Daily food budget

Hi! We are a family of 5, two foodie adults and 3 kids ages 6, 5 and 4. Kids are relatively picky and can usually share one kids meal between the three of them. How much do you think we should budget for food per day? We have three character meals (Ohana, Bon Voyage and Garden Grill) otherwise we are QS on food. Thoughts on a daily budget?

We got out of it for about $250/d for all expenses (food, drinks including alcohol, souvenirs, extras) as a family of 4 w 2 adults and 2 picky kids 14&10. One meal was prepaid - HDDR - but otherwise we generally had 1QS and one TS per day and a few snacks. Breakfast in room 3 or 4 of 8 mornings. We did not hold back and did what we wanted for this $

We generally don’t do TS, just QS, but we budget about $100/day for food (for 6-7 people in the past, but now down to 5…our kids are one-by-one flying the coop). However, keep in mind that for us that includes a total of four travel days (since we drive down from Michigan). Those days we don’t use all our food money, so it carries over into the park days. Also, since we stay off property, we typically only eat a single meal in the parks (lunch), although occasionally do two. And that includes snacks.

So, in practice, if we were staying on property, we could easily double that budget allocation since we would have to cover breakfast, and both meals, plus snacks. Basically, we have found that the price of the entire Disney trip would easily double what we pay by staying off property!

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Not a budget number, but a suggestion:

When you are researching what places you’ll be targeting for QS meals, also research how BIG those meals are. Most ppl are not aware that some of the qs meals are pretty darn big. (I mean, massive.) I’m a total pig, my friends consider me a “foodie” although I never refer to myself that way. I write food reviews/blogs, and somehow, I get paid for it. If you consider yourself a foodie do your research on where you’d like to eat, don’t wing it - WDW quality control is very hit or miss. But also, if you are budgeting, figure out which meals will be shareable. You might be VERY surprised at the quantities, and if you’re chasing kids and going on rides in 85 degrees, being stuffed and carrying around doggie bags is not a great approach. People routinely underestimate the sizes of those qs meals. Trust me, I can EAT. This is not coming from a petite, dainty, person. Good Luck!

Although it is a dining plan calculator you can use this tool to estimate how much each QS meal will cost. It has information for both specific restaurants and a general “quick service meal”.


We we very close to this number ($250/day) on our trip a couple weeks ago with DH and I and two kids, aged 7 and 4. My 7 year old is a pretty good eater, but DD4 mostly ate off our plates where possible. We generally did one TS a day which included CP lunch, BOG dinner, and GG breakfast as our most expensive meals. We also mostly ate/drank what we wanted, ie. fancy drinks with dinner, Mickey bars in the park etc.

We haven’t actually gone yet, but we are budgeting approximately $100 a day for a family of five (kids ages 4, 6, 8, normal eaters). We’re staying off property and plan on 3 TS meals in the park over a 2-week trip. This is not including some $$ for our travel days and bringing the stuff for 7 dinners.

I think that it is possible to scrimp and not eat in the parks much and therefore not spend much, and it is also easy to spend $100 per person per day for anyone over the age of 3. I think it is possible to decide how much you want to spend, make a plan, and stick to it.

Definitely doable with a little care and planning.

As I mentioned, that’s what we’ve budgeted, even a few years ago when there were 7 of us. (With four of those seven teens and tweens!)

Three years ago, we went with six (the oldest was in college). We did one expensive TS meal ($150), and all the rest was eating at our rental home or QS. We still managed to keep within the $100/day budget for food. If you eliminate travel days from the mix, then the daily park-day spend was probably more like $130/day.

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I will say that I’m using numbers like:

$60 per QS meal for our family ($15 per adult meal and $10 per kids meal).
$5 per snack (so about $25 per day, or 1 snack per person)
$150 per TS meal

If you total up how much your TS meals should cost (those are all fixed price so should be pretty easy to figure) and use the $60 per QS meal number then you should get close, at least on meal costs. Add in money for beverages if you like, double the snacks to $50 a day if 2 snacks per person per day sounds right. I, personally, would rather over-budget than under budget when it comes to food.

I followed your trip @OBNurseNH and think we would eat/drink a similar way so this is very helpful info! Also staying at Poly :slight_smile: Thank you for the info!

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very helpful - thank you!

@seebee I would like to know which are your favorite places to eat! :slight_smile:

This is helpful @ryan1 thank you! Out of curiosity, do you have a favorite off-site place to stay? Already planning our return in 2021 :slight_smile:

Good to know, thank you @mvblack
I have a kid who will eat off my plate but as he grows he starts eating more than I’d like him to lol :wink:

@polskamichelle yes good advice! thank you! Thanks for the numbers breakdown that will help me a lot!

