Updated: Nov 19, 2017
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Disney's official position on bringing food into the park reads as follows, “With the exception of food items for Guests with specific dietary restrictions, food or beverage items are not permitted into either of the Disneyland Resort theme parks.” OK, we get it but will Disney bag searchers at the entrance really ask you to remove that ham sandwich from your backpack? Well, maybe. If your already prepared lunchables are packed inside some kind of hard-sided cooler then probably. Absolutely no glass or plastic containers, and of course alcohol will be permitted. But, if you pack your kids munchies and a couple of sandwiches in clear plastic baggies, chances are you will be granted safe passage. Now, don't take that to mean you can stop off at Ralph's on the way to the parks to pick-up a loaf of bread, jar of mayo, and some ham & cheese slices with the plan to spread out a blanket on Tom Sawyer Island for a picnic. Disney will for sure ask you to ditch the lunch supplies, or head back to the hotel to sandwich up... And don't forget the sandwich bags.
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If your mouseketeers do decide to bring in some baggies of goodies, it's always a good idea to indulge on one of the many benches located throughout the parks as to not take up a table for guests who have purchased Disney fair. And, of course, be sure to wipe-up juniors mayo slathered ham he used to wipe across the table.
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If you're determined to make your lunch or dinner with supplies purchased from the local grocery store, it's a good idea to avoid trying to bring them into the park. You don't want to suffer the embarrassment of having to hand over the mustard to the bag searcher. Moreover, your kids will tell the entire neighborhood you got popped by a Disney cast member for trying to smuggle in some contraband food. A better idea is to just plop down on the ground in the middile of the promenade between the parks gates and slather away. No one will bother you or your ham sandwich.
My personal opinion is to leave the goodies in the hotel room fridge. Disneyland and California Adventure offer excellent choices of walk-up and sit-down dining options. The cuisine is delicious and as varied as Disney's lands, and much better than a ham sandwich, that, after a couple of hours in a backpack will be about as appealing as week old pizza . Plus, you can't get a Dole Whip from the grocery store.
Final analysis... Eat your meals at Disney restaurants. Your kids will think you're the Buzz Lightyear of parenting!!!