Could use some input on this budget

usshelena725

Nou gaan ons braai!
Joined
Apr 11, 2018
I’ve read this all, and aside from being in awe of your spreadsheets, it looks like you have chosen a pretty great plan for your family.

Do me one solid though. You’re daughter is 5. At travel time? Or 6 at travel time. Whichever, have Disney movie watching nights between then and now semi regularly. Load her up with these awesome movies (we still watch some of them as adults with our college aged kids). So that she will form relationships with the characters and be invested in her favorites. AND YOU GO TO A CHARACTER MEAL WITH THAT SWEET BABY!

It’s overpriced. It’s not the greatest food always for adults. But you need to do this. I promise. Read up on which ones are best food for adults. Baby girl will be fine with a waffle. I used to love GF Park Faire breakfast but that was quite a while back.

I’m saying this because you are in the gilded age of taking your child to Disney World. The magic you will see in her eyes will not be forgotten. Even when she’s walking down the aisle. (Just made myself cry a bit LOL). Sounds ridiculous but if you even only go back every two or three years (like we do), it will happen. My kids are well traveled (husband is German) but the excitement they still retain about WDW is endearing. To say the least.

Be flexible. Have a plan but let the day happen. Take a long rest each day, mid day, to break up the walking and heat.

You are going to have a fabulous time. Wait until you and mom see it through her eyes!
Thanks for the heads up, and we certainly understand 'well traveled'. Daughter is 4 currently, will be 5 when we go to Disney. To date, she has been on 22 airplane flights, including 3 trips to Africa.

We will look into the character meals again, but I just don't think we can justify it. We are booking FP's for princess meet and greets when available, so that should get us most of that. She is a princess nut.

Regarding Disney movies, we watch them all, we have movie nights each week, and have seen most of them all several times. She is currently on a huge 'Disney Descendants' kick, so those have been heavy in rotation.

:)
 

blewits

Wendy
Joined
Apr 23, 2002
Thanks for the heads up, and we certainly understand 'well traveled'. Daughter is 4 currently, will be 5 when we go to Disney. To date, she has been on 22 airplane flights, including 3 trips to Africa.

We will look into the character meals again, but I just don't think we can justify it. We are booking FP's for princess meet and greets when available, so that should get us most of that. She is a princess nut.

Regarding Disney movies, we watch them all, we have movie nights each week, and have seen most of them all several times. She is currently on a huge 'Disney Descendants' kick, so those have been heavy in rotation.

:)
Aww. How wonderful. Mine are grown now and I fondly remember those days.

It’s funny, my kids, especially daughter still get excited when they see certain characters. Especially Star Wars now. She’s 17! Lol

There is no reasonable justification for the cost of those breakfasts. I won’t pretend there is. I was just making the point that they are only the perfect age for characters for a very short window of time. We always found that during the breakfasts, we seemed to get considerable more personal interaction with them vs. meet and greets in the park. And we only did them when the kids were little.

Anyway, stew on it. Research which ones now have the best food and let it be a splurge. I wouldn’t suggest it if I thought you would regret it.

Y’all are gong to have so much fun.
 

StacyStrong

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 8, 2018
If you're looking into the Epcot area resorts, I would strongly suggest researching the Swan or Dolphin. You won't be able to use magical express, but you would have the boats, buses, and gandolas nearby. An Uber to/from the airport would be more than covered with the room savings.

Edit - just saw you rented dvc! Never mind! Have a great trip.
 
  • MinnieSweetheart

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 21, 2014
    On the topic of character meals, Tusker House has Americanized versions of traditional African dishes. A beautiful set up and 4 of the fab 5.

    It’s a must do for us and I would highly recommend it as a splurge.
     

    MinnieSweetheart

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 21, 2014
    Also I would price at renting a car and getting a VRBO or timeshare condo.

    With just one kid, you could easily fit in a condo rental. Having the kitchen to make your own meals sounds like it’s more your pace.

    Even if you just did breakfast, when breakfast is 5 dollars and filling you have some more room to be flexible how you eat in the parks than if you spent $30 on bounty platters.
     

    Chickinvic

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 9, 2019
    Also I would price at renting a car and getting a VRBO or timeshare condo.

    With just one kid, you could easily fit in a condo rental. Having the kitchen to make your own meals sounds like it’s more your pace.

    Even if you just did breakfast, when breakfast is 5 dollars and filling you have some more room to be flexible how you eat in the parks than if you spent $30 on bounty platters.
    Doesn't even have to be a condo. We get a villa through VRBO (4 bed/3 bath detached with private pool/hot tub) for $100/night 10 minutes drive away. Very nice place in a nice gated community. We rent a car and pay for the villa for less than staying at even the cheapest Disney room.
     

