Groceries at Disney World – Garden Grocer vs. Amazon Prime Now

by on July 25, 2017 40 Comments

Filed under: Saving Money, Walt Disney World (FL)

As you’re probably well aware by now, Disney vacations aren’t cheap. But there is one area you can cut costs without damaging the vacation experience – food. By supplementing signature dining experiences and Dole Whips with groceries back in the room, you can get the best of both worlds while still saving time and money. One part of that plan that doesn’t save time, though, is traipsing around an unfamiliar grocery store trying to find your groceries. Luckily, a few services now offer to do that part for you. We’re comparing two of the most popular services, Garden Grocer and Amazon Prime Now, to help you figure out which one is best for you. 

Garden Grocer

For years, Garden Grocer was my go-to grocery delivery service for Walt Disney World vacations. Their site contains more than 5,000 products, and categories range from dairy and produce to baby care and beauty needs. If you’re willing to send them a copy of your valid photo ID, you can even purchase alcoholic beverages like beer and wine (which is pretty darn impressive to someone like me who lives in a state that only recently started allowing regular grocery stores to carry beer and wine). They only deliver to Disney resorts, so you must be staying on site in order to use Garden Grocer.

How it works: Using the search function or menu options, you can find products and add them to your cart. Once you’re done filling the cart, you’ll proceed with checkout, where they will ask you for your information and delivery location. You’ll need to provide a date and time for delivery. If you’re ordering far enough in advance, this is when you would see a discount applied automatically. The discount varies based on how far in advance you place your order. After providing billing information and completing a quick review, you’re all set.

Amazon Prime Now

Amazon Prime Now is a relatively new service to the Orlando area and is different than regular Amazon or Amazon Prime Pantry. As a member of Amazon Prime, you can shop more than 25,000 products that can be delivered through Amazon Prime Now for free within two hours (or one hour for an additional $7.99). The service area is based on zip code, so you don’t necessarily need to stay at a Disney resort in order to use it.

How it works: Similar to Garden Grocer’s site, you’ll fill your cart with products and proceed to check out. However, from there, the checkout process is easier because they already have most of your information from your Prime membership. You’ll set the delivery location, pick a delivery time, confirm your personal information and payment details, and enter any special delivery instructions before placing your order.

Major Differences

For the most part, the services are pretty similar. You pick a bunch of items, set up a delivery time, pay, and then it magically shows up at your resort. There are some pros and cons to each service though that may make one option the better choice for your particular situation. For example, with more than 25,000 products, you would expect Amazon to have a better selection. However, that 25,000 is spread over a vast array of categories. It’s great if you forgot something a typical grocery store wouldn’t carry, but it also means they have less variety of normal grocery items.

Here’s a listing of the main differences between the two services:

So if you want to get alcoholic beverages delivered or you’re not already an Amazon Prime member, Garden Grocer may make the most sense. On the other hand, if you’re staying off site, Garden Grocer isn’t even an option.

Cost Comparison

Now that the basics of both services are out of the way, let’s take a look at how the prices vary between the two. For this comparison, we priced some commonly recommended grocery items for Disney vacations: quick breakfasts, sandwich fixings, snacks, bottled water, paper dishware, and sunscreen. In order to do a fair comparison, everything we picked had to be available on both sites. Remember how I said that despite the large number of products, Amazon had a limited grocery selection? Well, I had to cross a few comparison items off my list (goodbye Disney Princess fruit snacks!) purely because Amazon Prime Now didn’t have the selection that Garden Grocer did. For this comparison, I’m also assuming the shopper is already an Amazon Prime member, so the cost of membership is not included.

Here’s how our hypothetical grocery list fared:

As you can tell, Amazon Prime Now beat Garden Grocer on nearly every item, and when it didn’t, it was only slightly more expensive. Many of the Garden Grocer items are nearly double the price of Amazon Prime Now.  Even with the maximum discount applied to Garden Grocer’s total for ordering 60 days or more in advance, the Garden Grocer total is still $109.27, significantly higher than Amazon Prime Now. From a pure cost perspective, Amazon Prime Now is definitely the way to go if you’re already an Amazon Prime member.

Final Thoughts

As much as I loved using Garden Grocer in the past, I was a little shocked to see how overpriced their items were in comparison. For Amazon Prime members who aren’t too picky about their groceries (like whether their fruit snacks are Disney Princess themed) and are willing to forego the alcohol delivery, Amazon Prime Now is hard to beat. You can simply order your groceries on your way to your resort from the airport, and they may even beat you there. Everything from the prices to the delivery fee and minimum order amount is lower under Amazon Prime Now. And while the price difference in this scenario doesn’t completely cover the Amazon Prime membership cost for those who aren’t members already, it would alter your equation quite a bit if you’re already considering joining Amazon Prime.

