We've all got to eat, right? And we all know when you are on vacation, food costs a bit more. But how much does it got to eat at Disney for a day?
There are some variables, and it really depends on if you are a quick service diner, like to sit table service, or if you are a snack and go kinda person. Prices are also going to be much higher if you are doing character dining. Depending on where you choose to eat is going to determine your price.
But...how vague is that? You already know that, right? So how about a breakdown for you.
Let's pretend that you are spending three days at Disney World. One day for Magic Kingdom, one day for Hollywood Studios, and one day for Animal Kingdom.
I'm going to present three days worth of meals. Of course, you can mix and match, but this gives you an idea of the general costs. No two days are going to be the same, this is just pure research. Each comes with a pretend scenario.
For our purposes, we will assume that these are adult meal, and that there are no alcoholic drinks bought. If you enjoy those, awesome! But budget, because you know they aren't cheap! We will also assume that there are no character meals. Each meal is bought from a Disney owned place. We will also assume two snacks a day, but no dessert at meals. We are also not buying drinks except for at meals, but plan for those too, if you buy them outside of mealtimes.
Create these sample menus for yourself, mased on what you enjoy eating. The prices will guide, but you might also see how you can cut back a little. Disney generally has generous portions. Perhaps you want to skip a salad or bread. Maybe at lunch you drink water.
This also allows you to see snacks and meals come in all different price ranges. And...quick service isn't just burgers or chicken fingers!
Day One Magic Kingdom
With so much to do at Magic Kingdom, you plan to get an early start. Therefore, you are going to be grabbing a bite to eat from the resort grab and go while waiting for resort transportation. You'll eat a quick service lunch, and splurge on a nice dinner.
Breakfast - Pastry and a coffee from grab and go
Lunch - Cosmic Ray's
$10.99 Greek salad with chicken strips
$3.99 fountain drink
$7.19 Mickey Pretzel
Dinner - Tony's Town Square
$11 Garlic bread for the table
$36 Butcher's Steak
$3.99 fountain drink
$5.99 Dole Whip
Day One Total for Food: $88.13 (Does not include dinner's gratuity)
Day Two: Hollywood Studios
You got up that morning with plenty of time to spare, so you pop into your resort for breakfast. You'll drab a sit down lunch, but plan to do a quick dinner, so you don't miss the nighttime spectacular!
Breakfast- Resort food court
$10.99 Ham and cheese omelet
$4.99 Orange juice
Lunch- Sci-fi Dine-in
$18.00 Over roasted turkey sandwich
$3.99 fountain drink
Dinner- Backlot Express
$11.99 Cuban Sandwich
$3.99 fountain drink
$6.79 Funnel cake
Day Two Total for Food: $66.24 (Does not include lunch's gratuity)
Day Three: Animal Kingdom
It's another grab and go on the way to Animal Kingdom! Lunch is your favorite spot, and sitting next to the river to watch the wildlife. Dinner is a second quick service stop, as there is really only one Disney owned sit down there, but that's okay, you've a long line to stand in for Flight of Passage and don't want to waste time.
$6.99 Breakfast bagel
$3.99 apple juice
Lunch: Flametree BBQ
$15.69 Chicken and ribs combo
$3.99 fountain drink
$4.99 Soft serve
Dinner: Satu'li Canteen
$12.79 Cheeseburger pods
$3.99 fountain drink
$9.29 Buffalo chicken chips
Day Three Total for Food: $61.72
One thing I find really interesting is that you'll leave each of these meals full. You might not even want a snack or if you do, maybe you'll split one. Also, none of these meals are boring. They aren't standard theme park fare. In fact... my stomach is growling just reading these menus!
Using these sample menus, you can easily see that a day of quick service, plus two snacks will run around $60. Depending on the location AND the item ordered, around $70 or so (without gratuity) for sit down, per person. Take those numbers from your own sample menus, and use that to guide how much you'll need to plan for meals!
If you'd rather be rope dropping than taking time to linger over breakfast, you aren't alone! But, the fact of the matter is people have to eat. Even if you aren't a huge breakfast eater, chances are someone else in your party is, and you really do need a little fuel to keep you going!
You could grab something at the park once there, and many do, but just as many would rather watch their dollars, and breakfast in the room or while waiting in the transportation line.
These ideas are all perfect for those staying in a value resort. There's a fridge, but no microwave except for in the food court. If you are are in a room with a microwave or a small kitchen, then you have a LOT more options!
Chances are you already know how easy a few of these are, but there could be some surprises! I've got a list of 25 for you! Chose one or combine a few for a fast, easy breakfast and spend your money on more important things! Like souvenirs!
