Select Page

Hello fellow Disney Vacationers!! Got some great info for you this morning!!

Many people don’t realize that its “legal” to bring your own lunch into Disney World. It is! There ARE some regulations though:

~For the Theme Parks

1. No full sized coolers, with our without wheels.

2. Coolers smaller than 24″L x 15″W x 18″H (the size of the large lockers) are allowed.

3. No GLASS or alcohol are permitted in the park.

4. If you’re going to Animal Kingdom you can’t bring in straws. Including the tiny ones on capri sun/apple juice boxes. They have JUST RECENTLY started making paper straws that you can get in the park. You can read about that here.

The cooler can be THIS big folks! However, it would be a pain in the booty to tote around with you. But if you have THIS many people to feed and you have THIS much food then you could rent yourself a locker and put it in there when you come into the park.

ALL of the parks have lockers and locker rentals are only $7.00 for the day (plus a $5.00 key-deposit that gets returned to you if you remember to bring back the key). You only have to pay $7.00 for the day REGARDLESS of whether you park hop. You just return the key and they give you a ticket to take with you for locker rental at the next park.

Locker rental is also good if you have a tendency to buy heavy souvenirs and are not staying on property (IF you are staying on property you can have ALL your souvenirs sent to your room at no cost to you.) * You can also have all your souvenirs sent to the front of the park and pick them up as you leave the park. You do not have to be “on property” in order to have that done.*

However the even the LARGE lockers are not as BIG as the cooler dimensions they allow you to have. So make sure your cooler is going to fit in the locker if its a big one. Lockers are 17″H x 12″W x 22″ Deep. A small locker is only $5.00 for the day and its size is 11″H x 9″W x 16″ Deep, but most soft side coolers wont even fit in there.

Still, having a locker could be a huge advantage for you space wise. You could put a soft-side cooler in there (like those I talk about below) AND a change of clothes for after you get WET on Splash Mt. or Kali River Rapids.

For the Water Parks:
Coolers are permitted, including those with wheels
Neither glass or alcoholic beverages are allowed
No cooler storage is available
Wagons are not permitted

There are also lockers at the Water Parks up for rental.

Now, let’s talk about some of the potential coolers you could bring. I HIGHLY suggest that you take a soft-side cooler instead of a hard b/c a) its easier to stuff in the bottom of a stroller/locker and b) I’ve seen time and time again that bringing a soft-side cooler gets less hassle at the bags check at the gate.

Disney, OF COURSE, has its own cooler backpack. This is a great idea for portability reasons. It’s $24.50 at the http://www.disneystore.com/ as we speak. It’s 13.5 x 5.5 x 8.75 so it could hold a lunch pretty easy. It’s a little more expensive than the others I mention, but it DOES have the Disney Logo on it and its got TWO great shoulder straps.
Linens and Things cooler $17.00. It could hold up to 24 cans so you can imagine it has lots of room. Plenty to pack a lunch for your family. Its dimensions are 12 x 9.5 x 11. And Disney says you can bring a cooler much larger. So you could get away with two of them easy peasy.

We have a Munchkin bottle cooler that I bought at Target for $9.99.

I was able to get ALL the following food in that one cooler. That’s two bottles of water, 3 capri suns, 2 pudding cups, an apple, some sugar snap peas, 4 bags of goldfish, 4 sandwiches & 4 granola bars. That would feed my family of 4 no problem. Then you can spring for mickey mouse ears ice cream b/c you won’t have dropped any money for lunch.

If you have a kitchen or kitchenette that has a fridge, specifically has a freezer, a great tip is to freeze your water bottles overnight and then let them “melt” in your cooler as the day goes on. That way you have really cold water all day.

IMPORTANT:

Try to be discrete when you are brown bagging at Disney. Its not against the rules, obviously, but I wouldn’t suggest going and sitting down at a table at Cosmic Ray’s and eating your homemade lunch. Just try to avoid specified dining locations. We have seen people eating their lunch on the train which I think is just brilliant. The wind keeps you cooled off and you get a great view of Disney World as you chill some and unwind with your *FREE* lunch.

This is also a great idea if you rarely feed your kids fast food. The last thing you want is a child at Disney World with the runs b/c you’re putting lots of fat & grease into their body they’re not accustomed to eating.

BUT WHAT IF I’M FLYING AND NOT DRIVING???

A lot of people don’t know that you can have groceries delivered to your resort room. Now, obviously, you need at least a kitchenette with a fridge so things don’t go bad.

If you DON’T have a fridge it’s a good idea to pack a few things in your suitcase like Jif to Go .

Your resort will usually have some dry goods in the gift shop that you can pick up there and use. Jelly is a condiment so its FREE and almost everywhere. So if you just buy some bread your kids can have PB&J at will.

So there’s a few tips that could save you A LOT of money eating lunch at Disney World. A counter service meal for lunch (assuming not on Disney dining) would cost the average family of 4 around $27.00 (that’s with two “parent” meals and two “kids” meals & two drinks (for the adults, kids meals come with drinks).
I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about my favorite Counter Service Places at Magic Kingdom.
Have a Magical Day!!

Kristin is the founder and co-director of Tips from the Disney Diva & Devos. She started writing the blog when she realized there were many people going to Disney World and having a miserable time, and it was all from a lack of planning. She knew that she could help and has assembled the finest writing team she can find !