Could use some input on this budget

Southernmiss

I am hazed everyday
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
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.
There is some truth to this.

I can plan that our family will eat xxx at Peco's Bill's at 1 PM. However,we usually find that someone is starving at 11 am and we are closer to Cosmic Ray's. So that changes the plan. I've found that I can't plan and schedule basic bodily needs for 6 people in my family.

Now, we did stay at Fort Wilderness Cabins and when people started getting hungry mid day, we would head back and eat our big meal and rest at the cabin to head back out in the ate afternoon and close the park down. This way, we would eat only one snack or counter service in the park and the rest at the cabin.
 

RamblingMad

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 29, 2019
There is some truth to this.

I can plan that our family will eat xxx at Peco's Bill's at 1 PM. However,we usually find that someone is starving at 11 am and we are closer to Cosmic Ray's. So that changes the plan. I've found that I can't plan and schedule basic bodily needs for 6 people in my family.

Now, we did stay at Fort Wilderness Cabins and when people started getting hungry mid day, we would head back and eat our big meal and rest at the cabin to head back out in the ate afternoon and close the park down. This way, we would eat only one snack or counter service in the park and the rest at the cabin.
Then you’re paying up for your lodging to save money on food, which puts you in the same spot or worse. This is the problem with WDW. The resorts are almost double the equivalent outside the parks. The food is about 50% more. And travel time eats up your days.
 

usshelena725

Nou gaan ons braai!
Joined
Apr 11, 2018
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.
I've never had a Starbucks breakfast in my life, lol!

My wife, myself, and our daughter eat a special K protein bar for breakfast every morning at home and also when we go on holiday, without fail. So this would be the continuing plan. None of the three of us has had a soda in a decade or more - my daughter has never drank a soda in her life. We drink water, sometimes we add mio for flavoring. My daughter weighs 34lbs and eats like a bird. My wife weighs 92lbs and has never even finished half of a restaurant meal. She will usually just order an app and never even finish that.

We simply don't eat the way you do.
 
  • Southernmiss

    I am hazed everyday
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2011
    Then you’re paying up for your lodging to save money on food, which puts you in the same spot or worse. This is the problem with WDW. The resorts are almost double the equivalent outside the parks. The food is about 50% more. And travel time eats up your days.
    Nah. Works for our family of 6 adults. Lodging for 2 rooms for 6 of us is always expensive. We prefer to stay in the cabins at Fort Wilderness. Also, with the Cabins at Fort Wilderness kitchen we are able to grocery shop and cook and meet our dietary needs for managing chronic diseases without killing our health and within our budget.

    We arrive at the park of the day early and then either park hop or return to that park late in the evening until it closes. Always get to see and do everything we want.
     
    Last edited:

    RamblingMad

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    Nah. Works for our family of 6 adults. Lodging for 2 rooms for 6 of us is always expensive. We prefer to stay in the cabins at Fort Wilderness. Also, with the Cabins at Fort Wilderness kitchen we are able to grocery shop and cook and meet our dietary needs for managing chronic diseases without killing our health and within our budget.

    We arrive at the park of the day early and then either park hop or return to that park late in the evening until it closes. Always get to see and do everything we want.
    Which makes this whole conversation challenging.

    I’m assuming the normal three meals per day crowd when I gave my budget, not the crowd with special dietary needs or limited calorie diet.

    Now, I stay at the Hyatt, where I’m spending less than $200 a night.

    At the end of the day, it’s the total budget amount that matters for each person.
     

    WVMomof3

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2005
    I've never had a Starbucks breakfast in my life, lol!

    My wife, myself, and our daughter eat a special K protein bar for breakfast every morning at home and also when we go on holiday, without fail. So this would be the continuing plan. None of the three of us has had a soda in a decade or more - my daughter has never drank a soda in her life. We drink water, sometimes we add mio for flavoring. My daughter weighs 34lbs and eats like a bird. My wife weighs 92lbs and has never even finished half of a restaurant meal. She will usually just order an app and never even finish that.

