Money MattersWalt Disney World (FL)

Menu Monday: When It’s Hot, Save Some Dosh at Magic Kingdom

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Water Cup
A perfect example of a “Full Package.” Photo by Kristi Fredericks.

Free Water at Disney World?

Hello, again! I have been thinking for a while about a good subject for my next blog and also what wonders of the English Language we Brits use to spring on you; then this suddenly sprang to mind: I know lots of people like knowing they have got the most out of their trip. Well, here is one way to definitely save some money (our Brit slang is “Dosh”). Florida, as everyone knows, is hot. Sometimes I would say it is a little too hot for Brits who are used to 60°F, not 95°F! The $2.50 price for a bottle of water does seem a lot of dosh (money) each time you need a hydration burst, so I decided to share this tip with you. Some of you probably already know that you can walk up to any counter service restaurant, and they will hand over a cup of ice water (pronounced “war-ter”, not “wah-dar”) upon request, but I have used this tip excessive amounts of times, and I have come to learn the best places for you to go and ask for the water. You might be thinking, “What difference does it make?” I can tell you now that un-filtered water is not exactly what you want for a hydration boost. So I have carefully tried and tasted most ice waters from each counter service at Disney and have concluded that some are better than others. With some orders of ice waters you receive the full package with lids and straws, whereas on some they just give you ice. I know, refreshing, but disappointing. The best part of this is that you do not always have to do it. Yes, exhausted parents, I am talking to you. You can sit quietly while your children fetch you water from the counter service opposite in a perfectly safe environment.

I thought that I should start in my favourite park, Magic Kingdom, which certainly cannot be enjoyed fully without being completely hydrated. Do not just drink water when you feel thirsty – you should always be drinking at regular intervals (I would recommend maybe after each attraction, during the parade, and after you shovel down all those Dole Whips and Mickey Pretzels).

So anyway, let’s get back on track… Because all the parks are so vast, it is not as simple as choosing one counter service from each area. I will also be warning you which ones not to choose. For example, water fountains (which are located near enough everywhere, even where you think they would not be necessary) are really good for refilling already purchased plastic water bottles. However, you must beware of warm water fountains. Even though it sounds really silly that I’m warning you not to drink hot water (logic, huh?), you can often get caught out when refilling a bottle from a water fountain that has been sitting in the sun for literally its whole life. You might be thinking, “Well, warm water is better than no water, surely?” I am sorry, but the answer is no. Hot water is seriously vile, unless it is Twinning’s English Breakfast tea, of course! Basically, my advice to you is to avoid water fountains mostly, unless you can 100% tell that it is practically ice cold. To add to that, water fountains are mostly unfiltered, which is an absolute no no.

Well, that is one item crossed of my rant list. The next one is filtered and un-filtered water. Don’t you just hate un-filtered water?

Golden oak outpost
Howdy! Photo by Erin Foster.

In Magic Kingdom your safest bet is the Golden Oak Outpost, situated near Splash Mountain and outside the back exit to Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe. I often get four ice waters from here just so we can make the most of the seating area (and have a quick rest in the process). You might think this is a bit pointless since there Pecos Bill is close by, but no – this one is child friendly. Parents can sit in the seating area while their young ones (remember, not too young!) queue up and order the required number of waters, one per person. Please remember to ask your child to say, “Can I have four cups of ICE water, please?” because otherwise it will completely confuse them when the cashier asks for $10. I would to tell you what size cups the ice waters come in, but they vary every time depending on who is serving you. Every time, though, it is the full package. That is why I placed Golden Oak Outpost at the top of the list.

It is an excellent idea to have a cup or bottle of water each while watching the parade. This ensures that you do not get too hot sitting in the scorching heat of the Florida sun waiting for you favourite characters during the new Festival of Fantasy Parade with, as usual, a catchy theme tune that you will be singing for two weeks! This is a tricky one because it all depends on where you are planning on viewing the Parade from.

Pecos Bill Tale Tale Inn and Cafe
Inside awaits the crowd of hungry guests! Photo by Len Testa

If in Frontierland, then Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe is the most convenient because you do not actually have to queue through the ordering-and-then-collecting-from-counter process. You can just walk straight up to the counter and politely ask a nearby Cast member for four cups of ice water. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. The only problem you might encounter is that the restaurant may be really busy, but that is not really a big deal, and it shouldn’t stop you just wriggling through the mass of hungry guests to reach the counter. Of course, I would not recommend sending a child to do this errand.

corn dog nuggets and water
Just a quick snack.

