View Full Version : What to put in a cooler to use at hotel?

03-16-2008, 09:42 AM
I don't know how often this is done, but I did read a few posts of people taking a cooler with food in to eat at the hotel or even to take food to the park. What are some ideas of foods that would keep well in a cooler for 7 day or ideas for food that doesn't need refridgerated? We will be staying at Pop in June. We will probablly get a fridge for eggs and milk.

Another question I just thought about is, since Pop doesn't allow microwaves in the room, how many do they have available to use at the hotel resturant? Is there usually a huge line waiting to use them? Also, this may be a stupid question, but are bags of ice readily available to use? We will be driving down in our van so taking a cooler is not an issue.

I also was given a Mickey Mouse head shaped pancake mold thing. I plan to use it to make either one big cookie or even a big rice krispie treat and cut it into that shape and put it in the hotel basket of gifts for the kids. Do you have any other ideas to use it for? It is pretty large. I could make one pancake with it, but then if I use it to cut a brownie or krispie treat, the boys would easily be able to share one treat. One previous suggestion for that was to make the krispie or cookie out of the mickey mouse and then dip the top ears in melted chocolate like a mickey mouse hat. We plan to go off our healthy diets big time (I am not going to say no to junk) but I would like some healthy ideas. We are staying about 8, maybe 9 days because we are going to Sea World too. It will be me, DH our 8yo son and 4yo son.

03-16-2008, 09:46 AM
How are you planning to cook eggs in your hotel room? The food courts have 1 or 2 microwaves and a toaster you can use. I think most people get a cooler for milk,juice,water, and soda. You can get ice from the ice machine at the hotel. I have also kept some yougurt and cream cheese for bagels in mine.

Kim in SPR
03-16-2008, 10:16 AM
We kept lunchmeat in ours (in plastic containers), fruit, milk and juice for a quick cereal breakfast, and put bottled water in at night to take with us to the parks in the morning. We stopped off at a gas station for a couple bags at the end of the day (I think there's a Hess right on Disney property) and used the ice maker to refresh in the morning.

03-16-2008, 10:51 AM
Karliebug, I guess I am not really planning to make eggs. It is just a habit to say milk and eggs go in the fridge I guess. I wanted to know how many microwaves there are to heat food up instead of having a lot of lunch meat. If the resturant is too far away from the room, we won't be using it much. I am sure we can do PB & J's for breakfast and or lunch. I am not sure how far away an IHOP is but I am sure we will go there at least once. We want to find a CiCi's pizza too since they don't have either one of them around here to eat at.

03-16-2008, 12:23 PM
If you are driving down I would suggest going to your local Walmart, Kmart, or Target and buying one of the 5 day coolers. (I have the Coleman Xtreme 52 qt and it does keep ice for 5 days...I tested it by filling it with ice and leaving it in my garage for 5 days).

In our cooler we have a half gallon of 2% milk, orange juice (the Tropicana in the plastic jug works better than the one in carton since it's going directly on ice), cranberry juice, Hormel fully cooked bacon (just put it on a paper towel in the microwave to reheat--less grease than cooking it outright), sliced turkey sandwich meat, a small bottle of mayonaise, cream cheese, yogurt, various drinks, and bottles of water (most of which we froze before leaving home). And we have a refrigerator thermometer to make sure that the food that needs to be refrigerated stays safe. :)

As for the parks, before you leave home go to Family Dollar or Dollar General and pick up a collapsible cooler. The one that says it will hold 12 cans will hold 6 bottles of water. That way you can keep the water cool for a bit while you enjoy the parks!

03-16-2008, 12:37 PM
If I had a cooler, I wouldn't bother to rent a fridge. I'd have milk and juice, some sodas, and jelly/jam in the cooler. I'd have bread and cereal and PB on hand. Then I could have breakfast in my room, pack a sandwich if I wanted to (I refuse to lug more than I have to in the parks, so I'd pack PB&J so I don't have to worry about keeping my food cold), and have cold drinks when I got back to the room. We have a great tote bag style cooler that I use for grocery shopping that we take with us when we fly. I freeze water bottles overnight, then put them in the cooler and leave the cooler in the trunk of the car. When we leave the parks at night or to park hop, we have cold drinks waiting for us in the car. I also have a small waterbottle holder that hooks to my belt, so I can carry cold water with me all day and not worry about buying water. I just refill at fountains or get ice water at a CS restaurant.

03-16-2008, 12:49 PM
We do coolers every vacation. I do not have the 5 day cooler, but plan on looking into that.

We find that...

Our cooler needs new ice every day, while in the car's trunk, probably every 2 days while in an air conditioned hotel room. *

We keep lunch meat, cheese, water and soda in it. that's it.

We have bread, cereal, chips, granola bars, and cookies outside of the cooler, that I keep in a milk crate.

We eat what the kids refer to as the "granddad special" (because this is how their granddad vacations) every day for 2 1/2 weeks straight every summer. I am the ONLY one that gets sick of it.

I keep all foods double bagged in zip lock bags while in the cooler.

