I’ve been chronicling my family’s journey as well plan our trip to Disney World:
Today we’re looking at what/where to eat. We decided to stay off-site so Disney Dining isn’t an option for us.
A few things about Disney & Food:
You can bring outside food into the park! (Details here)
Your cooler, bag, etc cannot be larger than 24″ x 15 x 18″ so a big cooler isn’t an option. Plus the only wheeled items can be a stroller (and lucky us we’ll have a 10 month old so we’ll have a stroller!)
You may not have a stroller and want to bring a small cooler around with you all day so you could rent a locker. They have then at the entrances for rent. (Usually about $5 a day)
My Family’s Plan:
My research shows there is a Publix grocery store in the vicinity of our rental house. We will be making a meal plan (there are now a total of 8 of us going- my family of 6 + my parents) before we leave and will shop there for most of our needs.
Breakfast: We will eat this in the house we rented via VRBO.com before heading out for the day. We will most likely have cereals, granola bars, fruits, etc.
Lunch: We will bring lunch with us into the parks. Each person will have a small lunchbox (glad I got a few extras during back to school sales!) We will pack sandwiches, fruit, chips, granola bars, cookies, etc.
Snacks: We may purchase the occasional ice cream from vendors but we will bring extra fruit and granola bars with us.
Drinks: Since we have a freezer in the rental house we will be placing water bottles in the freezer and will allow them to thaw as the day goes on. Note: Ice Water is free at most counter service vendors in Disney World.
Dinner: We are utilizing a crock pot at the house! With 4 children (and 4 tired adults) we plan to have a late meal every evening. Knowing my children they will not be able to be on the go from 9 am until 9 pm every day without some sort of down town. So we plan to have a late evening meal (well 7 is late for us!) each evening. at the house. We plan to have meals that we can toss in the crockpot in the morning and come home to in the evening. We also plan to have dinner with my uncle who lives in Florida one evening as well as eat a few evenings.
Tips to saving money dining out:
- Use sites like Groupon to find deals on local restaurants.
- Use Restaurant.com to find local restaurant deals.
A Plus Dining package included 1 table meal, 1 quick service meal, 1 snack and 1 drink per day per person. This cost is approximately $58.66 per adult per day and $18.88 per child per day. So the dining for our family of 6 would be $1043.76 on top of the $2,200 in resort costs. There’s still a missing meal – breakfast- so that’s extra cost.
Non Dining Plan:
On-Site Eating: If we say breakfast/Lunch will be $9 each and Dinner $12 (and from my research this is extremely on the LOW end)= $30/day/person or $900 for the week. Ice water is free at most counter service locations but add an extra $100 for snacks= $1000.00
-Groceries: Even being overly generous I expect to spend less then $250 for the week to feed my family of 6 and my parents
-Eating out: A casual dining meal for my family (without discounts or coupons) is usually around $50. Let’s put down $100 to have extra cushion.
-Snacks: Estimating an extra $100 (again extra cushion- I’d rather spend less than I think than more!) for ice cream, treats, etc.
Total: $450.00 for food for 8 people
Total Cost for Staying on site at a resort+ “free” Dining Plan: approx. $3243
Total Cost for Renting House + Eating at home/bringing meals: approx. $1210.00
Difference in cost: $2033.00
For my family $2000 is a lot of money – it someone makes $10 an hour that works out to 200 HOURS of work – or 5 weeks of 8 hour days to pay the difference. Sometimes breaking costs down per hour makes a bit more relate able for me. So while it may be a bit more work (packing lunches, etc) – but it will also give the kids time to decompress in the house, take a nap, give me a chance to check on hot deals, etc. For our family the best choice is to eat at the house and bring lunch with us.
Do you have any eating at Disney tips?