One great way to save money at Walt Disney World is to bring in your own food.
This Guide to Bringing Food Inside Disney Parks will give you all the information you need about bringing food to the parks to save money!
Disney World currently has a very lenient policy in regards to bringing in your own food. Today I am going to share Disney’s policies about bringing in food, food ideas, ways to store food, and how to get groceries to your resort.
Guide to Bringing Food Inside Disney Parks
Many people have the misconception that you have to spend lots of money on food while at Disney. The Disney food prices are expensive and can be avoided. Let’s take a look at their guidelines for bringing food into the park.
Rules Regarding Bringing Food Inside Disney Parks
The rules for bringing items in are quite simple.
- You may not bring in alcoholic beverages.
- Coolers or backpacks must be smaller than 24″ x 15″ x 18″
- No glass containers except for baby food jars or medicine.
- Plastic straws are not permitted at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
You can eat your food anywhere you like even inside some quick service restaurants to get away from the heat. I have never had a Cast Member ask me to leave because I didn’t order food from the location. Some of the busier places, such as Santuli Canteen at Animal Kingdom have a sign saying customers only. A lot of people picnic on the hub grass at the Magic Kingdom. My two favorite spots are at the top of the train station at the Magic Kingdom and in the Land Pavilion in Epcot.
Tips for Bringing Food into Disney Parks
Freeze Water Bottles to Use as Ice Packs. It gets hot in Florida and you will want your food to be cold for as long as possible. Even in hot, hot weather frozen water bottle stay frozen in a lunchbox.
Pack your Lunchbox/Cooler Tightly. If a cooler is tightly packed, there is less chance for warm air to get access to your items.
Schedule a Time to Eat. Though you can eat while waiting in line for rides, I think the brain gets the “I’m full” message better when you sit down to eat. Plus, it is nice to just sit and relax for awhile.
Skip the Cost of a Locker. Sometimes my family either keeps our lunch in the car if we drove or we go back to our resort for a break midday.
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Food Ideas to Bring To Disney Parks
These are ideas I have done personally or ideas I have seen others do and think that they are great ideas. A lot of these ideas are “real” food. If you just bring sugary granola bars and salty chips you are going to not feel full and are going to end up buying or at least wanting to buy Disney food. Pack a meal.
- Fresh Fruit- Apples, bananas, oranges, grapes
- Cut veggies- carrots, celery sticks, radishes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower
- Lunchables- whether store-bought or homemade
- Chips- Lays, Stax, Pringles are preferred because they won’t crush in your bag but I see people all the time with bags of chips.
- Trail mix- store-bought or homemade, Chex Mix
- Pizza – cold pizza makes a great lunch.
- Chicken – I have seen people bring in Publix fried chicken (that stuff is yummy cold) or I have brought in precooked boneless/skinless chicken breast strips. Store chicken in the freezer the night before and it will be defrosted by lunchtime.
- Popcorn – popped as microwaves are not in the parks except in baby care centers.
- Cookies – Cookies without a chocolate covering- those type of cookies will leave you a mess in the heat.
- Hot Dogs
- Pudding and Jello Cups
- Fruit Snacks
- Dried Fruit
- String Cheese
- Boiled Eggs
- Granola/Protein Bars
Overall I would try to stay away from items that would spoil quickly in the heat like mayo-based salads.
What Items to Bring From Home to Disney
If you are driving to Disney bringing food to the parks is really easy since you can buy all the food ahead of time. If you are flying you can acquire groceries once you arrive. Either way, you are going to want ways to pack your lunches and dinner for the parks.
Cooler/Lunch Boxes– Personally I have a Disney themed lunch box that I got on Amazon. I then picked up a Disney sandwich holder and snack container from the Dollar Tree. I carry that on solo days. On days where there are more people, my family has a larger soft sided cooler that we store in the lockers at Disney.
Plastic Storage Baggies– Since most resorts (Disney and off-property ones) have fridges you can easily bring lunch meat and other sandwich making ingredients to your resort. Assemble the sandwiches at the beginning of the day and place in lunch box. Get baggies in assorted sizes, since they have many many uses at Walt Disney World.
Plastic Storage Containers– Buy cheap Dollar Tree ones packed in your luggage and then toss before you leave to have more room for souvenirs.
Hand Sanitizer/ Baby Wipes– These make clean up easy!
Travel Dish Soap/Sponge – Makes washing up the plastic containers easy.
How to Get Groceries to Your Disney Resort
Uber/ Lyft to Walmart, Target, or Publix– This is one of the most budget-friendly options. It may take a little bit of time but the savings are worth it.
Use Garden Grocer- Garden Grocer is a grocery delivery service. The food items are a little pricier but they have excellent customer service.
Use Shipt Grocery Delivery Service – Shipt is a membership-based ($99/year) grocery marketplace that delivers fresh foods, household essentials, and even alcohol (in select areas) from local stores. Orders over $35 have no delivery fee. This is a good choice if you want a grocery delivery service all the time. Check to see if your area is serviced. I did confirm that they do deliver to Disney resorts.
Amazon Prime Pantry – If you have Amazon Prime you can get a delivery to your resort during your vacation.
Do you bring food into the Disney Parks? What are your tips and ideas? Let me know in the comments below!