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How much money should I bring for meals?

by Robert

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“Hello Carl,my family and I are planning to go to Disney World soon. We have never gone without using the dining plan this time we were going and not planning on using one.

How much money do you think we should bring with is for meals. I never looked at prices before. My sons are 10 and 11.”

Kind of Hard to Answer

The entrance to Be Our Guest

The price at Be Our Guest went up this morning – Photo by Cliff Wang


How much money to bring for meals is a really hard question to answer. I don’t have quite enough information. I don’t know where you plan to eat, how many meals you plan to eat each day, if you share meals, you know, the details. But let’s see if we can give you a baseline.

Now before we start, let me say these estimates will be on the high end. You’ll probably have a lot of money left over if you use these numbers.

A Good Guide

While you’re not using the Disney Dining Plan it can be an indicator of what food will cost.

Dad’s Disney Dining Plan page

For example, the Quick Service Dining Plan in 2019 is $52.50 per day per adult (10 and above are adults). Children are $23.87.

That gets you 2 Quick Service meals and 2 snacks. Add another $20 or so for a third meal and you have somewhere around $70 per day if you only eat quick service meals.

For a mixture of Quick Service and Table Service meals use the Regular Plan which is $75.49 for adults ($27.98 for kids) for one Quick Service meal, one Table Service meal and two snacks. For another Quick Service meal add $20, for a Table Service Meal add $45. Which would give you around $100 or $125 per person per day.

Finally, if you plan to eat like a king and do all Table Service Meals, look at the Deluxe Plan ($116.25 for adults, $39.99 per child) which includes 3 meals per day (Quick or Table Service). So again probably about $125 per day although if you have an expensive meal in there I’d up that to $150.

These are probably high estimates, but also could be messed up by restaurants like Cinderella’s Royal Table (which costs $65 per adult).

Basic Rule of Thumb

So basically the amount you’ll need for 3 meals a day is…

  • Quick Service Only – $70
  • Quick Service/Table Service Mixture – $100 – $125
  • Table Service – $125 to $150
  • That’s per adult, per day.

    Dream a Little

    I’d do a little menu diving. It’s fun to look at the menus. Most of the menus on the Disney website now have prices for the food, so head over and make a list of where you plan to eat and dream a little.

    Disney’s Restaurants page

    Destinations to Travel

    Dad’s Bottom Line

    Robert, as I said at the start those numbers are “overestimates” of what it costs to eat at WDW and might give you a pocket full of cash to spend on the last day.

    I would suggest you go ahead and look at the prices on the Disney website. Dream a little bit about what you plan to eat. Mrs. Mom and I love doing menu dives.

    Also, I’ll be interested to hear what you think after your trip. I’m not a fan of the Disney Dining Plan, but I’d like to know what someone who’s had it before and didn’t use it thought.

    Have a great trip.


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    Comments for

    Oct 18, 2018 Dining Plan vs. No Dining Plan
    by: Mark C

    Dad’s answer gives a pretty good system for estimating dining costs. Our family prefers to not get the dining plan. It allows us more flexibility about how we eat. We can choose to do quick service dining, to snack our way through the day instead of eating meals, or to purchase fewer snacks should we so desire.

    Managing the dining plan credits can add some stress to a vacation. They most important thing if you are not getting the dining plan is to budget an adequate amount of money for dining.

    Return to Ask Dad.

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