Grotto® might be the must-do restaurant if you have a budding princess in your family. This brand new restaurant has the princess characters up close and personal and is located inside California Adventure®. Reservations are very difficult to get and are taken MONTHS ahead of time, so plan accordingly (714) 781-DINE.
Picnic areas- There are off-the-beaten-path picnic areas to eat sack lunches, no crowds there (Tom Sawyer's Island at Pirate's Lair is great). We often eat our packed-in food while waiting in lines. If your family likes pizza, I recommend cooking pizzas the night before and wrapping it in foil and packing it into the park the next day. It keeps well until lunch and it is nice to feed the kids while waiting in lines. Some other pack-in friendly foods are applesauce, fruit cups, go-gurts, granola bars, crackers, popcorn, apples, lunchables, juice pouches, water bottles (lots of water bottles!).
Resaurants- When dining at restaurants in the Parks, eat outside normal meal times to beat the rush. Avoid 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. for lunch and 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. for dinner. Safeway.com or Vons.com will deliver groceries right to your condo kitchen counter. Ask us for details if you need help with this.