Question About Food/Spending Money for a Teenager

We are bringing my 13-year-old nephew with us on a three-day trip in May. We’ve always traveled with adults before. How much food/spending money do you think I should tell his parents he needs to bring along for the three days?

I would budget 3 sancks a day at $5-6 each, a gift card with $100-$125 would give him plenty to spen on himself.

Will you be paying for his meals when he eats with you? If not, then that amount depends on what meals he’ll have to pay - QS? TS? Character meals? If he is paying his own meals, his family may be in for sticker shock.

If you’re paying for his meals, then I agree with @desire499mike’s suggestion.

His parents are paying for his meals and spending money. We are doing mostly counter service so no big, expensive meals. We were estimating $20 per meal and another $15 for snacks so $75 a day in food/snacks and then maybe $25 per day on “stuff.” That would make it $100 per day. Is that a reasonable amount?

I think so.


Too many unknowns to give a solid estimate. If he’s buying his own meals, use the same budgeting strategy you are using for your own meals.

In addition to “meals”, as said above snacks/drinks average $5-6 each - but how many a day will he want? And then there are souvenirs… one t-shirt or ball cap could set him back $25-35… Another factor is what the family can afford, and how much they want money to be limiting aspect of his WDW experience. If a matter of $100 or so isn’t that big a deal, then I would recommend $75-100/day - knowing that there will likely be some left over. If budget is a serious concern, I would say no less than $50/day.

I don’t have kids, but for myself going as an adult solo, for a “snack” breakfast, TS lunch and dinner (assuming no signatures or CMs), and several “adult” beverages (typically no other "snacks - I prefer to drink mine) I seem to average about $150/day for food and drink. I buy very few souvenirs; maybe a hat or t-shirt if something especially catches my eye (different story when DW comes with me).

Rather than just quoting a number, I think you need to talk to his parents to see what the actual budget concerns and trip expectations are.

My long answer is above, but the direct answer is yes, that sounds reasonable as it will be mostly QS vice TS, and no alcohol…

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I’m sure Disney wont mind if you budget 2 or 3 times that amount. But I think your numbers are very reasonable.

Is he bringing cash or how are you handling the actual money?

I would suggest he bring the daily limit into the park (via cash or a gift card that only has his daily limit on it). $100/day is reasonable for food, snacks, and small extras. Any money left over from the day can stay on the card and have the next day added on, thus if he saves some he’ll have more than $100 the next day… but this way he won’t blow it all early on.

If you go the gift card route you could have two cards and transfer amount to his ‘park card’ each night.

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$15-20/meal, and $6/snack would be a minimum amount to budget for. So, you could tell the parents that in order to cover just basic food for the trip, plan on about $70/day. That is totally doable. However, you should then tell that anything above and beyond that would cover additional food options and/or souvenirs.

This gives the family the option to budget according to their means. For us, $70/day is actually a little high for a single person!

His parents are going to give me a Visa gift card with money on it so I easily keep his money separated.

Thank you all for your suggestions! We settled on $100/day on a Visa gift card. I expect there will be money left over but I’d rather have extra than not enough.


I think $80 per day should cover it. We just went a couple of weeks ago with DS17 and DS13. They could easily eat more, but had to be reasonable too. Buffets are a favorite with teenage boys, but that wouldn’t work with the budget mentioned.