Dining on delicious food, drinks, and snacks you can’t get anywhere else is part of the fun of a Walt Disney World vacation. But, if you don’t plan accordingly, you can easily overextend your budget. While it may be worth it to indulge in the delicious delights at Disney, planning ahead can help you stick to a good budget and not get heartburn when you look back at your vacation spending.
By Dani Dennison Meyering
Average cost of a quick-service meal at Disney
There are over 100 quick-service dining locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort, including at the theme parks, resort hotels, and Disney Springs. You can find practically any type of food you can imagine, from classic burgers and fried chicken to international cuisine. There’s something for every taste.
Burgers with fries at a Disney quick-service location are about $10.99-$12.99. Disney individual-sized pizza is $9.99-$10.49. More substantial and creative plates like Shrimp Tacos, Oak-grilled Salmon, or a Pork Carnitas Rice Bowl range from $10.99-$12.99. So budgeting about $12 per person for any quick-service meal at Disney is a good figure.
Kids’ meals are usually about $6.19-$6.99 at most. The thing to keep in mind is that most meals come as the main dish and a side. Fountain or bottled beverages are not included. Fountain drinks are around $3.50, and bottled beverages are $3.50-$5.99.
As an example, a family of four (two adults, two kids) would spend about $50 to dine at a Disney quick-service restaurant. That’s combining one meal for each adult, and one kids’ meal for each child, plus four soft drinks.
Average cost of a table-service meal at Disney
Dining at a full-service or table-service restaurant at Walt Disney World is much different than quick-service. Elaborately-themed restaurants with impeccable service comes with a much higher price tag, and the table-service options run the range of fun and kitschy to sophisticated and refined. The prices can have a wide range as well.
Some of the casual table-service locations at Walt Disney World include 50’s Prime Time Cafe at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Plaza Restaurant at Magic Kingdom. Both are open for lunch and dinner, and both serve American classics like meatloaf, sandwiches, and other casual fare. Entrees range from $17-$24 for both lunch and dinner.
Then there are family-style options, and locations that used to be a buffet but are now served family-style. These table-service locations offer “all-you-care-to-eat.” A platter or skillet is served with a variety of food. Additional helpings are provided whenever you like and can be the full variety of food or just specific items you select. Liberty Tree Tavern at Magic Kingdom is one such location with family-style dining. Lunch and dinner are currently the same price: $39.00 for adults and $21.00 for kids ages 3-9. Three courses are served: a mixed salad, Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake for dessert, and the main course is a platter of Roasted Turkey Breast, Pot Roast, and Oven-roasted Pork with Mashed Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, Herb Stuffing, and Macaroni and Cheese.
Character dining is presented family-style in most cases as well. There are still a number of character dining experiences at Walt Disney World despite the elimination of traditional character meet-and-greets and buffets. Other locations have a flat fee, and diners select their entree from a special character dining menu. Characters currently make socially-distant appearances rather than individual visits to each table. Pricing for character dining ranges from $40.00-$45.00 dollars for adults and $27.00 for kids ages 3-9.
Walt Disney World is a special place and offers a variety of signature restaurants that make for memorable meals. These signature restaurants are destinations unto themselves. Each of the four Walt Disney World theme parks has at least one signature dining restaurant. Most deluxe Disney resort hotels have a signature restaurant as well.
Signature dining restaurants at Disney offers a fine dining experience. The menu is filled with refined plates and creative cuisine. Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom serves dishes like Tamarind-braised Short Rib and Whole-fried Sustainable Fish, and entrees range from $35.00-$48.00. Over at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, a popular seafood-focused restaurant, Narcoossee’s has a lakeside setting with views of Magic Kingdom. Here you can enjoy entrees like Pan-seared Line Caught Swordfish or Grass Fed Filet Mignon, with prices ranging from $41.00-$52.00.
Appetizers at many table-service restaurants run about $11.00-$15.00 and desserts run about $10.00-$16.00. Factor in wine, beer, or cocktails and it’s easy to spend close to $150 for a nice dinner for two at a Disney table-service restaurant, and around $175 with two kids.
Average cost of snacks at Walt Disney World
Besides delicious meals at a variety of restaurants throughout Walt Disney World, there are snacks galore. From caramel apples and cupcakes to churros and turkey legs, there are so many great snacks throughout Walt Disney World you could easily fill up while grazing around the parks. A box of popcorn is currently $5.25, a sweet and crispy churro is currently $4.50, cupcakes are usually $5.99, and a massive turkey leg is $11.25. Bottled beverages range from $3.50 for bottled water, $4.50 for bottled soda, to $5.99 for juice and other specialty beverages. Ice cream bars are a popular treat in sunny Orlando and average around $5.50; it’s $5.69 for a Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar, for example.
So a good average for each individual snack at Walt Disney World is around $5.00 and the average for a bottled beverage is $4.00. A family of four could budget about $35 for one set of snacks for each family member and some bottle beverages.
Pulling together the various ways to dine at Walt Disney World, the average family of four could expect to spend $200-$250 per day. This estimate includes one quick-service meal, one table-service meal, and one round of snacks and drinks for everyone. This estimate does not factor in alcohol or specialty beverages, as well as gratuity for servers at table-service locations.
If you’d like to save some money and scale back on dining, Disney does allow guests to bring in their own food. The food itself and the container that carries the food must meet certain requirements. According to Disney’s official website, bags and coolers cannot be larger than 24 inches long by 15 inches wide and 18 inches high, nor can they have loose ice in them. You will need to use ice packs to keep food cold.
Bringing your own alcohol is prohibited, as well as anything glass. Food is permitted, but it cannot require reheating or other extensive preparation. On their official website you can view Disney’s policy on outside food and drinks.
Dining at Walt Disney World can be one of the most enjoyable parts of your vacation. Plan ahead so you can make sure you get your fill without emptying your wallet.