As you’re probably well aware by now, Disney vacations aren’t cheap. But there is one area you can cut costs without damaging the vacation experience – food. By supplementing signature dining experiences and Dole Whips with groceries back in the room, you can get the best of both worlds while still saving time and money. One part of that plan that doesn’t save time, though, is traipsing around an unfamiliar grocery store trying to find your groceries. Luckily, a few services now offer to do that part for you. We’re comparing two of the most popular services, Garden Grocer and Amazon Prime Now, to help you figure out which one is best for you.
For years, Garden Grocer was my go-to grocery delivery service for Walt Disney World vacations. Their site contains more than 5,000 products, and categories range from dairy and produce to baby care and beauty needs. If you’re willing to send them a copy of your valid photo ID, you can even purchase alcoholic beverages like beer and wine (which is pretty darn impressive to someone like me who lives in a state that only recently started allowing regular grocery stores to carry beer and wine). They only deliver to Disney resorts, so you must be staying on site in order to use Garden Grocer.
How it works: Using the search function or menu options, you can find products and add them to your cart. Once you’re done filling the cart, you’ll proceed with checkout, where they will ask you for your information and delivery location. You’ll need to provide a date and time for delivery. If you’re ordering far enough in advance, this is when you would see a discount applied automatically. The discount varies based on how far in advance you place your order. After providing billing information and completing a quick review, you’re all set.
Amazon Prime Now
Amazon Prime Now is a relatively new service to the Orlando area and is different than regular Amazon or Amazon Prime Pantry. As a member of Amazon Prime, you can shop more than 25,000 products that can be delivered through Amazon Prime Now for free within two hours (or one hour for an additional $7.99). The service area is based on zip code, so you don’t necessarily need to stay at a Disney resort in order to use it.
How it works: Similar to Garden Grocer’s site, you’ll fill your cart with products and proceed to check out. However, from there, the checkout process is easier because they already have most of your information from your Prime membership. You’ll set the delivery location, pick a delivery time, confirm your personal information and payment details, and enter any special delivery instructions before placing your order.
For the most part, the services are pretty similar. You pick a bunch of items, set up a delivery time, pay, and then it magically shows up at your resort. There are some pros and cons to each service though that may make one option the better choice for your particular situation. For example, with more than 25,000 products, you would expect Amazon to have a better selection. However, that 25,000 is spread over a vast array of categories. It’s great if you forgot something a typical grocery store wouldn’t carry, but it also means they have less variety of normal grocery items.
Here’s a listing of the main differences between the two services:
So if you want to get alcoholic beverages delivered or you’re not already an Amazon Prime member, Garden Grocer may make the most sense. On the other hand, if you’re staying off site, Garden Grocer isn’t even an option.
Now that the basics of both services are out of the way, let’s take a look at how the prices vary between the two. For this comparison, we priced some commonly recommended grocery items for Disney vacations: quick breakfasts, sandwich fixings, snacks, bottled water, paper dishware, and sunscreen. In order to do a fair comparison, everything we picked had to be available on both sites. Remember how I said that despite the large number of products, Amazon had a limited grocery selection? Well, I had to cross a few comparison items off my list (goodbye Disney Princess fruit snacks!) purely because Amazon Prime Now didn’t have the selection that Garden Grocer did. For this comparison, I’m also assuming the shopper is already an Amazon Prime member, so the cost of membership is not included.
Here’s how our hypothetical grocery list fared:
As you can tell, Amazon Prime Now beat Garden Grocer on nearly every item, and when it didn’t, it was only slightly more expensive. Many of the Garden Grocer items are nearly double the price of Amazon Prime Now. Even with the maximum discount applied to Garden Grocer’s total for ordering 60 days or more in advance, the Garden Grocer total is still $109.27, significantly higher than Amazon Prime Now. From a pure cost perspective, Amazon Prime Now is definitely the way to go if you’re already an Amazon Prime member.
As much as I loved using Garden Grocer in the past, I was a little shocked to see how overpriced their items were in comparison. For Amazon Prime members who aren’t too picky about their groceries (like whether their fruit snacks are Disney Princess themed) and are willing to forego the alcohol delivery, Amazon Prime Now is hard to beat. You can simply order your groceries on your way to your resort from the airport, and they may even beat you there. Everything from the prices to the delivery fee and minimum order amount is lower under Amazon Prime Now. And while the price difference in this scenario doesn’t completely cover the Amazon Prime membership cost for those who aren’t members already, it would alter your equation quite a bit if you’re already considering joining Amazon Prime.
If you used either of these services on a trip to Walt Disney World, how did it go? Does anyone plan to use either of these in the future, and if so, which one? Let us know in the comments below!