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Thread: Tell me about your food budget

  1. #1
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    Tell me about your food budget

    What would you anticipate spending for a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids) if you were doing groceries for breakfast in your hotel room, 2 QS meals and 1 snack per person per day? I'm coming up $165 per day including the groceries. The Quick service meal plan plus the same estimate for groceries comes out to $172.56 per day but includes one more snack per person per day.

    Do those sound like reasonable estimates? It sure seems like a lot for QS. I'm wondering if we'd actually do better? I know portions tend to be large and at times we might end up sharing. What are your experiences?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member hizouse's Avatar
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    I'd budget $10 breakfast + 2 x (2 adults x $15/adult QS + 2 kids x $8/kid QS) + 4 x $6/snack = $126 total (plus maybe $5/day for granola bars and other snacks from grocery store)

    That assumes kids meals for kids and no alcohol, and one of the adults is probably having water instead of Coke, too.

    My kids are young enough that to save money, I will often order a QS kids meal for myself and then eat their leftovers. Or at least steer us to a QS with free refills on cokes, and I'll take their kids meal drink and one of them will have water.

    For breakfast, I'd be thinking $3 worth of bagels + $3 fruit + $2 cereal + $2 milk or juice + $0 coffee from room.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Disneyfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hizouse View Post
    I'd budget $10 breakfast + 2 x (2 adults x $15/adult QS + 2 kids x $8/kid QS) + 4 x $6/snack = $126 total (plus maybe $5/day for granola bars and other snacks from grocery store)

    That assumes kids meals for kids and no alcohol, and one of the adults is probably having water instead of Coke, too.

    My kids are young enough that to save money, I will often order a QS kids meal for myself and then eat their leftovers. Or at least steer us to a QS with free refills on cokes, and I'll take their kids meal drink and one of them will have water.

    For breakfast, I'd be thinking $3 worth of bagels + $3 fruit + $2 cereal + $2 milk or juice + $0 coffee from room.
    This seems like what I would budget as well. But I always add a little extra into my budget estimates (for unknown and varied things like food and gas) just in case. . . I usually have money left over and add it to my future vacation fund when I get home.

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    Senior Member Nia's Avatar
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    What age kids? With qdp you can order adult meal for the kids and share it, leaving some credits for breakfast. Pastries and chopped fruit are snack credit but chopped fruit was really tasteless last summer. We were happy to buy some good fruit from publix.

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    We eat mostly QS meals (maybe 1 TS meal per trip) and we bring breakfast items with us and eat in the room. While we don't "budget" per se, I do like to have a rough idea of what our trip will cost and we save up the money before we go. I use the price of the QS dining plan for our "budget". We never spend that much, but I like to over-estimate. For us (6 Disney Adults -- 5 actual "adults" and one teenager), we usually end up spending about $300-400 *less* than what the dining plan would cost us. We buy all of our water/drinks in the park and we eat snacks whenever we feel like it. There are definitely times that I will get a kids meal because it's more than enough food for me and our one daughter tends to order kids meals most of the time as well. Sometimes she and I will split an adult meal. We don't try to "save" money -- we just eat what we're hungry for, when we're hungry. And we do the same with drinks and snacks -- buy them when we want/need them. I'm not sure exactly how much I usually spend on the breakfast food but it's probably about $50. I usually get granola bars, bagels, energy bars, pop-tarts, cereal, and some type of danish. We pick up a half gallon of milk and some cream cheese at the food court.

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    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone, that's all very helpful!

    And thanks for the suggestion Nia, I hadn't thought about the kids sharing an adult meal. They get sick of the kids meal options and would probably prefer the adult meal choices anyway. I suppose we could also order adult meals for them to split at any TS we go to if paying OOP? Just yesterday I was reading off the menus and there were several adult choices they were interested in and then disgruntled when I told them I wasn't going to pay for them to get an adult meal and eat a third to a half of it because it's such a large portion. Of course they would actually have to agree on a menu choice, which might take arbitration. Although I wouldn't mind sharing my meal, they are ridiculously large portions!

