This is my first post in two years, but I'm so passionate about natural living and helping CPs so I wanted to write this for y'all! During my second Disney College Program (Spring 2017) my roommate taught me a lot about natural living. Now I choose it every day because I see a difference in my body and health when I do, also because it's easier to find foods that accommodate my allergies at natural grocers. So I wanted to share some resources to help you find natural foods in Orlando! (And how to get there with or without a car.)
8003 Turkey Lake Rd, Orlando, FL 32819
This is your best high end option. You're probably familiar with Whole Foods aka "whole paycheck". This isn't my favorite option for general shopping because of the price, but their store brand (Whole Foods or 365) options and bulk foods are decently priced. (They also have the best price on fair trade chocolate chips!) If you're looking for a deal and have amazon prime, don't forget to check the weekly Prime deals, they usually offer 30% off a few things each week.
Transportation: 15 minute drive from housing, $13 Lyft, or take the bus to Walmart and it's a 15 minute walk from there (I don't recommend this at night....from experience.)
The key to a good housing experience has very little to do with which apartment you get, and almost completely to do with your roommates. Even the best roommates can have issues, but the best way to avoid that is clear communication and boundaries. The best way to do that is to start your semester with a roommate meeting. The first week, before Traditions, is a great time to do that, you'll have plenty of free time to do that! This post will walk you through a roommate meeting plan that is sure to start you off on the right foot with your roommates!
Start your roommate meeting on the right foot, by loving one another with roommate gifts! Plan ahead of time, to do roommate gifts, so you can make or buy them ahead of time (have a plan of what to do if you have extra roommates too). Need some ideas?
Yesterday marked 100 days until my second college program, so I decided to make a list of 100 things I'm excited for.
1. Caileigh: My dear friend from my last program, and future roommate!
2. Brenna: Our other roommate, and a sweet woman I can't wait to live with!
3. Family Dinners
4. Roommate Gifts
5. Seeing Wishes again
6. Getting Leis at the Polynesian
7. Dole Whip
8. Flower and Garden Festival
9. Ghirardeli ice cream
10. Cru at WDW
11. Mosaic Church
12. Rockin Roller Coaster
13. Apartment Decorations
15. Visits from the #alehouseafter cru
16. Finally visiting Universal Studios
17. Dining Reservations at Be Our Guest (meeting the beast)
18. Holiday Discount (40% off!)
19. Cast Connection and Character Warehouse
Now that you've been accepted you're probably thinking about all the fun you'll be having, and the most inexpensive way to have all that fun! In addition to the complimentary tickets you'll receive (you can learn more about those here), there are lots more discounts to take advantage of as a cast member.
You can find discounts on food if you know where to look. You receive cast member discounts from many local restaurants, always ask when you go out to eat. My favorite outside vendor discounts are 20% off at Ghirardeli, $2 Wetzel's Pretzels, and $4.99 buffet at Cici's pizza. Most dining locations in Disney springs offer cast member discounts. You can also find discounts at some Disney operated dining locations:
40% off at:
ESPN Club at The Boardwalk Resort (lunch only, Monday - Friday)
Grand Floridian Cafe at the Grand Floridian (lunch only)
Olivia's Cafe at The Old Key West Resort (Breakfast and Lunch)
Sanaa at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas (Lunch)
Captain's Grille at The Yacht Club (lunch only)
Trail's End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness Resort (breakfast and lunch, this is my favorite!)
Trattoria al Forno at the Boardwalk (breakfast only)
The Wave at the Contemporary Resort (Breakfast and lunch)
Wispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge (Lunch only)
As I wait anxiously for the next 120 days to pass before I arrive at Disney, I pass my time pinning ideas for my apartment and roommate gifts. I've collected some of my favorite pins for you!
Display Your Ears
During your program you'll assemble quite a collection of ears! You'll get one pair at traditions and one at graduation, and you'll probably buy more to wear in the parks. I have 4 sets of Minnie ears and my two ear hats. I've spent a lot of time trying to come up with the best way to display them, and this is the cutest! Pin it!
In my last post, you read about what I did the days before I checked in. After check in I had four more days before traditions and free park admission, four more days to fill with things besides the parks! What did I do?
