Can You Bring Food and Drinks into Disney Parks?
Visiting theme parks can get expensive. Beyond just the ticket prices, all these other fees and costs can pop up throughout your trip. From parking to accommodations, souvenirs to theme park food, it adds up.
Theme park food and drinks are notoriously pricey, including at Disney parks. The good news? You don’t have to pay for it. You can bring food and drinks into Disney parks. However, there are a few rules about what you can and can’t bring.
That said, some Disney fans rave over the various food items you can find in Disney that you can’t find anywhere else. So, when is it a good idea to bring your own food to Disney, and when should you splurge on a treat?
Here’s everything you need to know.
Table of Contents
Food and Drinks You Can Bring to Disney Parks
- Most food
- Most drinks
That’s pretty much it. If you’re wondering if you can bring a food item or beverage to Disney, you probably can, with a few exceptions. Therefore, it’s usually easier to ask what you can’t bring to Disney than what you can bring to Disney.
Food and Drink Restrictions in Disney Parks
Here’s the lowdown on what you can’t bring into Disney parks regarding food and drinks.
- Food and drinks in glass containers (excluding small containers like baby food jars and excluding at Disney Resort hotels)
- Alcoholic beverages (luckily, you can buy alcohol throughout the parks, and you can bring alcohol to Disney Resort hotels, as well as wine to select Disney Springs restaurants)
- Food or drinks that are not for your own consumption
- Foul-smelling foods (use your best judgment)
- Food or drinks that require heating or cooling
- Coolers larger than 24x15x18 inches (and all coolers at indoor venues at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, except for team coolers)
- Ice (unless it’s packaged in small bags)
- Plastic straws (just at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, water parks, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge)
Be sure to tell security when entering the park whatever you bring.
Should You Bring Your Own Food and Drinks to Disney?
Just because you can do something doesn’t always mean that you should. So, should you pack up the cooler with reusable ice packs and toss in some sandwiches for your family’s big day at Disney? There are pros and cons to both sides.
Pros for bringing your own food and drinks to Disney
You’ll save money.
Saving money is the primary reason you might bring your own food and drinks to Disney. While you can find more “budget” options for dining in Disney’s parks, you won’t find genuinely cheap options — at least not affordable compared to what you could bring from home. If you’re trying to see Disney on a budget, consider bringing your own food and drinks.
You’ll be able to adhere to strict diets easily.
While Disney park restaurants are pretty good at catering to different diets, if you have some allergies that are a bit more niche or you’re following specific diets that make dining out just tricky, you may find eating at Disney restaurants is still a headache.
Bring your food and eat foods you know you can have prepared in environments that you know are safe. You’ll enjoy a less stressful trip overall as a result.
No more waiting in lines.
Sometimes, your child needs a snack pronto, or there’ll definitely be a meltdown. Or, maybe your blood sugar is low. It would help if you had something to balance you out before you collapse in the Florida sun. In such situations, the last place you want to be is waiting in a long line.
Like everything in a theme park, Disney’s restaurant options often have lines. Those lines are plain annoying. Plus, the more time you spend in lines, the less time you spend genuinely enjoying the parks.
Cons of bringing your own food and drinks to Disney
You’re going to be missing out on some great dining options.
Missing out on great dining options is the biggest con. You’re simply going to be missing out. No one likes to feel left out of the fun when they’re at the most magical place on Earth. If you genuinely want to live the full Disney experience during your trip to the parks, pay for the whole experience — dining, drinks, and all.
You’re going to have to carry it all.
Traveling with kiddos comes with a lot of baggage. Do you want to add a lunch box (or even multiple lunch boxes), plus a bevy of water bottles and snack packs to the load? If you already need help getting your entire crew from Point A to Point B with all the stuff you must carry, you might not want to add even more.
Disney offers lockers throughout the park to rent for the day and stow more oversized items, such as a small cooler. However, these locker rentals do come with a fee.
You could likewise leave your food or a large cooler in your car and return to it when you need a snack or want to eat lunch. However, consider that (a) you’ll need a car and (b) that can add up to a lot of walking.
You’ll have to do some food prep.
Whether you get groceries delivered to your Disney Resorts guest room or go out to the grocery store and pick up a haul, you’ll have to do some extra work to get those food items from grocery bag to picnic-ready in the parks. Do you want to spend your vacation time putting together sandwiches, doling out trail mix into individual baggies, or cutting up fruit for a mid-morning snack? It’s something to think about.
Tips for Bringing Your Own Food and Drinks to Disney
If you do decide to bring your own food and drinks to Disney, here are a few tips to make the process easy and enjoyable.
Consider bringing food and drinks for some meals, not others.
You can save money and still enjoy the occasional Mickey Mouse-themed meal. Consider skipping dining at Disney for breakfast and lunch. Nosh your way through your packed snacks, then splurge on dinner at the parks. It’s an excellent way to balance saving some of your travel budget and still experiencing some of the best the parks offer.
Pack empty, reusable water bottles.
Don’t weigh down the fam by stuffing store-bought plastic water bottles into every free bag or backpack. Instead, pack empty, reusable water bottles and wait to fill them up until you’re at the park. There are plenty of places to do so.
Take advantage of Disney Resorts’ grocery services.
If you’re flying into Orlando, for example, and going straight to your Disney resort and not renting a car for your trip, then actually getting food to take to the parks might seem a little tricky. You can’t exactly bring stuff from home. You also likely don’t want to spend money on a rideshare to and from a nearby grocery store.
Luckily, several grocery delivery providers, like Instacart, offer services to Disney Resort properties for a minimal fee. You can do all your shopping from your phone. Buy what you need for the trip once you’ve arrived.
Keep the heat in mind.
Whether at Disneyland or Disney World, you’ll want to consider the weather as you plan your snacks and meals. If you’re visiting Disney World in Orlando in mid-July, you’ll need to consider foods that will withstand that heat, especially since Disney doesn’t allow loose ice in coolers.
Featured Image: Phil Dengler / The Vacationer
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