If you used either of these services on a trip to Walt Disney World, how did it go? Does anyone plan to use either of these in the future, and if so, which one? Let us know in the comments below!

Posted on July 25, 2017

40 Responses to “Groceries at Disney World – Garden Grocer vs. Amazon Prime Now”

  • Garden grocers delivers to offsite resorts. I have received deliveries at Bonnett Creek both times I have stayed there.

    • As of early 2016 Garden Grocer no longer delivers offsite.

    • Thanks for keeping me honest, Justin! Their FAQ specifically says Disney Resorts, so much so that they don’t even deliver to Swan and Dolphin. However, it looks like Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort and Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek are the only two non-Disney owned options on their delivery drop down. Good catch!

    • I’ve been using Garden Grocer for over 7 years and I must say they have the best customer service. I’m a Amazon Prime member, but you don’t get the same type of customer service from them. Garden Grocer gives a personal touch and makes you feel like family. I will always pay more for great customer service vs the big name. Thank you Garden Grocer for always providing our family superior service and quality products.

  • Hardly news that GG is total a rip off. I transitioned over to WeGoShop from them years ago, and more recently decided to save even more by renting a car to head around the corner to grocery shop myself and pick out exactly the items I wanted.

    • Thanks Kim! Now I’m curious, do you save enough on your grocery costs to pay for the rental car or is the car for other things too? Have you considered using a ride share service like Uber for groceries?

      • Shopping on my own easily covers the cost of the rental for one day, but with the Alamo deals we’ve gotten in the past I will typically keep the car for the entire week so we can run out for other items, hit up Universal (a new favorite) and try some other off site dining options that are more versatile and often less expensive than Disney’s table service locations offer.

  • Thanks for all the good info on grocery delivery! Hoping someone may be able to advise me on this: Our upcoming stay will be in Bay Lake Tower, our first time staying at that property. If we use a grocery delivery service (would be the first time for that, too), would it be proper to direct the delivery to Bell Services at the Contemporary?

    • by Ricardo Montalbon on July 25, 2017, at 1:14 pm EDT

      No, BLT has its own bell services and you should direct any deliveries to Bay Lake Tower, not The Contemporary.

    • When we stayed in the Contemporary last August, they had our Soap.com and Amazon Prime packages sent to the Convention Center, which then charged us a holding fee that depended on weight. It sucked. We had to pay a $30 fee for the water we ordered. They may do the same to you since Bay Lake Tower is adjoining the Contemporary.

  • Has anyone had experience with publix’s instacart delivery?

    • Yes, we used Instacart from Publix and it worked out great. Much better prices than Garden Grocer, with a much better selection as well. I suspect the selection was better than Amazon as well; we’re not members, so I couldn’t say for sure. We could also purchase alcohol as well, though I had to be on hand for delivery.

      The fee structure for Instacart got a little confusing though, but it still was cheaper than GG. The quality of the apples we ordered was great; I’m usually picky with produce, but these were perfect.

      I also looked at Safeway, but I believe that Disney falls just outside their delivery area. I tried caling the store and got a noncommittal answer, so decided to not risk it.

    • I used InstaCart in April and loved it. I ordered from Whole Foods and Publix. I had to meet the car/driver at the front of the resort and I did not realize it would be 2 different drivers. They arrived within 15 min of each other. The fees were less than expected and prices were exactly the same as if in the store, even the sale and BOGO. They were friendly, fast and affordable. Texted me with any questions and updates throughout the short process. I tipped both drivers. I was traveling with a group and we all were able to log in and share the cart in the weeks before the trip. Produce selected was perfect!

  • Does anyone have any experience using Shipt? Can those groceries also be left at the Bell Desk?

  • Does anyone have any experience using Shipt? Can those groceries also be left at the Bell Desk at Fort Wilderness?

  • One thing I’ve been telling my friends lately is that if you only intend on getting a few things and it totals less than the delivery amount, just use your resort gift shop. The pricing will be about the same as GardenGrocer. Really, the gift shops are not horribly priced. Even the wine isn’t as marked up as you might expect it to be.
    I have used Amazon Prime Now a few times while at Disney the past two years. Your point about not being picky is a good one, we wanted cheerios in July but they weren’t a choice so we had to go with corn flakes. Also, I place my order a day ahead. One time when I went to order the day I was arriving at BWV there were no delivery slots for that day or the next day for that resort.