    RamblingMad

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    Your food budget looks light. I used to budget $100 a day per person five years ago. That no longer works. It's now closer to $125-150 a person. Food costs have gone up significantly. The majority of that budget is to cover dinners.
     
  • Cynt

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2005
    Congrats on your decision. Love your spreadsheets. I'm glad I'm not the only "nerd" who plans everything on a spreadsheet. LOL!! My fam thinks I'm coocoo for Coco puffs until we vacation and everything is laid out in folders and on spreadsheets for them to easily follow the plan months in advance of our actual vacation. I'm the family travel agent. So I have to account for every dime. I'm super frugal so they know we're going to get the best deal possible.

    Glad you were able to loosen up your food budget. My DH and I budget $100 a day for food. We might sneak in a TS meal but we're SNACKERS. Love Disney snacks and QS people. We will eat a snack before we eat a meal. We're big kids!! We leave in 5 weeks and I have my snack places planned out and that's about it. LOL!!! I'm still trying to reserve O'hana's and that will be our only TS meal.

    Definitely let your 5 yr old lead you to what she wants to do. My youngest niece turns 5 in November so we'll begin planning our next family trip in a year or two. That's a right of passage in our family because we don't do strollers at Disney. Her older cousins are so excited that we get to go back to Disney. It's amazing what they want to do and what peaks their interest. Our kids enjoyed eating hot dogs on main street at Casey's more than anything. It was just something about it that they loved. So we just rolled with it.

    Enjoy your trip.
     

    usshelena725

    Nou gaan ons braai!
    Joined
    Apr 11, 2018
    Also I would price at renting a car and getting a VRBO or timeshare condo. With just one kid, you could easily fit in a condo rental. Having the kitchen to make your own meals sounds like it’s more your pace.

    Even if you just did breakfast, when breakfast is 5 dollars and filling you have some more room to be flexible how you eat in the parks than if you spent $30 on bounty platters.
    Sorry - it may have been lost in the post, but we purchased 8 days at the Animal Kingdom Lodge via DVC point rental. We will not be renting a car, and using the ME to and from the airport, buses for the majority of travel to the parks, with addition of Uber for several occasions where we don't want to wait.

    We are planning on breakfast bars for breakfast each morning (it's what we eat every day at home, including the daughter, so this isn't unusual). We travel - A LOT (daughter is 4 and has already been on 22 airplane flights) - and this has worked everywhere we go, so that is the plan. Also keeps costs down dramatically.

    Doesn't even have to be a condo. We get a villa through VRBO (4 bed/3 bath detached with private pool/hot tub) for $100/night 10 minutes drive away. Very nice place in a nice gated community. We rent a car and pay for the villa for less than staying at even the cheapest Disney room.
    Please refer to above - we are staying in a studio suite at the AKL - Jambo House. Thanks for the hints and tips, though! :)

    Your food budget looks light. I used to budget $100 a day per person five years ago. That no longer works. It's now closer to $125-150 a person. Food costs have gone up significantly. The majority of that budget is to cover dinners.
    $150 per person???? That can't be right. We've gone on vacation to Paris, Tokyo, New York City, and San Francisco and have never even come close to that amount. Realistically, here is a basic breakdown of what we would do on an average day at the parks:

    Breakfast:
    In room, breakfast bars. Cost $0

    Lunch:
    Harbour House in MK.
    Me - Lobster Roll $15.99
    Wife - Grilled Salmon $13.99
    Child - Chicken & Fish Nuggets $7.69
    Beverage - Wife & I, water. Child, included in meal $0
    Total after tax: $41.44

    Dinner
    The Mara at AKL.
    Me - Potjie $8.49
    Wife - Braai Chicken Flatbread $10.49
    Child - Cheese Flatbread $6.49
    Beverage - Wife & I, various, total $8.98; Child, included in meal $0
    Total after tax: $37.90

    Evening Drinks
    Two glasses of wine, plus desserts: $39.60

    Grand Total: $118.94

    And that would be a very heavy meal day for us. We are tiny eaters. So I would think that our budget of around $125 per day should be plenty, no?


    Congrats on your decision. Love your spreadsheets. I'm glad I'm not the only "nerd" who plans everything on a spreadsheet. LOL!! My fam thinks I'm coocoo for Coco puffs until we vacation and everything is laid out in folders and on spreadsheets for them to easily follow the plan months in advance of our actual vacation. I'm the family travel agent. So I have to account for every dime. I'm super frugal so they know we're going to get the best deal possible.

