Tell me about your food budget


the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts f
would sci fi burger be better than dluxe burger? I don't know the answer, I just wonder.
I'd say the quality is about the same. The cost is about the same when you add a side order of fries. The experience at Sci-Fi is superior.


What are people's experiences with timing of QS meals and lines during busy weeks? I have a fear of hungry children and 30 minute QS lines and no seating and mobile order turned off. Is 11 am lunch early enough to avoid some of that?
We usually eat lunch at 11 if we have a light breakfast and have had pretty good luck at that time both with minimal lines and with seating. By the time we are finishing around 11:30 places are usually pretty packed.

A Tripper

We usually eat lunch at 11 if we have a light breakfast and have had pretty good luck at that time both with minimal lines and with seating. By the time we are finishing around 11:30 places are usually pretty packed.
Agree. Our experience during the busiest weeks is that 11 a.m. is always a safe time to eat, crowd-wise. 11:30 is the absolute latest and is already risky.


New member
That was pretty close to our budget this last trip and we spent about half that. Between the popcorn bucket, plus previously booked / paid for events like dessert parties, we didn't eat nearly as much as I thought we would. We also shared meals, especially having a couple of people split an adult entree, which helped. Also, snacking more rather than having actual meals, allowed people to eat when they were hungry and gave us more options for what people actually wanted to eat.


New member
we got the dining plan for the first time ever for this august (it was free and less than our out of pocket budget)...but, every time we have gone with kids since 2006, we budget $10 per person per meal per day. there are 5 of us and my husband has envelopes with cash for food only for each day and he grabs the days envelope at the beginning to the day and off we go. if a kid decides to eat a $3 breakfast, they have $7 left for either a snack or their lunch/dinner, whatever they choose. there are a lot of qs meals that are big portions too, so hubby and i share sometimes in that case. Obviously if we do a character dining, that goes on a card, but this method has worked beautifully and no one has ever gone hungry. we also get water only for meals outside of our resort and that alone is a huge savings. it can be done on a budget!


the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts f
That definitely wouldn't work for us unless we skipped breakfast and had $15 each for lunch and dinner. I don't think I could very easily find adult entrees under $10 for lunch and dinner. Disney food inflation since 2006 means $10 in purchasing power then is worth about $5 now. And a character meal would mean not eating anything else for two days.
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a character meal would mean not eating anything else for two days.
*lol* I like that food budget idea of saying "Dinner is covered, and you each get $15-20/day depending on age/appetite (adjusted for WDW inflation) to buy breakfast/lunch/snacks as you see fit." The kids could learn value, be less manipulated as consumers and make them happier to share/cooperate. And whichever kid has money leftover at the end of the trip to buy souvenirs is a good choice if you ever need help managing your retirement ;)


New member
The calculus changes even more when you start looking at the restaurants at the resorts.

A typical day for us is:
Breakfast in room
Rope Drop
Leave park around noonish
Pool time/naps/snacks or light lunch in room
Dinner at a resort
Back to the parks
Exactly what it’s been like for me when I’ve visited. I”m not a huge “three meals per day” kind of person, so often a granola bar is all the breakfast I want, plus a cup of coffee. Kids (grandkid now) eat cereal and an apple in the room. I’m usually very busy in the morning so don’t even get hungry until after noon. Then, if not going back to the room because I like going in the winter and the hours can be short, we’ll sometimes get a big Mickey pretzel or even a QS meal to share during a lull in our activity, then have dinner at a resort or a park. Sometimes it’s QS again, depending on where we are and what our day has been like.

I have beer in my room, to drink one after the kid(s) go to bed fairly early. GS was 5 when I went solo with him, and he was beat by 9 PM and we were up for rope drop again the next day. Since I was in the room with him, I spent some time reading, having a beer, looking over our MM photos, etc, and tried to get to bed before midnight myself.

This year I’m going with a friend, so we will be all adults and the thing that will change is dinner- we’ll likely have a TS meal most evenings and likely a couple of cocktails after park close somewhere.

I like great food- but I’ve never had a ‘great’ WDW meal wherever I went in the parks or resorts so I gave up and just eat something small when I’m hungry. Part of that is because of the need for ADRs (I don’t know what I want to do on January 13, let alone what I want for dinner or where!) and part of it is just that for the same amount of $$$ somewhere else, I could eat very well. Maybe I’m wrong, and there is wonderful fine dining, but that’s not been my experience and I definitely don’t want to give up park time to have an “ok” sit-down dinner. I have done fun dinners with the kids when they were little- chef Mickey’s, Rainforest Cafe, but for me that’s because of them. I’m thinking of trying Saana this year- just to try it this once and I hope that I enjoy it.

So for budget, we’re not huge eaters, but cereal, milk and fruit and the room for the kid(s) (cheap, but call it $2 each), lunch something very small, maybe $5-8 each, and dinner can be whatever you think you would make you happy. Snacks for us have been apples and raisins, brought in my pack for the little ones or maybe one Dole Whip. I estimate last trip I spent $50 a day on most days for a 5 year old and myself, with one Chef Mickeys visit the outlier. But again, I don’t usually see anything that I want, I don’t drink soda or other drinks, I don’t eat things like ice cream treats, etc.

No way I could ever justify the dining plan cost, and would avoid it. But for others who are really into big sit-down dinners while on vacation, it might make sense.
all adults and... likely a couple of cocktails after park close.

^Sounds fun Lorenae!
Do try Sanaa, it is an awesome experience. Arrive 20 mins early to request a window table &/or enjoy the animal views, and of course try the bread service. Sanaa won't disappoint.

The value of table service can be underwhelming. 3 of us spent almost $300 at the Wave and while it wasn't 'bad', I couldn't help but think we'd get much better elsewhere. We still indulge for sit downs tho, mostly for the more relaxed atmosphere where we get a rejuvenating break, talk about the trip and really connect with our only child who is quickly turning 18 next year. Many lovely memories from TS.