    • Lisa, that’s a great point about the gift shops. The resorts do carry a lot of what you would need, and it’s definitely convenient. And thanks for the heads up on delivery spots filling up, that’s useful info as well!

  • Great analysis! I’ve used Garden Grocer many times, and loved it. For this thrip, though, I’m trying Prime Now. I’ve been playing around with putting items in my cart, and from time to time things become unavailable. Deli turkey was there one day, gone the next, back a few days later, for example. No Swiss cheese, but you can get American cheese. Soda is in cans, but not too many choices in bottles. As long as you can be a little flexible in your grocery list, it saves considerably over Garden Grocer. Let’s hope it works as well as Garden Grocer!

    • Good luck, Kim! I hope it works out for you. And you’re right, the availability and pricing on Amazon seems to fluctuate a bit. Thanks for commenting!

  • I used Instacart and I was really impressed with the service level. The shopper texted me from the market when items were low quality or unavailable to see about substitution. I could have had the shopper go to multiple locations to shop, but I chose only Publix. For fresh organic produce, Publix or Whole Foods are necessary…and they use Instacart. You should do a comparison with Instacart.

    • Wow, thanks for the info Naomi! That sounds like a great experience. I think we will have to line up another comparison.

  • Safeway also delivers to the resorts and the prices are better than Garden Grocer.

  • I used Garden Grocer back in March. Heading back in August and heard that they now charge a $5 per package handling fee for deliveries. Has anyone actually been charged yet?

    • Peggy, I used Garden Grocer three weeks ago and they didn’t charge a $5 per package handling fee for deliveries. Hope this helps

    • Hi Peggy, I haven’t personally been charged and from what I’ve heard, some people have while others haven’t. It sounds like it’s inconsistent. I wish I had a yes or no answer for you, but maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones.

      • Disney will not charge your for the $5 holding fee if you use Garden Grocer! If you are charged accidentally by Disney, you may just inform bell services for the charge to be refunded back.

    • I had heard about the extra charge and called Disney. They will not charge for GG but I do believe we will be charged an extra $5.00 for our water from Amazon or any box that we sent from home ahead of time.

  • Does the delivery for either one include Fort Wilderness? Will they deliver straight to your RV?

    • I actually work in the customer service department for Garden Grocer! We will deliver straight to your RV if you are set up and present. If you are not at your RV at the time, bell services will still hold and refrigerate your items until your arrival.

  • I have used wegoshop in the past and I do like it. We always get alcohol and never had issues. However, the fees and tip is SO high. I’m thinking of using Instacart for the first time. Do you have to tip that shopper as well? I feel it works the same as wegoshop delivery is less expensive though. Just wondering what tip is….

  • Last summer we used Garden Grocer (many of the newer options weren’t available). We did online check-in, and instead of having to go to bell services to get our groceries, they were waiting for us in our room (and perishable items were in the fridge). Not sure if that would happen with the other services, but it was a nice surprise.

  • We used Shipt in our recent stay in July and loved it! I signed up for the two free trial and canceled when we got home but the service was fast and much cheaper than GG. The person delivering my order sent me a text when they were headed to store, asked when exactly I’d like my order, met us at SSR main Carriage House and delivered our order. 7 dollar fee no matter what size order you placed. Great service!

  • Thanks for this post! Was contemplating a Prime Pantry and separate grocery order because we don’t have Prime Now in my area, but this made me decide to go with Now for sure.

  • We recently used Amazon prime pantry on our trip to WDW. We were very happy with it. What are the differences between prime pantry and prime now?

    • by Laurel Stewart on July 28, 2017, at 8:52 am EDT

      Prime Pantry is based on filling a box (you add a box of cereal and Amazon tells you how much room you have left in your box) and are shipped via Ground. It’s offered in the continental US.

      Prime Now is only offered in certain areas and has same day delivery (which allows for perishables to be delivered).

  • If you’re able to fly Southwest, you can take an extra suitcase of non-perishables (including alchohol, some good boxed wines are available now if you’re worried about packing glass) and we take a carry-on with fruit, bread and frozen breakfast burritos (packed with blue ice they’re fine even on the long flight from California) °o°

  • OMG please do a comparison of Publix and Whole Foods via Instacart. I will try the Amazon Prime Now based on your recommendation. If I stack Amazon coupons I might be able to save even more. I could swear the Instacart prices are a little inflated but not as high as GG. tfs.

  • Similar to the question above, if staying at the Grand Floridan Villas, will all deliveries be made to bell services at the Grand Floridian?