Do you use the kitchen in your Disney Vacation Club one and two-bedroom villas when you stay there; or are they merely a nice place to store convenience foods and water bottles?
Do you want to cook while you’re at Disney, but think it’s too inconvenient, difficult, or annoying to do while on vacation?
That was me. There have been trips where I’ve wanted to prepare a meal or two, but felt like I just couldn’t be bothered. Also, when we first joined DVC, I was still trying to learn the ins and outs of being a new owner. The thought of navigating what the resorts offered in terms of grocery items, or trying to order groceries from a delivery service, was more than I wanted to tackle. And because we live in Salt Lake City and never drive, every meal I wanted to cook would either have to be made with food from the resort store, or ordered after we arrived. It seemed like a lot.
However, as DVC owners, we began going to Disney every three months. And while we loved nothing more than dining in Disney restaurants, our budget wasn’t nearly as happy about it. So… it was time to start using the kitchens!
Time to Cook
This article is the first in a series written to help DVC owners who would like to save some money on food costs by cooking in their DVC Villas, while not sacrificing cooking time for park time. I’ll include recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks that can be prepared ahead of time and also store well.
I’ll post recipes that can be made exclusively with food purchased from your resort store, as well as some that need to be supplemented with ordered grocery items. While the food you are buying in the resort store is expensive, it’s still cheaper than taking your family to a table service restaurant. However, aside from planning your meals ahead of time and bringing the food with you (definitely an option if you’re driving), ordering all your groceries from a delivery service is the more economical way to go at Disney.
These recipes will also take into account the limited amount of kitchen equipment offered in a DVC villa (nothing that requires a food processor or KitchenAid mixer), as well as containing a limited number of ingredients. Nobody wants to carry an entire spice rack in their luggage. When the kitchen equipment is not included in your DVC kitchen, I’ll note that as well. First, I’ll give you the recipes as I make them at home, then I will note how I adjust the recipes to make them “DVC kitchen friendly.”
Let’s get started!!
We find that as DVC owners, the meal we eat most often in our resort villa is breakfast. Because of convenience, and wanting to be at the parks by rope drop, it’s often something not nutritious: toaster pastries, a granola bar, or a Disney caramel apple (hey, it’s fruit!). While that’s fine occasionally, I find that after a few days, I need a breakfast that will give me more stamina when I’m negotiating the parks; a breakfast that doesn’t leave me hungry after an hour.
Here are two recipes that are very easy to prepare the night before you want to use them, store easily in the fridge, and reheat well in the microwave. They’re also great for dinner or a late-night snack.
Easy Egg Bake
½ pound bacon
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup diced green pepper
12 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1 package (16 oz.) frozen, shredded hash browns, thawed
1 cup shredded cheese (any kind you like)
1 tsp salt
¼ to ½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp dill weed
- Cook the bacon until crisp, remove from pan, drain, cool, and crumble.
- Saute onion and pepper in bacon drippings until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Pour into a greased 13 x 9 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- While there is bacon in the resort stores, I can’t be bothered frying it up on vacation because it takes too much time. So I buy a pouch of pre-cooked bacon pieces at home and toss it in my luggage. These pre-cooked packages are usually located in the salad dressing aisle of your local grocery store. It’s real bacon, not the fake bits. I add as much as I want to the egg bake. Exact amounts aren’t necessary.
- Same for the onion. Dry onion pieces work just fine. Again, easy to add to the small plastic container I include in my luggage for cooking items. Add those to taste as well.
- If you’re not frying the bacon, you can saute the green pepper in a bit of butter. However, I toss it in the egg bake raw. It cooks in the oven if the pieces are diced rather than being in larger chunks.
- Frozen hash browns can be ordered from an outside grocery delivery service. We use Prime Now. However, if you don’t want to do that, the resort store sells Tater Tots that can be chopped up and thrown in instead. It works fine.
- If you don’t want to order a green pepper from an outside service, you can omit it. Some resort stores like Yacht Club offer a pre-made veggie package that has some peppers in it (or at least they did in August). It doesn’t matter what color they are, red and yellow work fine, too. You can also substitute mushrooms or chopped tomatoes. Or add them all!
- Dill really does add a great flavor to this dish. I throw the spice bottle into the plastic container in my luggage.
- All dairy items and salt & pepper are available at your resort store or from an outside grocery service.
- I think that the resort stores sell cooking spray to grease your pan, but if not, a little butter works fine.
This egg bake stores well in the fridge (cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap), and reheats nicely in the microwave. It’s also great for lunch or dinner with a green salad or fruit.
French Toast Casserole
½ cup butter1
¼ cups brown sugar
1 loaf of bread of your choice (Disney resorts always have white and wheat, and occasionally, I’ve seen Italian bread)
8 large eggs
2 cups milk
2 TBSP vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
- Melt butter in a small saucepan and add 1 cup of brown sugar, mixing well. Let simmer for a couple minutes to dissolve sugar. It will still be a bit thick.
- Pour mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan and spread quickly to coat. Don’t worry if it seems to be hardening; just keep spreading. I promise it will turn into a yummy syrup after baking.
- Beat together eggs, milk, and vanilla. Set aside.
- Combine the remaining ¼ cup of brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate bowl. Set aside.
- Arrange bread slices in a single layer over the butter/sugar mixture in pan.
- Pour half of the egg mixture over the bread and dust with half the sugar and spice mixture.
- Add another layer of bread and top with remaining egg mixture, followed by the remaining brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg mixture.
- Press down lightly on the bread to ensure the egg soaks into the layers.
- Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to overnight.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t brown too much. Also, this sometimes takes a bit longer to cook completely. The edges tend to cook before the middle. If that happens, cover it back up and bake for 10-15 more minutes, or until the center isn’t soggy.
- The only ingredients not available at Disney are the brown sugar, vanilla, and spices. I will usually put those in my luggage. They can be ordered from a grocery delivery service as well.
- Maple syrup is available in the resort shops. You can also top this with fresh fruit. If I want fruit for a side dish or a topping, I will sometimes buy a “fruit bowl” in the resort store.
I’ve found both of these recipes are easy to make, with minimal time and effort. I usually prepare the food in the evening, after we’re home from the parks. I’ll bake the eggs at night, then microwave individual servings in the morning. I also prepare the French toast casserole the night before, then bake it in the morning while we’re getting ready for our day. We eat it when it’s ready, store the remainder in the fridge, and head out the door.
So there you have it! Two easy to make DVC breakfasts. They’re great if you’re bringing a larger family to Disney World, as they can easily be doubled (bring or order some disposable 9 x 13 aluminum pans, as the DVC kitchens have only one). They store well, and are great for snacking after you come home from the parks at night. I have teenage boys, and they seem to be perpetually hungry, even after a full day of park eating. Having either one of these meals waiting in the fridge has been an excellent solution for that.
I hope these recipes are helpful to you while you’re cooking at Disney. Please let me know what you like to prepare for breakfast when you’re there. I’m always on the lookout for more easy recipes for our trips. Happy cooking!