Living in Pennsylvania, we’re always trying to find a way to ‘get our fix’ since we live so far away from Walt Disney World. Luckily we’re within a few hours drive to some very nice amusement parks including Dorney Park, Knoebels, Great Adventure (NJ) and one of our favorites Hersheypark. We decided a few weeks ago that we wanted to visit Hersheypark as we wanted to see what they call “Hersheypark in the Dark” which is their Halloween celebration. Knowing how much we loved going to Walt Disney World during their “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party” we thought it would be a good way to again, ‘get our fix.’
You’re probably wondering where this is going since this site is all about Disney Dining. Well, I’m here to officially announce that DINING IN DISNEY IS NOT EXPENSIVE when it comes to counter service meals. Why do I say that? Well, let me tell you about our experience this past weekend in Hersheypark.
We’re wandering around Hersheypark on Saturday evening (which just so happened to be the first night of Hersheypark in the Dark) with what seemed to be endless crowds of thousands of people. Every single ride had HUGE lines (except for the kiddie rides which thankfully were very short making our 2-year old daughter very happy) so we decided to grab a bite to eat. Just like the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, you have your pick of many different fast food type stands serving everything from pizza and hamburgers to chicken fingers, wraps and sandwiches. But, what we came to find out was that while it was cheaper to get in the door at Hersheypark (as compared to the any of the WDW parks) it was certainly not cheaper to eat at the counter service restaurants.
Now, let me preface this by saying that we did not visit every counter service restaurant and that this information is strictly from the places we stopped at to tryand eat (again, we were fighting tens of thousands of people that night since it was the first night of Hersheypark in the Dark.) To start off, if you wanted a Hamburger or Chicken Fingers or something similar you normally had to pay for your entree item first and then add side items and drinks for an additional cost. So, for example, if you wanted a hamburger, fries and soda you had to first buy the hamburger which was about $5.25 and then if you wanted the fries and soda it was an extra $4.95. So your total was $10.20 just for that meal! Most of the entree items ranged from $5.00 to $7.00 so you were paying anywhere from $10-12.00 for your meal and the portions were no where near the size you would get in Walt Disney World. Compare this to a typical 1/4-pound cheeseburger meal with french fries and a medium soda in the Magic Kingdom (which would run you about $8.00 and would be a larger portion) you’ll see that Disney has the better counter service deals from a portion and price standpoint.
Now, I’m not writing this to bash Hersheypark but rather I’m writing this to make a point that Disney is not as expensive as many people may think. It certainly costs quite a bit more to get in Disney’s doors (and I could also argue that Disney is giving you more for your money but I won’t go there) but the food quality and price is very much better than what you’ll find at many comparable amusement parks. I’ll take a counter service meal at Pecos Bill’s in Frontierland (Magic Kingdom) every time knowing what I just saw this weekend! 🙂
Feel free to comment about your local amusement parks!