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We done several places, and never the same place twice, because circumstances have been different each time.

Once, we stayed in Orange Lake because we had friends who had a time share week they couldn’t use and let us “buy” the week from them cheap. We loved Orange Lake.

Another time we stayed at a place that USED to be a Timeshare, but had gone defunct so was renting out condos like a hotel room. It was fine. Forget the name of the place. We got a great deal, but it wasn’t great, just okay.

Next time, we stayed at Floridays, 3 bedroom condo. We LOVED that place, actually, but the price wasn’t QUITE as nice as some other places. Still, I’d recommend it.

Three years ago we rented a house…4 bedrooms, game room (with pool table and table tennis), private pool with hot tub, two master suites, etc. It was great. 6 nights, less than $700. (We paid for heating the pool, which brought the price up to over $900, but then the owner refunded the pool heat money because we did have one issue with the pool during the week, so it brought it back under $700.) This was overall our favorite place (rented through Homeaway), but the one downside was that it was just under a 30 minute drive to Disney.

This year, we stayed at another Homeaway rental in Windsor Hills. It was nice. 3 bedroom condo. It was a good price, since we stayed 5 nights total (just about $500). It wasn’t as nice as other places we’ve been, however, so we won’t likely stay again there. Biggest issue was that even though it was only a few miles away, the route is so busy with lights that it still took almost 30 minutes to drive to the parks (Universal Orlando this time).

In 2020 just my wife and I are going for our 25th wedding anniverary, and we’re splurging the big bucks…planning to stay on property at the Contemporary. We’ll probably end up doing a DVC rental, however, in Bay Lake Tower to save a little money since this will be our all-time most expensive vacation ever, even though it is only two of us instead of seven! (We’re already setting aside money in our savings account for this trip!)

@ryan1 we rented DVC points this trip! Split between Poly and BLT :slight_smile: We splurged on proximity for this one given the kids ages and priorities. When we return in 2021 we will do both WDW and UO so I am leaning toward some kind of home rental air b&b or I will check into homeaway. (i am not familiar with that one so thanks for mentioning it).

Flame tree. Definitely Flame Tree. Get ribs. Their Onion Rings are an overlooked gem, too.

MK - if Cosmic Ray’s still has the 1/2 chicken meal, it’s a decent way to go.

DHS - Fairfax Fare - 1/2 chicken as well.

Epcot - Tough for me. FW would be Sunshine seasons pretty easily. For WS, however…that’s a really tough one. Lots of options. Probably the fish and chips place, BUT… I might sneak out of the International Gateway, and walk to Swan for sushi at Kimonos, and Ample Hills Ice cream on the Boardwalk. Both places are that good for the price, that their quality makes me think they are the best value, even though it’s gonna be well above a qs meal. You might even want to try to do The Fountain over at The Dolphin for diner sandwiches/fries/rings/ ice cream if you have picky eaters. It’s a chill break, too. Their prices are in line with Park QS places, and the food might be a little better. Dolphin also has Picabu which is no frills cafeteria-style, BUT, they have a few family dinner options - one being a whole roasted chicken dinner with sides. Consider it. I might think about getting a few family meals at Picabu, and then having a GOOD ice cream splurge at Ample Hills. The food at WDW, for the most part, isn’t very exciting to me, but I’m from a pretty big food city, so, I can get better food for a lot cheaper in my back yard. I don’t put a big emphasis on the food choices at WDW, for that reason. I tend to stay away from the “fancy / ethnic” options because frankly, they are expensive, and usually pretty “meh.” I tend to look for decently made, decently priced food at the Dis. If that happens to be a solid burger, or solid slab of ribs for the price, then that’s where you’ll find me. Overpaying for not so solid food though - I’d rather just have a decent burger, or a boring 1/2 chicken.

Thank you for this @seebee! We just moved to Memphis after 20 years in DC so we are also from food cities :slight_smile: I am going to take your advice on a few of these. What are your thoughts of Via Napoli? Our first trip we did not book there b/c the pizza game in DC is pretty outstanding in our opinion but the pizza game in Memphis is not great at all so we are thinking that Via may hit the spot for us on this trip. I know most places you are paying for experience and atmosphere so I appreciate the advice from folks who can “taste between the lines” we are totally open to going off the beaten path for a quality meal. I hear the raves about Flame Tree but finding it hard to prioritize since we live in Memphis now lol! Also was torn on Teppin Edo - hibachi is hibachi, right? Or is TE exceptional and worth the ADR?

We’re 3 adults going for 8 days and we have the DDP but we are bringing a budget of $1350 to cover drinks, Lyfts, and extras for the week. I think we can keep it under the budget by 300-400, but we’ll see how it goes.

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