    We simply don't eat the way you do.
    You will always get people saying $100+/ person per day. I wonder what in the heck they are eating? And do they just eat all day? I can't imagine. I think we are close to your style. We spent $736.10 (from my handy dandy spreadsheet) on a family of 4- 2 adults and 17 DD and 16 DS last year. We had plenty, we didn't starve. We also only drink water, though there may have been a beer or 2 in that total. We even did a character breakfast and 2 sit down meals. This was for 6 park days and 2 travel days. So if you don't count travel days (I think we ate in airport lounge) $123/day for a family of 4, NOT per person. I personally prefer to only eat quick service, I detest waiting for table service when we are in the parks. But I compromised with DH and we planned for 2 on a 6 day trip (Crystal Palace breakfast and Via Napoli). We ended up eating at ESPN one day while watching a World Cup game so added that as another sit down. I will most often get a kids meal at quick service, it is plenty of food for me and then I have room for a yummy snack later. We did an Amazon Prime Now order for breakfast items and bottled water, not included in total above. It worked out great for us. Have a great trip!
     

    chicagodisneyguy

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 19, 2008
    Just wondering if you bought park hoppers or not? I saw that Undercover Tourist has a 5 day non hopper with a "free" day. So basically a 6 day pass for the price of a 5 day. We bought these this year for my family and will be nice to get the extra day....even though we are only using it for the morning before our flight.
     
  • crazylady

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 22, 2012
    I think you're fine for your food budget. If you go over on your meal budget you can take it from your snack budget. We aren't Disney snack people so we would not average out to $20/day on snacks and we have a family of 4. We do take water into the park and drink the free ice water. I saw evening wine in your plans. Just thought I'd mention that AKL sells full bottles of wine (granted at Disney $) in the QS and the gift shop so you can save a little money by buying a full bottle so pack your cork screw and enjoy. :).

    There are several threads on the Budget board dedicated to meal ideas for cooking in a studio you might want to search for to get ideas.

    I will caution you that Disney likes to increase prices so your budget might have to increase as you get closer to the trip. Also, you might consider purchasing your tickets from a reputable 3rd party to save a few dollars and to purchase your tickets sooner rather than later. It used to be that Disney consistently raised tickets in February but now it seems more like they change them whenever the wind blows.

    Have a great trip!
     

    blobula

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 26, 2018
    Love the spreadsheets!

    Our family of 4 (myself, wife, 3 and 5 year old) went to WDW in September last year for 7 nights and we didn't spend a lot on food. I think your food budget is fine. We aren't big eaters either, especially aren't big eaters when the heat index is above 100. Nobody has an appetite we just want water. Our biggest expense was breakfast at Trattoria al Forno. We also ate at Be Our Guest, but we paid for that before we even left on our trip. Otherwise we ate most meals at POFQ food court. Kids would split a breakfast and my wife and I would split a breakfast. For dinner we would order a large pizza, or arious other entrees. We also ordered groceries from Amazon so kids could have snacks, PB&J, drinks, etc....

    Who did you go with for renting DVC points?

    Hope you all have a wonderful time!
     

    usshelena725

    Nou gaan ons braai!
    Joined
    Apr 11, 2018
    Just wondering if you bought park hoppers or not? I saw that Undercover Tourist has a 5 day non hopper with a "free" day. So basically a 6 day pass for the price of a 5 day.
    We purchased our tickets through undercover tourist as well. We choose the 5 day pass for the cost of a 4 day special option. We did not do park hoppers, based on our touring plan and what type of people we are, they wouldn't have been worth the money for us. Total for all 3 park tickets for 5 days came to $1,371.


    I think you're fine for your food budget. We do take water into the park and drink the free ice water. Just thought I'd mention that AKL sells full bottles of wine (granted at Disney $) in the QS and the gift shop so you can save a little money by buying a full bottle so pack your cork screw and enjoy.

    There are several threads on the Budget board dedicated to meal ideas for cooking in a studio you might want to search for to get ideas.
    Thanks! Yes, my wife is South African and we saw several SA wine options listed for sale at the AKL shops, so that will certainly be part of our plans! I will look into the meal ideas threads you mention for sure.


    Love the spreadsheets!

    We also ate at Be Our Guest, but we paid for that before we even left on our trip. Otherwise we ate most meals at POFQ food court. Kids would split a breakfast and my wife and I would split a breakfast. For dinner we would order a large pizza, or arious other entrees. We also ordered groceries from Amazon so kids could have snacks, PB&J, drinks, etc....

    Who did you go with for renting DVC points?
    Thanks, yes, we don't do breakfast other than protein bars, so that is a zero cost option for us. We do plan on having lunch one day at BoG, but I've got that factored into the budget. Plan is to order some items from Amazon Now to use for some meals, such as chicken salad and croissants, things like that.

    Not sure I'm allowed to say were we went for the points rental on here? It was a fantastic experience and was the place that does NOT have a mans name in the title. Private message me if you want the details.
     
