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cttjones
11-10-2008, 06:01 AM
Ok so we are planning a budget Disney trip for 8 people. 5 adults (one is 12) and 3 kids. We are NOT doing dining plan, mostly because of cost. We would still like to be able to eat some sit down meals, but will be going counter service a lot. I will be bringing water in, and we will probably get snacks when we go back to the hotel mid-day. We will be eating breakfast in our rooms before we leave each day. I have a few thoughts so far, tell me what you think.

$115 Beaches and Cream + Counter Service$ 60 (HOTEL)= $175 at Epcot
$150 Prime Time + Toy Story Pizza Planet $80= $230 Hollywood Studios
$150 Trails End (all you can eat) + $60 McDonald’s = $210 Magic Kingdom

I have not completed all the meal ideas yet, so any lesser expensive places you can think of would be great. I am TRYING to keep my budget to $1200 for 6 days for all 8 of us.

Belle4mygrl
11-10-2008, 07:28 AM
Ok so we are planning a budget Disney trip for 8 people. 5 adults (one is 12) and 3 kids. We are NOT doing dining plan, mostly because of cost. We would still like to be able to eat some sit down meals, but will be going counter service a lot. I will be bringing water in, and we will probably get snacks when we go back to the hotel mid-day. We will be eating breakfast in our rooms before we leave each day. I have a few thoughts so far, tell me what you think.

$115 Beaches and Cream + Counter Service$ 60 (HOTEL)= $175 at Epcot
$150 Prime Time + Toy Story Pizza Planet $80= $230 Hollywood Studios
$150 Trails End (all you can eat) + $60 McDonald’s = $210 Magic Kingdom

I have not completed all the meal ideas yet, so any lesser expensive places you can think of would be great. I am TRYING to keep my budget to $1200 for 6 days for all 8 of us.


So far it looks like me you would spend the same amount on DP plus you get a snack.

Drink alot of water-no cokes or bring Crystal Lite or Koolaid single packs to make drinks. Share double burger meals to cut cost.

**ETA** OOPS I did not see the THREE kids. I think all counter services are around the same price for burgers, chicken meals. We went to DW last Thanksgiving and did not do the DP. We ended up spending $1200 on food for 6 days no snacks. Brought ours from home. We should have done the DP.

DisneyCrazyX5
11-10-2008, 07:40 AM
I would check out the Quick service DP (2 quick service meals a day, a snack and a refillable mug) and then add one nice sit down meal (like Prime time)

mom2aredhead
11-10-2008, 07:46 AM
If you're going next year, have you looked into the quick service dining plan?

It's 2 CS meals, 2 snacks and a refillable mug. We found it pretty easy to use snacks for breakfast (muffin, yogurt, cereal, fruit), then you could grab a CS lunch and CS dinner. Or a few days use the CS for breakfast and lunch, then do a sit-down dinner.
When we were at the resort, we'd get the drinks that came with the CS meal, but save them to drink later in the parks, and use our refillable mugs whenever possible. Ditto for the desserts that came with the meals - we saved them to have as snacks (if they were packaged in a way that we could) and I don't think we paid for one drink or snack OOP the whole trip (not counting "adult beverages ;) )
It's $30 per adult, but only $9 for kids. May be worth looking into...

dalt01
11-10-2008, 08:41 AM
the amounts you listed wont hold up. trust me. and you will find yourself hovering over people saying dont get this or that, or you must order the least expensive platter or no dessert. we are annual visitors and believe me you will be better off with the DDP. be careful about the QSDP as it will eliminate your sit downs completely.

Pumbaa_
11-10-2008, 08:55 AM
Where are you staying? Good food court options?

For Trails End, are you doing breakfast lunch or dinner? (I only ask because the lunch option changed, it is no longer hot, it is salad bar, sandwich fisins, soup and chili - no ribs or chicken :()

For CS, even though it is not listed, you can order without french fries. You can also order a double burger and buy an extra bun.

Lunches are usually less than dinners too

Have fun planning, you can stay under budget!!

dalt01
11-10-2008, 09:01 AM
Where are you staying? Good food court options?

For Trails End, are you doing breakfast lunch or dinner? (I only ask because the lunch option changed, it is no longer hot, it is salad bar, sandwich fisins, soup and chili - no ribs or chicken :()

For CS, even though it is not listed, you can order without french fries. You can also order a double burger and buy an extra bun.