I think I went to Disney Springs every single day that week! Even after I had my Self Admission Pass to get into the parks I still went to Disney Springs 1-2 times a week. Disney Springs is one of my favorite places in Disney, if you were to compare it to the parks, it'd probably be my third favorite! I like to go into the Ghirardeli store and get free chocolate (they hand it out at the door) and then go into the Ice Cream Shoppe section and order a cup of black cherry ice cream with hot fudge on top. (They also have very good discounts for cast members once you get your blue ID at traditions, sometimes they'll give you the discount with only your housing ID too, this goes for most 3rd party sellers at Disney Springs.) I liked to wander around the World of Disney store and plan what I would buy once I had my blue ID and could get the discount. My other favorite locations in Disney Springs are the Lego store, Wetzel's Pretzels ($2 pretzels for CMs), and Earl of Sandwich. Toward the end of my program they added a whole new section, the Town Center, with cool places like Sprinkles Cupcakes and Vera Bradley. Don't forget to check out the local entertainment when you're there too, my favorite is the dance competition or lip sync battle at the stage in front of WOD.
Last program I tried lots of foods at Disney. I want to eat at many of those again during my next program. Last program I didn't have a food bucket list (in order to save money), but this time I do! There are lots of places I want to try if I'm accepted for the program again!
Be Our Guest (I ate here for lunch once, it was great!)
The Crystal Palace
Gaston's Tavern (I am forever in love with this place! I love Gaston!)
Pecos Bill's Tall Tale Inn (I ate here my first time in MK, I want to do that again)
Pinocchio Village Haus (My favorite quick service location ever!)
Plaza Ice Cream Plaza (I love it here!)
Sleepy Hollow (a breakfast of nutella and fruit waffles is the perfect way to start a full day in MK)
Wishes Dessert Party (this is mostly just a dream because it's way too expensive!)
As you know from previous posts, I didn't have a car during my college program which limited my grocery store options to Walmart or Publix. At the beginning of my program I usually went to Walmart, but later I learned to shop at Publix. I recommend only going to Walmart for your initial trip and about once a month after that. Walmart has a few good deals and most of their prices are lower but Publix has weekly deals and specials that will save you more money if you shop correctly! Here are my tips for grocery shopping.
First Trip to Walmart
Walmart is helpful for buying non-grocery items as well as stocking up on things you'll use the entire time like spices (Walmart has 99 cent spices). Mostly use this trip to get things like a coffee pot, brownie pan, and things like that.
I greatly apologize for not posting yesterday! I got very sick from eating something with corn in it. See, I'm corn intolerant, which impacts just about everything. One of my favorite things about Disney is how inclusive they are of food allergies! A corn intolerance is especially difficult to deal with since FDA doesn't require corn and corn products to be listed on allergy notices on foods. Disney doesn't do that, Disney considers corn a common allergy and is always prepared to deal with my allergy. Disney considers gluten or wheat, lactose or milk, peanuts and tree nuts, shellfish, soy, fish, eggs, and corn common food allergies although they can accommodate any food allergy or intolerance and well as special dietary lifestyles such as Kosher or Vegan diets. Many places offer allergy menus if you just ask one of the cast members, you can also always ask to talk to the chef. All that being said the hardest part of it is not being able to eat some of the really special Disney foods, I'm actually allergic to Mickey Pretzels, Dole Whips, and Premium Ice Cream Bars among other things. The trick is knowing what you can eat, or if you're like me and only intolerant you might try just eating a little bit of it once in a while....or just deal with the consequences which I don't recommend but do all the time.
If you want to find out more about Disney's food allergy policies check out these links:
For a Disney Parks Blog post about allergy friendly menus click here.
For Disney's list of dietary accommodations click here.
For a sample allergy menu click here.
If you have any more questions about dealing with dietary needs at Disney ask me in the comments! If not, what is your favorite Disney snack?
Looking back on my experience last spring and thinking about doing it again, there are a lot of things I would do next time, things I would not do next time, and things I would keep the same. I wanted to share those things with you so you can learn from my experience.
Keep: Things I did that I would do again