When traveling with your family, you need to think about food. After all, it’s hard to enjoy even the most breathtaking of sights when you’re starving.
It’s important to access dining areas wherever you’re visiting, but you might also prefer to bring your food. Many people vacationing at Disney World in Florida usually wonder whether they can bring food.
The answer is yes!
You can bring food from outside and have it around the water parks, theme parks, resorts, and wherever else you want to go sightseeing in Disney World. But, there are some regulations you need to be aware of to avoid having your snacks confiscated. Read on.
You might also want to check out our guide to the things you can and can’t bring into Walt Disney World.
- What Food Is Allowed in Disney World?
- Other Food Restrictions in Disney World
- Do You Need to Bring Food to Disney World?
- Foods to Bring to Disney World
- What are the Dining Options Available at Disney World?
- What are the Benefits of Bringing Food to Disney World?
What Food Is Allowed in Disney World?
Now, while you’re allowed to bring food into Disney World, some food items are prohibited. The food you carry should be for self-consumption. You can only bring food that doesn’t need refrigeration, heating, or processing before eating.
This means you’ll have to leave your perishables behind and only bring food you can carry in containers or a cooler. Pungent food is also not allowed.
You cannot bring alcoholic beverages with you to Disney World. All drinks carried should be nonalcoholic. But, you can buy alcohol from the shops and restaurants within the resort.
We encourage you to bring a reusable water bottle. Summers can be quite hot, and your family will need lots of water to stay hydrated while you walk from one attraction to the next. Bringing a water bottle means you can get drinking water from any quick-service restaurant around the resort for free.
There are also plenty of water taps around the place, so you won’t have to spend money buying bottled water, and you won’t have to carry some from your hotel either.
Other Food Restrictions in Disney World
Other than limiting what you can bring into the resort, Disney World also has regulations regarding how you carry your food and beverages. One, glass containers are not allowed. So avoid packing your food in glass; otherwise, security at the entrance will confiscate it.
Two, there’s a limitation on the size of cooler you can carry. Your cooler should not exceed 18’’x25’’x37″. So when planning what food to bring along, think about how much you can fit into a cooler that size. You’re also not allowed to bring loose ice, so use ice packs in the cooler.
If you’re bringing a lot of food that’s a bother to carry along, you can rent a storage locker for the day at several places in the resort. Small storage lockers cost $10 per day, while a large one is available for $12. At Epcot and Magic Kingdom, you can rent a Jumbo storage locker for $15 a day.
Using these lockers saves you from the hassle of carrying heavy luggage containing food when you should be enjoying the attractions. When it’s time to sit down and have a meal, you can get your food from the locker.
Do You Need to Bring Food to Disney World?
Bringing food to Disney World is a matter of personal choice. Many dining options at Disney World cater to your family’s needs, so it’s easy to get something to eat even if you don’t carry food.
Bringing food to the park is just something you can do if you feel like carrying your own treats or meals. Vacationers who bring food do so to save money or time, while others want to have their favorite snacks with them.
Foods to Bring to Disney World
Fortunately, you can bring lots of foods to Disney World that your family can enjoy. Here are some excellent examples:
- Dried fruits
- Protein bars
- Beef jerky
- Soft drinks
It’s wise to pack foods that are easy to eat and won’t cause a mess. Pack them in hard plastic containers so they won’t get squashed. To save space in your luggage, pour the snacks that come in bags into the containers and carry them that way.
It’s also wise to be mindful of the high Florida temperature. To keep foods like sandwiches and soft drinks enjoyable, keep them in a well-insulated cooler.
What are the Dining Options Available at Disney World?
Bringing your food and snacks to Disney World has its benefits, but there’s no denying that dining at one of the restaurants at the parks you visit is part of the experience.
Plus, when all you’re bringing is snacks, beverages, or breakfast goodies, you’ll need to pop into one of the establishments for a proper meal at some point.
Let’s look at the different options you have when you decide to eat at Disney World, so you know what to expect.
Disney Dining Plans
Disney dining plans allow you to prepay for meals that you can have at various restaurants within the resort if you’re staying at one of the Disney hotels. The advantage of choosing this plan over paying out of pocket is that you’ll receive up to a 30% discount.
There are plans to suit every budget and preference. The Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan allows you to have two meals per day at any of the more than 100 quick-service restaurants. The next dining plan caters to two meals, one at a quick-service outlet and another as a table service meal per day.
