Since the Disney Dining Plans are currently not being offered one of the most common questions I have been getting from my clients is how to make a Disney Dining budget for their Disney World Vacation. To make your budget you need to take several things into account, how many meals you are going to eat in the park, what type of meals you are eating, and are you wanting any special meals or character dining.
How to Budget for Dining without the Disney Dining Plan
Even though this question is being asked more, this is a question I get quite often especially by vacationers staying off Disney property and people going to Disney for the first time. This part does require a little research on your part.
If you a traveling client of mine, I can help you with this process a lot and save you a lot of time researching! Do you need help planning your Disney vacation? I can help. We can get started planning together with a free no-obligation consultation!
Let’s tackle the first question you need to ask yourself.
How many meals are you going to eat in the Disney parks?
Even though I am someone that loves Disney food (it is so good!) it is not necessary to have a magical vacation. Everybody does Disney differently and that is completely ok.
Option – Eating Breakfast in Your Room. Lots of people eat breakfast in their hotel room. Disney rooms come with mini-fridges. Some Disney rooms also have microwaves, kitchenettes, and the cabins and villas even have full kitchens. Instead of spending $10-$20+ per person, you can feed your whole family or group for much less.
Option – Eating Breakfast/Dinner off Property. Orlando has a lot of inexpensive, fun, and unique dining options. McDonald’s is very close to the Disney property to grab breakfast. While you could go off property to eat lunch, I personally don’t think that is a good use of your paid park time because it takes a bit of time to exit the park, drive somewhere, eat, and then enter the park again. Some parks have early closing times. especially right now so having a dinner off property is a good option.
Option – Packing a Lunch/Dinner and Snacks. Packing lunch, dinner, and snacks is a great idea if you are looking to save the most money. My family used to do that all the time. Our only problem that we would sometimes run into is the heat. Unless you have a super quality cooler bag and ice packs, your food will not last the full day. Last year my husband got this lunch bag for work, he is a Cast Member, and it lasts about 10-12 hours in the hot Florida heat. Disney World has lockers available to rent so you don’t have to carry your cooler around all day.
Option – Eat all Meals in the Park or Resort. This option is the most convenient and there are so many foods to try that you will never have to have the same food twice unless you want to. Some meals are even shareable!
Now that you have figured out how many meals you are going to eat in the Disney parks. Let’s talk about the different types of meals and their average cost.
Disney World Dining Options
Snacks. Dole Whips, Popcorn, Mickey Ice Cream Bars, Epcot Festival Small Plates, and beautiful sweet cupcakes are just some of the great snacks that Disney World offers. Snacks range in price from $7 to $15.
Quick Service. Quick service meals are Disney’s version of fast food. You can find your basic cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, pizza, and hot dogs. You can also find nicer things such as wonderful salads, lobster rolls, and even ribs. Prices range from $15 and under not including refreshments.
Table Service. Table service at Disney is any restaurant where you sit down and get waited on. So many different options and price ranges!
- Ala Carte Dining. $15 to $34.99 per adult for casual, over $60 per adult for fine or signature dining.
- Prix Fix Dining. over $60 per adult
- All You Care to Enjoy Meals. These are being served family-style at this time. $35 to $59.99 per adult
- Character Dining. $35 to $59.99 per adult
Epcot Festival Dining. Epcot Festivals offer small plates that are snack priced. Many people will eat around the World Showcase this way. Prices range from $5 to $12 per small plate.
Putting Together a Disney Food Budget
Now that you have an idea of how many meals you are going to eat in the parks and resorts and what type of dining you are going to indulge in, it’s time to make a realistic budget.
I have created this free printable to help you make a budget so you know how much to save up or budget for Disney World dining.
I have also added a PDF Editable version in my printable shop for just $0.99. Just enter in your estimates and the total will pop up at the bottom.
How to use this Disney World Food Budget Printable
- In the Plan section, put what your dining plan is. This is where you are going to put whether you are eating in the room, packing a lunch, doing quick service, or table service.
- In the Estimate Section, put the estimate for your family at that location. For example, if you are a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 children) and eating at your resort’s quick service for breakfast. You would take $14.99 x2 plus $9.99 x3 and put the total in that space. I suggest putting the max the dining location suggests. If you are choosing table service, don’t forget to add in money for tips. If you want to be more exact, the MyDisneyExpereince App has all the prices for any meals you may want including drink prices.
- The Notes section is for you to put dining locations and reservation numbers.
I hope this post has helped you figure out how much money to put aside for your Disney World dining budget.