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Old 09-28-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2012
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1st timer, how much in spending money?

We are a family of four. Kids are 12 and 9 and we are staying outside of the parks. Breakfasts will be at the house but most lunches and dinners will be in the parks. No fancy restaurants just quick grab and go meals for us. Also all tickets are pd for, parking, etc. Just need to know how much in meals and a few souvenirs. Trying to be frugal but still have fun. Any suggestion would be appreciated!
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Old 09-28-2012, 05:13 PM   #2
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We generally budget $25 per person, per day for food for 2 counter service meals and a snack in the park. We usually get (free) ice water with our meals and 2 large sodas for the 6 of us because we don't drink much soda. We don't budget anything for souvenirs because we don't buy them. Our kids all have spending $ that they've saved from b-days, allowance, babysitting, etc. and they sometimes buy souvenirs, but we don't.
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Old 09-28-2012, 05:45 PM   #3
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Look at the menus and prices on this site as well as allears.net to see how much CS meals you would typically eat cost and go from there. It will give you a rough idea of how much to budget per person.
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Old 09-28-2012, 06:17 PM   #4
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How much money to bring?

We already have everything booked, bought, and paid for ( all tickets, airfare, car rental, timeshare ect)
We will still have parking, gas, and some staple grocery items to buy once we get there. We are staying at our timeshare, so we plan on eating breakfast there. We will have munchies and treats at parks, and have booked 2 different character meals ( breakfast at crystal palace and dinner at garden grill)
There are 5 in our family. We are estimating those 2 meals to cost around $ 250 maybe a little more. So, besides those 2 meals we are going to eat at timeshare to save a little money.
We are planning on around $3,000 for misc items. Gas, Food, treats, souivners ect.
we are indulging the girls and are going to let them buy whatever they see that they like and want. We figured it was a magical, special vacation and we really want it to be extra special and fun, so we aren't telling them no -- it's going to be fun! I know I have a few " wanted" items on my list as well!
We are also going to discovery cove, with the dolphin swim, and booked a cabana for a little extra luxury. It's my birthday while we are on vacation, so part if that was my gift, from my hubby.
So, some of that money will be going toward discovery cove merchandise and photo package.
My husband and I went for our honeymoon, and since them, couldn't wait To have kids to take to Disney! Its 16 years later and Now, we leave in 15 days!
Seriously, save as much as you can to bring along. Stuff us spendy, but once there you kinda get caught up in all of it. You wanna be able to purchase stuff without really worrying about it.
Save, save, save!!
I have asked this on another board, and I'm curious to the response on this one too... How to other people pay for thier vacation?
My DH and I use our credit card for these kinds of vacations, ( tickets, airfare, car rental ect) but, pay off the entire balance when the bill comes. That way, when we go on vacation, everything is paid for. Then, once there we use our saved up cash to buy stuff, not the credit card. It seems more enjoyable going on vacation knowing its all paid for. It's nice to buy whatever there, with cash, and not have the big bill once we get home.
We know we have the credit card if we need it, but try not to use it. The only exception might be to purchase gas for car rental.
What are your thought? How do you pay?
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:18 AM   #5
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We are a young couple (29&33 no kids) heading to WDW for 14 nights in April 2013. Flights and accommodation and tickets are all paid for, so the on money we need each day is for food/drinks/gifts. I was budgeting for $100-$150 a day between us. Will that be enough?
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:38 AM   #6
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It's hard to answer questions like this given every family is different in terms of what / how they eat and how much "stuff" they want to bring home with them.

An average counter service adult meal I think is about $8. If you want a soft drink, that's another couple of $$'s. Kids meals are a little cheaper.

I'd guess a family of 4 (2 parents/2 kids) is probably going to spend $35-$40 at a counter service meal.

Sit down meals are going to be likely double or triple that amount as it's not hard to spend $75+ on just 2 adults at those meals.

