DiningWalt Disney World (FL)

Is Now the Best Time to Bring Your Own Food to Disney World?

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Like all theme parks, Disney World has a litany of prohibited items – things you can’t bring into the parks – but luckily, most food items are not on that list.

Closed restaurants mean there are more outdoor tables open.

With limited exceptions you’re welcome to bring food and beverages with you into the parks. If you’ve never brought your own food to the Disney World theme parks before, or only brought a modest amount of snacks, now may be the time you want to seriously consider bringing your own meals into the parks. Here’s why:

  • Park entrance procedures have changed: Prior to the pandemic, every guests bag was fully hand searched. If you brought, say, a large backpack filled with sandwiches, fruit, and other substantial eats, you’d have to go through a lengthy process of having a security guard see or feel all your items. In the last few weeks, the parks have transitioned to a more streamlined walk-through system, like of like at the airport, minus the part about putting your bags on the conveyor belt. Only a few items now have to be removed from your bag for scanning, notably umbrellas, making it much less cumbersome to tote multiple bags of food into the parks.
  • There are fewer restaurants open: Many restaurants in the theme parks are still shuttered due to coronavirus. This means that your favorite items might not be available, possibly making bring-your-own a more attractive option.
  • Quick service waits are trending longer: Depending on when you visit (weekends and holidays are worse), you may encounter longer waits to get at ready-access food or open mobile order windows that are a hour or more later than you want to eat. If you bring your own food, you can always dine on your schedule.
  • Outdoor table availability is high: When you bring your own food, sometimes the struggle is figuring out where you can comfortably eat. But with some restaurants currently closed, their outdoor seating is now up for grabs. For example, when Casey’s Corner is open, it can be a real challenge to find seating near the Hub, but with Casey’s closed, their tables are often open.
  • Disney quick service prices are, well, pricey: Buying a bottle of water in the parks will set you back $3.50. A single apple costs $2.29. Most in-park hamburgers cost between $10 and $13. Adding an order of fries sets you back an additional $4.50. Multiply that by several family members and you’re looking at a significant outlay of funds for a basic meal. Bringing your own can save you big time.
  • If you bring your own food, you reduce the number of people you’re interacting with in the parks: Everyone working in the WDW food service wears masks, so the risk of COVID contamination there is minimal, but for some folks, any reduction of contact with others is a win.

Have you ever brought meals into the Disney World theme parks? What have your experiences been?

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

2 thoughts on “Is Now the Best Time to Bring Your Own Food to Disney World?

  • Every trip I have made to WDW has been with my own food. We save hundreds (if not near 1000) of dollars doing this. We do budget for one snack item per day bought in the park and may eat a meal once or twice in the parks or elsewhere on property, but all other food is made in our off-property condo or restaurants outside WDW.

  • One Christmas season (early Dec), we stayed in a cabin at Ft Wilderness. Since we had a full kitchen, I’d make sandwiches to take into the parks, along with a full-size bag of chips, while my husband cooked breakfast. We still bought drinks and snacks (egg rolls, turkey legs, etc.) mid-afternoon to get 3 twenty-something guys from lunch to dinner, but basically only had to shell out for dinner. Big savings!


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