I love saving money whenever I can especially on trips. There are a few things that are worth splurging and there are few things that are not. A good example are water bottles. I used to work for Universal a few years back and a bottle would cost $2.75. I would see families come in and purchase 5 bottles. In my opinion that's $13.75 that could go for something else. What we do is bring our reusable water bottles fill it up at the Starbucks in City Walk or to any restaurant in the park as well. Water taste better from their faucets than the water fountains that are located near the bathrooms (that is just my opinion).
You can also purchase souvenir cups at the park. They usually average $6-10 depending on which one you want. They sell different kinds of cups depending where you are in the park like by the rip, ride and rock it ride they sell cups shaped into guitars, men in black have green alien shape ones and at the Simpsons ride they have the Simpsons characters. We purchased ours at the Men In Black years ago and we bring it whenever we go to Universal. For soda drinkers, when you use a Universal/Island of Adventure souvenir cup they can refill them with soda for almost a buck. So you get a souvenir and get to drink soda for cheap!
Another way to save is on breakfast! You can bring oatmeal packets, cereal, bagels, fruits and etc. On this previous trip to Universal we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel (which my husband and I love going to) they have a Keurig coffee machine in every room. The hotel supplies you with options like Newman's Own Organic Coffee regular and decaf version and also tea. This was great cause its 5 bucks that I saved and it also saved me a trip to Starbucks! Always make sure your hotel room can provide a fridge and/or microwave that way you can plan ahead. Some hotels won't charge extra for fridge if it's for "baby supplies".
On this trip we brought bagels, cream cheese, juice and fruit. We splurged one day (Check out day) , we had breakfast at the Boulangerie at Universal. The great thing about this place its located right when you enter Universal. They have a variety of food you can get such as muffins, sandwiches,and pastries. My husband chose a croissant egg, ham and cheese sandwich and drank water from his reusable bottle. I had his fruits ( strawberries and melon) and a danish with a cup of iced coffee. Our little one wasn't left out, we shared with her (minus the coffee of course!). For that day our breakfast came out to $12. It's not that bad for eating in the park.
It is so easy to be tempted to purchase snacks at an amusement park. Buying those pretzels can add up. One can bring your own snacks to the park. It's not a crime to do so. And the great thing is you can bring healthier snacks such as raisins, organic honey nut cereal ( it's my daughter's favorite), and veggie chips. I'm pretty sure as parents you don't want to wait in line while your kid is crying for that little bag of chips cause of hunger pains. It's not a pretty site.
See I told you. Not pretty.