Disney on a Diet? How to Do It and Still Enjoy It?

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The time had come! We had been looking forward to this family trip to Disney World for months! My parents were coming along, the weather was supposed to be great, and we were going to our first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I was so excited, but I was also faced with a dilemma…we had to go to Disney on a Diet! Was that even possible?!?

Midway through the summer, Shaun and I had decided we were going to get in shape, eat healthier, lose a little weight. We plan to run a 5k on our Disney Cruise early next year.

On the day we left for Disney World, I had lost 5 lbs, been eating my allotted 1500 calories, and working out 6 days a week. Not gonna lie…I was pretty proud of myself!

Can you go to Disney on a Diet?

The problem–I wanted to go to Disney and eat all my favorite foods, but the thought of gaining back any of those 5 lbs just crushed my spirit. Did I have to decide between enjoying my vacation and maintaining my weight? Could I do Disney on a diet?

You’ll often hear people say, “Calories don’t count at Disney.” I wanted to know if this was really true so I proposed a little experiment to my husband and mom. We would all take our weights before we left, eat basically what we wanted, and track our steps. When we got home, we would see what the scale had to say.

I’m going to tell you what our plan was, what ended up actually happening, and the results. Along the way, you will pick up some helpful tips on how to do Disney on a Diet!

Our Plan vs. Reality

Of course, we all had the best intentions with our Disney on a diet plan. We would get up early, make great choices, and keep up with our current workout routines. Well, once we were enjoying the sun beside the pool some of those things didn’t work out quite as planned.

Exercise

Let’s start with the one which got off track fast.

Our Plan

Shaun and I had been using the Nike Run Club App for 5 weeks at this point and was in the middle of an 8-week plan. We had every intention of keeping up with the plan while on vacation, but we had some problems…Fine, we didn’t run once!

Reality

The truth is we had both been having problems with our knees. When we began our new life of health and fitness, we hadn’t come close to exercising since high school and completely overestimated our fitness levels.

Our workouts needed adjusting. We realized if we tried to continue with them, we wouldn’t be able to walk around the parks.

But it turned out, we were OK without our regular workouts! I averaged 20, 750 steps a day. My mom came in a little lower at about 18,000 steps but either way, we were way of over the recommended amount.

Do calories count at Disney? You may have heard that they don't, but what does a week of eating Disney treats do to your waistline? Find out here! Disney Dining | Disney Restaurants | Disney Food | What to Eat at Disney | Disney on a Diet

I should mention– even on the days we didn’t go to the park, we still walked a lot. We would go park hopping, spent 7 hours at Disney Springs, and swam for a couple of hours. If you don’t plan to be active on a resort day, you may want to consider working in a run to get your activity level up.

Hydration

This one is important whether you’re trying to do Disney on a diet or not! If you want more information on how to stay hydrated at Disney, check out this post! (P.S. It will also save you a ton of money!)

Our Plan

I am never one to drink my calories. I prefer to have a tasty snack over a coke any day! But Shaun loves his soda. Here was the plan:

  1. Buy refillable Resort mugs and choose low-calorie drink options at resorts. (ice tea, vitamin water, coffee, lite lemonade)
  2. Take reusable water bottles to the parks and refill with ice water and water flavor drops.
  3. Share a pop or Powerade at meals

Reality

We did pretty good with this one! The heat and humidity made us crave water and that worked to our advantage. We did have the occasional pop or frozen cappuccino (YUM!), but for the most part, we saved our calories for food.

Food

This one made me the most nervous! I usually use My Fitness Pal to track my calories, but Disney doesn’t post calories. (If you know somewhere they do, let me know.)

I also didn’t want to spend a bunch of time on vacation trying to figure out on my own how many calories were in the food. How could I do Disney on a diet without knowing how many calories I was eating?

Our Plan

We ended up deciding that we would eat something if we wanted to, but moderation was key. We did a lot of sharing!

Most meals we would order 2 adult entrees and share them with the kids. We ordered 1-2 snacks for the whole family.

By doing this we cut back on our calories a lot without ever feeling like we were missing out! It also helped us save some money.

Looking back now I can honestly say that I can’t think of one thing I wanted to eat and didn’t. I didn’t even miss the larger portion size. In fact, I think eating smaller portions kept me from feeling sluggish and bloated.

The Results

So what were the results of our Disney on a diet experiment? Do calories count at Disney? Drum roll, please…

I LOST 1.5 lbs! Yep! You heard me! Not only did I not lose my progress, I actually exceeded my weekly weight-loss goal!

My mom and Shaun had similar results with one maintaining their weight and one losing a pound.

What you need to know before doing Disney on a diet!

  1. It is possible! Not only is it possible, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be! We even enjoyed ourselves… a LOT!
  2. Bring healthy snacks! I always bring a bunch of snacks from home, but I was more choosy than usual. Things like almond butter granola bites and turkey snack sticks are packed with protein and will help keep you energized!
  3. Share when possible! I believe this was probably the key to our success. By cutting portions, you can still enjoy all your favorite Disney foods!
  4. Don’t drink your calories! It’s easy to drink hundreds of calories without ever thinking about it. By choosing water, you will stay hydrated, save money, and keep your weight loss on track!
  5. Remember it is only one week! Go ahead and enjoy yourself! After all, it is a vacation! Don’t go home regretting all the things you didn’t enjoy or beat yourself up for missing a workout. Indulge and relax!

Have you ever tried doing Disney on a Diet? How did it go for you? Share your experience in the comments so we can help and encourage each other!

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9 Comments

  1. Carrie November 1, 2018
    • klund November 5, 2018
  2. Beth Engel November 1, 2018
  3. Leah November 1, 2018
    • klund November 5, 2018
  4. Adrianne November 2, 2018
    • klund November 5, 2018
  5. Sarah November 3, 2018
    • klund November 5, 2018

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