Inside: When I was sitting down to plan our trip to Disney World, one of the biggest challenges that came to mind was: How Much Does Food Cost at Disney World? Here’s the details and how to save.
One of the biggest things about planning a Disney vacation is figuring out how much to budget for everything.
And…how much you can save on all those things with the deals and kickbacks from the various offers out there.
But before you can save money on dining at Disney World, you need to know the basic food cost depending on where you eat.
You will get advice from some that the Disney Dining Plans will save you money, but in order to understand where your prepaid dollars are going you need to know how much does food cost at Disney World.
You’ll experience different types of restaurants during your stay, including quick service, table service, character dining and signature/fine dining.
Here’s a what I came up with as the common prices for each so I could kind of figure out what to budget for my Disney vacation.
How Much Does Food Cost at Disney World?
Quick service is the fast food of Disney World. I
t’s usually counter service, sometimes a food truck, and sometimes fast casual.
Not surprisingly, quick service restaurants will be your least expensive meals, with prices typically under $15.
Dining exclusively at quick service results in an overall lower food cost.
You will also have no need to make reservations.
You can get a quick service meal with the dining plan for 1 meal credit.
Food cost at Table Service has a wide range.
Table service includes all restaurants where a server takes your order and waits on you.
Character meals and Signature restaurants are all table service, but they have other distinctions such as fine dining, buffet, or family style service.
Strict table service that doesn’t meet those other characteristics tend to be priced just above counter service and into the $30-$40 range.
These restaurants are called “casual dining.”
They are also 1 meal credit, although you have the right plan, as the quick service meal plans will not allow for it.
You can meet Disney characters while you eat at select restaurants in the parks and resorts.
Most character meals are only at breakfast, but not all. Character meals tend to be either buffet of family style.
However, Trattoria Al Forno’s Bon Voyage Breakfast featuring Rapunzel, Flynn, Ariel, and Eric is one exception.
Character meals can either include characters like Mickey or Winnie the Pooh and friends, or Disney princesses.
The cost of a character meal can range from $35 to $60 per person.
On rare occasions a restaurant will be priced at over $60 per person, but this is usually because of a special package involving other benefits, like firework viewing or dining with an imagineer.
Character dining can be up to two meal credits per person on the dining plan, but is most often only one.
Signature restaurants, like character dining, tend to rest comfortably in the $35-$60 per person range.
However, these restaurant’s more often than not will cost 2 meal credits per person to dine at.
Really fine dining restaurants like Victoria and Alberts, a AAA Five Diamond award winner do not accept the dining plan.
Disney Dining Plans
When you consider the comparisons between what you are likely to spend on food during your vacation and the plan consider the actual cost of the plan.
It’s currently between $21-$117 per person, per night, depending on what plan you choose and how many adults and children are on it.
Remember that this is per night and not per day, it is based on how many nights you stay.
It also accounts for only two meals per day, so remember to compare apples to apples when determining whether the plan will be a savings for you.
Tips for Saving on Food at Disney
One of the things my family plans to do is to have a meal back at our room, just a snack or something we can easily have on hand in our hotel.
We’re not big breakfast eaters, and though we’ll probably do at least one Character meal, because my children demand it, we’ll probably plan on having breakfast in the room–we don’t usually start the day all too early anyway.
So, sit down with your calendar and plan out exactly what meals you plan to have at Disney, what kind of things you need to bring in your carry-on for snacks for those meals you’re going to skip using your meal plan, and literally take this meal-planning calendar with you.
Like meal-planning at home, you can totally meal-plan for Disney, too–and save yourself some money.
The other thing that I wanted to consider when thinking about meals was snacks while we’re out and about.
The Disney Meal Plans don’t cover snacks–and my kids will want a soda, popcorn, trail mix, or something, about every 2 hours.
So, know that you’re going to need to have some cash on hand for those mid-day snacks, as well–or plan to bring something.
One thing we plan to do is bring some sliced apples, a couple of bottles of water or juice, a pack of raisins…basically things that we know our kids will want and we can distract them away from the snack-food stalls strategically placed all through Disney.
This will help keep us from going over our daily budget, but it might also help keep the kids from only eating things that are less than healthy.
I’m not saying it’s impossible to save money on meals at Disney World, but I am saying that if you don’t know how much does food cost at Disney World, you can’t budget for it, at all.
If you go in with a plan and decide, before you go, how you’re going to manage meals and snacks, you can definitely control the spending.
My plan is simple: Get it all on paper before we go. LOL!