Lunches are usually less than dinners too

Have fun planning, you can stay under budget!! sorry, but if i had to resort to breaking down a burger i would just stay home because........wow...........

mom2aredhead
11-10-2008, 09:03 AM
the amounts you listed wont hold up. trust me. and you will find yourself hovering over people saying dont get this or that, or you must order the least expensive platter or no dessert. we are annual visitors and believe me you will be better off with the DDP. be careful about the QSDP as it will eliminate your sit downs completely.

Unless they plan to do only a few TS either way, then they would just pay OOP for them.
I've done trips with and without the DDP and I have to say that by the end of the week, there are a few TS meals that I'd just as soon skip to spend more time in the parks except that I've already paid for them as part of DDP. I would probably save the same amount of $$ buying the QS plan and paying OOP for the 3 TS meals we really enjoyed as I would buying the regular DDP, eating TS just because it's pre-paid, and not using 3 or 4 of our snack and CS entitlements which is what ends up happening every single time. But that's my family, we're 3 people - 2A, 1C. If I had 3 teenagers to feed, I'd probably feel differently.
The ONLY time I think it has worked really well for us is the last trip because it was during the Food and Wine Festival, so we snacked around the festival and ate a few more CS meals than normal to try some of the different things offered.
Somewhere around here was a spreadsheet where you could pop in the number of people, the price of what you assumed each one would order, and it calculated for you whether DDP, DxDDP, or OOP would be the best option. I don't know if it included the QS plan or not.
You could definitely give yourself a headache trying to figure it all out. :headache:

SGMCO
11-10-2008, 09:08 AM
Before the DP we used to pay OOP for meals and eat mostly CS (this gets old fast) we would spend at least $100.00 per day for 3 persons.
Add in one sit down meal and that would be another $100.00 added to that day.
Food is expensive at WDW and can add up real quick.
DP is worth it because you know how much things will actually cost without any hidden expenses
Plus being on the dining plan you can choose anything you want to eat on a menu instead
of trying to find the cheapest thing, which I find to be relaxing and enjoyable.

dalt01
11-10-2008, 09:21 AM
Before the DP we used to pay OOP for meals and eat mostly CS (this gets old fast) we would spend at least $100.00 per day for 3 persons.
Add in one sit down meal and that would be another $100.00 added to that day.
Food is expensive at WDW and can add up real quick.
DP is worth it because you know how much things will actually cost without any hidden expensise.
Plus being on the dining plan you can choose anything you want to eat on a menu instead
of trying to find the cheapest thing, which I find to be relaxing and enjoyable. you hit the nail right on the head, no reaching in your pocket at the end of the day and wondering where it all went and then trying to make it up the next day.

*pixie*dust*
11-10-2008, 09:24 AM
I think you have underestimated the cost for 8 at the TS restaurants. I agree with others that the dining plan may work for your group.

Pumbaa_
11-10-2008, 09:26 AM
sorry, but if i had to resort to breaking down a burger i would just stay home because........wow...........

sometimes people need budget tips and this is one. Glad that you are not in a position where you are trying to do a budget trip, but many are. Nothing wrong with it :confused3

Tricia1972
11-10-2008, 09:42 AM
We were a party of 7 (5 Adults, 1 Child, 1 Infant) at Disney for 8 days in March 2008. We easily stayed under your budgetd $1,200 without the DDP. We didn't skimp either. For TS we ate at Jiko (most had the fillet, I had chicken because I couldn't eat beef), LeCellier (mostly fillet - chicken for me), Beaches and Cream and Crystal Palace.

For CS we ate only what we were hungry for and we're a good group to share things. (For example we ordered more than what we could eat at Pecos Bill's - four adult meals one child - total $46 with tax)

I think that you can do well without the DDP, and can be well under your budgeted $1,200 - without feeling deprived. I know we didn't feel deprived.

dalt01
11-10-2008, 09:44 AM
Pumbaa, i think what i was trying to say was if i was sitting at home figuring up my trip and to make it work i had to split up double cheeseburgers to make sure we got enough to eat then i probobly have no business going in the first place. i am not saying these folks are in that situation but anyone who is needs to rethink their plans.