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    Just an idea but I know in the past several restaurants when we visited with my Grandmother gave her smaller portions of the adult meals and charged us a lesser amount (not necessarily the kids meal price, but definitely not the full adult price either). This might work if no one can agree on a choice to share.

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    Senior Member Nia's Avatar
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    You can sell it as they want to leave some room if they want to have a snack later. I don't want to leave the qs too full and we want to get the dole whip or ice cream cookie sandwich etc. By sharing we get to try more things. Disney snacks are fun but I cant have big lunch at 12 at treat at 2/3. I need to lighten up my meals next time too. Food tastes better when toy are hungry and for 16 days last trip we forgot what hunger is after day 2 or 3.

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    Senior Member BSS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne View Post
    Thanks everyone, that's all very helpful!

    And thanks for the suggestion Nia, I hadn't thought about the kids sharing an adult meal. They get sick of the kids meal options and would probably prefer the adult meal choices anyway. I suppose we could also order adult meals for them to split at any TS we go to if paying OOP? Just yesterday I was reading off the menus and there were several adult choices they were interested in and then disgruntled when I told them I wasn't going to pay for them to get an adult meal and eat a third to a half of it because it's such a large portion. Of course they would actually have to agree on a menu choice, which might take arbitration. Although I wouldn't mind sharing my meal, they are ridiculously large portions!
    DS21 and I share meals more often than not at Disney, not because of price, but just because it's so much food. The fact that it saves us money is just a bonus. When the kids were young and we went as a family of five each trip, we would often share 2 adult meals and a kids meal at QS restaurants. At TS, an appetizer and a couple entrees with maybe an extra side was usually plenty. It really just depends on how your family eats. The dining plan has never been a good deal for how we eat.
    Jen

  10. #10
    Senior Member Nia's Avatar
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    We only get it when its offered as discounted package. Last year we end up getting 4 kg of girardheli chocolate to bring home trying to use up credits last days. Its not a good deal if you have to pay for it

  11. #11
    Senior Member Strangeite's Avatar
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    QS is expensive, particularly for the quality.

    When we go, we always have a kitchen in the room, so we budget to eat breakfast in the room and then one TS per day. We have typically found the cost difference between eating QS vs TS to be small enough that we would rather sit down for a meal.
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    May be computer illiterate, but I figured out how to set my user title myself when no one else could!! magic1106's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strangeite View Post
    QS is expensive, particularly for the quality.

    When we go, we always have a kitchen in the room, so we budget to eat breakfast in the room and then one TS per day. We have typically found the cost difference between eating QS vs TS to be small enough that we would rather sit down for a meal.
    We feel the same way. The quality of QS is never worth the cost for us.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nia View Post
    I need to lighten up my meals next time too. Food tastes better when toy are hungry and for 16 days last trip we forgot what hunger is after day 2 or 3.
    This is so true. Even on our last trip, which was only 5 nights, I found my hunger/fullness cues were off after 2 days eating at WDW.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strangeite View Post
    QS is expensive, particularly for the quality.

    When we go, we always have a kitchen in the room, so we budget to eat breakfast in the room and then one TS per day. We have typically found the cost difference between eating QS vs TS to be small enough that we would rather sit down for a meal.
    I'm finding this out as I try and fill in the spreadsheet for this trip. I'm definitely interested in factoring in some ADRs where entree prices are only a few $ above QS. Like Plaza, Sci Fi, even Tiffins has that $35 lunch prix fix.

    We will be DVC and have a kitchen for breakfasts. But have found in the past no one is "up" for cooking much for lunch or dinner.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Strangeite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne View Post
    I'm finding this out as I try and fill in the spreadsheet for this trip. I'm definitely interested in factoring in some ADRs where entree prices are only a few $ above QS. Like Plaza, Sci Fi, even Tiffins has that $35 lunch prix fix.
    The calculus changes even more when you start looking at the restaurants at the resorts.