If you are stationed in Main Street, U.S.A., then Casey’s Corner is the place you want to get your ice waters from. Oh, and maybe a cheeky side of corn dog nuggets in case you get hungry. What? You should always be prepared! Casey’s can also get rather packed, too. It might be a good idea to split up your group so that some family members stay behind guarding those precious front row parade seats.

In Liberty Square, Sleepy Hollow, located by the footpath down the side of Cinderella Castle and outside the little shop with the lady selling hand decorated umbrellas, is good for a little tasty treat, as well as ice waters. The service here is especially quick.

Cup with no lid
No lid 🙁

Aloha Isle is okay, too, if you are purchasing Dole Whips, but last time I did not receive a lid on my drink, so by the time we had carried it back, I was quite wet. Tomorrowland has quite a few options, just try to avoid The Lunching Pad because it is unfiltered from what I remember, plus and it has really slow service and is busy. Auntie Gravity’s or Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café are good options, but Cosmic Ray’s is noisy, so avoid that one if you have a headache! Last time I visited, it was a really hot day, and there was a food cart called Cool Ship in Tomorrowland that had already prepared trays of ice water (large cups, lids, and straws) that Cast Members just handed over to thirsty guests.

Cool Ship
Cool Ship, where I found an already prepared water station. Photo by Erin Foster.

This was unusual because food carts do not usually do the free ice water, so I wonder if this was just because it was a hot day, or if this is now a “thing.” Any thoughts? Please let me know in the comments.

A family of four, drinking let’s say 5 bottles of water each a day, at $2.50 a time, is $50. Wow. By using this tip you could save nearly half the price of your admission to the parks. Surely that is worth it! Or, if you are looking for even better value, you could pay for everyone in your family to have a TouringPlans subscription. Your choice. I know which one I would want. *hint hint* *wink wink* *nudge nudge* Say no more.

If you enjoyed this (which I hope you did!) Here is another saving money blog from Kristi.

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Alex Duncan

Hi, I am Alex and I am 13 years young! Something else unique is that like Harry Potter I am a wizard! No, wait, sorry, I meant to say I am from England! Although we live in England I am so lucky that we have a second home in Clermont, Florida and this summer marks my 38th trip. I am attend Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls and am a 1st Kyu brown belt double black tip in karate. I have a 10 year old brother, Kieran, who wants to be the Captain of a Disney Cruise ship one day and my Mum and Dad are also big Disney fans (well they bought the house after all). I love shopping, adore Taylor Swift and I am on Twitter and Instagram. I have skills! Love always, Alex

7 thoughts on “Menu Monday: When It’s Hot, Save Some Dosh at Magic Kingdom

  • We would carry a sports water bottle and fill it with ice from the ice dispenser every time we ate quick service, and top it off from drinking fountains as needed. Always cold water! We had cast members thanking us for remaining well hydrated.

    • That is a great way to do it Melissa! Thanks for your comment!

  • Thanks Dean. Again great advice. The little sachets my Dad buys us have all the minerals in them you need and might taste a little better than salt 🙂 But that is such a good tip. I was wondering if fries (chips) would count too ? 🙂

    Love Alex x

    • Those packets are much better, but I always forget to buy or bring them; so I have to MacGuyver my way through with the plain salt.
      And yes, the usual in-park quick service meal (burger/chicken nuggets and fries) probably has more than enough salt for even a hot day. We usually skip lunch and just have a granola bar or something similar.

  • One other tip for the water fountains. Avoid the copper or brass ones (like the one next to the Cinderella fountain). Though they look nice, the metal adds a weird flavor to the water. Stick with the regular chrome ones if metallic flavors bother you.

    BTW, if you’re drinking a lot of water during hot days, add a bit of salt to the water. You’re losing electrolytes in your sweat, and the salt will restore them, without buying gatorade.

  • Thanks Stacey. Flavour drops are awesome and such a good idea. They are relatively cheap too from the supermarkets (grocery store). Also I like the little sachets of powder you can add flavours with. Wal-Mart have loads of them including some energy drink ones.

    Alex x

  • We always ask for free ice water! Great tip. We also bring flavor drops to add to it – my kids will drink it better when flavored!


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