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Heading to Disneyland with your family but wondering if you can bring food into Disneyland? Maybe you are wondering if there are restrictions on bringing water into Disneyland? Wondering how to manage the food you bring in and store it? I got you covered!
Bringing food into Disneyland is one of the biggest money-saving tips, and while I definitely suggest splurging on some Disneyland dining (my favorite is a Disneyland character meal), I still love to bring in food for my family to help us save a little money. After all, the more we save, the more often we can travel, right?
Keep reading to learn the guidelines for bringing food into Disneyland, the best snacks to take into the parks, and of course, how to store the foods you bring to Disneyland so that Mom or Dad doesn’t feel like a pack mule.
Guidelines for Bringing Food Into Disneyland
First thing people ask is “Can I bring food into Disneyland?” The answer is YES!!! In fact, this is one question I answer in my post about what can you bring into Disneyland and what is banned. Disneyland allows you to bring in your own food. But there are some guidelines you need to know about.
What food and beverage items can I not take into Disneyland?
Packing food into Disneyland? Here are a few guidelines you might want to be aware of as you decide what food to take to bring into the parks.
- Glass containers (except for baby food jars) are prohibited
- You may not bring sharp knives into Disneyland (we suggest utilizing the knives provided at quick-service restaurants or bringing plastic knives as I have heard of butter knives even being turned away)
- You will not have access to microwaves or refrigerators for food
- Alcohol may not be brought into the parks
- Hard-sided, large coolers will not be allowed in the parks, but you can use the picnic area
- Coolers that pull behind you will not be allowed past security
Tips For Bringing Food Into Disneyland
Now hold up, even though you can bring food into Disneyland, you need to know a few things about bringing in food. Here are my tips for bringing food in so that you can enjoy your day, and get through Disneyland security without any issues.
How much food can I bring into Disneyland? How much should I bring?
Disneyland does not restrict how much food you can bring in. The restrictions (see above) are more about the containers and about the size of containers used to bring food into Disneyland.
Coolers and food at Disneyland
A cooler seems like a great option when going to Disneyland and taking your own food, but there are actually a lot of guidelines and restrictions with coolers and what you put in them, so let’s make sure you are aware of all the ins and outs of coolers when bringing food into the Disneyland Resort.
Disneyland states dimensions for soft-sided coolers that are allowed in the parks and you hear the term “size of a 6 pack” a lot. But I will be honest with you, this is not a hard and fast rule. Especially now that the picnic area is inside of the secured area. It isn’t as simple for Disney to restrict coolers that aren’t allowed in the park because they can still be used at the picnic area.
Tips for bringing food into Disneyland in coolers:
As I mentioned above, no coolers that roll behind you will be allowed past Disneyland security. It does not matter if these coolers are hard or soft-sided. Disneyland does not allow anything that pulls behind you within the secured area.
Hard-sided coolers, and/or large coolers (that do not roll behind you) may be brought past security, but will not be allowed in the parks themselves. You can utilize Disneyland’s Picnic Area with lockers to store these. My family really enjoys the picnic area.
“The size of a 6-pack” rule that has been out there is actually no longer listed on Disneyland’s website. They specifically say this about bags and coolers “longer than 24″ long x 15″ wide x 18″ in height are not allowed in any Theme Park.” Coolers larger than this will need to be kept in the picnic area.
If you take a cooler that is small than that into the park, but don’t want to carry it around all day, you can utilize the lockers in the parks for your cooler. Our family, however, prefers to utilize the lockers in the picnic area if we aren’t going to carry the cooler with us.
Tips for keeping food fresh in coolers or bags
So whether you bring a cooler, or just a bag of food, you might have some questions about keeping food fresh all day long. You might be shocked to learn that some of your go-to items to help keep your food fresh at Disneyland are not allowed in the parks. Check out how to bring food into Disneyland and keep it fresh all day long!
Loose ice is not allowed in Disneyland
When packing your cooler, you need to know that loose ice and dry ice is not allowed in the parks. You may bring in ice in water bottles, freeze water bottles and use them as ice, use ice packs, or bring in ice contained within ziploc bags, but loose ice in your cooler…NOPE!
This is specifically for security reasons. Security needs to be able to go through your cooler (yep, they will so this) and of course, loose ice makes this very complicated.
Most hotels, including Disneyland’s on-site hotels, may have a mini fridge, but most do not have a freezer section so be sure to bring clear ziploc bags on your Disneyland vacation to put ice in from the hotel. Once you are through security, you can empty the ice into the cooler, or get free cups of ice at quick service restaurants to put in your cooler.
