How to Enjoy the Disney World Experience for Free

I asked my daughter if she was enjoying her Disney World vacation as we inched forward in line.  “Dad,” she groaned, “We’re in Safeway.”  “A line’s a line,” I replied, “and they say getting there’s half the fun.”

Enjoying a Disney vacation from the comfort and convenience of your local grocery store doesn’t “technically” allow you to experience a ride at the end of the line, but it’s many other advantages greatly outweigh this minor difference.

Let’s start with cost.  A one day pass to the Magic Kingdom is $126.74 for an adult and $120.35 for a child.  A one day pass to Safeway World is the danger of accidentally buying a quart of Chunky Monkey ice cream and then accidentally falling head-first into it and scarfing down the whole thing down.

Parking at Disney World costs $22 if you want to park in their lot conveniently located one town over, or $45 dollars if you want to park close enough to visit the park that day.  Parking at Safeway World remains complementary, but as they are now requiring us to scan and bag our own items, please enjoy the free parking while it lasts.

A 16 ounce Coke at Safeway World is $1.89.  A small drink at Disney World is half your 401K.  (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that included in the $126.74 is the privilege, as an official Magic Kingdom “guest,” of leveraging your home equity toward the purchase of a mildly warm soft pretzel. On the up side, they throw in the mustard packets for free – Hey, Disney Executives aren’t animals!

Safeway World offers many other advantages –

It’s temperature controlled.

It’s just down the street from your house.

Every once in a while someone is handing out free cheese samples.  (Try finding that at Disney World.)

In complete fairness, I must admit that Disney World and Safeway World tie in the screaming baby department.  But Disney wins hands down in the disappointed seven-year-old’s, “I’ve been waiting all year for this, and it’s not the overwhelmingly joyful experience I imagined,” category.

I’m sure some of you vacation “purists” will nitpick the differences between Disney World and Safeway World, but I urge the rest of you to seriously consider taking your family to Safeway World this summer instead of the Magic Kingdom.  If the kids complain, offer to park half a mile away from the store to make it feel more like an authentic Disney experience.


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