    Glad you were able to loosen up your food budget. My DH and I budget $100 a day for food. We might sneak in a TS meal but we're SNACKERS. Love Disney snacks and QS people. We will eat a snack before we eat a meal. We're big kids!! We leave in 5 weeks and I have my snack places planned out and that's about it. LOL!!! I'm still trying to reserve O'hana's and that will be our only TS meal.

    Definitely let your 5 yr old lead you to what she wants to do. My youngest niece turns 5 in November so we'll begin planning our next family trip in a year or two. That's a right of passage in our family because we don't do strollers at Disney. Her older cousins are so excited that we get to go back to Disney. It's amazing what they want to do and what peaks their interest. Our kids enjoyed eating hot dogs on main street at Casey's more than anything. It was just something about it that they loved. So we just rolled with it.

    Enjoy your trip.
    Thanks so much, and yes - both the wife and I are CPA's, so it is in our blood. Our daughter is also very 'process oriented' and likes a plan of action - so I imagine having some structure will actually work quite well for her also.[/QUOTE]
     

    RamblingMad

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    My budget assumes a Starbucks breakfast at about $12 a person, a sit down lunch for about $20-30 a person, and a nice meal for dinner at about $80-100 a person.

    I’m sure you make it cheaper, but even QS at Disney for lunch can easily cost $20 a person. Their food prices have gotten a lot more expensive. And when you include taxes and tips, it’s not cheap.
     

    easyas123

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 4, 2018
    I'm afraid RamblingMad is spot on, even the most budget minded person (which, admittedly I am NOT while on vacation) might find themselves off the mark a bit without even going off script while at WDW.
     
  • Chickinvic

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 9, 2019
    My budget assumes a Starbucks breakfast at about $12 a person, a sit down lunch for about $20-30 a person, and a nice meal for dinner at about $80-100 a person.

    I’m sure you make it cheaper, but even QS at Disney for lunch can easily cost $20 a person. Their food prices have gotten a lot more expensive. And when you include taxes and tips, it’s not cheap.
    That's way more than we spend on food. I might do one or two dinners that expensive on a trip, but most days we eat for a lot less than that.
     

    RamblingMad

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    That's way more than we spend on food. I might do one or two dinners that expensive on a trip, but most days we eat for a lot less than that.
    But do you get snacks? Those easily add up too. You can spend $5 on bottled water. The prices are crazy.
     

    usshelena725

    Nou gaan ons braai!
    Joined
    Apr 11, 2018
    My budget assumes a Starbucks breakfast at about $12 a person, a sit down lunch for about $20-30 a person, and a nice meal for dinner at about $80-100 a person.

    I’m sure you make it cheaper, but even QS at Disney for lunch can easily cost $20 a person. Their food prices have gotten a lot more expensive. And when you include taxes and tips, it’s not cheap.
    I have no words. Apparently you and I live in two different worlds.

    We are not a lower income family - I make in the mid 6 figures per year and have ate at a restaurant that costs $100 per person maybe 3 times in my life, and that was in NYC.

    There is a zero percent chance we will spend anywhere near that. Our family is apparently very different from yours - which is just fine.

    We don't plan to do any table service meals the entire trip - save one at Sanaa, which is a pretty moderately priced restaurant. We've looked at the menu's and there is no way we would even come close to what you are predicting.

    Again - not saying that you don't spend these kind of dollars, but I don't believe that is common for most folks. That would be saying that the average family of 4 would spend nearly $3,000 a week on food at Disney, and I don't think that is accurate for the majority of visitors.
     

    easyas123

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 4, 2018
    For comparisons sake we budget/average about $300 per day for the two of us total. We usually do one sit down per day, not every day...and we enjoy a few drinks each as well. Sometimes we come in far under it- sometimes we go over.thats $2100 a week for two of us- I don’t think it’s about what you make or what you’ve spent elsewhere ... it’s about what you’ll spend at WDW.
    But perhaps it’s our different approach to visiting WDW? We budget what others might consider A lot before we go, be cause once we are there we don’t care to nickel & dine ourselves. And we don’t always pre plan so we might end up at some restaurant that is pricey compared to others- but that’s ok, we planned for it before so we don’t have to worry about it during!
    And &$20t Starbucks for a coffee or two & two sandwiches or snacks? Plus tax? Plus tip... shoot. $20 is on the money
     

    RamblingMad

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    I'm afraid RamblingMad is spot on, even the most budget minded person (which, admittedly I am NOT while on vacation) might find themselves off the mark a bit without even going off script while at WDW.
    And I don’t drink.

    A sit down dinner at WDW is terribly expensive.

    When I went to Volcano Bay at Universal. We spent about $18 each after tax on curry at a QS. And Universal runs cheaper than WDW. Our meals at the Harry Potter restaurants easily ran us close to $30 each with frozen BB.