    A typical day for us is:
    Breakfast in room
    Rope Drop
    Leave park around noonish
    Pool time/naps/snacks or light lunch in room
    Dinner at a resort
    Back to the parks
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    the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts for him DopeyRunr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne View Post
    I'm finding this out as I try and fill in the spreadsheet for this trip.
    We just did a quick 4-day trip over Memorial Day Weekend, ahead of our typical 10 day July trip. I was gratified that my overall budget worked out pretty darn close, although it was incredibly inaccurate on a day-to-day basis. For the three of us (me, my wife and our 16-year-old), I budget $45 for a typical QS. I found our cost at Flame Tree BBQ after Tables in Wonderland and getting three ice waters was less than $30, while Satuli Canteen (no discounts available) with two sodas and a beer was more than $60.

    When I budget for a "lower cost" TS like Sci Fi or the Plaza, my estimate usually comes out closer to $100 because invariably we'll share an appetizer and get milkshakes or a cocktail, possibly a dessert. If you stuck with a low-priced entree and had water, you'd be closer to the $60 we paid at Satuli. But once you order anything beyond that, I think you'll well beyond "only a few $ above QS."
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Nia's Avatar
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    Plus 20% tip.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    We did Sci Fi with a $76 bill last trip including 20% tip. With TiW card applying to most TS but not most QS it takes the tip factor out of most of my calculations.

    I have this horrible memory from several years ago of coming away from Casey's with a $55 bill for hot dogs, cups of water, and terrible fries and no tables available in the seating area.

    Comparing those 2 I'd rather pay an extra $21 for the better experience at Sci Fi. But of course QS doesn't have to be that worst case scenario Casey's experience which came about from a failure in planning. And you are correct, $21 is more than just a few $. It's just going to take a little more planning this time around for me to figure out how to maximize value when doing things differently.

    What are people's experiences with timing of QS meals and lines during busy weeks? I have a fear of hungry children and 30 minute QS lines and no seating and mobile order turned off. Is 11 am lunch early enough to avoid some of that?

  19. #19
    Senior Member nolarookie's Avatar
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    We went past Thanksgiving and mobile ordering was up and running. I think we ate at Pizzafari around 11:30, and it was packed. But we used mobile ordering and found a seat outside.

    You may want to consider bringing snacks in. In cooler months we’ll bring in water, nuts, granola bars, etc so we don’t get too hungry. Then you can do a later lunch when the crowds subside.
    Brandi

  20. #20
    Senior Member Nia's Avatar
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    would sci fi burger be better than dluxe burger? I don't know the answer, I just wonder.

    I think caseys is one step lower than the average QS in my opinion. II had better food in WPE than I had at 50's prime time, but it's not like I would run to WPE when I am at HS. I had nicer salad at sunshine seasons than T-Rex. It's not very clear cut imo, TS is not always better quality

  21. #21
    the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts for him DopeyRunr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nia View Post
    would sci fi burger be better than dluxe burger? I don't know the answer, I just wonder.
    I'd say the quality is about the same. The cost is about the same when you add a side order of fries. The experience at Sci-Fi is superior.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Nia's Avatar
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    Thanks. We may book it for our hs day next year

  23. #23
    Senior Member BSS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne View Post

    What are people's experiences with timing of QS meals and lines during busy weeks? I have a fear of hungry children and 30 minute QS lines and no seating and mobile order turned off. Is 11 am lunch early enough to avoid some of that?
    We usually eat lunch at 11 if we have a light breakfast and have had pretty good luck at that time both with minimal lines and with seating. By the time we are finishing around 11:30 places are usually pretty packed.
    Jen

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by BSS View Post
    We usually eat lunch at 11 if we have a light breakfast and have had pretty good luck at that time both with minimal lines and with seating. By the time we are finishing around 11:30 places are usually pretty packed.
    Agree. Our experience during the busiest weeks is that 11 a.m. is always a safe time to eat, crowd-wise. 11:30 is the absolute latest and is already risky.

  25. #25
    Senior Member QueenBee's Avatar
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    That was pretty close to our budget this last trip and we spent about half that. Between the popcorn bucket, plus previously booked / paid for events like dessert parties, we didn't eat nearly as much as I thought we would. We also shared meals, especially having a couple of people split an adult entree, which helped. Also, snacking more rather than having actual meals, allowed people to eat when they were hungry and gave us more options for what people actually wanted to eat.

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