Top 5 Tips for Bringing Food to Disney

There is a wide variety of excellent dining options offered across Disney property, from well-known table-service restaurants to favorite quick-service options. However, the cost of food at Disney can quickly add up to be a significant expense during your Disney vacation.

Some guests are surprised to know that you are allowed to bring your own food into the parks as long as you follow Disney’s guidelines. Bringing your own food can be helpful in a variety of areas, whether you’re looking to save money on full meals at Disney or packing a healthy snack to tide you over until your next meal.

We will cover our top 5 tips for bringing food to the Disney parks for everything you need to know!

1) Be aware of Disney’s rules for bringing food into the parks. You’re allowed to pack snacks for the parks and non-alcoholic beverages as long as they are not in glass containers (the exception to this rule is small containers like baby food jars). The food you pack should also not require any heating, reheating, processing, refrigeration, or temperature control, and should not have pungent odors.

This means that anything you can take out and eat without any additional preparation or heating, including items like sandwiches or snacks that you can easily pack in a cooler, would work well. You’ll want to make sure that whatever you bring will store well for the duration of the time you’ll be carrying it around or storing it in your locker. One of our top tips to pass the time while waiting for a parade to start is packing a picnic that you’ll take out and eat as you wait!

2. Bring a cooler to keep items cold. You are allowed to bring coolers to the parks as long as they are smaller than 24" long x 15" wide x 18" high (61 cm x 38 cm x 46 cm) and do not contain loose or dry ice. You can see our guide to Disney’s bag policy for everything you need to know about what you can and can’t bring with you into the parks. Instead of loose or dry ice, Disney recommends utilizing reusable ice packs to keep your food cold. Especially if you are planning on eating your food during the afternoon, an ice pack should do the trick in keeping your food cold until it’s time to eat.

3. Pack snacks to tide you over between meals. While you can pack for meals to eat during the day, you can also bring an assortment of smaller items to help keep you going between meals. This can be anything from a few breakfast items that you’ll eat on the go (like muffins or pastries) so you’ll have ample time to enjoy the shorter lines at rope drop to healthy snack items you can enjoy to stay energized until your next big meal.

There are several options for snacks you can bring, including items like string cheese, yogurt tubes, pretzels, dried fruit, nuts or trail mix, etc. You won’t want to overpack these snacks, but it’s always a good idea to include a few items that are lightweight and will provide you with the energy you need. For more ideas for what you should pack in your Disney bag, see our guides to packing for Disneyland and packing for Disney World for everything you need to know.

4. Utilize the picnic area outside of Disneyland. A secret spot at the Disneyland Resort that some guests may not know about is the picnic area located just west of the main entrance of Disneyland Park. This outdoor area has trees and plenty of tables to sit at and is adjacent to a set of lockers where you can store your food, utensils, and picnic gear until you’re ready to eat. Its convenient location tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the parks also makes it a great spot to take a midday break and reset for a little bit. If you are planning on bringing your own food to Disneyland, don’t forget to take advantage of this complimentary picnic area.

5. Buy snack items ahead of time or get groceries delivered. One option is to buy any nonperishable snacks you’ll bring ahead of time at locations like Sam’s Club, Costco, or BJs. However, if it will prove challenging to travel with these or if you are planning on buying some perishable items, you can also utilize delivery services like Amazon Prime Delivery or Instacart that will enable you to order your items and have them delivered to bell services at your hotel. See our best tips for grocery delivery at Walt Disney World and grocery delivery at Disneyland. If you’d prefer to get your snack items yourself, you can drive or take an Uber or Lyft to the nearest store to quickly pick up some items once you arrive.

Bringing your own food to Disney is one of the best ways to save money that you can put towards other areas of your trip, like a special souvenir that you’ll keep forever. For everything you need to know about bringing your own food to Disney, be sure to see our full guide to bringing food to Disneyland.

At Mickey Visit, we share the most important tips for planning your trips to Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Universal, and beyond. Each week, we’ll share some of our top tips here on Laughing Place.

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Gavin Doyle
Gavin Doyle is the founder of and the best-selling author of “Disneyland Secrets”. Mickey Visit has been featured by Travel+Leisure, ABC, the LA Times, OC Register, Forbes, and more and reaches millions of readers planning Disney vacations each month. Over 100K subscribers receive their free email planning newsletter.