It depends on whether you will actually get to your room for lunch or dinner. You can prepare a simple breakfast of cereal, pop tarts, pastries, coffee, juice without a kitchen. For those who go to the parks all day without leaving, paying extra for a kitchen won't necessarily save much money, IMHO.
For those of us who take a day off here and there, those who take long vacations, and those who will prepare some more substantial meals, there is a much more significant savings. Even a simple daily meal, like pasta & salad, frozen prepared foods, canned foods and microwavables, plus a full breakfast, will really add up, especially with a larger family or big eaters (lke teens). If you anticipate returning to your room midday for lunch... calling it quits early with younger kids... or enjoying resort days, for swimming and recreation... you'll get plenty of savings from the kitchen. We definitely do. It depends on your touring style.
>>> How much is the typical budget per day, per person for food @ WDW?
Here's what we've found, when we've eaten all counter service lunches/dinners and most snacks at the parks:
Breakfast groceries and water bottles: ~$75/week
Lunch: $5/child, $8/adult
Dinner: $6/child, $10/adult
Snacks: $4 per person for popcorn and ice cream
For our family (2 adults, 3 children), this is about $100 per day or $700 per week. With that, we stick to counter service but don't worry about the budget. By contrast, we normally do eat in our room with just one meal per day in the parks/restaurants, including 2 sit-downs per week. So our grocery bill is higher and the restaurants cost more:
5 counter service meals: $160
2 sit-down meals: $190
Park snack/ice cream: $70
Eating this way allows us to enjoy a couple of sit-down meals and eat healthier, more of our favorites, while still saving some money. But it's not for everyone, since it does involve more meal planning. Hope that helps.
[This message was edited by Lisa P. on 04-15-01 at 06:37 PM.]