A couple of weeks ago, we compared two of the most popular grocery delivery services at Walt Disney World, Garden Grocer and Amazon Prime Now. For a refresher, you can see it here. We appreciate the positive responses, and many of you mentioned other services that you wanted to see included in the comparison. Not wanting to deny our dear readers of their Disney fix, we’re back with a part two, where we’ve added two of the most requested services, instacart and Shipt, to the picture.
instacart is like the Uber or Lyft of grocery stores. Rather than connecting you to a driver, their service connects you to a personal grocery shopper. They advertise that you usually receive your groceries in under two hours, but you can schedule as far out as six days in advance. In the Walt Disney World area, instacart offers delivery from four stores: Publix, Whole Foods Market, Costco, and ABC Fine Wine and Spirits. For purposes of the comparison, we’re going to focus on the Publix delivery service.
How it works: You need to create an account first. When setting up the account, you can either pay $149 for a year of free deliveries through instacart express or set up a regular account for no annual fee. With a regular account, your first delivery is free, and each delivery fee thereafter varies based on your order size and timing (starting at $5.99). Additionally, a 10% service fee (note that this is not a tip) will apply, and a Busy Pricing Fee might apply if they’re experiencing high demand. After creating the account, you can start shopping. Then just add your delivery location and time, payment information, special delivery instructions, and review.
Shipt is similar to instacart in that you get a personal shopper and can receive your groceries on the same day that you order. You’ll also need to select a store for your order, which is either Publix or ABC Fine Wine and Spirits in the Disney World area. Ordering requires a membership fee of $14 per month or $99 annually, but they do offer a trial period of two weeks free. With a membership, deliveries over $35 are free, and those that are less than $35 have a flat rate delivery fee of $7.00.
How it works: Once again you need to create an account, and this time you will add your payment information at the very beginning to cover the membership fee. You’ll need to add that payment information even if you’re doing the free trial period because they will automatically charge you for the membership unless you cancel it before your trial ends. Select your store and shop to your heart’s content. Then simply confirm delivery address, payment info, and delivery window. They also give you options for what to do if an item is out of stock: Contact Me, Use Best Judgement, and Don’t Substitute. Add any special delivery instructions, and then you’re all set.
Because of the personal shopper aspect, these two seem a little more personalized than Garden Grocer or Amazon Prime Now. Both services offer to have your shopper reach out to you if a substitution might be necessary. Customer service was a big pro that many of our readers pointed out for Garden Grocer in the last article, and I think that applies to these two as well. If you prefer to easily interact with another human regarding your order, then you might want to skip Amazon Prime Now.
Another big difference is that both services offer alcohol delivery, which was not available through Amazon Prime Now. However, fees can be a down side to both instacart and Shipt. Shipt requires a membership, so if you’re not ordering groceries from them back home on a regular basis, it doesn’t make much sense for a Walt Disney World trip after you use up your free trial. Although instacart doesn’t require a membership, they do charge a service fee. Plus, their delivery fee varies based on what you order, when you want it to be delivered, and how many other orders they have for that window.
Additionally, if you’re not planning to be present when your order arrives, sticking with Amazon Prime Now or Garden Grocer would be a safer bet as Disney is used to dealing with those services. Garden Grocer orders may even be waiting in your room and/or refrigerator when you arrive. Through Shipt and instacart, your personal shopper will contact you when they arrive with their groceries, so I would only use those two if I was planning to be at the resort to accept delivery.
Here’s the comparison table for all four services:
It wouldn’t be a TouringPlans analysis if we didn’t throw some numbers your way, right? Below we’ve captured the same grocery list as before for the additional two services. As a reminder, we priced some commonly recommended grocery items for Disney vacations: quick breakfasts, sandwich fixings, snacks, bottled water, paper dishware, and sunscreen. Last time, all items were available on both sites. This time, a few of them weren’t exact matches. I picked a reasonable substitute for them and colored them in blue to show that they’re slightly different. As before, I’ve excluded membership costs. If you’re already an Amazon Prime member or you’re using the free trial period through Shipt, here’s the breakdown:
Amazon Prime Now is still the winner from a pure cost perspective if you’re already a Prime member, but both instacart and Shipt are much closer. Shipt wins only slightly compared to the remaining three, but keep in mind this assumes you’re either already a Shipt member or you’re using the free trial period. instacart would come out slightly ahead of Shipt if you were to add in a $14 month-long membership fee to the cost for Shipt.
If the bottom line is your only concern, then Amazon Prime Now is still the way to go when you already have a Prime membership. Once other factors play into your decision, like the availability of alcohol or dealing with a real live person, then instacart and Shipt should be next in line. For me, instacart would win out over Shipt because of the membership costs. Not only is Shipt slightly more expensive after you use your free trial, but then you need to remember to cancel the membership when you get home if it’s not something you will continue to use. With instacart, you can just pay the delivery and service fee for each order rather than deal with a membership or recurring charge. And lastly, if your top priority is convenience and ease of use regardless of cost, I would suggest Garden Grocer. You don’t have to be there for delivery, and if you schedule it right, it may already be set up in your room upon your arrival.
Are you thinking about trying any of these services on your next trip? Have you used instacart or Shipt already? Let us know in the comments below!