Food budget? Does having a kitchen help that much?


<font color=FF66FF>Wishes everyone a Disney day!
Jun 23, 2000
How much is the typical budget per day, per person for food @ WDW?
Would we save that much money if we got a room with a kitchen? I am thinking that I am on vacation - I may not want to cook!
We are DVCers so our unit always has a kitchen but I definately think we save money. Our last trip was something like this always do breakfast, 8 out of 10 lunches and at least 7 out of 9 dinners in our room last trip. I have 4 kids 3-9 and spent $200 in room food at superwalmart, $75 lunches, $250 dinners (DH and I had a date dinner more expensive then regular family dinners)for a grand Total of $525 for 10 days 6 people. If we had eaten out the entire trip it would have been a minimum of $125 per day is my guestimate if we had eaten entirely counter service food

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CBR Dec '95, Sept '97
BWV Aug '98, Mar '99
ASM Nov '99
BWV Oct '00, Mar 01
Zurg, Barbie, Buzz, Buzz, Jessie & Tinkerbell

It's really no different than if you were at home. Wouldn't it cost you a whole lot more if you ate all your meals at restaurants?

I'm not suggesting that preparing all your meals at your hotel is the way to go, because as you say, you are on vacation, but if you want to know if it really makes a difference costwise, it certainly does.
We made full breakfasts in the room - fruit, eggs, bacon, toast. We also kept the fridge stocked with water, soda, cheese, fruit, ice cream and even frozen pizza. We had 2 sit down meals during our 6 day trip and the kitchen also gave us space to store and reheat the leftovers - it made another meal.We had two 17-year-old boys with us and I KNOW we saved money!

I didn't mind cooking breakfast, I work full time so these felt like a Sunday morning type of thing - it was fun to cook. If all you did was snacks and pizza you'd still save over park food every day.
You need to really think this through. Are you the kind of person that wants to cook and clean up while on vacation? Usually, you will pay significantly more money to stay in a unit where you can cook. For the difference in cost per night, I'd rather use that money to let someone else cook and clean up after our family. It's a personal decision, though. ;)

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:
Groceries: ~$130
5 counter service meals: $160
2 sit-down meals: $190
Park snack/ice cream: $70
Total: $550

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.]
Forget the clean up, at least at the FtWilderness homes & DI Disney does the dishes as well as rest of cleaning. We have a ps ressie at Boma at AKL for this summer, it's a buffet & will cost $14.95 per person so you can see how easy it is to save money even on the cheaper meal of the day. Other thing is if you eat at Planet Hollywood or Rainforest Cafe, etc you can take your extras "home"(This is harder to do at the theme parks unless you eat late because you don't want to carry food around all day). The portions were so huge, we had another full meal that only needed heating up!

FtW homes 88/99
CBR 90/91
DxL 94/97
Disney Institute 3n/4d programs 97/99
WL 99/summer 2001
AKL summer 2001
I agree with Lisa P. about the prices, although for myself I like to pad them a little bit. I would rather have more money planned than not enough. For the meals when we are eating out, I budget $5 per person for breakfast, and at least $10 per person for lunch, dinner and a snack. This is only when eating at the food court. Don't forget, if you are going to one of the buffets, or to any sitdown, the price would be much, much higher (the buffets start at $19). Eating out will cost more, but the advantage is you don't have to cook. It depends on how much you have to spend. Have fun.


1973 Offsite
1984 Offsite
1985 Travelodge
1995 Fort Wilderness Home
2000 All Star Sports
2000 Contemporary
Even if we don't stay in a room with a kitchen, we bring a collapsable cooler or buy a cheap stryofoam one at Publix, and use it to store sandwich fixings. I don't really want to cook either, but we find after lots of eating out, an occassional meal of sandwich and chips is just fine, maybe even welcomed. And I always buy 24 packs of pop to keep in our room.(or should I say soda :))
We are also DVC'rs and love the kitchen as much for the conveince as for the savings. We like being able to have something other than park food w/o leaving WDW. It works well for breakfast and our mid day breaks.
Hey....just because you have a kitchen doesn't mean you'll have to cook meals :) !! We've stayed in the FW cabins three times and I think that the most I cooked an actual meal was once each time. Why have the kitchen? Well....there's breakfast that can be toast and coffee....fruits...cereals and milk. For lunches we have had lunch meats, mustard, mayonaise on rolls or bread. Dinners we almost always enjoyed eating out...priority seating....this was our special treat!
Several times I brought frozen spagetti sauce and pasta in my luggage. It was no problem to microwave the sauce and boil water for the spagetti! And,'s my vacation,, my spouse and children help out.
Housekeeping will put dishes in the dishwasher and run it for you!!
The refrigerator is wonderful for keeping boxes of juices and bottled water for the parks (we never have bought anything to drink in the parks unless it was with a meal we ate there.)
What a moneysaver a kitchen is!! !!! :cool:

<font face="Comic Sans MS" color=#006600>Fort Wilderness Home - April '95</font>
<font face="Comic Sans MS" color=#6600CC>Fort Wilderness Home -April '00</font>
<font face="Comic Sans MS" color="#FF9900">Fort Wilderness Home - Nov. '00</font>
<font face="Comic Sans MS" color="#FF0066">French Quarter - Jan. '02</font>
Did you really pack frozen spaghetti sauce in your suitcase??? How did it hold up with that gentle airport luggage handling??? We will be at the FW Cabins in June and although we will bring some non-perishibles in our suitcase, we certainly never thought of frozen foods!! I've had perfume bottles get broken and ruin my suitcase, but the thought of spaghetti sauce.....

Yes, Dreamin of Disney, and it works out great! I make up my sauce and freeze it in tupperware, rubber maid or even those quart containers we get won-ton soup in (I save them)! Then I put the frozen container in a gallon, seal tight bag and put it in my luggage. Nothing to break or spill! And, it's home cooking without the cooking! Don't forget the grated cheese,if you use it. I don't bring the whole container;I just shake a good amount in a baggie (takes up hardly any room in the luggage!)
Have fun in June....don't forget to try out lunch/dinner or drinks at the Trails End Buffet...good prices!
By the way....other then also dreamin of Disney...we dream of SC. (Headed to Beaufort in June!) :D

<font face="Comic Sans MS" color=#006600>Fort Wilderness Home - April '95</font>
<font face="Comic Sans MS" color=#6600CC>Fort Wilderness Home -April '00</font>
<font face="Comic Sans MS" color="#FF9900">Fort Wilderness Home - Nov. '00</font>
<font face="Comic Sans MS" color="#FF0066">French Quarter - Jan. '02</font>
No matter where we go, we always get a place with at least a fridge. When we go to Disney in August, we're staying at the Sierra Suites in Lake Buena Vista. We got a rate of $76 a night. That includes a continental breakfast and a kitchen. So, no charge for breakfast (compared with $20 a day). Then we buy sandwich fixings to make our own sandwiches for a late lunch ($20 for the whole week, compared with that each day). Then we go out for a nice dinner. We're a family that can pack away food. We joke that we're "not known as light eaters." The people at the free breakfast usually laugh when they see all of the food that we take, and laugh harder when they see us eat it ALL. We're just a high metabolism family.
Most (maybe all) of the Disney resorts have microwaves in their snackbars or food courts, so you could bring microwave-able food (like canned spaghetti, etc) and use their microwaves. We brought a collapsible cooler last time and it worked fine for keeping milk and juice cold. We also made DS peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day since it was all he would eat.

I'm with you - I wouldn't want to cook on vacation either, but I don't mind doing quick breakfasts in the room or sandwiches for DS.


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