Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bringing Your Own Food to Walt Disney World Parks

I am the mom who tries to save as much money as possible when it comes to my Walt Disney World vacations.  I would rather go more often and cheaper than spend a lot of money and go less frequently.  One of the ways I've been able to save money in the past is by bringing my own food into the parks.

Many people I talk to don't even realize this is an option.  We usually eat breakfast in the room, pack snacks and foods for lunch or dinner and eat the last meal at a restaurant in the parks.  Some of the foods we bring are peanut butter crackers, pringles chips (they don't get squished in the containers they are packaged in), tuna fish pouches, individual peanut butter cups and jelly packets along with bread and a plastic knife, trail mix, granola bars, gummies, goldfish crackers, water bottles, juice boxes and whatever else we find that won't get squished or go bad in a backpack!

There are however a few rules and some suggestions for bringing your own food.
1) Disney parks do NOT allow glass containers or alcohol.  Baby food is an exception.
2) You can not bring in a container larger than 24″ x 15″ x 18″.  Don't bring a box, bag or cooler larger than this.  You also can't have wheels on anything other than a stroller or wheelchair.  So, no wagons or rolling coolers.  

3) A soft sided cooler is the best bet for carrying food items.  You can rent a locker at the front of each park to store it until meal time.  
4) Use the microwaves in the baby care centers if you need to heat up things.  Don't however monopolize the microwaves to heat each person's food in your party individually.  These microwaves are for babies to get bottles and food warmed!
5) Find a nice bench or a table at a quick service restaurant* to enjoy your snacks and meals.  But remember to clean up after yourself!
     *After discussion on FaceBook, I'm adding to this tip.  If the restaurant is busy, don't take up a table when you aren't purchasing from that restaurant.  Consider sitting at a quick service table only during non peak dining times.  These tables should be reserved for guests who paid for the food from that restaurant.  If a cast member asks you to leave the table because you did not purchase food from that restaurant, do so in a nice way!  Let guests who have paid for their food use those tables.  There are plenty of other areas in the parks to enjoy your picnic food!

What tips or suggestions do you have for bringing your own food into the parks?


  1. We've been lucking into free dining on our last several trips, so I almost forget the days of carrying food into the parks. But, it's truly a great money-saver. Good tips!

    1. I know! The past 2 trips we've had free dining. On another group trip we had meal vouchers. it's been a while for me too.

  2. We always pack a cooler in our luggage and plenty of zip lock freezer bags for ice. We also order from the Garden Grocer and pack sandwiches, fruit, etc for lunch. The kids love it and get to eat the food they like (for breakfast and lunch). We have a picnic lunch everyday at the parks whenever they get hungry and no waiting in line and they don't have to eat the same 'park food' everyday. It's GREAT. Definitely bring your own :)

    1. That's a great idea for ice in freezer bags! Garden Grocer is a great resource in WDW!

  3. One thing my family does is pack a cooler and leave it in the car. Eating in the parking lot is calm and peaceful. Our seats in the van fold back into a "tailgate" bench and everyone is comfortable.

  4. I love this idea Harry! We will be taking our van on our next trip. We may try a picnic lunch one day! :)