    I plan for the insane pricing to avoid shock when I get there.
     

    RamblingMad

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    I have no words. Apparently you and I live in two different worlds.

    We are not a lower income family - I make in the mid 6 figures per year and have ate at a restaurant that costs $100 per person maybe 3 times in my life, and that was in NYC.

    There is a zero percent chance we will spend anywhere near that. Our family is apparently very different from yours - which is just fine.

    We don't plan to do any table service meals the entire trip - save one at Sanaa, which is a pretty moderately priced restaurant. We've looked at the menu's and there is no way we would even come close to what you are predicting.

    Again - not saying that you don't spend these kind of dollars, but I don't believe that is common for most folks. That would be saying that the average family of 4 would spend nearly $3,000 a week on food at Disney, and I don't think that is accurate for the majority of visitors.
    The majority of visitors experience sticker shock, pull out their credit cards, and plan to pay off their once in a lifetime vacation in the future. Or they pay up for a dining plan.

    If you want a cheap vacation, go camping. I go multiple times a year.

    The biggest problem with being in the bubble is that it’s very time consuming to get to cheaper food.

    How much time are you going to waste chasing down cheaper meal options?
     

    blewits

    Wendy
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2002
    I have no words. Apparently you and I live in two different worlds.

    We are not a lower income family - I make in the mid 6 figures per year and have ate at a restaurant that costs $100 per person maybe 3 times in my life, and that was in NYC.

    There is a zero percent chance we will spend anywhere near that. Our family is apparently very different from yours - which is just fine.

    We don't plan to do any table service meals the entire trip - save one at Sanaa, which is a pretty moderately priced restaurant. We've looked at the menu's and there is no way we would even come close to what you are predicting.

    Again - not saying that you don't spend these kind of dollars, but I don't believe that is common for most folks. That would be saying that the average family of 4 would spend nearly $3,000 a week on food at Disney, and I don't think that is accurate for the majority of visitors.
    Forgot to mention, don’t forget about Uber eats as well. It’s cheaper than Disney food, even with the delivery fee and you can order from just about anywhere in Orlando. That’s also a great option when you’re just too tired to go out for a meal but want something satisfying and easy. And you can stay in your your room and eat in your pajamas if you want. 😆. Or poolside.
     

    blewits

    Wendy
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2002
    The majority of visitors experience sticker shock, pull out their credit cards, and plan to pay off their once in a lifetime vacation in the future. Or they pay up for a dining plan.

    If you want a cheap vacation, go camping. I go multiple times a year.

    The biggest problem with being in the bubble is that it’s very time consuming to get to cheaper food.

    How much time are you going to waste chasing down cheaper meal options?
    They are just not big eaters. 🤷‍♀️ Everyone is different. At home, we never eat out. I cook every meal. On vacation, we do a mix of both. But we don’t feel bad about ordering a bottle of wine for dinner because we save so much by not eating out all the time.

    But even on vacation, we don’t blow it out on meals. We do a mixture of really nice ones, as a treat, and much more affordable ones.

    People are just different. For instance, I would not choose Starbucks for a breakfast option. I’ll bring my Peet’s coffee with me. Buy a bagel from the hotel maybe and get going. Or, have a warm savory egg and bacon breakfast and skip lunch. I’d be too full to eat it at that time.

    Just saying.
     

    RamblingMad

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    They are just not big eaters. 🤷‍♀️ Everyone is different. At home, we never eat out. I cook every meal. On vacation, we do a mix of both. But we don’t feel bad about ordering a bottle of wine for dinner because we save so much by not eating out all the time.

    But even on vacation, we don’t blow it out on meals. We do a mixture of really nice ones, as a treat, and much more affordable ones.

    People are just different. For instance, I would not choose Starbucks for a breakfast option. I’ll bring my Peet’s coffee with me. Buy a bagel from the hotel maybe and get going. Or, have a warm savory egg and bacon breakfast and skip lunch. I’d be too full to eat it at that time.

    Just saying.
    Starbucks is the cheap hotel option. Have you seen what breakfast costs? Unless you’re staying off property, the affordable food options are limited. And character breakfasts are super expensive.

    I once did try the room with a kitchen to save money. However, it ended up not being used. It just takes way too long to go from a WDW Park to the room and back again. Everything is so spread out. And it takes even longer if you’re staying off property.

    What I’m saying is be prepared to spend more than you want because food is expensive, and it takes far too long to do out of park options. You can do your energy bar thing, but after eating those for a couple of days, the complaining for something else will happen.

    Also, you’re walking 7-10 miles a day in the heat. This has an impact. I went with a $100 per person budget, and I blew past it. The prices had really gone up more than I had expected.
     


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