*the exception was last summer, driving through Utah, 110 degree weather, I had to replace the ice about 3 times a day.

03-16-2008, 02:24 PM
Thanks everybody. We do have one of the 5 day coleman coolers already. We got it when we started going camping...but while camping you can still cook food. I like the idea of the juice in the plastic and not in cartons to keep it colder too. I wouldn't have thought of that, I would have just gotten whatever cheaper. We usually drink V* fusion juices. I have one of those sandwich maker things that seals a sandwich like an uncrustable so basically I can make my own pb & j uncrustables. Do you think hard boiled eggs would keep ok in a cooler?

03-16-2008, 02:42 PM
I would think that the hard boiled eggs would be okay for a few days, but they might smell everything up a bit. I normally would just bring milk. Milk is the only thing that my 4 year old will drink, so we are kind of stuck. I plan on bringing stuff for peanut butter sandwiches. This is her favorite lunch, so why pay the expensive child meal prices when she isn't going to eat it anyhow. What about packing some fruit in the cooler as well so that there is something healthy to offer them too. I will be packing oranges, grapes and strawberries for my little one. I will purchase a box or two of cereal (Rice Krispies and maybe Cheerios) and some plastic bowls and spoons before arriving. This way we can have cereal and fruit before heading out for the day. I will probably pack a sandwich keeper or two to keep the PB sandwiches from getting squished and something to put some goldfish in and we should be all set. I think it is good to keep kids eating as close to there normal diet when away as possible. One of my daughters favorite snacks is cucumbers and low fat ranch dip, but I don't think that will carry very well. This isn't because we can't afford to go out, but this is just easier for us.

happily single
03-16-2008, 03:10 PM
We put lunchables, milk, cheese sticks and chocolate covered donuts (hey, it's vacation) in our fridge at the hotel. I also bought the cereal that is already in the bowl ( a little expensive at $1.00 each) but you could also take them into the park just to pick at.

03-16-2008, 05:54 PM
we always take a cooler on our wdw vacations. we take at least a half gallon of milk (a whole gallon if we stay the entire week), a jar of natural pb, apples, juice boxes and a couple of 2 liter cokes for DH to drink on the 10 hr. drive to wdw and back. i also pack a cardboard box (which i tape up when we leave the room each morning) with bananas, paper plates & plastic spoons, a roll of paper towels, pretzels, packets of peanuts, protein bars, a loaf of wheat bread, homemade muffins or pop-tarts, etc. i have a water bottle w/ a filter (innovapurewater.com) that i take to the parks-i get ice from the restaurants and fill at the water fountains. we're so used to vacationing this way, i'm not sure we could go to wdw w/o our cooler, lol.

03-16-2008, 05:58 PM
Another question I just thought about is, since Pop doesn't allow microwaves in the room, how many do they have available to use at the hotel resturant? Thanks!

We brought a small microwave with us last time we went to Pop. No one told us we couldn't have it.

03-16-2008, 06:22 PM
Taking notes for our first road trip to WDW in almost 7 years. We flew last year and missed being able to bring a cooler!

03-16-2008, 06:48 PM
i have a water bottle w/ a filter (innovapurewater.com) that i take to the parks-i get ice from the restaurants and fill at the water fountains.

I need to find one! I never thougth about a filter for the bottle. I hate tap water and I hate bottled water. The only water I drink is out of our fridge door that is filtered. Thanks!

03-16-2008, 07:31 PM
We bought a small refrigerator from Walmart about 5 years ago. I think we paid about $60 for it. We take it in the car when we go on vacation. It has long since paid for itself. It defintely beats the daily charge for a refrigerator at Disney.

03-16-2008, 07:54 PM
I need to find one! I never thougth about a filter for the bottle. I hate tap water and I hate bottled water. The only water I drink is out of our fridge door that is filtered. Thanks!

you're welcome :flower3: the innova ppl are VERY nice. the first bottle they sent me had a broken top and i had less than a week before my wdw vacation-they offered to have someone BRING A NEW ONE TO ME at pop century if the replacement top they mailed didn't make it in time! gotta love that kind of customer service :thumbsup2 that water bottle has made three trips to wdw and gone on a couple of DD10's school field trips w/ no problems. i bought a magic kingdom water bottle strap and take it everywhere, lol. it's still on the original filter too-won't require a new one until it's filtered 20 gallons of water (it might be getting close).

03-16-2008, 08:07 PM
Not WDW, but when we went to Washington DC a few years ago it was definitely a budget trip, plus DH was still eating low carb. We planned (and ate) dinner in the hotel room almost every night for the whole week. Our hotel offered free breakfast, so that wasn't an issue... and we ate in restaurants at lunch time while we were touring downtown.

Before we left I hardboiled a dozen eggs, peeled them and packed them in a tupperware container, covered with a damp paper towel. They were good all week.

We also brought cheese and some lunch meat type things, bagels, juices boxes, cream cheese, soda, water, rice milk (for DS with allergies), fruit, crackers, peanut butter, nuts, single serving tuna packs, chips, cookies, muffins, and some treats (after all, it was vacation!)

