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by Wishes Diva

When my husband and I go to Walt Disney World we like to save a little extra money by packing lunches and taking them in to the parks with us. One of the many wonderful things about Disney parks is that they will let you bring in food and drinks!

There are of course a few exceptions: alcohol, glass containers (minus baby food jars) and coolers larger than 24″ long x 15″ high x 18″ wide are all prohibited items. Also note that drinking straws are not allowed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. Read more about prohibited items on the Walt Disney World website.

Throughout the trips we have taken, we learned a few tricks along the way and now I am passing them on to our wonderful Diva readers!

Packing Lunch at DisneyTip 1: Plan your lunches at the beginning of the trip. This could mean several things for you and your family. For us, it means we go grocery shopping at home for most things because we typically drive to Orlando. We get everything we need for the whole trip for lunch except for any produce. Then when we get to Orlando we will make a quick stop at a local grocery store to get any produce we might want. If you fly, it might mean using a rental car to go get groceries, or taking an Uber or Taxi. You can also utilize online services such as Amazon Prime and Garden Grocer that will delivery food to the resort for you.

Tip 2: Be sure to pack the non-food essentials for lunches. Being on vacation means that you won’t have the luxury of packing in your own kitchen. Things like lunch boxes, ziploc bags and silverware/utensils are all essentials that we are sure to bring from home. (Note: if you are flying I would definitely suggest that you do not pack any knives in your bags! You can always pick up plastic silverware from your resort food court.) Also if you are bringing utensils from home you may want to bring a small bottle of dish soap to wash them in the sink in your room.

7 Tips for Packing Lunch at WDW

Locker area at Magic Kingdom

Tip 3: Utilize the lockers. Each park has lockers that you can rent for the day. The locations vary but most of them tend to be at the front of the parks near the entrance. There are typically two locker sizes: small and large. For two of us, a small locker is plenty of space. The small lockers at WDW are $12 a day and the large are $14 a day. However in both cases when you return your key, you will get $5 back. This can be super helpful if you do not want to carry around a heavy backpack full of lunches around the parks all morning. Read more about locker locations on the Disney Parks website.

Tip 4: Plan your morning around lunch time. We always try to plan our morning so that by the time lunch hits, we have made our way back somewhat close to the locker location. This saves us a lot of walking and back tracking. Most of the parks are easy to manage returning back to the locker location. In my opinion, the hardest one is Animal Kingdom because the front of the park is so far away from everything else. Other than that, a quick 5 minute walk and you’re there!

Tips for Packing Lunch at WDW

Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant at Magic Kingdom

Tip 5: Find a place to eat your lunch. There are several options for this depending on what your family wants and needs. My husband and I are perfectly content sitting on a bench, curb, or up against a wall in the shade eating our lunch. That makes this part really easy for us because we have lots of options. If you want a table, or somewhere to set things on to eat then it becomes a little more complicated. However there are still options for this at each park. There are many restaurants that have picnic table seating that you can take advantage of.  I do not suggest you take a table at a restaurant without purchasing something. My husband and I will typically purchase a drink to share at a restaurant to go with our packed lunch if we intend on sitting at a restaurant. At Disneyland, there are designated picinic areas outside the entrance to the parks that are perfect for having lunch too.

Tips for Packing Lunches at WDW

Pizzafari Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

Here are the places we typically sit for each park at WDW:
Magic Kingdom: Somewhere between The Plaza Restaurant and Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant
Hollywood Studios: Along Sunset Boulevard near Fairfax Fare and Rosie’s All American Cafe
Epcot: Electric Umbrella or if you are headed to World Showcase next, the plaza in the back of the United Kingdom area just past the Sportsman’s Shoppe
Animal Kingdom: Depends on where you are headed after lunch. We usually try to find a bench along the Oasis/Discovery Island area or we go to Pizzafari

Tip 6: Dont’t forget to return your key. We usually do not need the locker after we have eaten lunch. We always take a backpack in so we will fold up our empty lunch boxes and take them with us. Because of that we usually return our key after we retrieve our lunches from the locker. If your family wants to use the locker all day, by all means! Just don’t forget to get your belongings out and return the key when you are ready to go!

Tip 7: The locker fee you pay each day is transferable to other locations. If you are planning on park hopping at WDW, your locker rental can be transferred from park to park. Be sure to let the Cast Member know that you will be visiting another park on the same day and they will tell you any important information you may need to know!

Hopefully these tips can help your family save some time and money in the parks by packing lunches! Just be sure to do your planning before your trip so you have everything you need! Another tip to save you money would be to book your trip with your Diva Travel Agent, Patricia from All for Dreams Travel, click here to request a quote.