The higher the tier of the dining plan, the more elaborate the menu offerings, and the more fancy the setting.
Quick Service Restaurants
Quick Service restaurants in Disney World are perfect for a quick meal or snack—plus, they’re the least expensive. Here, you can find classic American foods such as pizza, chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs.
Over 100 quick-service restaurants are in Disney World located in the theme parks, water parks, resorts, and hotels. On average, you can expect to spend around $12 for an adult’s meal and about $7 for a kid’s meal.
You’ll buy desserts and beverages separately. The setting here is casual, and you’ll need to order at the counter before sitting down with your food.
Table Service Restaurants
If you’re after a more elaborate meal, you’ll need to bypass the quick service locations and opt for table service restaurants. The menu in these restaurants is more comprehensive. You’ll find favorite American dishes alongside Mexican, Spanish, African, Mediterranean, and Asian cuisine.
You’ll need to make a reservation before heading to one of these restaurants. Here, you’ll sit down and have a server tend to you. Table service outlets cater to every budget, but generally, they are more costly than quick-service restaurants.
Most table service restaurants offer family-style meals, where you pay a set price and choose from various foods. This is an excellent option for large groups with varying preferences.
Head over to the Signature Dining locations if you want to splurge on a luxurious experience in Disney World. These are costlier than other options, but they’re located in enthralling areas in the resort. The dining experience is also incomparable to other offers around the resorts or parks.
An example is Cinderella’s Royal Table, found in the castle at Magic Kingdom. There’s also the California Grill, known for its impressive wine selection, and from inside, you get a great view of the Magic Kingdom.
Disney Character Dining
We cannot forget Disney character dining, a favorite of many fans. Here, your family will enjoy a Disney character meal, meet, and have photos with the characters. It goes without saying that these restaurants are popular with kids.
There are many Disney Character dining restaurants in several parks and resorts, so there’s an option for wherever you’re touring. Just remember to make a reservation in advance; otherwise, you’ll miss a chance to interact with your favorite characters.
Family-style meals are available at these restaurants, and some even sell alcoholic beverages. For individual dishes, expect to pay typically more than you would at the quick or table service restaurants.
What are the Benefits of Bringing Food to Disney World?
We’ve already mentioned that Disney World offers many dining options for your family, so why should you bother bringing your own? Here are a few benefits you’ll enjoy for bringing your food to the resort:
1. You’ll Save Time
Bringing snacks and drinks to Disney World saves you time. Disney is a resort that receives thousands of visitors daily. On any given day, there will be plenty of people seeking services at their quick service restaurants—the only ones you can go to without a reservation.
This means you should be ready to line up for a while before buying the food you want. Spending minutes waiting for food when you’re on the go with your family is not the most fun thing on vacation—especially when you have kids with you.
It’s a much better option to have snacks with you that you can eat while moving from one attraction to the next. You’ll waste no time waiting at crowded restaurants, and your family members can have access to their favorite snacks whenever they want.
2. Save Money
Planning a Disney World vacation can be a costly affair, and any opportunity to save a few bucks is welcome. You can buy whatever food items you like at the restaurants in the resort, but you’ll be spending more than you would outside Disney World. The extra dollars on each item can add up quickly when bringing along a large family.
Bringing some food items helps you cut down the spending. It might not be possible to save on all of the day’s meals like this, but you can achieve much by only packing breakfast and snacks.
With soft drinks going at an average of $4-$6 at many of the restaurants in the resort, it’s clear that you can save several dollars per head by just bringing your drinks. By the end of the day, you’ll have made substantial savings.
3. It’s Convenient If You’re on a Strict Diet
Disney World restaurants provide special diets, but it’s convenient to pack food if you’re on a stringent diet such as keto. This is, for instance, if you want to be fully aware of what ingredients go into your food, their source, and their preparation.
You’ll also avoid instances where it takes extra time to have your special meal served—having to wait longer than others is inconvenient when you have a family with you. Not to forget the situation where you might wait long to get your special dish, only to receive the wrong one, which unfortunately means more waiting.
Disney World is one of the most enjoyable destinations in the United States. The best part is that you are free to carry your own food. However, it is important to play by the rules to avoid frustrations on arrival. You might want to dine at a few memorable locations in the resort, so you don’t miss out on the full Disney World experience.
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
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