In the Disney Planning groups that I belong to, there’s a lot of discussion about where to make your dining reservations, especially which Disney World restaurants are best for kids. There are a lot of different restaurants on property at Walt Disney World, and some of them are better than others. Add in all of the different character dining experiences, cuisines and other variables and it can be overwhelming to make your dining reservations!
There’s a lot involved in deciding which days you’ll be at which parks and then what kind of reservations you want. I have an entire post on planning my Disney World Reservations, which goes over looking at the crowd calendar and deciding which meals I want to schedule.
When picking the exact restaurants we’re going to dine at, I take into account where we’re staying (it’s a lot easier to eat at your own hotel vs. another hotel), which parks we’ll be at during which times of day, and my daughter’s favorite characters.
I double check all of the menus to ensure that there are options my kids will eat. The most up to date menus are on the Disney website, but I also love to read the reviews on The Disney Food Blog. They’ll show pictures of the inside of the restaurant, have great pictures of some of the most popular dishes and describe them in depth. If a restaurant changes the menu (Jungle Navigation Skipper Canteen is already well known for continually changing their menu) then they’ll go back to review it again.
First I’m listing my suggestions for different restaurants, at the bottom of this post you’ll find a bit more info about each restaurant. One quick note about dining in Epcot: If you’re in the countries, you pretty much can’t go wrong. They’re all great.
Best Meals For Kids That Love Princesses
Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom
Akershus in Epcot
Trattoria al Forno Breakfast at BoardWalk
Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom
1900 Park Fare in Grand Floridian
Best Meals to Meet Mickey and Friends
Tusker House at Animal Kingdom
Chef Mickey’s at Contemporary
Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood Studios for Lunch and Dinner
Best Meals for Little Ones
Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood Studios for Breakfast
Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom
Best Meals for Older Kids
1900 Park Fare in Grand Floridian for Dinner
Whispering Canyon in Wilderness Lodge
Jungle Navigation Co. in Magic Kingdom
Best Character Dining at Disney World Not In The Parks
1900 Park Fare in Grand Floridian
Chef Mickey’s at Contemporary
Ohana in Polynesian
The Restaurants Alphabetically
1900 Park Fare in Grand Floridian: Official Site, Review on Disney Food Blog
This is a buffet with food that’s pretty good. Look for their signature Strawberry Soup at dinner! The real reason to head here is for the characters.
At breakfast you’ll find Mary Poppins, Pooh, Tigger, Alice and the Mad Hatter. The Mad Hatter in particular is a riot, often running around and yelling things!
At dinner you’ll see Cinderella, Prince Charming (he’s bland), and the real stars: Lady Tremaine, Drizella, and Anastasia. The step family is deep in character and they are sassy! Expect them to be a treat for everyone at the table. The step family are a great reason to bring older kids to this character meal.
Akershus in Epcot: Official Site, Review on Disney Food Blog
This restaurant in Norway is part buffet and part sit down meal where you order your own entree. You’ll meet a lot of the same princesses as at Cinderella’s Royal Table, and though you’re not in the castle the atmosphere is still really great and feels a bit medieval. We’ve had lunch here twice, during trips that we also went to CRT. That may or may not be princess overload for your family.
Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom: Official Site, Review on Disney Food Blog
Be Our Guest is one of the hardest to get reservations in all of Disney World for a reason! You’re dining in the Beast’s Castle and the atmosphere is amazing. BOG is a quick service meal for breakfast and lunch, you can order online in advance of your meal and I strongly suggest doing so (unless you have an allergy, the allergy menu is only available when ordering at BOG). For dinner BOG is a table service meal. Only the Beast is at BOG, he is in his library and available to visit on your way out of the restaurant. The food has a big reputation from BOG, and it’s good for QS meals but I was a bit disappointed in our TS dinner.
Chef Mickey’s at Contemporary: Official Site, Review on Disney Food Blog
This is the classic Mickey and Friends meal, available for breakfast and dinner. It’s in the lobby of the Contemporary (with the Monorail overhead), and it can be somewhat noisy. The Magic Kingdom is an easy walk once you’re done eating.
Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom: Official Site, Review on Disney Food Blog
CRT is in the castle in the Magic Kingdom, and for that alone it’s worth going to at least once. This is a Disney Signature Dining Experience, which means if you’re on the dining plan it is 2 TS credits or lots of money out of pocket. You’ll be ordering from a very short fixed menu (think 3 options), and the food is fancier than Akershus. You’ll meet many of the same princesses as they come around to your tables, and children are given either a wishing wand or a sword. The atmosphere alone is worth it!
Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom: Official Site, Review on Disney Food Blog
This is a large buffet meal where you’ll meet Pooh Bear and friends. The food is pretty basic buffet fare, and in my experience the size of the restaurant is the major issue here. It’s hard for the characters to make it around in a timely fashion, and the whole place is more chaotic than other character meals and not as well run. It is the only place to meet several of Pooh’s friends, but you can also meet Pooh and Tigger at breakfast at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian. We avoid lunch and dinner here, breakfast is your best bet.
Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood Studios for Lunch and Dinner: Official Site, Review on Disney Food Blog
This is one of our favorite restaurants! We love a prepark opening breakfast reservation to meet our Disney Junior friends including Sophia the First, Doc McStuffins, Handy Manny and Jake. At lunch and dinner you’ll have Minnie and friends, they have rotating seasonal themes.
Jungle Navigation Co. in Magic Kingdom: Official Site, Review on Disney Food Blog
No characters here, but there’s the same sassiness you’ve come to know and love from the Jungle Cruise ride (“Here it is, the back side of water”). The menu continually gets “updated”, so be sure to watch for fresh reviews on the Disney Food Blog.
Ohana in Polynesian: Official Site, Review on Disney Food Blog
I’m not really a Lilo and Stitch fan, and I admit that I’m just waiting for Disney to swap them out for Moana and Maui at this restaurant. However, Ohana is worth it just for the food.
Trattoria al Forno Breakfast at BoardWalk: Official Site, Review on Disney Food Blog
This is a relatively new sit down breakfast (no buffet) with Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel and Prince Eric. It’s one of the few places to see the boys, and I’ve heard they’re all pretty fun interacting together as well. It’s already proven so popular that they’ve started opening a little earlier. It’s within easy walking distance of Epcot’s back entrance. I have reservations for the spring.
Tusker House at Animal Kingdom: Official Site, Review on Disney Food Blog
We love to eat a slightly early lunch at Tusker House whenever we’re in the Animal Kingdom. I think this is one of the biggest and most diverse buffets at Disney World. You’ll meet Mickey and friends in safari gear, an while the restaurant is fairly large they do a good job of moving the characters through quickly.
Whispering Canyon in Wilderness Lodge: Official Site, Review on Disney Food Blog
This family style BBQ is exactly where I’d bring a hungry teenager, the portions are huge! The atmosphere is loud and rowdy. Make sure you ask for the ketchup and if you want some dessert, consider trying the 10 Gallon Hat Challenge.
Images via HarshLight.0