Not anymore. I think after eight years of road trips with my husband, I've finally perfected a way to make vacations a little less expensive. You must be committed to doing this for it to work.
In the cooler I have:
1/4 gallon of Milk
Apples (or pre cut apple slices)
Water bottles (1/2 are frozen)
Small packets of condiments that you pick up if you eat out (ask for the mustard and mayonnaise)
I like to put the frozen water bottles all around the milk, creamer and meat.
I also pack in another bag:
Just add water coffee
At least one box of cereal that everyone will eat.
What I do:
A day and a half before:
freeze half our water bottles and the go-gurts. The water bottles act as ice packs and the go-gurt stays frozen for at least half of the trip.
The Morning of:
Prepare the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, placing them back with the rest of the bread.
During the Trip:
We typically leave for Anahiem at 6 o'clock in the morning. I wake up the girls, feed them and get them dressed in comfy clothes. They go to the bathroom and brush their teeth. We all eat breakfast before we go. Then we have a snack around 9. and make a bathroom break.
For lunch I make the lunch meat sandwiches for anyone who wants one during lunchtime, typically I am passenger. I lay out a napkin on my lap and make them that way. My husband is also very willing to take on this roll when he rides shotgun also. If someone doesn't want a meat sandwich there is always peanut butter and jelly or cereal (try to drink the milk if you add any or it can spill. A way to avoid that is use containers with lids).
Hotel:* After we've brought everything into the room, I end up dragging the cooler to the ice machine and filling it with ice. If your room has a fridge that's even better.
*Breakfasts are typically big bowls of cereal. You've got to eat all you pour though because you can't put the cereal down the drains. If your hotel has a microwave consider bringing oatmeal. I've gone as far as to threaten to bring a toaster. Savings from 5 people: $30.
*I had to have at least one cup of coffee every day. It keeps me going. Between me and my mom the coffee in the hotel room is gone quickly. So I now bring the instant coffee and my own coffee creamer. That saves me $4 a cup from Starbucks.
In the Park:
Lunch is typically harder. You can't really bring a meat sandwich into the park because it needs to stay cool. Consider a PB&J, or leave the park, eat something REALLY filling and go back into the park and only have maybe a pretzel ($3.25) for dinner. Lunch in the parks will cost you $50-$60 for 4 or 5 people. Outside is about $30. We've also been known to bring an empty Disney popcorn bucket with sandwiches into the park.
Dinner is also another one. We're typically so full from lunch if we leave that we eat whatever snacks I smuggle in. Disney has become a little more accommodating in allowing outside foods and drinks- but I don't promise anything.