It a tale as old as time. You’ve paid off your hotel and your tickets, your FastPasses have been made. Only one thing remains: figuring how much money you will spend once you actually GET to Walt Disney World.
On my recent Girls Trip, I decided to answer that question. Now, of course, it goes without saying, there are a lot of possibilities here. Depending on your budget, family size, etc, you could spend as much money as you wanted or as little money as you wanted. It is very possible to go to Disney World and spend no money outside of tickets. It is also very possible to swing the opposite pendulum and be carried back to your hotel room on a bed of $20 Mickey head balloons, while clutching a new Dooney & Burke filled with designer Mickey Ears. Both options exist.
But I think when most of us ask this question, what we mean is: ‘How much additional money will I spend on snacks and souvenirs if I let myself indulge in a snack or two and a souvenir or two?” It has more to do with the average price range of Disney snacks and gifts, and less to do with our budgets. After all, we already know budgets. We’ve gotten this far.
So, in order to answer this question for you all, I committed to trying a snack or two and buying a souvenir or two on my recent Disney vacation. I know, I know. Very generous of me. While I was only person on this trip I had to pay for, I did buy five people’s worth of souvenirs…and sometimes felt like I ate five people’s worth of snacks too. This won’t definitively answer how much money you should bring (that really is a personal choice), but will give you a ballpark of prices.
Because I did not do the Disney Dining Plan this trip, I paid out of pocket for all my meals, including our day at Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival. I’ve tried to break down snacks vs meals to give you a clearer picture of food costs. This doesn’t apply for the Food & Wine day, since we did not sit do down meals and just ate our way around the park, which, in my opinion was the way to go. It cost what three quick service meals might have, so a full day of food budget for a ton of unique culinary experiences.
Day 1-Travel Day!
I left the Midwest in the morning and arrived in Orlando around lunchtime. Here’s how I spent my shekels.
- Starbucks at the airport (meal) :$9.74
- Lunch at Sassagoula Floatworks at Port Orleans French Quarter (meal): $20.22
- Dinner at Storybook Dining with Snow White (meal): $79.97.
- Tip for Magical Express Driver (misc)-$3.
What’s lunch without a beignet?
Day 2-Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival
You can check out the list of everything I ate at Food & Wine here, but I’ll list the total amount of money spent. I also bought some souvenirs this day and one or two bottles of water. A quick note about water: any Disney veteran will tell you, you don’t have to pay for water, you can get some at any restaurant or stand for free. And this is true. But a lot of the booths at Food & Wine don’t have drink machines and so don’t have access to water. Don’t let your Disney pride keep you from buying water! I was so worried I had wasted a million dollars on (admittedly overpriced) bottled water, but when I sat down to look at my receipts it turned out I had only purchased two. Well worth the price of not getting dehydration.
- Food & Wine Snacks: $91.60
- Remy Scavenger Hunt Map -$7.45.
This was a great deal because once you completed the map you got a “free” tumbler. I mean, you’re really paying for the tumbler, but you still get to keep the map.
- Manchester City T-Shirt: $26.62
Mr. B’s favorite soccer team, so you know I had to grab this while in the UK pavilion.
- Figment Mixing Bowl: $21.29
Every time I use it I think of the amazing day I had at Food & Wine. Which is EXACTLY what a souvenir is supposed to do. Money well spent.
Remy’s Scavenger hunt is supposed to keep the kids entertained while Mom and Dad enjoy the vittles at Food & Wine. Y’all, it was hard to find that little rat! This scavenger hunt is not for the faint of heart.
Day 3- Pool Day & Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
We ate a big bunch before we went over to the Magic Kingdom, because we only had 8 hours to party and we didn’t want to waste it on waiting for and eating meals. This was right call! I couldn’t believe how fast the party flew by. We stopped for snacks twice, and if we got peckish, we swung by one of the trick or treat stations and grabbed a free sugary pick me up. Delicious and cost effective!
