One of the largest expenses when visiting Universal Studios Orlando theme parks is food.
Therefore if you can save money by taking your own food to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure that would really help ease the strain on your wallet.
Can you bring food to Universal Studios?
We will explain exactly what the rules for bringing your own food and snacks into the Universal theme parks are, and help you decide exactly what the best foods are to pack for a day enjoying all the rides and attractions.
What are the Rules for Bringing Food into Universal Theme Parks?
First, let’s look at what the rules are for what you can and cannot bring into the Universal Orlando parks.
The guidelines on the Universal Orlando Website show you exactly what you can and can’t bring into the parks.
Here is the list of acceptable and prohibited items:
- Bottled Water (maximum 2 liters)
- Small snacks that do not require heating
- Any food required for medical purposes and medically indicated nutritional supplements
- Any food required for special dietary needs
- Baby food/baby formula
- Soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep
- Glassware or glass containers
- Open containers or drinks containing alcohol
- Hard-sided coolers
- Soft-sided coolers larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep
- Picnic lunches; any food that requires heating or refrigeration; folding chairs
As you can see, the list of acceptable items is actually pretty wide.
In any place where there are rules, guests will try and break the rules.
Really, just don’t do that.
When you enter Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, or City Walk you will have to go through a security check.
This includes a bag check, which is a lot more thorough than it used to be, and you will also have to go through metal detectors.
So if you try and bring in a prohibited item you will most likely have it confiscated. Just don’t try it.
You can bring baby food and formula to Universal Studios.
How Much Food Can I Take to Universal Studios?
There is no actual limit in the rules, but you do need to use your common sense.
I am sure you can pack quite a lot into a backpack or stash a feast into your stroller storage, but try and be reasonable!
Also, remember that you are going to have to carry the food around with you for a considerable part of the day.
Walking around a theme park in the Florida heat can be challenging enough, without adding to your load with a heavy backpack!
You also need to think about all the rides that you want to enjoy, that you cannot go on unless you store your bags in a locker.
Universal Studios – A Guide to Lockers
Let’s explore the different types of lockers at Universal Studios.
Basically, there are two reasons you might want to use a locker:
- You have bags that you do not want to take around the park, so are fine to store and walk back to the front of the park if you want to get anything from the locker. So for instance, if you want to store your food and belongings in a locker that you will only want to access once or possibly twice in the day. These lockers are at the entrance to the Universal theme parks, so you could have a long walk back to get your lunch! These have a charge
- If you want to ride on certain attractions it is compulsory that you leave your bags in a locker. These are mostly free (with some exceptions).
The rides where you must store your belongings in a locker are:
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
- Revenge of the Mummy
- Men in Black Alien Attack
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
If you want to rent one of the lockers at the park entrances there are lockers which you can rent for the whole day.
You could rent these, and leave your lunch, including your small cooler there. and plan to return around lunchtime.
This would probably be a better plan in Universal Studios than Islands of Adventure because the park is smaller.
You don’t want to be all the way over in Wizarding World, realize you are hungry and have to walk back to the Islands of Adventure entrance.
In other words, if you are going to leave your lunch in one of the lockers, plan your visit so you don’t walk extra miles to go back and get it!
In Universal Studios Orlando, you will find these day lockers in the Production Central area of the park which is right after the turnstiles. There are locker areas on both the left and right sides.
The Islands of Adventure daily rental lockers are also located near the turnstiles. Turn left immediately once you get through the entrance. The lockers are located right next to the wheelchair and stroller rental station.
The large lockers are $ 12 per day. They are 12 in. x 13 in. x 16.9 in.
If you need a family-sized locker these are $15 and measure 12 in. x 16.25 in. x 16.9 in
Can I Bring a Cooler into Universal Studios?
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Yes, you can bring a cooler to Universal Studios theme parks. but only if it complies with certain requirements.
The cooler must have soft sides and be no larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep.
This Small Cooler is ideal for carrying in a backpack or ideally loading into your stroller!
Snacks to Bring to Universal Studios Orlando
Can I bring snacks to Universal Studios? Sure you can!
Universal Orlando Resort has some amazing places to eat. But even if you just are able to skip buying one meal whilst in the park you will save yourself some money.
You can also save time if you snack on the go. Why waste time at one of the quick service restaurants when you could be enjoying Diagon Alley or any of the other popular attractions at Universal Orlando?
Even if you do not have time or don’t want to pack a whole meal for Universal Studios you should always pack some snacks.
Even the least expensive snack item in the park costs $3 or $4. If your family Just needs a light snack the costs can easily add up to $20 or $30.
I like to take some Energy Bars to the Universal theme parks. They are easy to just put into your backpack and make a great snack.
If you want a very low-effort easy snack to pack then just pack some apples and bananas.
More Food Ideas to Pack
The important thing to remember is that you can’t bring in anything that needs heating up.
And the Florida weather can be brutally hot, so always be mindful of how you are going to keep something cool.
Don’t go walking for miles on a sunny day in the parks and expect that your chocolate will not have melted!
Be mindful of what food will work and what is just going to spoil in the Florida heat.
Here are some ideas for food to bring to Universal Studios. If it usually has to be refrigerated then be sure to pack these items in the cooler or take ice packs with you.
- Cheese Slices or Cheese Sticks
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Humus with Vegetables such as Sugar Snap Peas, Carrots, and Celery
- Dried Fruit
- Fresh Fruit
- Apple Sauce Cups
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Trail Mix
- Uncrustables – Freeze to Keep Fresh
- Tortilla Wrap
- Nut Butter with Vegetables to Dip
Can I Take Drinks Into Universal Studios?
Yes so long as you follow these rules:
- Only non-alcoholic drinks are allowed
- No Glass bottles are permitted.
Always remember that you can ask for cups of iced cold water at any of the food kiosks or quick-service dining locations.
This can save you from having to carry heavy bottles of water.
It is always a good idea to bring your own water bottle.
These HYDRO CELL Stainless Steel Water Bottles are ideal.
They come in a variety of sizes and are double-insulated to keep cold and hot beverages at just the right temperature for long periods of time.
Can I Take Food into Volcano Bay?
Can you bring food to Universal Studios Volcano Bay?
If you are spending any time at Universal Studios try and take some time to spend at the Volcano Bay water park.
Volcano Bay is a brilliantly designed water park with something for every member of the family to enjoy.
If you are staying at Universal Cabana Bay Resort you can easily walk to Volcano Bay as it is located just next door.
You can take food into Volcano Bay with the same restrictions as you will find at Universal Studios.
It is definitely a good idea to at least take some snacks with you to Volcano Bay.
You are unlikely to want much to eat while you are at a water park. All that activity tends to make me just want small snacks throughout the day.
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Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.