If you do have the option, I prefer to utilize reusable ice packs for my cooler, but if you will be carrying your cooler, just know that it can add a lot of weight to it (as will any ice).
Avoid stale or soggy sandwiches at Disneyland
A lot of times when we take in food to have a meal at Disneyland, we do sandwiches. If you have ever done sandwiches on an outing like a theme park or water park before, you probably know the two common problems are stale bread and/or soggy sandwiches.
If you are taking food into Disneyland, it is possible to do sandwiches without having stale bread or soggy sandwiches. Here are my best tips for bringing sandwiches or the fixings into Disneyland.
- Don’t pre-make sandwiches. It may seem like a great idea to pre-make sandwiches so that you don’t have to take as much stuff into the park, but be careful. While it is okay to add in “dry items” like sandwich/deli meat or cheese, do not add your mustard, mayo, jelly, peanut butter, etc to your bread. This will make for a soggy sandwich as it sits all day.
- Avoid stale bread. Because my kids eat mostly peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, we end up taking in the fixings usually and making the sandwiches as we eat. But we still have to fight with the fact that the sun and heat in the parks can often make bread stale.
To avoid stale bread we use a bread saver (or they make brown sugar savers which are the same thing), We just get it wet and put it in near the bread so it can help keep it soft.
Bonus Tip: Try to find somewhere shaded to eat to help keep bread from going stale while eating as well.
- If you don’t want to bring in mayo or mustard, you can often find these at Disneyland’s quick service restaurants in little packets.
What about bringing water into Disneyland?
You might be wondering if Disneyland will allow you to bring in water. Most people know you can bring in unopened plastic water bottles, but are unsure if you can bring in reusable water bottles filled with water. The answer is YES!
You can bring a reusable water bottle filled with water, ice, soda, a sports drink, just not alcohol. Be aware that if they suspect your water bottle contains alcohol they will not allow it in.
What is the best water bottle for Disneyland?
If you want a great water bottle for Disneyland, I suggest a vacuum sealed, reusable water bottle that is rated to keep drinks cold for 24 hours. While you will easily drink your water within 24 hours, water bottles are often in the sun all day long, so you will want a top-rated water bottle.
A lot of people wonder if hydration packs are allowed, and they are, but we have found them to be a bit of a pain to use at the parks.
The Best Foods to Bring Into Disneyland
Okay, so you want to bring food into Disneyland but now you can’t think of what else to bring besides sandwiches. Don’t worry, I have you covered.
One thing we like to do is bring in our own snacks into Disneyland. I have three young kids, and so they often decide they are suddenly hungry and need to eat right then. Because of this, I like to carry several ready-to-eat snacks with us.
While we road trip, and so we can often drive to a store and get snacks, one of my favorite options when we fly to Disneyland is to utilize Amazon Prime (or Amazon Fresh), or a similar service. Just be sure to check if your hotel allows for these deliveries. Many will but may charge a small fee for package delivery.
Best snacks for families to bring to Disneyland
I want to share some of my family’s favorite foods to bring into Disneyland to help others get some ideas of what they might like to bring. I go for kid-friendly and easy. I never know if my kids will eat meals well when we eat in the park, so I like to make sure the snacks are dependable favorites.
Granola or Protein Bars
When picking out foods to bring into Disneyland I like to have a few items that are easy to grab and go, and individually wrapped, so that I can just throw them in my purse and take them with us in line or as we walk around an area of Disneyland without our stroller.
My family also loves to take crackers into the parks. They are great for when we are waiting for a show or sitting and relaxing for a bit. For our family, with young kids, we usually bring gold fish crackers or Ritz, but any crackers work.
I love bringing trail mix into the park. It has a great mix of everything my kids need to give them a little boost of energy and keep them from getting too hungry. My kids even like to make their own trail mix to bring with us. Our favorite is a Jungle Safari Trail Mix that my kids think is perfect for the Jungle Cruise.
My kids love a good string cheese and I love a good slice of Tillamook cheddar, so we will often bring a small cooler into the park with things like cheese (and a couple of other things) in it. It is small enough to go under the stroller but can hold the cheese, soda, and a couple of ice packs. Cheese is great for when we want to supplement a meal we buy them in the park, or while waiting while big brother does a ride.
What tips do you have about taking food into Disneyland? Any favorite snack foods I should include?