- Brunch at Sassagoula Floatworks (meal): $17.56
- Coloring Book & Cafe Du Monde Coffee: $21.28
Each Disney resort has a gift shop with classic Disney souvenirs, including things you might see in the parks. But there are also some unique items that are specific to your resort’s theme. In my case, there were some items from Cafe Du Monde, the famous New Orleans eatery. I had to bring home some of their famous hickory coffee for the coffee obsessed Mr. B.
- Hades Nachos (snack): $13.63
- Ariel Bow: $15.97
- Knit Mary Poppins Penguin & Lego MiniFig: $28.10
- Amuck, Amuck, Amuck Cupcake (snack): $7.99
This $8 cupcake was HUGE. Like, you could split it and still be full huge. These were available on Main Street Bakery/Starbucks, one of the only food places open at the end of the party. A delicious way to end your night.
- Magic Kingdom Espresso Cup: $14.99.
To go with Mr. B’s coffee, of course.
Okay, so looking at these numbers was actually crazy to me. I can’t believe I spent so little money on food this day. We nibbled on granola bars bought from home in the morning, so breakfast was easy. Brunch was big, filling, and so late that it really should be classified as lunch, so that easily carried us into the evening. I definitely wanted to try more snacks at MNSSHP, but Constance’s for Better or Worse Cake was sold out and we never seemed to make it over to Cosmic Ray’s for the Lotso Burger. With a Quick Service Meal, or a few more snacks you would spend a little more, which I definitely recommend if you have small kids or need a break from the party hustle and bustle.
I regret nothing.
Day 4- Disney Springs and Travel Day!
We had late flights (8pm) so we spent the day shopping, eating, and soaking up some final magic before heading home.
- Lunch at the Edison (meal): $52.28
- It’s a Small World Case: $17.03
- Splash Mountain Ornament: $16
There was a sale, and my friend had an AP discount, and it all happened so fast. Time to be moving along.
- Beverage at Scat Cat’s (snack) -$12.65
I had some time to kill waiting for the Magical Express. They hadn’t announced it while I was there, but Scat Cat’s is going to be undergoing some refurbishment, so I’m glad I got to experience it before the changes.
- Tip for Magical Express Driver: $3
- Chipotle at MCO (meal)-$9.86
Clothesline Bacon at the Edison. Craving.
Total Food: $315.50
Total Souvenirs: $170.23
Total Miscellaneous: $6
For a four day trip, I averaged spending $122.75 a day, including food. I spent $34.04 per family member on souvenirs, which I will admit was a little lower than I would have spent had my princesses been with me. Because I was not on the Disney Dining Plan, I think I ate less snacks than I normally would have, but bigger meals, especially at the quick service options.
My miscellaneous costs were low because we declined Mouskeeping. This was a very easy process. I went to the front desk and requested it, the gift card showed up in my email within hours. You should also have a message on your room phone with the offer if you don’t want to mess around with the front desk. You get $10 a night excluding the first night, so four our three night trip we got $20. Souvenir money!
I initially budgeted $364 for food, and $239 for souvenirs, for a total of $603. Because I was $111.27 under budget, that’s money that goes into my Fund for our next trip as a family.
I think the most important thing, when it comes to determining how much money you’ll spend at Disney is realistically plan for the budget and the trip that you’re taking. Maybe you want to stay in a value resort so that you can splurge on character meals and big souvenirs. Maybe you are light eaters and it’s more important to you to be close to the parks than to take home a lot of stuff. There is no one “right way” to Disney. So make it work with the dollars you have.
How much do you spend at Disney World? What’s one spending piece of advice you had to learn the hard way? Tell me in the comments!
Curious as to how much cash you’ll need (vs using your cards or magic bands)? Check out that information here!
Kristen B. is wife to the best Prince around, mama to the spunkiest little princesses, and lover of all things Disney. She started her savings journey five years ago and is now dedicated to making her family’s wishes come true one coupon at a time. She is so excited to take her love of saving to the next level and share her journey with you! Click here to catch up on Kristen’s Savings and join in on your own savings adventure!