(Basically, what we brought filled a large rolling backpack and a medium cooler.) We ate dinner and snacks out of this all week. Nothing went bad and we actually enjoyed being able to go back to the room after a full day of touring and just RELAX.

I bought some cafeteria style trays at Target (one color for each family member) and that is what we used to eat off of all week. I washed them every night, of course! I also brought disposable flatware and a roll of paper towel, plus salt.

The kids thought eating off the trays was fun. We made it an adventure. Watching movies in the room on the portable DVD and eating fun foods.. and no demands from Mom all week to eat spinach or broccoli!

If you are planning on sandwiches, bagels and crackers hold up much better than bread. And be sure to bring at least some treats, to make it fun!........................P

03-16-2008, 10:08 PM
Loving all these ideas. Thanks a bunch. The reason I want a cooler full of food is not just to save money but time. When my kids want to eat, they want to eat NOW! I am already buying buggles, chex mix and other snack mixes like that when they go on sale. I am just making sure they don't expire before June. I am thinking of getting those green bags and see if they work to take bananas and maybe grapes or apples and carrots.

03-16-2008, 11:16 PM
kinda OT--but after hearing about Bear Stearns now being purchased by JPMorganChase and that the Nikkei in Japan is down...if I manage to go anywhere this summer (even for a weekend trip) my cooler will be full of food and will be my best traveling buddy.

This economy is beginning to scare me. :scared:

returning you to your previously scheduled thread.

03-17-2008, 09:50 AM
pepperder, are you going to WDW?


When I drive, if there is room, I like to take an ice chest.
The hotel supplies the ice.
Milk, cereal, plastic cups to eat from, plastic spoons, paper plates (vacation right?)
Bagels, cream cheese, yogurt, fruit.
I have brought hard boiled eggs too.

I also like to take a toaster and one of those small plastic hot water pots.
Hot chocolate packets, tea bags...

Breakfast in the room saves time as well as money.
Some can eat while others are dressing.

Mayo in the squeeze bottle, mustard, bread, ham, cheese, chips, cookies.
Peanut butter too.
Baby carrots, pickles

We eat lunch out and then do sandwiches at supper time...like a tea.
But if you need to do sandwiches at lunch too then do.

In the parks I like to take a granola bar or two, the chewy kind don't crumble, an apple, and a bottle of water. Pringles work well for a salty snack, no crumbles. Kids can carry their own in a butt bag.

I also take a rubbermaid pitcher(to save space you can pack something inside)and fill it with ice once or twice a day, the ice melts and makes lovely filtered ice water.

If I'm flying, I take a cooler that can be folded.
And you can always get some lunch and breakfast items delivered.
(Garden Grocer)

I just wouldn't try to do anything messy or elaborate.

03-17-2008, 12:09 PM
We always take a cooler to WDW we are DVC members, we also eat in our Villa at lest twice a day. While I know my case is different because I do have the kitchen our first night I always take items that I can have with no prep time.

1st night dinners:
Honey Baked Ham (you can purchase in 1lb packages)
Fried or grilled Chicken will keep several days. (can be eaten cold)
Potato salad (keeps great in a cooler for several days)
Pasta salad also keeps for several days.
Baked Beans (I warm them in microwave but they are good cold)
Sliced tomatoes or a packaged salad just make sure the packaging is protected so it doesn't get soggy from the water in the cooler.

Left overs are then used for lunch during the trip.
Ham is used for breakfast.

There are so many things you can take, just make sure you protect the food items so they don't get wet. I use rubbermaid and zip-locks for added safety.

Try too use the items that wont keep as long first like the potato salad instead of potato chips.

I freeze water bottles to help keep the cooler colder during the trip down, (then take these to the parks-cold ice water for several hours) solid blocks of frozen water stay frozen longer than the bagged ice, you could freeze water at home that will fit into your cooler.

Hope this helps

03-17-2008, 01:28 PM
Great ideas everybody. I like the idea of taking the pitcher to let the ice melt in for water. I wouldn't have thought of that one either. We are driving down so we will need drinks and snacks on the way down and back too. It is about a 17 hour drive going 1050 miles according to mapquest. We will be staying at a hotel somewhere along the way. Not sure where yet. We are driving from PA.

Can you take a soft sided cooler bag to the park if it has a plastic insert in it? I saw one today at walmart that looks like an oversized old fashing lunch box and the bottom is too keep stuff cold and in the top is a separate compartment for dry stacks.
Thanks everybody!

03-17-2008, 01:56 PM
Can you take a soft sided cooler bag to the park if it has a plastic insert in it? I saw one today at walmart that looks like an oversized old fashing lunch box and the bottom is too keep stuff cold and in the top is a separate compartment for dry stacks.
Yes, you may take a soft sided cooler into the park, just remember you will go through security and everything will be checked.
You may want to consider taking two coolers one for your food items and another just for drinks and the snacks you may want on the trip down.