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Lou’s Inbox – Tips for Purchasing Groceries

“Hi Lou! Hope this is the right place to contact you. I LOVE the show and always look forward to a long car ride when I can listen to it straight through. I have been to Disney World many times, but in September we are going on our first family vacation. My husband has never been, and our daughter will be turning one while we are there. I am so excited to share the magic of Disney with them. My husband travels for work, so we will be staying at the Walt Disney World Swan using our Starwood Preferred Guest Points. My questions is, what is the best way to get groceries? We decided we will not be renting a car, and I was hoping there was a way to get some things for my daughter without going to the store in the hotel. I see that Garden Grocer does NOT deliver to the Swan and Dolphin any more. My husband suggested that he could take an Uber to a local store once we are on property. Do you have any other suggestions? Looking forward to hearing from you! Christina Wolfzorn”

Hi, Christina, my name is Kendall Foreman, and I am the editor for the WDW Radio Blog.  As our Team members considered your question, we decided it could best be answered with tips and suggestions from more than one of our writers.  So, you are getting a three-for-one special!  Hopefully, you will find some helpful information that will make your family’s stay enjoyable, and thank you for your support of the WDW Radio Show and Blog!


KSWicks with suggestions for using Uber

As one who drives to Walt Disney World from Illinois and who also has a delicate stomach, I tend to stay away from restaurant food whenever possible.  To do that, I bring a cooler and stock up before leaving home.  It saves money and saves my stomach from the after-effects of the rich (but tasty) food served in the parks.  But the reality is, I can’t pack and stow everything I need for a week-long vacation.

Using your Uber idea, there is a Publix in Celebration that is my go-to place for groceries.  From the Walt Disney World Swan or Dolphin, it’s a 10-minute (5.2 miles) easy drive to the Water Tower Shoppes at the intersection of U.S. Highway 192 and Celebration Avenue.  It has a deli, a bakery, marvelous produce, and all the staples you need.  And, the staff are super friendly.  One thing that is a big plus for me is that this Publix stocks many brands I can’t find in Illinois. As such, my cooler is put to good use for the drive home.

Other options?  If you prefer Whole Foods, the nearest would be 10.9 miles from the Swan or Dolphin to 8003 Turkey Lake Road in Orlando.  The drawback to this option is the drive on Interstate 4, which can be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes pending traffic.


Vanessa Prince with options for Grocery Delivery

Christina, my family is often in the same situation, as we fly down to Orlando and do not have access to a car for off-site shopping. You will love the Disney’s BoardWalk area as there is so much to do and see without even going into a park. When staying in the Disney’s BoardWalk area, I have often purchased small items like juice, milk, cereal, bread, coffee, and eggs at the Screen Door General Store located near the BoardWalk Inn.  The store also has frozen foods, hot dogs, sandwich meats, peanut butter, chips, cookies, and more.  The BoardWalk Villas is a Disney Vacation Club resort so there are many people purchasing groceries for their stay.

Another option is to use a personal shopper.  Personally, I have used Fairytale Personal Shopper to ship my own items down to the resort. They can also shop at local stores for you and have the items delivered to the resort’s bellhop station. My package was shipped directly to Fairytale Personal Shopper, and they then delivered the package to my resort on the day I arrived.  There is a fee for the service.

I will say that it was nice using them, as I was alerted when my package actually arrived, and they sent a text message with further information on how to retrieve it at the resort. I reached out to the owner about grocery shopping for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort and she told me, “The guest will give me a list and I send a PayPal for the cost of the groceries plus our $15 service fee. The Swan is the only resort that does not allow a drop off prior to the guest arriving so we arrange a drop off time with the guest.” You can reach them at Fairytalepersonalshopper@gmail.com to answer any other questions you might have, and tell them that Vanessa recommended their services! I hope you have a magical time at Walt Disney World Resort with your family!


Blake Taylor with information on places to avoid

While I don’t have experience using a paid grocery system during an on-property Disney trip, as a former Orlando local I can help steer you away from some mistakes I made when I first moved to town. If you end up going to a store yourself, avoid Walmart if you can. The Walmart closest to WDW (on Vineland Road) is an absolute mess at all hours of the day. You may think, “Oh, that’s all right. I’ll just wait until it’s really late in the night when it’s less crowded.” Surprisingly, even worse! It always seemed to still be sardined, even into the wee hours of midnight and 1AM. It actually was even worse at that time because stockers are hopelessly trying to unload and shelve huge shipments while hoards of tourists simultaneously shop. Yikes! Certainly a frantic atmosphere to switch into when you’ve been in magical vacation mode all day. The Walmart on Turkey Lake is a better alternative, but not by much. I eventually bit the bullet and switched to Publix for the remainder of my Florida residency. It was a few extra bucks, but nothing huge. For me, it was worth it to have a renewed peace of mind while grocery shopping.

And I’m not ordinarily a picky shopper. I only just graduated college, and still fully embrace the broke college kid stereotype. During school, I did all my grocery shopping at Walmart. The Disney-area Walmarts, though, were simply too stressful in contrast to the reasons people visit Walt Disney World.


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