Disney World is a dream vacation for many, especially families with kids.
But that dream can become a nightmare when you see restaurant menu prices.
Fine dining at table-service restaurants aside, snacks can also be expensive. Seriously, $7.50 for a churro? $4.50 for a coke?
So, why is food so expensive at Walt Disney World?
Disney World food is expensive for a couple of reasons:
- Food is a way for the parks to generate revenue, as there’s a lot of demand for food and snacks inside the parks.
- Some of the items are sourced from outside, which may be expensive.
- High-end restaurants, including those offering character dining, also charge for the ambiance and service, which significantly adds to the price.
It’s possible to enjoy a meal at Disney World for under $20 if you stick to quick-service restaurants.
This article tries to get to the bottom of high food prices at Disney World and also looks at the prices for dining when visiting the resort and its theme parks.
How Much Does Food Cost at Disney World?
At Disney World, food prices vary based on where you’re dining. There are two types of restaurants: table and quick service. There are snack carts as well across the parks.
Table-service restaurants are expensive, and most require a reservation. This tier of restaurants also includes “signature” dining options, which offer fine dining Disney-style.
Although signature restaurants offer the best food and experience, some are less pricier than others but still expensive.
Quick-service restaurants offer cheaper food options than table-service restaurants, as they mostly sell fast food. At a quick-service restaurant, you can enjoy a meal with a drink for under $20, comparable with prices outside Disney World.
However, some snacks are arguably more expensive inside Disney World, including the famous Mickey’s Ice Cream Bar.
At some table-service restaurants, per-person meal costs range from $50 to $60. You can expect to pay over $100 per person at high-end restaurants.
For instance, at Victora & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, a single meal can cost over $300.
Here are some food prices at Disney World:
- 1/3 lb Angus Bacon Cheeseburger at Backlot Express: $12.49
- Taco Trio at La Cantina de San Angel: $14.99
- Filet Mignon at Le Cellier Steakhouse: $62
- All-Beef Hot Dog at Casey’s Corner: $10.29
- Churros: $6 to $7.50
- Soda: $3.50 to $4.50
- Buffet Lunch at Be Our Guest: $67 per person for adults and $39 per person for children
Reasons for Disney World Food Being So Expensive
Disney World food is generally expensive, especially snacks, coffee, soda, signature treats, Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar, or Mini Mango Pie.
The prices have been increasing rapidly over the last couple of years. Supply chain issues have also caused an increase in food prices at Disney World, just like they have in other places.
There are a couple of reasons why Disney food is expensive. For starters, it’s a way to generate revenue for the resort. Aside from the admission tickets, the parks and resorts need to generate revenue from other sources for maintenance and upgrades.
Food happens to be something that everyone will buy, especially when confined in the parks. Guests aren’t going to leave the park to grab a quick lunch; they’d eat in the park to save time.
Not all restaurants are owned by Disney, as other companies also operate in parks and resorts. So, Disney doesn’t decide prices for all the restaurants at Disney World.
The higher prices for things like soda, hot dogs, and nachos are similar to the pricing strategy used at theaters, except Disney World allows outside food, and theaters don’t.
It’s really all about the demand. Despite the price increases for tickets, hotels, and food, park attendance is still pretty high. Although many complain about the high food prices, people buy food there once they get there.
Where Does Disney Get Its Food From?
Disney World grows a lot of the food itself.
EPCOT has a pavilion dedicated to the future of agriculture in the World Nature area.
The Land Pavillion has 2.5 million square feet of greenhouses growing to produce supplied to many restaurants on-site. You can explore these greenhouses with Living with the Land and Behind the Seed tours.
Of course, not all of the produce and ingredients are grown on-site. Restaurants also source food ingredients from outside, which also impacts the prices.
The Disney-themed packaged snacks sold throughout the parks and resorts are sourced from different companies.
Disney World Food Prices vs. Other Places
Despite the popular opinion that Disney World food is quite expensive, some prices are comparable with other restaurants outside the resort.
Of course, that’s not true for everything sold at the parks. So, for a fair assessment, let’s compare the prices for some of the most frequently purchased items:
- An Angus bacon cheeseburger meal costs around $15 at Disney World. At Five Guys, a similar meal would cost nearly $14.
- Soda at convenience stores and fast food chains typically costs under $2, whereas at Disney World, it costs over $3.5.
- Pepperoni pizza at a quick-service restaurant at Disney World costs under $12, similar to popular pizza chains such as Domino’s.
How To Save Money on Food at Disney World?
Food and drinks can take up a significant chunk of your expenses when visiting Disney World Orlando.
Depending on where you dine, you may spend anywhere from $60 to $200 per person per day at Disney World.
There are ways to spend less on food:
Avoid Expensive Table-Service Restaurants
You can lower your food expenses by simply dining at quick-service restaurants at Disney World that cost much less than fancy table service and signature dining.
Unless character dining is on your to-do list when visiting the theme parks like Magic Kingdom, you can get reasonably-priced, filling meals from quick-service counters.
Bring Food and Snacks With You
Believe it or not, you can bring outside food into the parks according to Disney World rules. The only conditions are that they shouldn’t be packed in glass containers, require temperature control, or have strong smells.
So, you can bring easy-to-pack foods like sandwiches or snacks like cookies, chips, nuts, or granola bars to munch on when you or your kids are hungry.
Snacks are particularly expensive at Disney World, so bringing some of your own can save you a lot of money.
Similarly, you can bring water bottles you can refill at the parks, as all four theme parks have water refilling stations.
Buy Disney Dining Plans
Disney Dining Plans are a great way to enjoy quick-service and table-service restaurant meals while visiting the parks or staying at the resorts.
There are several dining plan options to choose from. You can dine at participating restaurants with these plans and enjoy lunch and dinner with alcoholic beverages, depending on the plan conditions.
You can manage everything from the My Disney Experience app.
At the time of writing, Disney Dining Plans were unavailable. These plans were stopped during the Covid-19 pandemic. Although many attractions and services that were closed during that time have since opened, Dining Plans have yet to return.
Disney World food is expensive because food in theme parks is generally expensive and provides revenue for running the parks.
Some claim that ticket prices are insufficient to maintain the parks, which is why other services are used to generate revenue. That said, fast food prices are not that high and comparable with prices at fast food chains.
Fine dining restaurants are the most expensive. However, there are plenty of affordable alternatives in the form of quick-service restaurants with a wide range of menus.
Snacks and beverages are typically more expensive inside the parks. However, you can save money by bringing your own.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Most Expensive Restaurant at Disney World?
Disney World is well-known for its dining, with some great table-service restaurants run by esteemed chefs. Dining at these restaurants can easily cost over $300 for one person. Here are the most expensive restaurants at Disney World:
- Victoria & Albert’s
How Much Does Coffee Cost at Disney World?
Coffee prices at Disney World vary greatly, depending on the type of coffee and where you’re getting it from.
At most places that serve coffee, the prices range from $3.50 to $7. There’s also Starbucks at several locations at Disney World, where prices can be as high as $8 for venti with upgrades.