Dining is one of the biggest expenses you must consider before planning a vacation to Disney World. Not only is the food expensive, but you’ll also come across many kiosks offering tasty treats as you walk around the parks.
It gets even more expensive if you dine in quick service, table service, or character dining restaurants.
As such, before you even visit Disney World, you must make sure you allocate enough budget for your food, depending on how many of you visit.
So, if you’re wondering how much you should budget for food at Disney World, we have you covered. In this article, we’ll talk about the potential budget you should have for your dining expenses during your vacation.
The budget you must allocate for food at Disney World will vary depending on many factors. Some might focus more on the rides and attractions that tend to limit their food budget. Others would prefer to try out different food during their visit.
As such, you need to decide which of these types of travelers you are so you can budget accordingly. To give you a rough idea of how much to budget for your food, here are some estimates:
- $12 each for quick-service breakfast for adults; $8 each for children.
- $20 each for quick-service lunch and dinner for adults; $12 for children.
- Around $15 to $60, sometimes even more, for table service meals.
- $10 per person for snacks.
Remember that this doesn’t include beverages for adults or some groceries, which can add to your expenses.
It’s important to set a budget for food before your Disney World vacation. This way, you’ll have an idea of how much you should save and how much you should be able to spend during your trip.
Factors Affecting the Budget for Food at Disney World
To help you set a budget for your food at Disney World, we’ll look at different restaurants you can visit during your adventure.
After that, we’ll look at your options per meal so you can have a clear idea of how much you should allocate for your food.
In general, you’ll be spending around $50 per day per adult and $35 per day per child. And depending on your expenses, that amount can either go up or down.
Dining at Quick-Service Restaurants
If you want to enjoy full meals on a budget during your visit to Disney World, then your best option is the quick-service restaurants. They’re also where most guests tend to eat due to how affordable the meals are compared to their table service counterparts.
You have the option to either order from a cashier or straight from their mobile app. However, due to their popularity, you can expect crowds to dine in most quick-service restaurants throughout the parks.
They’re also available on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you want to secure a spot, you must arrive at a quick-service restaurant earlier than usual.
Luckily, many quick-service restaurants are scattered throughout Disney World, especially in the resorts. It’s worth noting that the rates for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in quick-service restaurants vary.
Breakfast tends to be the least expensive, averaging at only $12 for adults and $8 for kids. Meanwhile, quick-service meals during lunch and dinner are more expensive at $20 for adults and $12 for kids.
If you want to save even more while dining at quick-service restaurants, you can opt for standard breakfast options such as eggs, waffles, and oatmeal. However, your options can be even more varied for lunch and dinner.
Some would even go as far as dining in their rooms instead. Fortunately, some hotel rooms, like the ones at a Disney Vacation Club villa, have fully-equipped kitchens where you can cook your meals anytime.
Dining at Table-Service Restaurants
If you can afford more, table-service restaurants will be a good dining option. However, they normally cost more than quick-service restaurants, from $15 per adult to $60, sometimes even more.
Table-service restaurants normally come to mind when most people think about dining out. It’s where you and your family sit at a table and have a waiter come to you to take your orders. There are lots of these throughout Disney World.
As you can see, the rates for table-service restaurants vary, with the lowest at $15, which can easily go up to $60 and even more in select restaurants.
The good thing about table-service restaurants is that almost all come with kid-friendly meals at a more affordable price. Aside from that, they also come in three different categories, which are as follows:
- All You Care to Enjoy – This can be a buffet-style or family-style meal, depending on which restaurant you’re in. With this option, you can easily plan your budget since it will be a fixed charge per person. However, keep in mind that it doesn’t include drinks and tips.
- Fine Dining – As you could expect, fine dining will offer a five-star dining experience, but the rates are way more expensive than usual. Some restaurants that offer fine dining even have dress codes you should comply with, and reservations are almost always necessary.
- Character Dining – This category is far more unique than the others as it offers a magical Disney experience you shouldn’t miss. If anything, this is highly worth it if you and your kids are a fan of Disney characters. Certain characters will come to your table to sign autographs, take pictures, and more, making it a fun and interactive experience.
Snacks at Food Kiosks
Finally, we have the snacks you can find across the many food kiosks throughout the parks. Sometimes, these kiosks even sell specialized menus that come in small plates.
That said, even if you’re not a fan of snacking, snacking at Disney World is part of the experience. You might even be tempted to try some of their signature snacks, such as turkey legs, churros, and more!
On average, you can spend around $10 per person for daily snacking alone. This is also a reasonable budget if you don’t substitute snacks for meals. Setting a flat budget per person for snacking is a good idea.
If you want to save even more, you can bring snacks instead.
Money-Saving Tips for Food at Disney World
Aside from setting your budget for food, there are a few tips we would highly recommend if you want to save even more money for food at Disney World. They’re as follows:
- If you can’t afford to spend more on dining, you can aim to eat in your room as much as possible. You can also prepare at least one of your meals per day.
- Make sure to bring one refillable water bottle for each family member. Disney has lots of water fountains throughout their parks, and you can also ask for ice from any quick-service restaurant.
- Try to bring your snacks so you won’t have to spend way more than your allocated budget at food kiosks.
- As much as possible, avoid spending too much on alcohol and beverages.
- Use a prepaid card and top it with your budgeted amount. Make sure to keep an eye on the balance so you’ll be able to tell whether you’re still on a budget or not.
As mentioned, your budget for food at Disney World will vary depending on the circumstances. You might even be tempted by the variety of food and snacks they offer on their food kiosks. And before you know it, your money is already gone.
This is why budgeting is really important even before you visit the park. This way, you’ll enjoy your vacation without compromising your meals and worrying about your finances.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Should I Budget for Food as a Family of Four?
After considering the many dining options at Disney World, a family of four can expect to spend around $200 to $250 on meals daily. This assumes you only have one quick-service meal, table-service meal, and snack daily.
Is It Okay To Bring Cash to Disney?
Most of Disney World’s transactions now accept cashless payment options. However, this might cause you to overspend if you don’t keep track of your finances.
If anything, bring a limited amount of cash with you so you can monitor your expenses quickly.