Kevenswife2
11-10-2008, 09:50 AM
Also, don't forget to add tips to your sitdown totals. I think they atuomatically add an 18% gratuity onto a group of 8 or more. Even with the dining plan you still have to add gratuity.

*If you're not on the dining plan you still pay the 18% gratuity BUT you can split meals. (You can split meals on the dining plan too, but it's a hassle and you have to watch ending up with a lot of unused credits at the end of your vacation. That's wasted money!)

My group:Me, DH, and DD10 (A Disney Adult). I personally don't think the dining plan is that great when you have a child that's considered an adult because she's 10. She eats like a kid and would much rather have had the kid's menu instead of the adult menu. We threw away so much food because it was just too much for her to eat. I don't know about your 12 year old but you might run into this too.

I've been looking into the Quick Service plan for our upcoming trip and don't find it to be a big savings. In fact, it would cost us more per day than out of pocket. 2 QS meals= $20 + 2 snacks=$8. That's $28, the plan is $29.99. (Of course, some days would be higher and some lower) You do get a refillable mug, but it just doesn't work out for us. And again, DD10 would rather eat a $5 kids meal than the adult items.

You might want to go to allearsnet.com and check out the dining section. There's menus and prices to give you an idea as to what it'll cost you to eat at different places. Then you can see if the dining plans will help you or not.

Another cost saver we do is split meals. Some adult meals are enough for DD10 and me. And some kids meals are enough for me. At $5.00 you can't beat that (drink included). I pay that for a kids meal at McDonalds!

Being a stay at home mother (with a Disney obsession) I have to make every trip a budget trip. But I'd much rather split a cheese-burger at Disney than eat a whole meal at my local McDonalds!

caroline1851
11-10-2008, 10:56 AM
I think you should consider the ddp. It would cost you $1320 (that includes tax, which you would have to pay if you were paying oop) plus it includes a snack per day per person. Snacks (and drinks) can really add up when they're $3-$4 each often.

We were on the ddp, but i was shocked at how much the tab was if we weren't. Our family was just dh, me, ds6 and dd2 (who shared with ds most of the time or ate free at a buffet). For example, we had dinner at Maya Grill and the tab was $100-that was just for 2 adults and 1 kid.

I had checked out all the menus in advance, but things just start to add up so fast, it's just so much more expensive than expected. Plus, what's nice about the ddp (especially if you're on a budget) is that you don't stress about whether you're ordering the most expensive item on the menu or the cheapest.

Also, I found it was so nice to have an adr each day. It was great to know that we had a nice place to sit down, relax and enjoy service and a great meal. I found the lines for CS were super long and then you have to hunt for a seat, etc

Go with the ddp! so worth it!!!

Pumbaa_
11-10-2008, 11:23 AM
But I'd much rather split a cheese-burger at Disney than eat a whole meal at my local McDonalds!

Exactly!:thumbsup2

sharadoc
11-10-2008, 12:15 PM
Hi. We plan to eat on a budget on a 10 day trip, too. We're trying to determine DDP vs. out of pocket. We know we want character meals, and the rest will be CS. If you wanted to stick with strictly CS, then you'd be fine without the plan, but as soon as you start adding in some table services, you are really stuck.

Take the time to honestly go through the CS menus and add up a hypothetical meal for each day. I know there are things like 1/2 chicken meals that we plan to split, but generally I think each CS is going to cost $8 per person OOP.

Anyway, good luck. I didn't help a bit, but I'm trying to pass along my planning process.:goodvibes

caroline1851
11-10-2008, 04:53 PM
.

Take the time to honestly go through the CS menus and add up a hypothetical meal for each day. I know there are things like 1/2 chicken meals that we plan to split, but generally I think each CS is going to cost $8 per person OOP.



I thought before i went also that a typcial cs meal for my family of 4 (dd2, ds6, me and dh) would be around $30-35. It just always turned out to be SOOOOOO much more. It seemed every cs we had was around $45-50 (except the really horrible ABC commissary). Maybe because dessert (which oftne we took with us and never ended up eating) was included in the ddp....that makes a difference, i'm sure. Beverages were so much more expensive than i expected.