1. Cold cereal (You can buy milk from a resort food court or have delivered!)
2. Thawed breakfast sandwiches (heat in the food court microwave)
3. No-cook overnight oatmeal
4. Pastries (donuts, honeybuns, etc)
5. Yogurt and granola
6. Fresh fruit and cheese
7. Granola bars
8. English muffins and jam
9. Fruit cups / Applesauce
10. Precooked bacon or sausage
11. Bagels and cream cheese or avacado
13. String cheese
14. Cottage cheese
15. Graham crackers
16. Crusty loaf, cheese, and olives or pesto
17. Biscuits and apple butter
18. Instant breakfast shakes
19. Dried fruit
20. Beef jerky or meat sticks
21. Instant oatmeal (using water from the well washed coffee maker)
22. Crackers and sunbutter
23. Smoothies (there are several refrigerated brands)
24. Bread with cheese, tomatoes, and avadaco
25. Last night's leftovers!
While there are so many more things you can do, maybe some of these will give you ideas for your next trip. We always pack breakfasts, (budget, time, and food allergies!) but I actually really love doing that, because my kids and I are not huge eaters first thing in the morning. By tossing some of these into our park bags, we end up having a snack when we are hungry, but save a ton of time and money!
What If There’s a Problem With Your Food?
Important note here! Mistakes happen and as much as we would like to hope and think that a mistake shouldn't happen or won't happen, it might. It's always important to double-check your food as you're taking it or when it comes to your table at a table service or you are walking away from a quick service.
Sometimes sauces are added that aren't safe for you if you have an allergy even if you requested something plain. Or it could be that your kiddo won't eat ANYTHING that touched a piece of lettuce. Maybe someone grabbed the wrong tray and gave it to you. Lots of people place regular orders and allergy orders and the burger without mayo looks a lot like the burger with mayo, especially if they are sitting together.
Don't be shy about mentioning something. Disney cast members go above and beyond to take care of you but if a mistake does happen the goal is to make sure it is caught before you eat it, or before it's too late to fix the problem.
I think we've all been there, an item missing from your order, or the wrong side given. And far too often it's noticed when we've walked away, gotten home, etc. Disney is no different! If you stand and watch those kitchens, they are practically assembly line because they are working hard to fill orders, especially during peak meal hours.
The problem comes when you don’t mention that there was a problem with your order or that you didn’t feel comfortable with your server or chef. It’s rare, but it happens. The time to handle that is right then. Ask for the manager. Don’t sit there scared to eat, pay your bill, and leave. It’s much harder to fix a problem once you are no longer at the restraint or with the same staff.
If there’s a problem, ask for the manager. Explain what happened. It’s possible they will ask you how they can fix the situation. Be honest. If you’ve lost confidence that your meal can be made correctly, say so. If you’d like the manager to oversee the meal being made, say so. If you don’t think it’s fair you be charged for a meal you didn’t eat and have no intention of asking to be remade, let them know. They will do their best to make sure you have a good resolution. But it’s so much easier to have a positive outcome when you are there in person, not trying to explain the situation in an email or phone call the next day.
By that same note, what if someone goes above and beyond? It happens! It's time for a cast compliment!
Ordering with food allergies right now at Disney is a little different. While all food carts are supposed to have an ipad or a green binder with the ingredients, often we discovered it was NOT available, and we had to look for another stand.
Menus are more limited. Wile that's great, less desserts to drool over and wakl away from, it was harder for meal choices.
Ordering at quick service varied. At the parks, there was always someone helpful, and the red trays were still used to signify an allergy order. At our resort, Pop Century, it was a mess. Instead of the wonderful chefs we had been given in the past, we had the rude one from Art of Animation. He barked at me, didn't really want to help answer questions, and shrugged me off, not wanting to answer questions. Thankfully, the next time I ordered, I had a friendlier chef, though he didn't inspire as much confidence in me as much as Joquan had last year. I pray he returns.
The food court was chaotic, so if you place an allergy order, please be sure that it is flagged down, and you are watching to make sure that no one takes your order by mistake.
We did not do table service this time. I have heard that some people are being charged to speak to a chef, but others are not.
At Disney Springs, we ate at Wolfgang Puck Express, and as always, felt safe and confident in the meal choice and the staff in looking after our youngest. The meals were delicious there, and it was nice to have a good variety.
There's a new Disney Dining Plan option, and it might be a good fit for some families.
This new plan is a happy medium between the Standard Disney Dining Plan and the Deluxe. If you'd like a little more flexibility in your dining options, and a little less food, this might be for you!
Whereas the Deluxe plan is three meals a day, and the Standard one table service and one quick service meal a day, the new Disney Dining Plan Plus, is two meals a day, your choice of quick service or table service.
Like the other plans, two snacks a day and your refillable resort mug are included. Priced in the middle, this new plan is $94.61 for ages 10 and up per night, and $35.01 for ages 3-9.
With several new quick services opening with an above average menu, like the Regal Eagle in Epcot, you might might this a good fit for your family. With two meals a day it's easier to space out so you don't feel so full and sluggish, but you can still enjoy two table service meals a day if you like, including the perks that some may have, like meeting characters or special show seating.
What do you think? Is this a plan you might try?