Do you find yourself longing for the delicious food offerings at Walt Disney World Resort, but want to stick to a tighter budget? Maybe you have some picky eaters who prefer to stick to their own comforts from home? Then there are the times that if you see another french fry you’re just going to lose it, am I right? If any of these scenarios apply to you or your family, then maybe bringing your own food in to Walt Disney World’s Theme Parks might be a good option for you. Yep, I said bring in your own food! Many times when I am assisting friends and clients who are planning their Disney vacations, they do not realize that this is even an option!
My family and I frequently bring our own snacks, drinks, and occasionally our lunches with us into the parks. We bring a soft cooler with us on our trips and use that to pack our food and easily tote it along with us. Some quick and easy favorites that we like to pack are: cheese sandwiches, peanut butter* and jelly sandwiches, Uncrustables, fruit–apples, strawberries, grapes, and bananas, fruit cups, protein bars, snack crackers, trail mix, fruit snacks, granola bars, juice boxes, and water bottles. We also put ice from the vending machine in our cooler, so that our cold items stay cold. Yes, we bring a lot of food with us on our trips, and we’re able to do that because we drive down. However, for those flying in, packing your food is still an option for you! There are many grocery delivery services that have popped up in the Orlando area. DIStracted staff writer and editor, Lisa M. recommends Garden Grocer. You can read more about her personal experience with this service here. Order what you will need ahead of time, and the grocery service will deliver your items directly to your resort. Walt Disney World Resort rooms include access to a small refrigerator, so you can even order items that need to be kept cold.
DIStracted Tip: Glass bottles (except for baby food jars) and alcoholic beverages are not allowed to be brought in to any theme parks by Guests. In addition, for animal safety precautions, drinking straws are not permitted at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
DIStracted Tip: *Guests with food allergies frequent the Walt Disney World Resort regularly because Walt Disney World is so accommodating to Guests with special dietary needs. Please be cautious if you do decide to bring in peanut butter, and wipe your area down thoroughly when you are finished.
According to the Walt Disney World Resort Frequently Asked Questions Website, Guests may bring coolers as long as they are not “larger than 24″ (61 cm) long x 15″ (38 cm) wide x 18″ (46 cm) high.” That is plenty of room to pack a meal or two along with snacks for your family for the day. You’re probably thinking, “Great, but like I want to lug a big cooler of food around with me all day…” Well, there is a solution for that! Each theme park has a locker rental area where you can store your personal items you don’t wish to carry with you through the park. Small lockers rent for $8 per day, plus a $5 key deposit that is returned to you when you return your key at the end of the day. Large lockers rent for $10 per day, plus a $5 key deposit. When you enter the park, you can rent your locker, store your cooler or bag, and then return to pick it up when you’re ready to eat. We have done this with our cooler before as well as our backpack, jackets and changes of clothes, and found it very convenient. For more information on locker rentals, check out this Magical DIStractions article by Lisa M.
There are many nice, shaded areas for you to enjoy your picnic lunch throughout the various Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks. One of my favorite areas to sit and eat is outside of the Electric Umbrella Restaurant at Epcot. On a nice day, you can sit outside and enjoy the sights of the Fountain of Nations while watching Guests stroll by. Another favorite spot, although frequently crowded, is outside of Casey’s Corner in Magic Kingdom. If you time it right, you may be able to catch Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire on Cinderella Castle Stage or the Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party while you’re eating!
While packing your own lunch could be a big advantage for your family, I must point out that it may cause a delay in entering the park due to recent heightened security at Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks. Disney security thoroughly checks through each bag, and the more bags you bring in, the more items Security has to search through. However, I think trading a little extra time getting in for added security is worth it to me.
DIStracted Tip: My NUMBER ONE TIP to anyone visiting a Walt Disney World Theme Park is to arrive well before the park opens for the day. Not only do you beat the heat and the crowds, but security processes Guests through the bag check and metal detectors before the park opens. You won’t be missing out on any park time waiting to be screened by security.
I hope this tip helps you plan for your future visits to Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks! For more tips and information, then please take a moment to sign up for the Magical DIStractions newsletter, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ so you can be kept up-to-date on all the latest news and articles! Our YouTube channel features videos taken by our team and new videos will be added soon. If you want to chat with the Magical DIStractions team, join our Magical DIStractions group on Facebook! Believe me when I say, you don’t want to miss a single thing!