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Old 02-20-2013, 03:12 PM   #1
usmcwife1
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How do you estimate food costs at Disney?

I am having a hard time figuring out how much of our budget should be devoted to food... I was thinking that the DDP cost would be a good figure to use to estimate because we will eat similarly (one snack, a CS and TS most days, though a few days the TS will be CS and some of the TS will be off property and much less $$, so I figured the DDP amt would give us wiggle room??)

Right now I have $1500/wk figured. We will be on vacation 9 days but lose 2 to driving to/from. So we'll be in the parks 4 days and doing other random activities the other 3. We plan to eat onsite (resorts and the parks) some of the meals (and as of now have 3 TS meals planned) and the rest will be offsite in restaurants (that cost about 1/2 of what Disney ones do lol). Even though my oldest is an adult by Disney standards he'll eat kids meals, that is his preference. So 2 adults and 4 children.

We do plan on bringing some drinks, snacks and breakfast items with us (we are driving so I have room to pack it all) so I'm really only needing to decide how much OOP for food for lunch, dinner and random park snacks (dole whips! lol).

Any ideas?
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:21 PM   #2
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Look at the menus on allears.net and figure out what your family is most likely to order.
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:24 PM   #3
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Look at the menus on allears.net and figure out what your family is most likely to order.
Yep - this exactly!
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:28 PM   #4
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I am not sure why I didn't think of that... I think the main problem I'm having is I'm not exactly sure what we are doing each day yet, I am way behind in my planning! Maybe my best option is choose the most expensive places we'll eat and take an average of the cost and use that as "worst case scenario"?
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:49 PM   #5
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what the pp have said is what I do: I pick 3 or 4 restaurants at each park and pick out what I think everyone will eat for the 5 of us I usually do $25 for snacks each day and this always works we don't buy drinks in the parks so this is a popcorn that dh and myself share and and icecream for the kids.

I also bring a few snacks in the back to cure the hungry's if we are standing in line.

We eat out every meal in the parks (except breakfast we eat in room) always onsite for the 5 of us I have never spent more than $1000 for 7 days we also do 2 or 3 ts and one is always a character meal. We always stay under this budget and I have a growing soon to be 16 ds.
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:49 PM   #6
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I figure out what table service restaurants we will be visiting. Then I figure out how much the most expensive dishes everyone will order then add tax and tip so I have a pretty good idea for those.

As for counter service, I look at several at each park and then figure out the average for those. So we just pick and choose while we are in the parks. Though I do usually add a buffer amount too. Just in case.

Also, when building your budget, include drinks/water and snacks throughout the day.
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usmcwife1 View Post
I am not sure why I didn't think of that... I think the main problem I'm having is I'm not exactly sure what we are doing each day yet, I am way behind in my planning! Maybe my best option is choose the most expensive places we'll eat and take an average of the cost and use that as "worst case scenario"?
just pick 2 or 3 places from each park that way when your at the park you already have idea where you would to eat and a place everybody would like something, I know by know what I think everyone would eat. This is always my favorite part of planning is looking at the restaurants and deciding where to eat. We have a few places we like to eat already but I always look at the other restaurants because the menus items change.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:35 PM   #8
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http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3050182 Check out this thread. Someone came up with this awesome spread sheet that is mainly meant to see if you're better off going OOP or with a dining plan, but you can still use this tool and get an estimate on OOP costs.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LockShockBarrel View Post
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3050182 Check out this thread. Someone came up with this awesome spread sheet that is mainly meant to see if you're better off going OOP or with a dining plan, but you can still use this tool and get an estimate on OOP costs.
I was going to post this also. This spreadsheet tool is awesome! We paid OOP this past September with a mix of mostly CS & a few TS. All breakfast except one in the room and one lunch in our room. We spent about $800 on meals (stayed 9 nights)...way, way, way less than the DDP would have cost us. I used the above mentioned calculator/spreadsheet tool to input our cost for our next trip and it was pretty much right on.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:42 AM   #10
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The easiest way to do it is to pick a DDP that is similar to how you eat and use that daily pp figure. We typically don't eat all the meals/snacks on the plan so it usually ends up being cheaper.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:34 AM   #11
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The easiest way to do it is to pick a DDP that is similar to how you eat and use that daily pp figure. We typically don't eat all the meals/snacks on the plan so it usually ends up being cheaper.
This is pretty much what we do. In our past trips, we have used the deluxe dining plan but know that we wouldn't be ordering 4 apps, 4 desserts at every meal etc. However, for easy estimating, we just use the cost of the deluxe plan to know how much we want to have saved for food. Our kids are both now Disney adults, which is why we are going OOP this time around, but are still estimating $400/day for food (2 TS meals daily and bringing cereal/granola bars with us except for one day when we are going to Kona for breakfast too). I'm pretty sure we'll be coming in under that amount most of the time since we only have 1 signature restaurant scheduled. Plus I have stomach problems and may only eat an appetizer for my meal sometimes. I just can't eat three full courses at a sitting anymore.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:04 AM   #12
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We're a family of 3 and we budget $100 a day. We have days where we eat all CS, but other days our TS meal goes way over-budget, but depending on other meals, we typically still come in under budget over the vacation.
Also, we pay OOP but we have TIW.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usmcwife1 View Post
I am having a hard time figuring out how much of our budget should be devoted to food... I was thinking that the DDP cost would be a good figure to use to estimate because we will eat similarly (one snack, a CS and TS most days, though a few days the TS will be CS and some of the TS will be off property and much less $$, so I figured the DDP amt would give us wiggle room??)

Right now I have $1500/wk figured. We will be on vacation 9 days but lose 2 to driving to/from. So we'll be in the parks 4 days and doing other random activities the other 3. We plan to eat onsite (resorts and the parks) some of the meals (and as of now have 3 TS meals planned) and the rest will be offsite in restaurants (that cost about 1/2 of what Disney ones do lol). Even though my oldest is an adult by Disney standards he'll eat kids meals, that is his preference. So 2 adults and 4 children.

We do plan on bringing some drinks, snacks and breakfast items with us (we are driving so I have room to pack it all) so I'm really only needing to decide how much OOP for food for lunch, dinner and random park snacks (dole whips! lol).

Any ideas?
There's a really good dining plan tool at http://seeyareelsoon.wix.com/seeyareelsoon . You have to download it and it works in Excel. The purpose of the tool is to help you decide whether Dining Plan is a good choice for you but it can also be used to get an estimate on OOP costs if you know what restaurants you will most likely dine at. It's much quicker than going from menu to menu on allears and adding up all the costs, factoring in tax and tips, etc. You might want to give it a try.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:20 PM   #14
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Thank you everyone! The tips in this thread have been a great help, especially the spreadsheets! I did some number crunching this morning and my budget of $1500 should be plenty for our meal plans, even with a few TS/character meals added in we can stay well under that, especially if we are eating breakfast in the room and packing snacks for the kids.

I feel quite relieved!
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:51 PM   #15
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One thing we discovered on our early January visit.....offsite is rapidly catching up with onsite pricewise! We ate at Joes Crab Shack one night and Red Lobster another, neither one what we would consider fine dining and each night our tab was almost as much as our onsite TS options ran. For example, Joes for five adults (two adults and three teens) was around $130 with tip and Red Lobster was $150 with tip. In contrast our meals at Big River, Nine Dragons and T Rex were in that same ballpark.
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