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Grocery Stores around Disney World.

Some Disney trip planning is exciting: Picking a resort, planning where you’ll go each day, making dinner reservations. Some planning is just, well, mundane. This is one of those topics.

If you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen on your next Disney vacation or even if you just want to buy a few bottles of water and some breakfast supplies for eating in the room, you’ll probably want to make a quick trip to the grocery store. Most likely, your hotel has a small gift shop where they sell a few food items, but these tend to be overpriced and the selection is limited. Unless your idea of breakfast is a Slim Jim and a can of Coke, you’ll need to make a trip to an actual grocery store which will require you to drive around Disney World, a confusing enterprise even to those who travel there on a regular basis. Here are a few convenient, clean grocery stores as well as some specialty stores for those with special dietary needs.

I generally think of myself as someone who has a good sense of direction, but I’ve been lost more times than I can count around Disney World. A nice option for shoppers who don’t want to bother going to the grocery store or who don’t have a car is Garden Grocer. There’s a $12 fee and a minimum order of $40, which you can easily spend just stocking a small room refrigerator on a short trip. They also sell toiletries and baby items such as formula, baby food, and diapers. The website is easy to use and in the last year they’ve really expanded their selection. Prices are generally better than Goodings and are competitive with Publix or Winn-Dixie, although slightly higher than Super Target or Walmart. The big exception seems to be milk; expect to pay around 50% more for a gallon of milk than you would in your local store.

If you’re staying at a Disney resort and your order arrives before you do, the front desk will hold it and ensure that it’s kept cold. Many off site hotels will do the same, although be sure to check ahead of time if you’re arriving after your delivery. I rented a condo at Windsor Hills and notified the rental agency before I arrived that I was expecting a delivery. They let them in and allowed them to drop off my food before I even checked in. There’s an option for leaving a tip when you fill out your order, by the way, so even if you’re not going to be there, you can say thank you to your delivery person. For the best delivery times, place your order at least 30 days in advance. You can modify your order as you go. If you are unable to get your desired time, I’ve found they’ll generally try work with you.

Goodings is practically iconic among park-goers for reasons that are beyond me. Sure, it’s convenient from Downtown Disney, just off SR 535, and more importantly, it’s location right off I-4 means it’s really easy to find. It’s also overpriced and a bit scruffy.  Unless you’re going by cab, are walking from Downtown Disney or are the type who gets hopelessly lost after a couple of turns, there are better grocery stores nearby. Goodings is at SR 535 and I-4. Take Exit 68 off of I-4.  Goodings also boasts an inexplicably confusing website where you can order ahead of time, should you feel inclined to have the entire Gooding’s experience.  Update, January 2010:  A recent trip two weeks ago found Goodings even more run-down than in the past.  Worse, the prices were appalling: A half-gallon of Horizon Organic 2% milk was $5.99, nearly double the price at Super Target.  The staff is super-friendly, so I hope the owners can get it together so these nice people don’t lose their jobs.

Go about one mile north from Goodings and you’ll find a Winn-Dixie at 11957 South Apopka Vineland Road. It’s clean and the selection is adequate. More importantly, the prices are reasonable. If you use the pharmacy, be aware that they have a very slow turnaround, so if you need a prescription fast, try one of several phramacies nearby. If you’re staying at a Bonnet Creek resort or at Ft. Wilderness or the Wilderness Lodge, take the shortcut on SR 535; you can ask at your resort for directions. There’s also a location at 7840 W Irlo Bronson Highway (Highway 192), which is more convenient for Disney guests staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

My personal favorite for selection and savings is Super Target.  There are several within a few minutes of Disney property, the closest located at 3200 Rolling Oaks Boulevard, just right off 192 heading away from Disney World (you’ll cross I-4 and go a couple of miles).  You’ll know you’re there when you see the brightly colored townhomes on your right; Target is right across the street.  If you pass the Waffle House, you’ve gone too far.  There’s also one located near the Mall at Millenia off I-4 at Exit 78.  It’s a good fifteen to twenty minutes from Disney property, but it is larger and has a better selection than the one near Disney.  It also gives you an excuse to engage in some heavy duty, non-Disney, shopping while you’re over there.   In addition to having just about every retail chain you could want, there’s also a Walmart and a Krispy Kreme; let the neon “hot now” sign be your guide.

None of these grocery stores have a great selection of foods for people with allergies or special dietary needs. You can find a few items like gluten-free pasta at Target and Publix, for example, but for real variety you’ll need to go elsewhere. You really can’t beat Whole Foods for the widest selection of organic produce, dairy, and free-range meats. They also have a wide selection of soy and gluten-free products. There’s a new store in Orlando at 311 World Drive, Bay Lake, FL 32830. It’s about 15 minutes from Disney property (and practically right next to Universal Studios), but well worth the drive for the selection and prices; if you can’t find it there, you probably won’t find it in Central Florida.  If you prefer a local natural foods market, you might want to look into Chamberlin’s, which has several locations in and around Orlando.

This post is part of the Dismarks Inaugural Disney Blog Carnival. You’ll find a variety of Disney related articles at Dismarks, where you can read, comment, and discuss Disney with other fans.  You can even submit articles from your own or ther sites.

Note:  This post gets a lot of hits so I try to keep it updated when I become aware of changes; email me if you find any inaccuracies. Thanks! 

15 Comments

  1. Thank you, thank you for writing this! Excellent info that everyone should know about before their next trip.

  2. Great post! Grocery delivery is a a terrific way to save money at Disney. I would just add that if all you want is a case of water and nonperishables, you can also order from Costco to have it delivered. There’s no minimum order with them. I did this for my last trip, and the water (free shipping!) was around $7 for a case of water. I was staying at CSR, though, and their business center charged me a $10 handling fee. I don’t think most of the Disney resorts do that. Even with that, it was a lot cheaper than it would have been to buy all that water from Disney.

  3. Thank you so much. We leave this Saturday. We have a kitchen in our condo and plan to use your advice to find the nearest grocery store.

  4. Thanks for writing this very helpful post! I can see why it is so popular.

  5. Gooding’s used to be a really classy, high-end market. It’s too bad it has become so run-down. I was SHOCKED to see it when I was there last year- just filthy and the stock was a joke.

  6. Thank you for this…my son is on a gluten/casein free diet and we NEED a Whole Foods…that is so awesome it is so close…..

  7. Thanks for this post, very helpful!

  8. Is there anything within a 15 minute walk from Downtown Disney. We won’t have a car, so thought we could walk over and taxi back with groceries.

  9. Whole Foods new location is practically next door to Disney Hollywood Studios not Universal Studios.

  10. We are leaving to Disney World in 3 weeks and dont have a car, I have read some of the comments and I would like to see if anyone has gone fairly recently to see if I can still walk or take a bus to a grocery store and buy stuff at cheap prices or less than inside the resort.

  11. Does whole food Deliver to Disney

  12. This is EXTREMELY HELPFUL!!!! THANK YOU!!!!

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