Packing lunches and snacks for travels are a must for my family. My toddlers are hungry non-stop, as are most toddlers, so I pack accordingly almost anywhere we go. Snack breaks and picnics at Disney World has become somewhat of a tradition for us. We eat at sit down restaurants for celebrations and seasonal moments but tend to picnic almost every single time we go to the theme parks.
Quick service food is great and we do opt for that occasionally as well, but our family actually prefers packed meals from home which works out perfectly for a variety of reasons. My oldest is picky and while my youngest will eat anything he gets distracted easily and doesn’t complete a purchased meal. This along with quick accessibility are the two top reasons we picnic and pack snacks. If your plan is to save a bit of money, convenience, food allergies, or just overall food preference here’s how to picnic at Disney World with toddlers with ease.
When I share that we picnic in the parks it surprises some as they didn’t know you could bring your own food into the parks. I always carry a refillable water container, bring my preferred sparkling water, and an extra bottle of water just in case. If you’re not interested in fully packing a picnic lunch or snack bag I suggest the water options for hydration purposes.
Pack the meals and snacks with an intention
The first step to a fantastic picnic in the theme park is packing with intention. Intention to have a full picnic with a variety of options for pre-lunch snacking, sit down lunchtime eating, and for a post-lunch snack. I tend to overpack when it comes to snacks and picnic items. Once I only brought the minimum food requirements and no one wanted what I brought, naturally. Before you begin to think it’s too much to bring into the park, it’s really not! Find a lunch bag that works for you and preferably one that can be dropped inside your diaper bag or backpack. The only part that you might not enjoy is taking it out for bag checks, but otherwise, once it’s in your backpack it’s tucked away and safe. Here are a few of my specific suggestions:
- Find a Disney themed bag that is small in size with multiple compartments to separate cold and non-cold items with ease.
- Use a small ice pack to keep things cool, I opt for the very thin foldable types of ice packs.
- Have snacks on hand that are mini sized (make a SAM’s visit and get small bags of chips, create small containers of fresh fruit, have easy to open items such as Uncrustables, etc)
- Pack a variety of colorful options. Fruit, cheese sticks, applesauce… your basic kid-friendly options that offer a variety of value outside of fried food items. If you’re taking the time to pack a picnic I would say toss in good food options!
- Have some snacks in ziplock bags to hand to the kids to snack on while riding in the stroller. Many time while trying to get from one side of the park to the other I’ve handed the boys bags of snacks so they could enjoy something while I maneuver through theme park traffic.
Once you’ve done this a time or two you can pack a picnic in record time. I pack just minutes before we leave because it’s such a common occurrence, so don’t let any of these tips overwhelm you.
Hub grass picnics are Truly Magical
We have had picnics at all theme parks and even Disney Springs, but nothing beats a hub grass picnic. The kids get to run around the hub grass, view the castle, take their shoes off for a bit, and eat in the center of the magic. This might be my most favorite place to eat any meal at for that matter! There are days the hub grass can get busy, but I’ve found that people are pretty accommodating once you start to open up a full lunch around them. We heard a show at the castle, listened to people sing on Main street, and I witnessed 3 proposals during our recent hub lunch picnic. That is one epic picnic! Outside of our preferred magical picnic location here are some additional Disney World locations to picnic at:
- Animal Kingdom – there is a tucked away seating area to the right as you enter Africa. You can hear the African dancers perform from this spot and the misting fans are right in the front of this hidden gem. Jambo!
- Epcot – The Land offers a variety of tables to sit down and eat at, but if that area is busy we sit outside of the Nemo area so the boys can hear “Mine Mine Mine Mine” chiming throughout our lunch.
- Hollywood Studios – The tables to the left of Chinese theater and in front of Frozen Ever After Show are our go-to stops to eat. If you smell the funnel cakes you’re in a prime picnic lunch sitting area.
- Disney Springs – There are so many areas to picnic here! We’ve enjoyed a picnic at the stage area when there are no performances going on, at the tables at Ghirardelli, and to the side of the Christmas Store where you’ll spot a few tables.
I’ll say it again, nothing beats a hub grass picnic but you can’t go wrong with a full picnic at Disney. Happy toddlers with food options they love and that they are used to, the ability to grab kids snack items within seconds, and epic views while you eat. Will you be trying to picnic in the parks soon, now?
You can find me pushing a double stroller through the magic most days.
I’m a toddler boy mom that has a passion for Florida living and all things Disney! As a Florida native and self proclaimed Disney staycation pro, I look forward to guiding you through the magic.