Overall, the food was just SO MUCH more expensive than expected. We got $800 worth of food for $604 that the meal plan cost.

cttjones
11-10-2008, 05:41 PM
I was hoping that we could stay around $200 per day by trying to eat creatively on some meals. This truely is a BUDGET trip b/c DH and I are paying for the trip. My Sister and kids would not be able to go if we didn't pay, and since it will be their first time I was really hoping to work in a few table service meals. Ugh!

Ok so I am repricing with DP again and checking on the counter service meal plan as well.

Schmoodle
11-10-2008, 05:54 PM
I was at WDW a month ago with my kids and kept close track of our food expenses. We ate what we wanted, when we wanted, but I was curious about whether the dining plan would be a good idea for us for future trips. I wasn't really working too hard to save $$, but when I added it up I was surprised at how little we spent on food. My expense for our food was $22.70 for each of us/day, not including what I brought from home. I did not differentiate between adult/child. As my youngest is now 10, we would all be adults on the Disney Dining Plan anyway, which is something like $37/day, so for us, it turned out this would not be a good deal. Most days we had breakfast in our room, carried some snacks, had one table service meal (included Crystal Palace, Coral Reef, Earl of Sandwich, Rainforest Cafe, Sci Fi Dine In Theatre), and maybe picked up an additional snack or counter service bite when we got hungry. From home I brought peanut butter, cereal, easy mac, pouches of tuna, cereal bars, protein water mixes, and nuts for snacks. I stopped at Publix and got a big jug of water, fruit, baby carrots, milk, bread, and eggs. This worked really well for us, as I felt like we kept a pretty healthy diet while we were there, and I didn’t have much left to toss out or carry back home. I did have a condo with kitchen, but I only cooked some eggs for breakfast or microwaved mac & cheese, and even if I only had a mini-fridge and microwave, I feel like we could have breakfasts, lunches, easy dinners in the room, which saves more time for fun stuff anyway. I get tired of eating out all the time when we are away from home, so we really prefer to do it this way. Good to know for the future as I have been hoping to stay on-site next time we go and was eyeing the dining plan. Of course, free dining is a whole other story!

Just some "food" for thought. If you are really trying to stay on your budget, I think it can be done.

DznyDreamz
11-10-2008, 06:41 PM
The thing with the DP is that when you are actually sitting at the table for what seems like a "free" meal since you have already paid for it, the tips can really add up. We were on the DxDDP mostly to have most of our meals at signature restaurants (Yachtsman, Narcoosees, etc). The tip on a $250 meal that you think seems "free" adds up.

Just something to keep in mind.

On the flip side, its a lot easier to budget for the DDP and be able to pay it off slowly. Otherwise you might spend the first part of your trip eating well and the end trying to go cheap to stay within budget.

We have done either the DDP or the DxDDP for our last 4 trips and liked it. The next trip is just DH and I going in January and we are going to try without the DDP. Either way, it will be very pricey to eat for the week!

On the DDP, I think we end up feeling like we need to eat to use up credits more often then we are really hungry. We also tossed a LOT of food that just seems so wasteful. Neither DH or I eat a lot for breakfast usually and we have mostly planned to have nice TS meals for dinner and will have CS for lunch (or, on some days a late lunch with snacks for dinner).

SunnieRN
11-10-2008, 07:11 PM
We did a last min. trip in late August. Since we decided to go on a monday and left on wednesday, we didn't have any reservations, and were unable to get any that appealed to us while we were there.
After 7 days of counter service for two adults, 1 child and a baby I came to a few conclusions.
1) Most of the counter service meals are quite large. After buying two adult meals and one childrens meal for a couple of them, we found it to be way too much food. If you have average size eaters or light eaters and plan out your meals a bit you may be able to share easily. Also, your kids can share an adult meal between several of them. At cosmic Rays in magic kingdom there is a chicken/rib combo meal. My daughter and I shared it and had food left over.
2) Even though the parks were not that crowded, it was free dining and the counter service restaurants were very crowded. Be aware that what I thought was crowded was "dead" to the cast members. After our first meal we learned to eat at off times and never had a problem getting a table for lunch or dinner.
3) On our next trip we are debating the QS plan and basic dining. Buying two meals a day CS and splitting them, only buying one dessert, drinking water with crystal light, in between meals I realized how economical the QS plan could be. Two meals, two snacks, a refillable mug each day sounds great. Then if you want to add in a TS or two you end up with three meals a day on those days.
4) Goofys in DTD is a fantastic place to spend snack coupons. There were loads of things you could get, including the make your own treats! Snacks and drinks are where a lot of food budget money goes, with kids. They see all the ice cream, popcorn, itzakadoozies, kaki gori, cookies, etc., etc., etc.
5) I think your budget for table service may be unrealistic due to the 18% tip that will be automatically included.
Anyway, have a great trip and I think it's fantastic that you are bringing your sisters family!! Either way you go you will have a great time! After all you're going to be at disney world!