Some people buy lots of snacks.....ice cream mickey ears, dole whips, popcorn, turkey legs.....it adds up. Some people might not spend any thing on them...others could easily spend $20+ a day.

As someone mentioned above....look up the menus/prices and determine where you would like to eat and then how / if you would plan on snacking in the parks. Once a person does that work....they should be able to get a good estimate on food budget.
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:57 AM   #7
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We're frequent visitors. On average an adult counter service meal with a drink will run about $10/pp and a child's about $7/pp. I budget $5/pp for snacks per day.

As far as souvenirs go, that can vary. We buy our souvenirs on the last day, after looking at everything through the week. We take pictures of the item & price. When I took my niece (age 4, almost 5) she picked a polly pocket type tinkerbelle doll w/clothes set that was $12.99.

I've had trips were I've spent very little (under $20) and trips where I've spent a lot (Dooney handbag, chamilia charms).

I would pick an amount per person that you are comfortable with and stick to it.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:39 AM   #8
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Not really a recommendation just a couple of tips. Definitely utilize the free cups of water at the counter service places. No need to buy bottled water at Disney (well - maybe at MK. The tap water isn't very good there).

In Epcot - hit Club Cool for free Coke sodas from around the world. Love the watermelon. Wish I could find it in the stores here in Ohio.

If you are eating counter service for lunch, make sure you look at your receipt. When I went in December, I received 20% off for selected gift shops for purchases made before a certain time (I *think* it was noon or 1 pm). Great coupon to use to pick up some items in the gift shop.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:57 AM   #9
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This will be our 3rd trip in 5 years. Total trip cost 4n/5 day was $1700. Plane tickets $633 for the 3 of us. Staying at Art of Animation in standard room Ariel. Counter service meal plan and a 2 day ticket. My kids are 5&8. Our plan is to go to Magic Kingdom on our first full day,take a break our 2nd day and spend swimming and do downtown Disney and then hit MK on our 3rd day. My kids are still small so for now I save some money on park tickets. We leave in about 12 days. For spending money I will bring $500. Our big splurge is Xmas tree ornaments for the Xmas store at Down Town Disney. We also visit tHe store that has some cheap stuff and let the kids go hog wild. We absolutely love Disney and every time we talk about going somewhere else we all agree on WDW. Can not beat the value.
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:04 AM   #10
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We are a family of 6. We budget approximately $8/person for counter service, but we don't buy drinks. I agree with the poster that suggested looking at allears.net for the menus and prices of the counter service meals. It will also help you know where to go for lunch/dinner in each of the parks. We also bring this cooler back pack to the parks:

We put in cans of soda and water. We also pack snacks (Pringles and chocolate (usually M and Ms or Hershey Kisses that we get on Clearance after Christmas or Valentines Day for our February trip.). It is amazing how sitting down and having some chocolate can help when someone is starting to melt down. We all feel better afterwards.

We never buy souvenirs in the parks. We hate to spend park time in the shops. We go to Downtown Disney and each child gets a maximum of $25 to spend. We don't tell them they have that much, but tell them to pick out one item that is reasonably priced. They know not to go above $30 and most often a couple of them pick out something much less than $25 but others will go a little over.
DH, John ME, Amy
DS 16, Douglas DS 14, Matthew DS 14, Mark DD 9, Melissa

Up next - Off Site @ Grand Reserve April, 2015
1st Trip Dec 2002 - Holiday Inn Nicki Bird, 2nd Trip June 2004 - Fantasy World Villas, 3rd Trip Feb 2006 - Windsor Palms, 4th Trip Feb 2007 - Regal Palms, 5th Trip Feb 2008 - Solana Resort, 6th Trip Feb 2009 - Windwood Bay, 7th Trip Feb 2010 - Grand Reserve, 8th trip Feb 2011 - Grand Reserve, 9th trip Feb 2012 Grand Reserve, 10th trip April 2012 Disney Land - Castle Inn and Suites, 11th trip Feb 2013 Grand Reserve, 12th Trip Feb 2014 Grand Reserve
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