No matter how many stars you wish on there’s no way around it- a Disney vacation isn’t cheap. There’s a cost for all of that magic and pixie dust so finding little ways to save a few bucks is helpful. So you may be wondering, can you bring food into Disney World? Because of course, one way to keep expenses down for your trip is by bringing outside food and drinks into the parks. Yay for saving money (or if you’re like me) yay for more Mickey ears!
Monetary, dietary, religious, there’s a myriad of reasons for bringing food into the parks. While Disney goes above and beyond in accommodating dietary needs, packing food is advantageous for those with nutritional restrictions. Plus, no booking ADR’s or balancing trays of hot dogs at Casey’s.
Wait but can you take food into Disney World parks? Short answer- yes. Before you load up the Yeti with snacks and stroll on down Main Street, there’s a little more you need to know. Pull up some Hub Grass and read on for all of the Do’s and Don’ts of bringing food in Disney World.
Pack Compliant Food
What kind of food can you bring into Disney World parks? Anything you want! Well with a few exceptions. Glass containers are not allowed. However, baby food jars are permissible. Make sure to pack items in plastic containers or bottles.
Cokes bottles are fine. Beer bottles are not. First off, the glass thing but also carrying alcohol into the parks isn’t acceptable. On a recent trip to Epcot, I saw a woman cause a scene when security confiscated her mini bottle of champagne. But you can avoid this because you the know rules and knowledge is power. Now you have an excuse to enjoy a margarita in Mexico instead!
Best Food Bets
The Disney World website explicitly notes “snacks and food that do not require heating” are allowed. So please don’t inundate Cast Members with requests to use a microwave, they can’t nuke your food for you (health code and all). There are guest accessible microwaves in the Baby Centers, but their purpose is heating up formula and things for babies, not tv dinners. Pop over to a nearby resort where microwaves are available in the Quick Service area if you’re in need of a microwave for your meal.
Likewise, fridges are only available for medical needs. Keep this in mind when packing. Florida heat can be brutal. That chicken salad may not be as appealing by dinner time. Best to bring non-perishable, low prep foods. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, trail mix, protein bars, fruit, crackers, are all solid options.
Keeping Food Cool
If you have food items that need to be kept fresh, stash some freezer packs with the food. Also, freeze beverages. They’ll stay chilly and double as freezer packs. Or go classic with a cooler and ice set up. Hit up your resort’s ice machine on your way to the bus stop for a top off.
While not at a park, use the in-room fridge to keep items cold. Most hotels offer this amenity. If you’re staying at a Disney resort, you automatically have a fridge in your room. Note that unless you’re staying DVC, Disney fridges often don’t have freezers.
Make Sure You Have the Right Bag
The best bet for transporting food– insulated bags with soft sides. Coolers are undoubtedly welcome but can become cumbersome. Insulated bags are light and easy to navigate around the parks. They come in a variety of sizes, designs, and price ranges. The internet is your insulated bag oyster! A quick click on Amazon shows smaller bags starting at $15. Larger, diaper size bags are ideal for family meals. Whichever method you go with, keep in mind your gear needs to adhere to specific dimensions.
Any container entering Disney can’t exceed 24″ x 15″ x 18.” That’s about the size of a small carry on suitcase. So skip the giant beach cooler and convert a carry on into a lunch box right? Unfortunately no. Wheeled coolers, wagons, and such don’t make the cut. So no mini parade of coolers hitched to the back of an ECV. Strollers though are all good! Have your stroller pull double duty by acting as food conveyance.
Take a Break and Rent a Locker
If you don’t have a stroller, lugging around your treats all day will get tiresome. Quickly! To avoid this, rent a locker. Lockers are available at all of the parks. Current locker prices are $7 for a small and $9 for a large plus a $5 key deposit. Key return is permitted up to an hour after park closing. Lockers are a bit smaller than the maximum bag allowance.
Lockers have one or two locations per park. Consider that one planning your day. If you’ve rented a locker in World Showcase but your little one’s stomach starts rumbling in Future World, it’s going to be a long hike back to the locker. Keep some snacks handy. You’ll have more flexibility with the day and avoid anyone getting hangry.
Security Check Points
Whether you store your food in a cooler, tote, or re-purposed Disney Parks bag, it’s going through security. Placing food containers on top expedites inspection and makes re-racking a breeze. No need to stress over bringing in outside food. This policy is well known. Security’s focus is on finding illicit items not confiscating Goldfish. As long as they’re not trendy Goldfish stored in Mason Jars, you’re golden.
Animal Kingdom Bonus
The animal’s welfare is a top priority at Animal Kingdom. Maintaining their safety requires a couple of additional policies. Coolers aren’t allowed in Animal Kingdom. Opt for a backpack, collapsible insulted bag, or diaper bag instead. Coolers for medical needs are allowed but must live in a locker or placed with guest relations.
Notice those nifty biodegradable straws at Animal Kingdom? Traditional straws present a hazard to the animals and aren’t allowed. That same restriction goes for guest with outside beverages. Skip the juice boxes that day.
Disney policy is regularly updated. Avoid disrupting a park day by reading the park rules before you go. Follow these tips to ease and you’ll be enjoying a picnic in the Magic Kingdom before you know it.
Let us know in the comments what you think and if you enjoyed this article then you should check out some other articles we’ve got, like our “Disney Fastpass Secrets” article to help you get ready for your next trip.