  • clutter

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2001
    See below:

    1. We are very small people and my daughter eats like a bird. Even with this, however, we are trying to be very careful of food costs as they are so overpriced at WDW. The plan is to spend as much of our food budget on eating simple meals in the hotel room for breakfast and dinner, or eating light sandwiches from quick service locations around the parks for lunchtime. That said, do you still feel we are under budgeting for meals?

    I highly recommend popping into some of the lounges for meals, if you are such light eaters. I've been going to Disney for almost 20 years, and I just discovered that gem last year. The food is so much better, and you get a nice, but quick break.

    That said, splurging on character meal like a Crystal Palace (or Boma, since your at either AKL or AKV) for a meal is well worth it. Especially since your dd will only be 5 once.


    2. We are planning no sit down meals at any parks or hotels, with one sit down meal at Disney Springs for the trip.

    3. Ultimately, unless it completely falls through (can't book anything until late August due to work commitments), we will be renting DVC points through one of the major brokers.

    My now grown dd and I stayed at Kidani last summer, and she commented at how authentic it was to some resorts she had been at in Tanzania. I recommend going to Sanaa one morning for breakfast. They have set it up as a QS now, and it is absolutely delightful. I had so much fun watching one of the birds hanging around the window one morning.

    4. Due to jobs, we have nearly no flexibility as to when we go and like to plan way in advance - hence the reason for not using any Disney promotions, as they seem to all require booking too soon for us.

    5. I was planning on more days in the parks, but my wife is not as 'Disney' as me or my daughter, so was trying to accommodate her as well. Plus, with the high costs of accommodations, we felt that staying at the hotel several days would help alleviate some of the 'AH!' relating to hotel costs.

    Don't be surprised if your wife doesn't get caught up in going to the parks more than you expect. There is so much at them that is not "disney" Epcot is such a fun place to wander around in. As is Animal Kingdom. Actually all of the parks have ways to pass time that are just delightful. Know in advance how much it will take to add a few days to your tickets. Just in case. :goodvibes

    As another CPA, I found that Disney was a wonderful place to relax and be just plain fun with my dd. While I appreciate your spreadsheet, I would use something like that only to set my expectations of how much I would spend. After that, I only use dining reservations and fastpasses as firm obligations, then just let the day fill in. I know how much my dd loved our time there, as it was probably the only time she got a totally relaxed mom. I hope you all will find the same fun and joy.
     

    StitchandPooh'sMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2006
    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.
    I think what Rambling Mad and many other posters are trying to convey is that even the most experienced planners can face sticker shock at Disney's ever-increasing prices, and it is best to plan for more than you expect. It is not a function of income or how "well-traveled" you are. Very frequently, people will post that they had the best meals of their lives in NYC or Paris or Florence and they didn't spend as much as they did on average food at Disney. It's not even really a function of appetite - there are several restaurants that serve tiny portions for lots of money. It is a function of planning, as you are doing, and also being open to the possibility that your eating habits at Disney might not exactly mimic your eating habits at home or at other vacation destinations.

    If you're happy eating breakfast bars every day on vacation, that's great. My family gets tired of that after a few days and wants an actual breakfast, even though we barely eat breakfast at home. If yours doesn't, that's great, but it doesn't hurt to plan for the occasional Mickey bar or popcorn or cinnamon roll or breakfast platter (and you may already be doing that). That's all people who have been there many times are trying to say.

    Eating QS saves a lot of money over eating TS, and if you're happy with that, that's wonderful. People are suggesting different table service meals because they are unique to Disney, but that certainly doesn't mean you would enjoy them or find value in them.

    Sanaa was one of the best meals of our trip last month, but we did spend around $300 for six people. We got the bread service, which was divine, and everyone got an entrée and dessert, plus my husband and I got drinks. We had a full kitchen, and we had leftovers for about three days, but everyone wanted to order their own entrees so we could try many different things. If you want to skip the bread service and split an entrée, you can certainly do that.

    Posters on the DIS range from those who bring their lunches to the parks every day to those who have three table service meals per day. It is absolutely possible to spend $3000 in a week for a family of four, but it's also very possible to stick to a tight budget.

    Hope your trip is everything you want it to be!
     

    Erica Ladd

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2018
    Just an FYI if you like wine and want to save money - not sure if it’s been mentioned but the TSA lets each passenger pack up to 5L of alcohol in their suitcade(not your 5 year old lol) pack a couple of your faves with you to save even more!
     


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