justtobeme2
11-10-2008, 07:29 PM
Pumbaa, i think what i was trying to say was if i was sitting at home figuring up my trip and to make it work i had to split up double cheeseburgers to make sure we got enough to eat then i probobly have no business going in the first place. i am not saying these folks are in that situation but anyone who is needs to rethink their plans.
I respectfully have to disagree with you. Just because people need to budget to enjoy disney doesn't mean they shouldn't go. I have gone to Disney many times (13) and most of those we didn't/couldn't afford to eat inside the park at all. We'd eat before we went in and then after we left, brought water bottles etc. We had a GREAT time and we deserved to be able to go and enjoy Disney just like someone who stays on property and has DDP. I'm so glad we did that. I'll tell you one thing, I can remember all about disney but I can't tell you a single thing I ate..you see it's all about the parks and not about the food or resorts (even though we are staying on property and having the DP this time as we can better afford it).

I see nothing wrong with being frugal still. In fact we'll probably share our CS meals. Getting a double burger and extra bun (they cost A LOT) and splitting it between two adults with small appetites or two kids is a great thing in my opinion.

Just a note I once went to Disney and minus the tickets I spent a total of 300.00 that was for travel (NC), lodging, food and 2 days at Silver Springs Fla...and funny how I remember how much I spent/saved...I'm very proud of that...I was struggling financially and I enjoyed myself greatly!!! Honestly, it was probably the best time I've ever had at Disney.

caroline1851
11-10-2008, 08:11 PM
I was hoping that we could stay around $200 per day by trying to eat creatively on some meals. This truely is a BUDGET trip b/c DH and I are paying for the trip. My Sister and kids would not be able to go if we didn't pay, and since it will be their first time I was really hoping to work in a few table service meals. Ugh!

Ok so I am repricing with DP again and checking on the counter service meal plan as well.

Are you driving or flying?
I think you COULD do it on $200/day, it'll just take a lot of planning, imo.
If driving, you'll need to bring a ton of food-breakfast items, snacks to bring to parks, water, etc. Or bring water bottles with "on the go" packets to flavor the water. Drinks are sooo exp in the parks and at the resorts. If you didn't buy snacks at all or breakfast items becaues you brought them all with you, then did cs for both breakfast and dinner and ordered cheaper items or shared larger meals, you could do it. If you're on a really serious budget, just plan one great TS meal that you think everyone would enjoy and just make it really special. The tips def. add up on TS. Just do one.....it'll make it more special for everyone.

(if you fly, bring some snacks in your luggage (i brought 20 fruit/grain bars and granola bars) and then order the rest of your food to be delivered to your room. Milk, juice, bottled water, breakfast/snack foods.)

If you didn't have to buy ANY snacks or breakfast items that would save a ton. You should plan on $75 per CS. So if you had 2 of those per day that would be $150/day plus overall, one TS meal for the week and count on spending $250 on that one meal.

Or.........how much is the new QS dining plan? I'm not sure....but that might work for you and then just pay oop for 1 special TS meal.

DanaAustinChelsea
11-10-2008, 08:18 PM
When are you going to WDW? I know that this time of year some restaurants increase prices due to the holidays/season. Also Disney is offering 7 night stays for the price of 4 right now (Jan-June '09?) & some dates include a $200 gift card which can be used at restaurants. Do you plan on sharing any meals or eating offsite anytime besides the McD's? Our cheapest CS meal was Casey's about $30 for hot dog, drink, fries & cracker jacks for the 3 of us. I would definitely bring snacks along.

cttjones
11-10-2008, 08:18 PM
Ok after digging a bit more, I am leaning toward QS meal plan and maybe paying out of pocket for one TS or not having a TS at all. Not sure how I feel about it yet, but it would keep us on budget and I wouldn't be stressed about all the little things adding up. I really appreciate everyones thoughts and suggestions.

