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Old 03-03-2013, 11:12 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 180

Setting a food budget

Okay, we're still in the midst of planning and budgeting, and the one number I don't feel is solid right now is our food allowance. We're staying at the Embassy Suites so we get complimentary hot breakfast every morning, and a snack around 5-7 that could save us a chunk when we are there at the right time (seems to be stuff like pretzels, goldfish, fruit and veg, chips & dip, maybe a hot dish like meatballs), and we are driving so we plan to bring along plenty of hearty, healthy snacks like homemade beef jerky and granola bars, and we can hit a grocery store for fresh fruits and veggies. But I think it's smart to plan on one CS meal and one snack per person per day, and I'm budgeting $20 for that. Do you think that's too much? We are a family of two adults and three kids, and our 10 yr old son has the appetite typical of that age. :-) We will probably eat most of those CS meals at a park, but a few might be offsite. I imagine all the snacks will be at parks and will be stuff like popcorn and ice cream bars. We'll bring our own water bottles. Thanks for any advice you can offer!
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:35 AM   #2
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I think $20 per person, per day for one CS and one snack is just about right. It might be closer to $15 depending on where you eat, but always better to have money left than to spend more than you'd planned. Some of the snacks can be close to $5 but also can be large and meal-like (I have heard that about the waffle sandwiches in MK, for example) so you might not even need a large CS meal depending on your timing and how big an eater you are.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:34 PM   #3
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I typically use a spreadsheet and map out my itinerary which includes our anticipated meals for that day - then plug in the prices from Allears, plus tax, plus tip when needed. Without even really trying and with many itinerary changes once we arrived, I came out within dollars of my food budget for our last 8 night trip.

Agree that for a snack and CS without a drink, your estimate sounds about right.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:46 PM   #4
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Are your other two kids younger or older? If you kids are young then they may want to eat off of the kids menus (which are a lot cheaper). I think that $20 per day is a safe bet for anyone 10 and over.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:09 PM   #5
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just a couple things to consider:

1. possibly include a little extra in the budget in case you get tired of the bfast at your hotel (DH and I had the same type of thing when we went to Disneyland last year and after a few days we got tired of the same thing)

2. It seems as if your planning for bfast at the hotel, snacks and then 1 counter service.. so i'm thinking that will be around dinner.. and are you skipping lunch? .. only you know how your family eats, but it might help to also plan for a few extra cs meals here and there.

3. just a FYI, any counter service will give you free ice water, in case you don't want to lug the water bottles around..and filling them up at the water fountains (the fl water fountain water tends to taste a little funky) but the water at CS locations tastes fine to me
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:02 PM   #6
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Thanks, all! Yes, my other two children are younger and will likely eat off the kids menu or have fruit and a soft pretzel from a cart along with some beef jerky. Or we may bring stuff to the hotel for easy sandwiches and bring those in plus some snacks. Last time we went the kids got antsy whenever we sat too long (okay, so did I, lol) so we were better off snacking on the go, eating popcorn while waiting for shows to start, etc. I figure two meals a day where we sit down (breakfast and one other) and one meal kind cobbled together on the go, would actually fit our family pretty well. Might bump it to $25 per person to give a little more cushion as there may well be days when we need to get three full meals. ;-)
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