Can You Bring Lunch, Outside Drinks, and Bottled Water to Disney World?
Why pack a cooler for your day at the Disney parks?
- You can save a ton of money
- You can save time and not have to worry about adjusting your schedule to reservations
- You can better accommodate your family’s dietary preferences
Packing a cooler doesn’t mean that you don’t get to enjoy Disney treats. Some people like to pack their own meals, then splurge on Disney snacks. Others like to pack just their lunch and use the money they saved for dinner at nice table service dinner.
After reading this post, you’ll know what coolers are allowed at Disney World, how to get a locker to store your cooler, what kinds of food to pack, and where to enjoy your picnic at the parks.
What Size Cooler Can I Bring into Disney World?
Coolers can not be any bigger than 24 x 15 x 18 inches.
The coolers below all meet these size requirement and have received excellent reviews:
SEEHONO Insulated Cooler BackpackDisney Mickey Mouse Insulated CoolerLUNCIA Collapsible Large Cooler Bag
Be sure to read my post on the best soft coolers and backpacks for Disney World.
In addition to there being a size limit for coolers, there’s also a rule against bringing wagons inside the parks, so you can’t use one to haul your cooler around in.
However, if you have kids young enough to need a stroller, that can be a good way to transport your cooler.
You can also rent a locker to store your cooler in.
How Much is it to Rent a Locker at Disney World?
Each Disney theme park and water park has keyless lockers for a one-time charge. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Locker Pricing at Disney Theme Parks
- Small (12″ x 10″ x 17″)
$10 per day
- Large (15.5″ x 13″ x 17″)
$12 per day
- Jumbo (17″ x 22″ x 26″ — Magic Kingdom park and Epcot only)
$15 per day
Locker Pricing at Disney Water Parks
- Standard (12.5″ x 10″ x 17″)
$10 per day
- Large (15.5″ x 13″ x 17″)
$15 per day
You can visit this site for more information on renting lockers at Disney World.
What Should I Pack for Lunch in My Cooler?
Here are just a few ideas to get you going:
- Carrots & hummus
- Ham or turkey & cheese sandwiches
- Tuna, chicken, or egg salad sandwiches
- Peanut butter & something sandwiches (jelly, raisins, honey, etc)
- Cheese & crackers
- Granola bars
- Apple slices
- Grapes, bananas, oranges, etc
- Cucumber slices
- String cheese
- Fruit snacks
- Bagels & cream cheese
- Beef jerky
- Juice boxes, water bottles, and/or soda
Tips for Packing a Disney World Cooler
- Assemble your sandwiches when you’re ready to eat so they don’t get soggy
- Bring sandwich bread in boxes so it won’t get smashed
- In the morning, fill plastic bags with ice from your hotel and place them in your cooler (loose or dry ice is not allowed)
- Another option is to just buy these thin ice packs
- A third option is to freeze a few water bottles, then put them in the cooler. They’ll serve double-duty as ice packs and a nice cold drink
- Use mayo and mustard packs from quick service restaurants in the parks (I think that’s probably ethical, so long as you’re not grabbing handfuls of them)
- Seal your food in gallon sized ziploc bags, just in case your ice bags leak
- Don’t forget to pack plenty of utensils, wet wipes, and napkins
- Plastic straws are not allowed in Animal Kingdom, so if straws are important to you, you might want to get these reusable metal straws
Can you bring outside drinks into Disney World?
Sure, as long as they:
Can I bring metal water bottles into Disney World?
Yes, water bottles are fine as long they’re not glass.
Can you bring a hydro flask into Disney?
Yes, those are fine too.
Can you refill water bottles at Disney World?
Did you that there were water bottle refilling stations at all four parks? Because I didn’t until I started writing this post.
According to Touring Plans, here are the locations for the refilling stations at each park:
- Magic Kingdom — Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
- Epcot — Skyliner station, restrooms next to pop-up Starbucks, Odyssey building across from restrooms
- Animal Kingdom — Flight of Passage queue and Na’vi River Journey queue (and no, you can’t use them unless you’re in the queue)
- Hollywood Studios — near the exit to Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run and near the restrooms at Galaxy’s Edge
You can also ask for a cup of water at most quick service restaurants.
(Side Note: I really hate to have to bring this up, but there has been some talk about people licking the water fountains and bottle refillers, so … well, just wanted to make you aware.)
Places to Enjoy a Picnic Lunch at the Disney Parks
Now that you’ve got some food in your cooler, where do you sit down and eat it?
Here are just a few possible spots:
- Grass hub in Magic Kingdom
The artificial grass area right in front of the Cinderella Castle is a great place for a picnic, especially if you enjoy people watching.
- Flame Tree BBQ
One of the reasons I love Flame Tree BBQ in Animal Kingdom is because of its pretty outdoor seating which, amazingly, is almost never full.
- Tom Sawyer’s Island
Located in Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland, I think this is one of the most forgotten attractions at Disney World. Take a raft and escape the “theme park feel” while your kids get to run around and explore before or after your picnic.
- Africa entrance
There is a little seating area in Animal Kingdom just to the right as you enter Africa. Not only are there misting fans here, but you can also hear the African dancers perform.
- Japan and UK Pavilions
Both the Japan & UK Pavilions in Epcot have garden areas with some benches, perfect for relaxing with a picnic lunch.
- Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner
Located in Hollywood Studios at the end of Hollywood Boulevard, this is another quick service restaurant that almost always has available seating. You have a nice view of the water here, which is always a plus in my book.
Have you ever brought a cooler to Disney World?
Now it’s your turn.
- Do you have any food suggestions I haven’t mentioned?
- What are your favorite spots for a picnic lunch at Disney World?
- Are there any cooler-packing mistakes to avoid?
Let us know below in the comments!