MakinMagicforBunky
11-10-2008, 08:52 PM
Schmoodle...glad to hear that worked for you all. It's just myself and my 8yo going at the end of January and I didn't get us the dining plan this time. We'll have a frig in the room (thanks to a swap here!) and are getting a grocery delivery and plan to have a lot of meals in our room or as picnics. We're having one character meal OOP and a counter service or food court meal daily, as my son loves the food court food and there are plenty of meals to share.

OP..with enough planning ahead you can probably make it work!

JackJack08
11-10-2008, 09:42 PM
I am a big fan of the DP. I don't think we will ever go without it again. (Have been twice without it.)
But...that being said, if you do CS alot, the adults can probably get away with eating the kids meals most of the time. When our kids got their meals, DH and I thought they looked pretty filling for us. With a drink and usually some grapes or applesauce for dessert, I would be happy eating it myself. Maybe something to consider.....

tinkerbellmichelle
11-10-2008, 09:52 PM
My first thought is on the splitting of the burger - I say, that's great! I think that portions are huge everywhere and we don't need to eat all the food we get, so why not split instead of throwing 1/2 in the garbage!


Secondly - - we're on a 'budget' trip - especially since we're spending 2 weeks in Southern Florida first. Originally we were staying off site, going to be cooking B/F and bringing lunch into the parks and dinner once or twice. We figured out how much we could spend on each meal etc. and it was stressing us that at every meal we were going to have to tell ds14 what his 'limit' was and then watch this food-loving boy with a big appetite get all bummed cuz he couldn't order what he 'really' wanted (he's all about the food!).

So.... we decided to forgo the kitchen, return the rental car early, forgo some space, and stay in 2 rooms at POP, return our UCT tickets, and get the DDP. No park hoppers for us, but at least we can enjoy 1 TS per day, and 1 CS and a yummy snack without having to tell people what they can/can't spend (we'll be doing enough of that on our first two weeks of vacation, and on souvenirs).

We're used to all-inclusives for our winter vacation and think the DDP gives us the ability to relax a little - - - so something to think about... especially given that not everyone you'll be paying for is within your immediate family - hard to regulate others, kwim?

Good luck with your choice - next time, we'll probably do the Quick Service Dining plan as we'll have done all the character stuff this time around. It sounds like a great way to enjoy the parks without spending all your time eating!

huskies90
11-10-2008, 10:45 PM
We were a party of 7 (5 Adults, 1 Child, 1 Infant) at Disney for 8 days in March 2008. We easily stayed under your budgetd $1,200 without the DDP. We didn't skimp either. For TS we ate at Jiko (most had the fillet, I had chicken because I couldn't eat beef), LeCellier (mostly fillet - chicken for me), Beaches and Cream and Crystal Palace.

For CS we ate only what we were hungry for and we're a good group to share things. (For example we ordered more than what we could eat at Pecos Bill's - four adult meals one child - total $46 with tax)

I think that you can do well without the DDP, and can be well under your budgeted $1,200 - without feeling deprived. I know we didn't feel deprived.
I agree. I think the DDP is at best break even. We have done it with and without and it seems to cost the same. The big difference is: WITH the DDP, you can order the most expensive item and not worry about it (remember, though, this is WDW, and just because it's the most expensive doesn't mean it is necessarily better). But WITHOUT you have the flexibility to skip a TS meal or two if you'd rather be spending time in the parks or simply not eat as much. We feel we ate waaay too much on the plan because it was all paid for. Plus if you pick restaurants with ala carte menus you can definitely do it for less than the DDP whereas if you are doing all character buffet dinners, it will be tough to do it for less. Our next trip we are planning a TS meal every day with 4 buffets (one a character) and 3 ala cartes. So I figure we pretty much break even on the buffets but meals like Sci Fi and Kona Cafe will definitely be less than $150 we'll pay for the plan.

Also if you have kids that are >10 like me, it gets even harder to "get your $$ worth" on the dining plan because my kids just don't eat that much. And for the CS meal you get, sure it can add up if you are on the dining plan but we figure our cost is more like $30/day mainly because we don't get soda and desserts. If you are not big on sweets and soda, it doesn't cost THAT much to get a couple of burgers/chicken sandwiches...