You’ve finally made it out of the diaper phase, congratulations! Now the fun begins. For the first time in several years you are planing a family vacation that your kids can enjoy and take part in. You asked and they answered “We want to go to Disney World!”. You think to yourself “easy, I love Disney I’ve been numerous times”. You book your trip and jump right into planner mode. Out of habit you look to reserve some of your favorite dining spots; California Grill, Narcoosees, House of Blues — and then you stop. Starring at your plans on My Disney Experience you realize you’ve encountered an unexpected problem; you are booking your favorite restaurants — the ones that you and the spouse enjoy. The ones that offer a dining experience and wine and all things that adults appreciate; and that your kids ages 5 and under will not. You hang your head in despair at the thought of eating quick service chicken strips and hamburgers for a week. You think to yourself “I’ve seen lots of families at Disney World before, certainly there are places that both parents and kids can agree on”. Be of good cheer for you are correct! Your tiny tots might not have a palate for Wagyu Beef Strip Loin with Cauliflower Purée but these top 5 kid friendly spots are sure to please the most discriminating of little eaters, and big ones too!
5. ‘Ohana – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
‘Ohana means family, and that is exactly what you’ll get when you join Lilo and Stitch, along with other friends at this lively Hawaiian themed resort. Feast “family style” as you take in the sights, sounds and life of the South Pacific. Breakfast selections like Hawaiian pork sausages, Island-style fried potatoes and a variety of island fresh fruits and breads help get your day off to the right start. At dinner you can feast until you are “stuffed” on skewers of sweet and sour chicken, oak-grilled shrimp and steak and severs bring all you care to enjoy portions to your table. Little kahunas will delight in coconut races while the whole family is encouraged to play with hula hoops and dance to island music. Be sure to remember that the Character experience is only offered at breakfast. While the fun never stops, dinner is a non character dining experience. There’s no need for fancy attire here, hang loose and enjoy!
4. Rainforest Cafe – Marketplace, Disney Springs & Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
Trek into the Amazonian rainforest for a wild feast unlike any other. Animated singing birds, trumpeting elephants and chest-pounding gorillas play while you dine among schools of brightly colored fish in a jungle of tropical vegetation. Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner servings this restaurant has a menu to please all ages. In the morning, go bananas over French toast, Belgian waffles or Mexican-style breakfast pizza. Lunch and Dinner serves up bigger adventurers with entrees like Caribbean Coconut Fried Shrimp, Beef Lava Nachos and a Ribs, Steak & Shrimp Trio. Little explorers will have their choice of kid favorite options like Jurassic Chicken Tidbits, Castaway Pizza and of course Macaroni & Cheese. After your meal, make a last minute trip to the Rainforest Cafe Shop and pick up themed apparel and tropical trinkets to commemorate your journey. When it comes to a night out with the family The Rainforest Cafe is tasty Amazon adventure you won’t want to miss.
3. T-Rex – Marketplace, Disney Springs
Take a trip back in time and dine amid prehistoric creatures and periodic meteor showers at this Jurassic themed restaurant. Sink your teeth into tasty entrees like the Boneyard Buffet; a dino-sized portion of Rotisserie Chicken and slow-roasted St. Louis style pork spareribs. The Mastadon Stuffed Chicken is a mouth watering plate served with artichoke hearts, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and red skinned mashed potatoes. The Omnivore’s in your family will love the Caesar-saurus Salad which can be served with chicken or shrimp. Your budding paleontologists will delight in glee as wooly mammoths and life-sized animatronic dinosaurs roar all around them. There’s even a a massive moving octopus hovering overhead! A word of warning for parents with very small children: there is a 15-foot-tall T. Rex at the entrance of the restaurant that comes to life and roars periodically. In addition, a meteor shower which includes rumbling and fiery “explosions” occurs about every 20 minutes. To get smaller diners acquainted with the overall atmosphere, it’s a good idea to arrive early and let them play in the Paleo Zone, a hands-on experience where kids can dig for dinosaur fossils.
2. The Crystal Palace – Main Street, U.S.A, Magic Kingdom
Enter a 19th century Victorian greenhouse where you’ll join Winnie the Pooh & his pals from the Hundred-Acre Wood. The Crystal Palace is an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in the highlights of Cinderella’s castle. The kitchen puts on a storied display of made-to-order omelets, freshly baked pastries, Atlantic salmon, chicken nuggets, sirloin steak, peel-and-eat shrimp and more! We all know Pooh loves his honey and your meal wouldn’t be complete without a sweet treat of bread pudding, brownies, or soft serve ice cream to name a few. Beautiful white lights, tropical palms and enchanting topiaries make this restaurant a great place to meet some of your favorite Disney characters. So bounce on it for a willy, nilly, and silly good time! Don’t forget your camera and autograph book!
1. Chef Mickey’s – Disney’s Contemporary Resort
The number one spot in this category goes to none other than Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The Fabulous Five make a grand appearance at this restaurant that has been crowned “The Happy Space”. Contemporary American cuisine sets the tone for a time filled with food and fun as the characters lead diners in song and dance. From Mickey waffles and French toast to roasted chicken and carved beef you’ll be sure to find something you’ll love. With kid friendly favorites like Goofy’s Mini Corn Dogs, Chef Mickey’s Macaroni & Cheese and a full Sunday bar, Chef Mickey’s offers a lively experience for all ages. If you want to make sure your little ones get to meet their most beloved characters then look no further. Pluto, Donald Duck, Goofy, Minnie Mouse and of course Mickey Mouse will all be there!! Chef Mickey’s is a very, very, very popular restaurant so it is extremely recommended you make reservations well advanced of your arrival.
So there you have it, the top 5 picks for your trip with little ones. Don’t worry, they’ll grow soon enough and you can return to the land of “Signature Dining” but for now, be a kid and let your childhood come out and eat.
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