Food budget


A friend is planning a WDW trip in the future and asked me how much money they need to save to have their trip paid for before they leave. Ticket prices are easy but food is a little harder since there are so many options. They are planning to eat breakfast in their room most mornings so it would only be two meals a day. They aren’t looking for fancy meals, just basic places. They are probably going to be doing one sit down and one counter service each day. I’m thinking they will do a character meal and a couple of places like Sci Fi or 'Ohana.

What would you suggest for a budget for a family of four? (boys will be 6 and 4). I was thinking $200 per day including snacks and drinks.


If they know a few places where they would like to eat, then look up the prices that would be good, Of course their children are young and will have kids meals! I think that $200, should be more than enough! If they eat their main meal at lunch that would save a little as well.


With the boys so young, have they thought of the dining plan? As much as I say the dining plan isn’t for me, but with the kids prices at 12 bucks or something, that really helps with the overall cost. I don’t know what the cost of the 2011 plan is but even if the adults are 50 each and kids 15 each, that would be 130. Even with the tip for the TS (25-30), that would be about 160 a day.


$200 a day for food for 4 people for 2 meals is about right. Counter is going to run them about $40 give or take leaving $160 for a sit down. Assuming they are just doing a character meal or a buffet, this is plenty with room for a snack in the park at some point, but not much room. Dinner for 4 is expensive and adds up quicker than you think. I figure they are going to need $300 a day for food, snacks and spending money.


Thanks everyone.

I forgot to add that they are staying off site so no dining plan. They don’t know where they want to eat at this point, they’ve never been to WDW and know nothing about it. Right now they just want to start saving some money and wanted a very general idea of how much money to start to save. When they get closer to the trip they will start looking exactly where they want to eat.


One thought I just had, even though they plan to eat breakfast in the room. If they do plan for a few character meals, maybe one of them should be a late breakfast. They would get the characters and that meal would cost a bit less than the other times of the day.


The sit down meals will definitely add to the expense…however; I find that most sit down meals pretty much fill me for the day. If I eat a large lunch or even a counter lunch, I often only need something small for dinner or would split a counter meal with someone. If they aren’t huge eaters, they may end up spending less. If they want to save money, they could also purchase waters and snacks and that would save money for them.


If they’re just looking for basic then $1,000/5 days will be more than enough for food/snacks with kids that age. Suggest Visa Rewards + eating a couple of times off site since they’re staying there and that will be plenty. We’re a family of 5 and have done it for that and didn’t feel we missed out on anything. As mentioned, check menus. They don’t have to decide on the locations but can at least get an idea of what type of prices are out there.


I think they’re in pretty good shape. She’s planning to budget $4000 for a five day trip for a family of four with the room paid for. Tickets will run them $1200 and food $1000 so they will have plenty left over for spending money and travel to and from. They plan to drive and spend three or four nights on the road to and from Orlando.


If they are going to budget 4000, have they thought about staying on site? My budget is usually around 5000 for 2 adults and 2 boys 7 and 9. We stay on site, do the dining plan, this includes airfare, and we stay between 10-12 nights.


That’s what I was thinking, if they have that much to spend, staying on site would be such a bonus. Maybe suggest they have a meal at one of the resorts, Boma, Kona Cafe, etc. so they can get an idea of all the wonderful perks on site offers. Then next time they go, would know to look into Disney resorts.


If they have 4K planned I agree w/ the onsite recommendation.

But the question was food allowance. One year we did our family of 5 for as little as $150 a day when the budget was tight. No fancy or character meals that trip. We brought and ate breakfast in the room most days, had snacks we carried in and water bottles with the powder packs for everyone. It was the trip we realized how relaxing it was not running for ADR’s every day. And we still had $$ left over each night for a snack or two in the park for everyone.

Since the 4K does not include their room cost offsite they are in really good shape. One onsite saving for them would be parking cost. That alone would = a CS lunch for each child every day if they eat a lot. $200 per day should be very comfortable for them if they utilize other saving tips I’m sure you have passed on from your many trips.


She’s hoping the $4000 will cover everything, including travel to and from with some activities along the way. They aren’t going to stay onsite, they were given 5 nights in a timeshare by another friend so they aren’t going to pass that up. I told her I thought $2200-2500 would cover tickets and food and another $500-1000 for spending money depending on what they want to buy. The rest would cover hotels (3-4 nights), food, and gas for the trip there and back.


free off site is a no brainer. as mentioned before don’t forget to budget parking. I thought it was 15/day. a lot of times an adult meal can be split with a child they are so big!


I would suggest to them that they limit their character meals to perhaps one breakfast and one dinner. If they are staying off-site, there will be times when they’ll be eating off-site too. If they have a condo, they could prepare a simple dinner or two there. I would say with proper planning, $200. a day should be fine.


Search the menu and prices and make an educated evaluation. If you want to hit Germany in the World ShowCase one evening and have some tacos at the Mexican veranda for lunch that day then it’s pretty easy see the costs and budget how much to take. I personally HATE to skimp on eating at WDW. To us, that’s the major reason to go and enjoy. You can eat cereal “in the room” 350 days of the year but you can’t even imagine what awaits at the Crystal Palace or Tusker House breakfast buffets. Whatever pleases you.


I agree. Part of being on vacation for me is NOT to cook…Okay not like I cook all that much at home either, but this is REAL food, not microwave and serve!..I spend most of my planning deciding on where to eat!